January 9th

Reckoning with Jesus

4Therefore 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.  11Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:4,11-14 NKJV 

There are two wonderful truths about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of them is well known but the other is sometimes forgotten.  The well-known truth is that Jesus died to pay the penalty for all sin, clearing the way for us to be reunited with God in eternal life.  The often forgotten truth is that Jesus was raised from the dead so that we (his followers) would “walk in newness of life” now…here on earth.  

It can be a challenge to discover this newness of life, especially since our “old self” sinful desires and habits are constantly trying to regain control over our minds and bodies after we place faith in Jesus.  Many people give up on trying to live in the newness of life and settle for life as a “carnal Christian.”  It is dangerous and unfruitful to settle for carnal living. 

Addictions are classic examples of what can happen when we allow our sinful nature to regain control.  We become slaves to sin’s desires and we appear powerless to live for God. Paul explained that we can walk free from the rule of sin through our faith in Jesus and by the act of “reckoning” ourselves dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus.  Reckoning means to believe ourselves to be in that condition, i.e. dead to sin and alive to God.  Additionally, reckoning is more than a thought activity.  It requires action.  Paul offered the ingredients of active reckoning:

1.      Don’t let sin reign in your body, that you should obey its lusts (12)

2.      Don’t present your body as an instrument of unrighteousness (13)

3.      Present your body to God as one raised from the dead and as an instrument of righteousness (13) 

Paul stated that sin shall not have dominion over us since through Jesus Christ we are under God’s grace.  That is a powerful promise that we can stand on in faith.  Whenever sin tries to make you obey it’s passions, we can say, “By God’s grace through Jesus Christ’s blood, sin no longer has any dominion over me!”   If you have been living in bondage to sinful habits, I encourage you to take our Freedom Journey study to learn how you can walk daily in the newness of life. 

Questions for further thought: 

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, Thank you for dying for me and paying the penalty for my sin.  Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to live in me, so that I may live in the newness of life.  I confess that I have fallen short of living for God in the following ways:______(list).  Please forgive me for this sin.  I reckon myself today dead to sin and alive to God through you, Jesus.  Holy Spirit, please fill me afresh and empower me to walk in obedience to God from today forward.  Please help me to put the old self desires to death faithfully!  Thank you, Jesus!  In your name I pray, Amen.”