|Posted on July 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM|
As believers in Jesus Christ we have been born again and now have a brand new life in Christ. But like new born babies we are not fully aware of whom we really are as a child of God. This is why Peter tells us to desire the sincere milk of the Word so that we might grow up in grace and knowledge of our Savior. The milk of the Word is all the Bible says God has done for us that we could never do for ourselves. Paul promises us that as we steadfastly focus our attention on who God has made us to be in Christ a miracle takes place. We are actually transformed into the very image of Christ from the inside out. (2 Corinthians 3:18) Although this change is developmental in that it is "from glory to glory", it is a continual process of the indwelling Spirit of God changing us from the inside out.
Perhaps the most radical change we believers may experience concerns our sin problem. Romans 6:11 tells us to count on the fact that we ourselves are dead indeed unto sin but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Most, if not all, believers have trouble thinking this about themselves. We are so used to trying as hard as we can to quit sinning that we never bother to consider this command or take it seriously. I had been saved since I was 11 and was 33 years old before I started to think of myself this way. I had always thought of myself alive unto sin and dead to God! I was trying as hard as I could to quit sinning, and constantly asking God to forgive me for sinning, but I never once thought of myself as being dead indeed to sin.
The reason Paul wants us to think of ourselves as dead to sin is so that we will quit obsessing with sin and focus on what will actually change us. He tells us earlier in that chapter that as many have been baptized into Christ (joined to him when we are born again), have been joined to him in his death. This means that when Jesus died on the cross, the old man or natural person we were as descendants of Adam was crucified with him. He goes on to tell us that we were buried with Christ and when he rose again from the dead we were raised up with him as brand new persons that are dead indeed to sin! Isn't that amazing? God killed the old sinful, dysfunctional, self centered persons we were, and created us as new persons in Christ with his righteousness. This means that we have never sinned, we are not now sinning, and we will never sin because we are in Christ and he is in us!
When we believe what we are commanded to believe in Romans 6:11, we count on the fact that we ourselves are dead indeed to sin and alive unto God; we are free from worrying about our sin and spending all our time and energy on trying to quit sinning. Instead, we are free to turn our attention to an intense study of all that God has done for us as revealed in the Scriptures. As Paul advised his disciple, Timothy, we can study to show ourselves approved of God a workman that doesn't need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God. And as we steadfastly behold in the Bible the "glory of the Lord", that is, who we are in Jesus; we are changed (not change ourselves) into the same image by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. Changing us "from glory to glory" the Holy Spirit does the work Jesus promised he would do as the Comforter.
As the Spirit of truth he guides us into all truth, makes Jesus real to us, comforts us, leads us, teaches us, and empowers us to do the ministry we have been called to do in loving others as Christ. In short, we are able to begin "walking in newness of life" as we learn a new lifestyle of grace and truth in a world full of law and lies. However, none of this is possible without that essential faith we are called to exercise in Romans 6:11 as we count on the fact that we are dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God. Unless we believe this good news about ourselves we will continue to obsess on our sins and desperately try to save ourselves according to our own knowledge of good and evil. Count on the good news!