Romans 6:6. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
I’ve found over the years of ministry that actually many Christians don’t know. They know that Jesus died FOR them (Romans 3-5), but they don’t know the glorious truths of their co-crucifixion with Christ. They have no idea that they died WITH Christ.
Maybe you know that you have been forgiven by the cross. And your grateful for that forgiveness. And rightly so. But is that enough to sustain you through the perils of spiritual warfare?
Christian, believing that “Jesus died for me” is only the first step in your sanctification. And if you stop there you will be left living only from the motivation of gratitude rather than graduating to the motivation of faith.
Many Christians battle sin by saying “I must be grateful for my forgiveness and therefore stop sinning.” Or, “I must do so much for God because he did so much for me.” But look closely at these two statements. Are they the fullness of union with Christ? Are they really faith? Are they trusting in your co-crucifixion with Christ? Or are they another piously veiled attempt at works righteousness?
The truth is that real growth in Christ is only empowered by trusting that we were crucified with Jesus. That the old self, the sin nature, is dead. Not sick. Not dying. Not hanging on. Not in a coma. Dead. We believe that our relationship to sin is now the same as Jesus’ relationship to sin. And that this work is DONE. Forever.
Yes, I know it is a struggle to feel like we died with Christ. And an even greater struggle to behave like we are dead to sin. But faith is trusting in what God says about who we ARE by his imputed righteousness. Faith is trusting our position in Christ, rather than our condition as a continuing sinner. Faith is believing that we are no longer enslaved to sin, even when we just sinned…again.
OK, so why do I still sin? Great question. As Christians we are no longer controlled by the old sin nature (it’s dead). Rather, we are now controlled by the Spirit, Christ’s nature. But we do still have what Paul will call the “flesh” living inside of us – remaining selfish desires, or “indwelling sin.”
But here’s the difference: the old sin nature has died once and for all. But the flesh is something that we are still slowly crucifying.
Galatians 5:24. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (an ongoing slow process) with its passions and desires.
Christian, you cannot crucify your flesh unless you believe God has already put to death your old self.
The cross is the only way to deal with sin, and the cross has already happened. It is finished! If you are dealing with your sin in any other way than your union with the cross, you will fail. Self-denial, training, resolutions, revival, confession, Bible study, spiritual experiences – these will not end sin in your life. Only the cross will. And it has! There is nothing left for God to do that the cross has not already accomplished. All that’s left is for you to actually believe it. To trust that your old self is dead. That sin has no power over you. That you are alive in Christ.
“To live is Christ” means your sin has already once and for all time been dealt with by the cross. Do you know this? Do you believe this? Once you do, you can start the painful process of crucifying the flesh and its selfish desires by faith in God’s saving grace.
How have you been dealing with your sin?
You in Christ
Do you trust that the power source of sin in your life, the old man/nature, has been put to death?
Christ in you
How does knowing that we are not enslaved to sin actually allow us to break free from sinning? Think it through.
Playlist: Crucified With Christ.
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