Almost two years ago I did a study on the three tenses of being saved. In other words, being saved has a past, present and future component. Each with different characteristics and effects.
The Power of Sin
In chapter six of Romans, Paul is describing that believers are dead to sin, meaning that sin no longer has power over us, or that we have the power in us to not have to give into sin. This is a powerful statement that needs further examination, as it deals with the subject of sanctification, the process where God is progressively separating a believer from sin to Himself and transforming him towards holiness and purity. It’s a lifelong process which entails three attitudes of mind and action on our part.
Consider Yourself Dead to Sin
“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:5-11)
The first attitude deals with considering yourself dead to sin, yet alive in Jesus Christ. Being able to consider something true however depends on knowing and believing certain things. The things to know are listed in verse 5-10. There is certainty in knowing that when you died with Jesus you shall also resurrect with Jesus. This means that our body of sin is gone and are no longer slaves to sin. The old nature still exists, helpless, ungodly, rebellious, and an enemy of God, but now it’s no longer in charge anymore. We are no longer slaves to sin (singular! – it’s the sin nature). That means you are freed to be able to say no, but you still have to claim it by faith. To consider yourself dead to sin is an aggresive faith. It’s a present tense, daily keep on doing it type of faith. So, do you believe you are dead to sin and alive to God?
Do Not Yield to Sin
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14)
So, do not let sin continue to reign in your body. Stop letting it right now, by insisting that what God says is true. The dominion is now your choice. Before Christ this wasn’t possible, but now it is. But it remains to be a moment-by-moment choice. The Christian life is not trying to become what you are not. The Christian life is experiencing what you are – in Christ. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is not a fantasy, but a declaration of God! Your daily choices will now determine the results; not you previous slavery. The power of the old nature is now broken. Now that is good news! I am now under the principle of grace.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:15-23)
Serving by desire, power by grace should be our response to what Jesus has done inside of us. “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). Consider who your master is and what you are a slave of, because you cannot serve two masters. But thanks be to God, for He did it! So, be obedient from the heart, meaning believe in the gospel. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6). Three times in this chapter Paul wrote that sin results in death. This death is eternal separation from God in hell, in which unbelievers suffer conscious torment forever. This is the wages they have earned and deserve because of their sin. By contrast, the gift of God is eternal life. Eternal life is a gift that cannot be earned.