(For part 1 of this series, please click here)
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)
Last time, we looked at how what we know about who we are in Jesus Christ is the first crucial step in overcoming sin. If we are unaware of what God has done for us, we will not benefit from it when temptation comes. Now we come to the second step: reckoning. Here we have before us again that same term that was so prominent back in Romans Chapter 4 where it appeared eleven different times — variously translated as “counted”, “reckoned”, or “imputed.” It referred in that chapter in connection with faith being accounted to Abraham (and later to the believer in Christ) for righteousness. It spoke of something being credited to someone and becoming their own.
Now, in Chapter 6 as we look at Sanctification, we are not told that something is being reckoned to us; we are told to reckon something to ourselves. We, as believers, are the ones being instructed to lay hold of what we are being informed of and to make it a reality in our own lives. Knowing that we are baptized into the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 3), knowing that our old nature is crucified with Him (v. 6), and knowing that Christ is raised and will die no more (v. 9) are very precious and wondrous things to know, but is knowing these facts changing the way we live our daily lives, particularly our walk with the Lord?
It is one thing to know something, but something else entirely to count on it, rely on it, trust it. This is what is meant here in Romans 6:11 when we are told to reckon ourselves dead to sin. We can accept that Christ died to sin on the Cross, but unless we accept that He did so for us, we are not reckoning His death to ourselves. There is a change that occurs inside a person when they make the leap from knowing to believing, a change that leads us from confessing that Christ died for sinners, to proclaiming that Christ died for me. It is not enough to just agree with the facts of what Christ has done, we must trust in Christ Himself and accept what He has done for us personally.
The Christian walk is not about lofty and noble ideas to be discussed in academic halls, debated in seminary classrooms, or pored over in the dusty textbooks of marble-tiled libraries. Understanding Sanctification is not an intellectual pursuit to be studied just for the sake of growing in knowledge. The Christian walk is about applying the knowledge gained from the Word of God to our own lives and letting it shape who we are. We must know the truths of Scripture if they are ever to make an impact on us, but living a holy life comes, not only from what we know, but what we do with what we know.
A lot of Christians are not experiencing a closer walk with the Lord because they simply do not know that God has provided a way for them to lead a holy life, pleasing to Him. Sin stands between them and God and breaks the fellowship that God desires for them to enjoy with Himself. Sadly, they have just come to accept that the sins that so easily ensnare them will always be a part of their life, so long as they are on this earth. For many others, it is not that they are unaware of what Christ has done in order for them to have the power to lead a holy life, it is the fact that they are not “reckoning” this to themselves. They know what Christ accomplished and they know that the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit is more than capable of strengthening them to overcome sin’s grip on their lives, yet they are not letting this knowledge soak into their hearts and change them into the people that God wants them to be.
Let us not only know what the Lord Jesus has done on our behalf, let us make it a personal reality in our own lives. Let us reckon ourselves dead to sin as He is dead to it and walk accordingly.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,