WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 23, 2021
TOPIC: DEAD TO SIN; ALIVE TO GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 New King James Version).
The reason Jesus Christ was born was to save us from or sin (Matthew 1:21). He did not come to save only the Jews but the entire world (John 3:16). In pursuit of this mission, He died on the cross, shedding His blood for the forgiveness or remission of our sins.
Hebrews 9:22b says without the shedding of blood there is no remission. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 New King James Version). God set forth Jesus Christ as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His (God’s) righteousness (Romans 3:25a).
Jesus Christ was our merciful and faithful High Priest before God and made propitiation for our sins (Hebrews 2:17). We have been justified by His blood and shall be saved from wrath through Him (Romans 5:9). In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 New King James Version).
The Bible tells us the relationship between believers and sin before their conversion and the relationship to sin after conversion. This is very important. Jesus died for our sins, past, present, and future. Therefore, the believer’s relationship to sin is not the same in the pre-salvation and post salvation periods.
At salvation, the believer receives forgiveness of sin because the blood of Jesus has washed away his sins. As the Bible says in Psalm 103:12, as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. This didn’t happen through our works. No. Ephesians 2:8-9 says for by grace we have been saved through faith and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
We are not saved by keeping God’s law. Nobody could be saved by that. The law cannot save anyone. “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were” (Romans 5:20a New Living Translation). The law couldn’t prevent people from sinning. People sinned even more. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20b-21 New King James Version).
Paul, the writer of the book of Romans, brought another dimension to the discussion by talking about the relationship between grace and sin in a believer’s life. If our sins have been forgiven and we have been saved by grace, can’t we continue to sin? After all, grace is available.
Hear His exact words: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 New King James Version). Paul asked a question and answered it himself. We are not left in doubt about where he stands concerning the lifestyle of a believer after his salvation. Though we have been saved by grace, our sins are forgiven, and we are free from condemnation, this is not a licence to continue in sin.
The New Living Translation puts Paul’s question and answer this way: “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2).
Paul tells us that the believer cannot continue to sin because he has a new relationship to sin: he is dead to sin. He is no longer alive to sin as it was before his salvation. Because he is dead to sin, he is not supposed to respond to sin or be controlled by sin. The believer is dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ. This is what water baptism symbolizes.
Romans 6:3-4 says, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (New King James Version).
When Jesus died on the cross, we died with Him (Colossians 2:20, 3:3). Our old sinful nature was nailed to the cross with Him. This frees us from the control of the power of sin. We are no longer slaves of sin. Our baptism in water symbolizes Jesus’ burial and resurrection (Colossians 2:12). Just as Jesus resurrected, we also resurrected into a new life (Colossians 3:1). Believers are united with Jesus in His death and resurrection, which our baptism in water symbolizes. In place of the old man, we have put on the new man (Colossians 3:10).
Romans 6:5-17 says, “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (New King James Version).
The believer is free from sin but that doesn’t mean that he cannot sin. 1 John 3:9 says, “Those who have been born into God’s family do not sin, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they have been born of God” (New Living Translation). But the believer is no more a slave of sin. He has the power to overcome sin. However, if he commits any sin, forgiveness is available for him because of Christ’s work on the cross. This is not a licence to sin.
1 John 1:9-10 says, “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts” (New Living Translation). The believer is not a slave of sin; he does not sin willfully. He can live victoriously over sin.
Let me go back to Romans 6. Verses 8-11 say, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (New King James Version).
Whereas temptation to sin is real and whereas sinners are under the control of the power of sin, the believer is not; he is not a slave of sin. The believer must not only believe this, he must act in line with this truth. He must reckon, consider, or see himself to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Because the believer is dead to sin, by virtue of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the believer must live in light of his new life in Jesus. He must not allow sin to control the way he lives; he must not yield to its lustful desires. He must not make available any part of his body as an instrument to sin.
On the contrary, the believer should dedicate parts of his body for use as instruments of righteousness for the glory of God. Sin must no longer be his master as it was under the law for the grace of God has set him free. “Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin’” (John 8:34 New King Jmaae Version). He said if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (verse 36). As the believer was a slave of sin, so he must become a slave of righteousness.
Romans 7:5-6 says, “When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died with Christ, and we are no longer captive to its power. Now we can really serve God, not in the old way by obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way, by the Spirit” (New Living Translation).
The law created consciousness about sin but does not give one the power to overcome it. “For no one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying it” (Romans 3:20 New Living Translation).
Galatians 3:21b says if the law could have given us new life, we could have been made right with God by obeying it. But Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 10:4). In other words, “Christ has accomplished the whole purpose of the law. All who believe in him are made right with God” (New Living Translation).
This new life in Christ Jesus is only possible by yielding your life to the control of the Holy Spirit. “So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (Galatians 5:16 New Living Translation). Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (New King James Version).
If you’re born again, reckon yourself to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. You’re no longer a slave of sin; you should become a slave of righteousness.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Lord Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross to save me from sin and hellfire. Thank You for setting me free from the slavery of sin. In the name of Jesus, I reckon myself to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. I shall not serve sin with the parts of my body; I shall serve righteousness. With the power of the Holy Spirit, I shall live my new life in Christ Jesus. I shall not do what my sinful nature craves in Jesus’ name.
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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