Dead to Sin but Alive to God in Christ
Truth We Can Count On
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11
This is the final verse and summary of the first section of Romans Chapter Six (verses 1-11). This verse declares the powerful outcome of Christ’s work on the cross. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, His last words were, “It is finished! (John 19:30). With His death, Jesus Christ knew He had fully completed the divine work that God had sent Him to earth to accomplish. Christ completely redeemed us from sin – from sin’s punishment and from sin’s power so that we might serve Him in holiness all the days of our life (Luke 1:74-75). The Bible says, “Christ Jesus… gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession (Titus 2:13-14).” This is Christ’s complete and victorious salvation, which He purchased for us by His death on the cross! Let us now look at this verse:
- “Count yourselves dead to sin.” The King James Version uses the word “reckon” here instead of “count.” The Greek word for “reckon” or “count” is logizomai, a bookkeeping or accounting termwhich means to “credit to the account.” Accounting is the precise reckoning of facts. There is no uncertainty in mathematics. Two plus two equals four in every language of the world. To reckon yourself dead to sin means you can count with certainty on the divine fact that your sinful nature has been crucified with Christ and you have been freed from sin. It means the question of our complete salvation (freedom from both the penalty of sin and the power of sin) has been settled by God’s accounting and purchased by Christ’s death on the cross. In the previous ten verses in this chapter of Romans, the apostle Paul stated seven times that we have died with Christ. Based on the New Testament Greek, this is not just a symbolic or theoretical death. Our inner sinful nature, which was central to who we were and at the very core of our self-identity, actually died when we received Christ. Therefore, our death in Christ is not merely conceptual or positional; it is a Biblically-proven fact, which we can count on and base our Christian life on. However, mere mental assent will not give you this kind of absolute conviction in your spirit; only divine revelation from the Holy Spirit can settle this matter in your heart, and give you the faith to take hold of this divine fact.
Why is it important to spiritually know (believe and act on) the certainty that you have died with Christ? This central fact of Christ’s Atonement is the foundation which upholds a number of other important Biblical truths and promises. When Paul introduced Romans Chapter Six, he asked, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? (Romans 6:1).” Paul responded, “Absolutely not,” because something profoundly radical happened to us when we were born again – we were immersed into Christ’s death and we died to sin! Since you have died with Christ, then you no longer have a sinful nature (Romans 6:6). Since you no longer have a sinful nature, you have been freed from the power of sin (Romans 6:7; Galatians 6:14). Since you have been freed from sin, you are capable of serving God with a pure heart (Romans 6:18; 1 Peter 2:16). Since you are God’s bondservant, you can walk in sanctification (Romans 6:19). And if you walk in sanctification, you will then know the Lord (Matthew 7:23; Hebrews 12:14). And if you know the Lord, you will then inherit eternal life and reign with Him in the age to come (Romans 6:22; Revelation 21:7). Conversely, if you do not know that you have died with Christ in order to overcome the sin of the world, then you will not receive any of these divine promises. The Bible says, “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be His God and he will be My son (Revelation 21:7).”
- “Alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Because we have died in Christ, we are now alive to God in Christ. This is the first time that Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” in the his letter to the Romans. This precious phrase appears more than eighty times in the New Testament. All the promises of God belong to us who are “in Christ.” “Blessed be the God and Father God of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).” The truth that we have died in Christ is a divine fact. Whether we believe it or not, it is the truth. When Christ died, we died in Him and our sinful nature has been removed from us so that He could sovereignly live in us. This is the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ. However, if we never believe and act on this divine truth, this good news will never become real in our life, and we will never experience the truth of what happened on the cross. All the divine promises associated with this divine fact will come to naught unless we believe and act on God’s word. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free (John 8:31-32).”
Therefore, we cannot “reckon” or “count” ourselves alive to God in Christ (Romans 6:11) unless we “know” by faith that our sinful nature has died in Christ (Romans 6:6). And we cannot spiritually know that we have died in Christ unless God has given us divine revelation on this truth. We need to receive revelation from God Himself in order to inwardly receive this divine truth with spiritual conviction and not just mere mental assent to doctrine. Revelation will spontaneously lead us into reckoning. Just as there should be a definite date that we can mark as the day that we know we were saved by Christ; in the same way, there should be a definite date that we can mark as the day that we know we have died in Christ. Of course, both these spiritual events actually occurred on the same date – the day we were born again. However, God will not spiritually reveal this divine truth to us unless we are willing to give Him complete sovereignty over our life.
A dramatic spiritual breakthrough will occur in your life when God shows you that He has dealt a death-blow to your sinful Adam nature when He crucified you with Christ. When you know that your sinful nature died with Christ, you will recognize the futility and evil of depending on your natural personality and ability to serve Christ. You will agree with God’s assessment that your heart was desperately wicked and beyond reform. You will agree with God’s decision that execution and not reformation was His righteous verdict. After God has revealed to you that you have died with Christ, He can then begin to show you the difference between your spirit and soul and how your unsubmitted soul is of no use to Him. God can then train you to hear and obey the voice of His Spirit and be filled and empowered by His indwelling Spirit instead of continuing to think and act ignorantly out of your soul-power (your natural wisdom and ability). When God reveals to you that the divine purpose and verdict of the cross was not only for Christ to die for you but to also make sure that you died with Christ, you will cease to have confidence in your natural ability to serve Christ and bear His fruit. From that time on, you will no longer want to depend on your natural energy and talent to serve Christ, but instead you will want to always look to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to sovereignly live His life through you, as you continually believe that you have died in Him.
Once you really know (believe and act on) the truth that you have died in Christ, there will be a progressive outworking of this truth in your life. However, this working out of your salvation (which Jesus called the bearing of your own cross daily) must always occur from a position of faith in the divine fact that you have already been crucified in Christ and have already died to sin. Therefore, you are not trying to be crucified in some distant future by some extraordinary effort on your part. God tells you to reckon or count yourself as dead because it is a divine fact – you have already been crucified in Christ – you are dead to sin! This is not just “make-believe.” We are not trying to believe something into existence. Our faith rests in something that has already occurred. This is an actual event (the death of our sinful nature) that occurred when we were born again and spiritually immersed into Christ’s death on the cross. Why are we dead to sin? We are dead to sin because our sinful nature is dead and gone. Just as Christ died to sin once for all, in the same way, we have died to sin once for all. Once you really know this divine fact, you can count on it and act on it by bearing your own cross, and all the divine promises of God will become experientially yours.
We fervently pray that you would wholeheartedly believe and act on the divine truth of the cross of Christ so that God might be glorified through your life. May God give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the true knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ and may the eyes of your heart be enlightened to know the fullness of Christ’s completed work on the cross so that you might receive all the riches of intimately knowing our great and glorious God.