” So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11
Consider yourself dead. That’s a pretty striking statement. We love to talk about being “alive” in Christ. So why do I see so many Christians trudging through life powerless, purposeless, and lost in their pursuit of Jesus?
As Christians we don’t want to obsessively focus on our sin, yet no matter how much we resist, we often break our lives down into how many Christian boxes we can check off for the day. Who we are remains tied to what we do, not what God has declared over us. Truly, it is a spiritual identity crisis.
We are still in bondage to the idea that we must prove ourselves before God. As a result, too many children of God move and breathe not fully walking in the empowerment the gift of grace provides.
The Grace of God
What do you think grace is? We toss the term around constantly in Christian circles. Sure, who doesn’t want to receive, live under, and enjoy the benefits of God’s grace? But too often the realities of grace and its power in our lives dwindle beneath false representations of its purpose.
I’ve heard it taught that grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. God bestows through grace a measure of love and power to His children. Yet that’s not how we often live grace out.
The entire idea of grace has become muddled and twisted into either a non-personal theological concept or a tool in the belt yielded towards self-serving spirituality. In the first case, grace is merely the gift from God offering salvation (which is true) but is not something we participate in daily. This idea accepts grace as an agent of forgiveness of sin but not eradication of sin. It’s an idea that we are loved despite our sin but not free from or dead to sin.
However, scripture reveals to us that grace is far more than a one-and-done cover up of sin. Grace empowers and enables us to live a perfect life the same way Jesus did.
The following are just a few verses giving us deeper insight to the power of grace activated in our lives:
- John 1:16 encourages us that “his (Jesus’) fullness we have received” as a result of “grace upon grace.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 affirms that Christ Himself became sin so that through grace we might become “the righteousness of God.”
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 reveals that God makes “grace abound to you” so that we will always have all we need to “abound in every good work.”
- 2 Timothy 2:1 shows us that we can be “strengthened by grace”
The Abuse of Grace
Grace can also be abused. This happens when grace and truth separate. Grace and truth were always meant to operate in tandem. If we continue to choose to serve our own agenda, boost our own reputation, and cling to even subtle areas of sin under the umbrella of grace, we are not experiencing the grace of God at all. We are trying to use grace for our own advantage and glory, not for God’s glory.
Related Post: The Connection Between God’s Grace and Hard Work
Grace activates the work of sanctification in a believer’s life. Galatians is dedicated almost entirely to this very issue. The grace of God reveals and washes us in truth so that we might repent from sin and live life Jesus’ way. Grace is a gift meant to change us and provide the strength and resources to complete it! Helping us feel better about ourselves in the midst of our sin is not the purpose.
John Bevere teaches “Under grace, we now have the nature of Jesus Christ and are able to live in truth at all times. We now have his integrity inbred in our very being. We are capable of being men and women who are like God.”
When we allow God’s grace to sanctify us, it glorifies God and brings us into closer relationship with Him. This in turn empowers and fills us with joy!
Dead to Sin
“I’m just a sinner saved by grace” is a phrase all too often floating among Christian circles. Does that sound like considering ourselves dead to sin? This phrase instead confesses an identity marked by sin, fully negating the work of Christ on the cross.
As a child of God, made into the righteousness of God, cleansed and purified and empowered with His grace, we should never consider ourselves a sinner again. Grace is the key to our ability to reject this false identity and take on the identity of Christ. Through grace we consider ourselves dead to sin.
Romans 6:18 tells us we are now “slaves to righteousness”! This means we, through the grace and empowerment of Christ in us, do not have to give in to sin. It holds no power. Instead, our true nature and natural tendencies are towards truth and life. When you truly believe this, you find it easier and more desirable to live according to your true nature, made righteous through Jesus.
This doesn’t mean we never struggle with sin again. However, it does mean that sin no longer has to define and manipulate your mind, will, and emotions as it once did. We no longer measure our worth before God based on the sin present in our lives. Instead, we stand confidently before Him knowing we have been made righteous and are learning to live more like Him each and every day.