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How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?

In my previous column I wrote about how we have been freely made righteous through faith in Jesus. Paul heavily stressed this in the fifth chapter of Romans. Then when the sixth chapter starts, he addresses the question that so many ask when they hear they are righteous by faith in Jesus and not by their actions: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” — Romans 6:1.
Understanding I am righteous by faith and not by works has not led me to want to go live in sin, and anyone who truly understands this concept would agree. But understanding that we are righteous by faith has changed my approach to people who are living in sin. Instead of telling them how they shouldn’t go live in sin to get them to refrain from sinning, my emphasis has changed to teaching them that Christ has freed them from sin to lead them out of sin. Paul does just this as he continues in Romans 6:2-7:
“Certainly not. How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of his death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”
He who has died has been freed from sin? What is Paul talking about here? That when we die we will no longer sin? No, he is saying that when we received Christ, our old man (old spirit) died with him, and the spirit of Jesus who now lives in our born-again spirits has made us alive together with him.
We are no longer sinners because that old sin-stained spirit is gone, having been replaced with his new spirit, and because of that we are now free from sin. Being a sinner is no longer who we are.
Romans 6:18, 22 states, “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life."
The scripture continues to emphasize how we have been set free from sin. This does not mean you will live perfect lives and never sin in the flesh again, but when you do sin, it doesn’t change your righteous spirit because your spirit is now sealed by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13). Sin can’t permeate your spirit or change who you really are. Who we now are is alive unto Christ and righteous and holy through him: no longer sinners but saints.
The reason Christians aren’t always living this out is because we don’t know our identity. Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We need to see ourselves as dead to sin and alive in Christ because our actions will follow our dominate thoughts.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” — Proverbs 23:7.
There are a lot of Christians who still struggle with sin, not because Jesus didn’t do a good enough job of freeing us from sin, but because they don’t know who they really are. They still see themselves as sinners, so their actions follow their way of thinking.
Ephesians 4:24 says, “And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
In order to stop sinning in the flesh, we need to reckon or remind ourselves that we are dead to sin but alive to Christ. The new man is already in our spirits, but we now need to see ourselves that way in our minds. We need to see that as Jesus is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).
We are now righteous and holy because of who lives in us, not how we see ourselves in the flesh. We need to continually put on the new man in our mind first before we see that new man manifest in our lives.  
If you have received Jesus, I would encourage you to repeat this over yourself several times a day. “I am free from sin and now a slave to righteousness. That old person is gone, crucified with Christ, never to return. I am righteous and holy in his sight. That is the real me. Thank you Jesus.”
Amber can be reached at amberdeemiller32@gmail.com">amberdeemiller32@gmail.com or through her AmberRiceMiller Facebook page.

Published: September 4, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170839985