I’ve been posting about our spiritual war with our old sin-nature. In my last post, I said that water baptism was the first step in this process. Through it, we identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Here Paul tells us that in the same way we trusted Christ in baptism, we must count or literally inventory ourselves dead, indeed, to sin.
This goes right along with our baptism. In verse 3 of Romans chapter 6, we were baptized into His death. Now in verse 11, there’s something that Paul is hoping you’ll move into by faith. Paul describes this step to the Colossian church.
In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
This is what we want to concentrate on – the putting off of the sinful nature. According to Paul, this is a surgical procedure that can only be done by Christ. So, in terms of warfare, you could call this a surgical strike against the flesh.
It isn’t a work I can perform on my own. It doesn’t matter how much will-power I put forth. Only Christ, Himself, can bring it to pass in my life. I must submit under the blade of the divine Surgeon.
There are two prerequisites to this surgery. The first is baptism and the second is faith in the power of God. This means that I can’t look to myself and how well I can obey God. It’s all about how much I trust His power working in my life. How much am I willing to surrender to Him?
It’s the same as in the natural world. If I don’t trust the surgeon in a medical procedure, then I will not allow them to put me under the anesthesia. I’ll only let someone I trust have that much power over my body. Do we trust Christ enough to consent to His life-changing work in us?
No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.
There’s another key point to this work of Christ in us. It can only be done in the spirit. It’s not something that I can physically accomplish. Neither is it a choice that I make in my mind.
The change is required in my heart. The old self has to be removed. How can my sin-nature remove itself? It would never willingly choose to do that.
To get the old sin nature out of our heart requires outside assistance. That’s why it’s a work that only Christ can do, and it must be a spiritual work. It’s for this reason that an understanding of the Word of God as a sword is so important.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The sword of the spirit is the scalpel that performs the work in our hearts. In the past, I’ve emphasized that the things of the spirit can only be received through prayer in the spirit. This is the work that needs to be done in us. It’s a work that must be done in the spirit. It’s only prayer in the spirit that will accomplish the change that’s necessary in our hearts.
In order for God to do this work in us, we must yield ourselves to Him. As in any surgery, we must willingly go under the knife if our healing is to take place. This is true for our spiritual surgery as well.
Question: How has Prayer in the Spirit changed your life?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi