“Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).
You must act on what you know to be true.
A foundational biblical principle is that people must understand the truth before they can live it out in their lives. Put another way, duty is always based on doctrine. The first ten verses of Romans 6 lay the solid foundation of truth upon which believers can build their lives. Several times so far (vv. 3, 5, 6, 8) Paul has exhorted Christians to understand the truth of their union with Christ in His death and resurrection. Now he exhorts us to act on it.
“Consider” translates a Greek word that means “to calculate,” “to compute,” “to take into account.” Paul urges believers to come to a settled conviction about their death to sin through their union with Christ.
Why do some question the liberating truth that in Christ they are dead to sin? Some are victimized by an inadequate view of salvation, seeing it as a mere change in their legal standing before God. Salvation involves far more, however; it involves a transformation of life. Those who believe their Christian life to be a constant battle between their old and new selves will not be able to consider themselves dead to sin. The accusations of Satan (Rev. 12:10) and conscience also make it very difficult for some to count on their death to sin. But the biggest difficulty Christians face in believing sin is a defeated enemy is their constant battle with it. That struggle makes it hard to believe we’re really dead to sin’s power (Rom. 7:15-24). Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that Christ’s holiness imputed to believers has released us from sin’s dominion. Therefore, Christians can choose not to sin and are never forced to sin.
Consider yourself to be dead to sin, and experience the blessings of triumph over temptation (1 Cor. 10:13), sin (which can never cause you to lose your salvation, Heb. 7:25), and death (John 11:25-26).
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank God for His gracious provision of salvation in Jesus Christ.
For Further Study
Read the following passages: Hosea 4:6; Isaiah 1:3; Colossians 3:8-10. What do they teach about the importance of doctrinal knowledge in the Christian life?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.