Romans 6:11-13 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
At first glance, one might think the world is doomed, and all seems lost. Sin of every size, shape, and color parades before our eyes in multiple forms. Whether it is the music, the movies, shows, podcasts, billboards, newspapers, or even in the pulpit of some churches, we hear of violence, the wickedness of varying degrees and types, and immoral behavior portrayed as acceptable, and doom and gloom.
Our spirits can only sustain so much.
Yet, God gave us a way to live through the most wicked of times. Our passage reminded me of a few lines from a sermon a long time ago. The preacher said:
“Dead men cannot do a thing.”
“Dead men cannot get angry.”
“Dead men cannot get offended.”
“Dead men cannot think, feel, or do anything. They’re just dead.”
Many might think it foolishly absurd to say such things. Yet, it hits closer to home in light of our passage than we would like to admit.
When you and I allow sin to go unconfessed in our lives, we choose to be alive to our wants and desires. Not one person can control themselves enough to be righteous as God commands us to be. Every child of God’s righteous behavior is through the Holy Spirit living in a child of God’s life that is dead to themselves.
To achieve that, we must be dead to our wants, dreams, and desires. The Apostle Paul writes to the Romans to teach them that the cross is the only way to live. A crucified flesh means all things given over to God in complete and utter surrender.
Most of us will arrive at some level of ‘deadness.’
We are willing to give up some things, but not all. We want some level of pleasure, amusement, peace, quiet, and tranquility in our lives. We want the ability to schedule when we might suffer. We want some say in how much we will sacrifice.
In living the crucified life, there may be some things we are not fond of, find challenging to do, or just plain rejected. It may mean suffering. It may mean preferring those we despise. In its entirety, God’s life is just that – it is His life, His plan.
God did not consult us about what we will do, how we are to act, what we will or will not possess. He, being God, tells us, yea, commands us in all things. He says:
1 Peter 1:15-16 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
I cannot be holy in and of myself, but God can through me.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you“
I cannot love someone who has committed such a heinous crime or done something to someone I love. I want revenge. I want justice. God commands love.
When I am dead to my wants and desires, I can be holy and love my enemies as God tells me I should. To justify any other behavior is sin.
A coroner pronounces one dead when there ceases to be any sign of life in the body. A saved child of God is dead when there cease to be any signs of worldly behavior, worldly talk, or anything contrary to God’s Word.
If someone were to save you from a burning building or from drowning, you would feel some level of indebtedness to them for saving your life. You would want to find some way of showing that gratitude. As a Christian, God tells us what it takes to please Him.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Living by faith is not easy but simple. It will challenge even the best of us to relinquish our hold on our life to experience what God has for us in living the crucified life. It is every saved child of God’s duty.
1 Thessalonians 4:1 “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”
To live this crucified life as God would have it, we must first be a willing sacrifice.
Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Our flesh is the only thing the devil is allowed to touch. If our flesh is dead, his tempting will not affect us.
He assaults our minds with thoughts to change our way of thinking. He will challenge what we think about God. Is He fair and just? Is what He is asking of me reasonable? One of his tactics is to question God about things we do not have settled in our hearts.
If you are in doubt of your salvation, he will continually assault your mind with thoughts like:
“How could someone who calls themselves a ‘child of God’ do what you just did, or say what you just said, or think such thoughts?”
“God won’t answer your prayers. He doesn’t like you, let alone LOVE you.”
I think you get the gist.
When we are settled on what we believe and can back it up scripturally, Satan has a tougher job. Causing us to stray from the path God has for us becomes his main focus. His ways are subtle and will take even the smallest of compromise in our lives.
Being crucified to our flesh takes away anything for Satan to grab. Dead flesh cannot be brought to life unless we give it life. God gave over that decision to us through free will. Once we allow our flesh to come alive in some area, our enemy pounces on to gain a stronghold.
Being aware of our enemies tactics, or wiles, we can be watchful for where he might attack next.
Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Know that you and will go into this battle with everything we need to be successful. We have God’s promise, His armor, His presence, and can call upon Him to escape the present trial.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
So, to ask again:
“How dead are you?”
What desires do you indulge?
Do you justify the sin you commit?
Do you compare yourself to other’s sins telling yourself you’re not that bad?
Come away with God to a place where you can offer yourself that living sacrifice to Him. Then, we can take Paul’s advice for everyday living.
1 Corinthians 15:31 “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
Our old man’s daily death and burial will allow us to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit better as He desires to lead and guide us. We must not detract from its significance.
The more dead we become, the more Christ can be alive in us!