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. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion 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. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I think we will find today’s scripture rather simple to start with – as Paul sums it up nicely at the end – Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To start with – obviously we have not physically died yet – though we are to consider our ‘old man’ or ‘old self’ dead. We also know that though once we are saved we are dead to the old self, there will still be times that we will sin.
But now – it is different. Why?
In our ‘old self’, we were content to live in sin – sin wasn’t an issue, even if we knew it was sin. Now – we will still sin, but we are no longer comfortable doing it – we don’t want to live in sin anymore, and when we do, we are regretful (or angry at ourselves) for it. This is the key difference – we have moved from the place that we were more than happy (ignorant even) to live in sin – to a place where sin is something we don’t want. As Paul mentions above, ‘that we should no longer be slaves to sin‘.
For what really is a slave? A slave is someone who does someone else’s will – they have no will of their own, no choice in the matter. We were slaves to sin – so we had no choice, we were just going to sin regardless. But we are free of that now – we do have a choice.
So, we are no longer comfortable with sin, and we now have a choice in the matter. The words ‘reckon yourselves‘ speaks of a state of mind – we need to think of ourselves already in that new place, without the flesh. We need to make the choices to avoid sin, and keep it out of our lives.
Firstly, take encouragement from 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) – The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
And finally, Galatians 2:20 (which many people know) summarizes everything we have been talking about today well -
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
- We have been crucified with Christ – our old selves are gone. Our desire to live a sinful and selfish life is gone. We are no longer slaves to sin.
- It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me – We now have the Spirit of God within us – guiding our desires. We look to live for Him now, instead of us!
- And the life which I now live in the flesh – yes, we are still physically alive, and we will still have ‘troubles of the flesh’
- I live by faith in the Son of God – This is the key here – we live by faith. We beleive that we are saved, and that God will look after us, guide us, provide a way to escape temptation for us, teach us, love us.
- who loved me and gave Himself for me – the gospel summed up in 8 words!
Lord God, thank you for freeing us from being slaves to sin. We know temptations will continue to come to us while we are still in this body – show us your way of escape – teach us to endure and no longer accept the bondage of slavery, but choose freedom in You. In Jesus Name. Amen.