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Dead to Sin

Dead to Sin

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re talking about how Christ freed us from sin on the cross. In the salvation He purchased for us, is our identification with Him on the cross. Because of that, death and sin don’t rule us anymore.

The apostle makes it clear that we’re no longer slaves to sin. We can apply the death of Jesus Christ to our own bodies.

In my last post, I talked about how we sometimes fight against this work. In their experience, there are many believers who still act as slaves to sin. So this death over the flesh is something that must be sought after. It doesn’t just happen.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Romans 6:8-10

Paul now begins to talk about the implications of us dying with Christ. That’s why he uses the word, “if” in this passage. It requires an understanding of what has taken place in the spirit.

If we truly understand that we’ve died with Christ, then that should direct our faith toward living with Him. This means a common life together. His life and our life are melded together.

The reasoning is simple. In His death, He died to sin for all of us. Now Christ lives toward God. That’s the new direction that our lives should take on.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

Here Paul tells us that in the same way we trusted Christ in baptism, we must count or literally take inventory of, conclude yourself to exist dead, in fact, 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.
Colossians 2:11-12

This is what Paul is trying to describe to us – the putting off, or dying, of the sinful nature. According to Paul, this is a surgical procedure that can only be done by Christ.

It isn’t a work I can perform. 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?

That’s a choice we all have to make. If I want to see the victory of God over my sin nature, then I have to do it His way. It’s a decision I have to make on a daily basis. It’s the basis for a victorious life in Christ.

Question: How has counting yourself dead to sin changed your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Scripture and the Word of God

Bible 2I have been posting about the Word of God and its relation to Scripture.  I’ve probably said some things that have caused you to question my beliefs.  In today’s post you’ll see that what I believe is firmly rooted in the teaching of Christ, Himself.

At one point the Pharisees were trying to come up with a reason to kill Jesus.  They were upset that He healed people on the Sabbath and called God “Father,” among other things.  It’s important to see how the Lord handled these men.  Remember, these were people who dedicated their lives to the study and memorization of Scripture.

And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 5:37-40

Notice how the Lord’s words to the Pharisees resemble His words to Satan when He was tempted.  He first tells them that they have not heard from God nor seen God.  He then told them that God’s Word did not live in them.  Wait a minute – they had the Scripture memorized – yet God’s Word did not have a place in their lives.

Jesus then makes a statement that we need to pay particular attention to.  He admits that those around Him diligently study the Scripture.  Isn’t that a good thing?  Why does it sound more like an indictment when the Lord says it?

Because it all depends upon why you’re studying the Scripture.  They were approaching it with the wrong reasoning.  Listen carefully to the words of Christ.  He said that they diligently study the Scriptures because they think that by the Scripture they possess life.

Jesus is clear.  You cannot possess life in Scripture.  You can only possess life in Christ.  It doesn’t matter how hard you study or how many verses you have memorized, according to Jesus, you will not find Life in the Scripture.

You may get mad at me for saying it – but that will not change the truth.  How we handle the Scriptures these days borders on superstition.  So many of us believe that the Bible is going to give us what we want.

I have heard it preached (I preached it, myself, before I understood the truth) that if you want something from God, “just find a Scripture that supports it and stand upon it.”  That’s not what the Bible is for.

Christ came that we might live the abundant life.  That life will only be found in Him.  There are many aspects of the abundant life that the above truth could apply to.  Think of how we do things in the church today.  Christ could be speaking directly to us.

Question: How have you seen the Bible used superstitiously?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Word of God

 

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It’s Easy to Turn Faith into Superstition

CloverDo you serve God superstitiously?  How do you know whether or not you do?  You may be surprised at the answers.

We’re told in Scripture that we’re to serve God by our faith.  We’re told that it’s impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).  As a matter of fact, anything not coming from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

But, just as important as faith is, it’s just as important to know where this faith comes from.  The Bible is clear on this issue, even if we are a little fuzzy sometimes.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

This verse literally says that faith springs out of hearing, but hearing through the Word of Christ.  There are a few key concepts that are important in this verse.  The first is that, of all the different kinds of faith that we can have; only the faith that has its birth in the Word of God is valuable.

The next is one you may not want to hear.  But, this faith comes by hearing the Word and not reading the Word.  That’s because it’s the Greek word rhema that’s translated word in this verse.  The Greek word rhema always refers to the revealed Word of God to us.

This isn’t talking about reading the Bible and drumming up faith in ourselves.  It’s about listening to the Holy Spirit speaking to us.  It might take place while we’re reading the Scripture, praying, or listening to a sermon.

Jesus got upset at the Pharisees for this same type of superstition.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 5:39-40

Here’s what takes place sometimes.  It may be that there’s a believer in need of healing – for example.  As they’re reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit uses it to grab their attention.  The Lord takes the Word that they’re reading and makes it rhema to them.

In a moment of divine faith and obedience, they declare that Word with their voice.  Immediately they’re healed.

What does he do next?  He starts teaching that if you confess this verse, you will be healed.  That is superstition.

It’s not reciting the verse that healed this person.  Christ our Healer was the one who made them whole.

This is how easy it can be, to turn faith into superstition.  Instead of bringing people to a deeper relationship with Christ, it’s easier to recite Scripture over and over.

Please understand – I didn’t say to stop memorizing and confessing the Scripture.  What I am saying is to seek to hear from Christ.  He’s the One our life flows from and not our “works of righteousness.”

Question: Why is it so much easier for us to recite the Bible than to seek to hear from God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Faith, Word of God

 

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