Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Importance of Being in Christ - Part 7

What we have learned so far:
As Christians, we are in Christ. Being in Christ means He is our federal head; our representative. Also it means we died with him to the law and to the world – both the world religious system and the world system of lusts and temptations.

But it also means that when we died with Christ, we died to sin.
Romans 6:2 asks this question: “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” The author assumes that we would know the fact that we had died in Christ and that this would have an actual impact in our lives in the way we live. He goes on in the next verse to remind us that those who have been baptized into Christ were baptized into his death. That means that somehow, spiritually speaking, we were in Christ when he died and that his death counts as our death and that all of this precludes our living a life of sin.

In verse 6 Paul lets us know that our old man was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be destroyed and in the next verse lets us know that he who has died has been set free from sin. It's obvious that are going to have to take this by faith, because it certainly doesn't feel like we have been set free from sin. Sin seems to still exert enormous pressure on us. But notice what verse 14 says. Sin shall not have dominion over us. Even though sin is still present and there are temptations all around us, it does not have authority over us. It is a toothless tiger. We are not under obligation to it as we once had been.

How to put these truths into practice in the battle:
(Note that the following principles are based on believing and acting on the truth of what God has done and is doing, not on making man-made lists of do's and don'ts.)

First, we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. (Romans 6:11) This means that we are to count God's statements as true. It is not mind over matter. It is believing and acting on what God has told us.

Secondly, we are not to allow sin to reign. (Romans 6:12) Since sin no longer has dominion, we are not to allow it to reign. It will try, but it does not have the right to rule and so we should not allow it.

Third, we should not present our members as weapons of unrighteousness. (Romans 6:13) By members he means the parts of our bodies like our hands, feet and eyes. Sometimes we just hand over parts of our body to unrighteousness and then they are used as weapons against us. It's as foolish as a soldier handing his enemy his personal weapon so that his enemy can kill him with it. We have a choice as to who we give the members of our body to. Verse 13 says that we should give the members to God to be used for righteousness. So, you see, we have a choice. It is a conscious choice that must be made at each encounter with a temptation to sin.

The fourth thing to remember is that if we are a true believer in Jesus Christ, there is no condemnation. (Romans 8:1). We live under that umbrella that no matter how we falter and fail, there is no condemnation coming our way. That frees us to get up and try again knowing that God is working to help us do the right thing.

The fifth thing to remember is that I have been set free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2) There is a God-established law that sin results in death. A Christian has been set free from that. That is part of the salvation that we have in Christ.

Next, we need to understand that Jesus Christ was a man like we are except without sin. He was tempted, he got tired, he was a man. Because he was able to live his life without sinning, God tells us that in doing so he condemned sin in the flesh. In other words, he showed that man does not have to respond to temptations. He can overcome because of the power of God at work in him. That is what Romans 8:3 is telling us when it says that “he condemned sin in the flesh.”

Finally we need to realize that the requirement of the law is fulfilled in us as we walk according to the Spirit. The external law was never meant to accomplish anything except to show us our guilt and inability to keep God's commands. In the New Covenant God writes his laws on our heart so that it is in our heart to do the right thing and to live obedient lives. Even though we often fail, as we yield to his Spirit, we find ourselves fulfilling his commandments naturally.

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