If you are a born-again follower of Christ you are free from sin, but you must WALK IN FREEDOM. We must appropriate the gospel we believe into our lives. We must apply truth and live in light of it.
In Romans 6:11-14 the Apostle Paul shows us how to apply and live out the reality of our new found freedom from sin. Based on that passage here are three steps to walking in freedom.
1. Change How You THINK.
11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The word Consider is a word that means “to count or reckon, or to credit.” It’s an accounting term. On God’s accounting ledger, you are dead to sin and alive to God. Your sin is paid for and you are free from it. You hare clothed in righteousness and made alive. You need to make sure your accounting ledger matches God’s. The idea is you need to keep this in mind and take it to heart. To really get this you have to know and understand the facts – You are dead to sin, you are alive to God!
Satan wants you to think all you are is your sin. He wants you to think you are defeated so you won’t even fight. Satan is a liar. Because we are still in these bodies in this broken world, because we still have the capacity and some appetite for sin … we are prone to thinking wrongly. The problem is wrong thinking will lead to wrong living. Lies are powerful. You need to believe the truth. You cannot live in light of the truth if you don’t know and believe the truth.
This isn’t about self-confidence. This is about thinking rightly about what Christ has accomplished on your behalf! It’ about thinking rightly about your union with Christ. The power is not in the thinking, it’s in the TRUTH. As Darryl Dash writes, “Positive thinking has no power, unless the thinking is also true. But there is tremendous power in thinking in line with what is true. You are able not to sin. It’s not, ‘If I believe it enough, it will be true.’ It’s, ‘Since it is true, I need to believe it.'”
I watched a video clip the other day of a guy who just knew he could run a 4.4 in the 40 yard dash. If you don’t know, that is elite, professional sports level speed, NFL Wide Receiver speed. He didn’t think it was that fast. He thought he could run that pretty easy. He was challenged by an ESPN correspondent to be timed on film. He then proceeded to run a 5.5. Being confident in a falsehood did him no good. In fact if he had thought in line with the truth he could have saved himself a little embarrassing media moment.
At the same time, do you remember the first time you got a smartphone? Did you know everything it would do? Probably not. The more you knew the more it impacted your enjoyment of that phone. You could spend more time using it and less figuring it out. Understanding the facts, knowing the truth about the phone was step one in maximizing its potential. Understanding the truth about your union with Christ, thinking rightly about the gospel’s impact on your life is step one in walking in freedom.
2. Make the DECISION
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
The next obvious part of this is to decide. It’s one thing to think rightly but now you have to make a decision in light with Paul’s command. Paul commands this because by God’s grace with the Spirit’s help… it is possible. Decide… “Sin is not going to reign in my mortal body.” We have to change our thinking then decide that we are going to live in accordance with our gospel formed reality.
Many times when one is losing the battle of sin I believe this is where people check out. It usually happens in the form of an excuse. You don’t understand my struggle. You don’t understand my past. You don’t understand my temptation. It’s a little sin, nobody is getting hurt, nobody even knows. There are worse sins. There are worse people. So and So is way worse.
Ultimately we all have to decide. Who’s my Lord? Is sin going to reign like a king like a lord in this area of my life or is Jesus? Believer, we only have One who is to reign over us. King’s reign, our King is Jesus. He’s not looking to share His place in our life with gossip, greed, self-centeredness, lust, or any more polite sin. You must DECIDE. Sin will not reign in me, I will not obey it. When I see it … I’ll repent of it, I’ll run to Jesus with it, I’ll kill it.
3. Choose to ACT on it Daily
13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
This is PRACTICAL. You must choose to present your members, all of you, for righteousness. The word “present” is the idea of “making available or to offer.” This is involves action. It’s by faith acting to orient our lives around God and not sin. It’s living with our minds and bodies surrendered to Jesus and not to sin. Paul’s point is we need to choose to make our all of us unavailable to unrighteousness, and to make ourselves only available to God for righteousness.
This is a daily act. This isn’t just a one-time thing, it’s every day, every moment… every temptation acting to make ourselves fully available to God and not sin. This is not about simply trying not to sin. It’s about more than a “sin fast.” It’s not just about depriving yourself of something. It’s about feasting in another area. You have to give yourself fully to God.
For example, believers are not just people who turn from greed … God makes us generous. We are not just those that turn from gossip … God makes us kind, encouragers. We are not simply those that repent of hate, God makes us loving. Living out who we are in Christ means not only turning from… but pursuing the thing God has called us to. Leaning into our identity in Christ, leaning into the fruit of the Spirit.
All of this is done in response to the gospel. It’s done for God’s glory. It’s done out of a changed and grateful heart. It’s done because we BELIEVE THE PROMISE in Romans 6:14, “Sin will not have dominion over us.” Why? Because we are “not under law but under grace.” All of this is motivated by and in response to… and brought about by GRACE.
God’s grace enables us to think rightly, make the decision to kill sin, and to act daily by presenting ourselves fully to God and not sin. That’s how we walk in freedom once we have found freedom.