We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
The Scriptures say a lot about the power of the Gospel and the destruction of sin and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Yet the day-to-day experience of many Christians is that of defeat. They know that Christ died for their sins, but they have all but given up in the fight against sin in their lives, out of discouragement or despair or perhaps just plain tiredness. They know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of them, and yet they plan and live and work and serve on their own resources, and feel burned out and useless. Does this describe you? At one time or another, it has probably described all of us. So what’s wrong? What are we missing?
What we are missing is a heart-level apprehension and acceptance of the Gospel’s implications for our daily lives. Paul hammers this point home in Romans chapter 6: our sinful nature was crucified and put to death with Christ, and it no longer has mastery over us. Regardless of what you feel, if you are in Christ, then Romans 6:6 is objectively true of you. What happened two thousand years ago on a Roman cross is explicitly linked in a very real way to your daily struggle with sin, and we must understand, accept, and believe this if we are to have any hope of victory and change. Three times in this text, Paul uses words that connote a mental understanding: “We know that our old self was crucified… We know that Christ will never die again… You must consider yourselves dead to sin.” Rehearse the Gospel to yourself and mentally apply its truths to the sin in your life. This is the antidote for discouragement, and the power for change.
Christ died for all the evil in my heart; therefore, every sin I fight against is a forgiven sin, stripped of its power to condemn and control. O tired, worn out believer, do you see what this means? You are not stuck the way you are! There is power in the cross of Christ to change, to put crucified sin to death, and to experience victory walking in the Holy Spirit’s power, breathed into your mind and heart through the Gospel.
Dear God, I am weak, worn out in my struggle against sin, to the point of giving up altogether. I haven’t seen victory in so long that I’ve forgotten what joy feels like. But I see Your promise in this text this morning, and though I have trouble believing it, I want to take hold of Your Word by faith. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me, to put the sin in my heart to death. Help me to remember this truth, and by Your Spirit bring this truth deep into my heart so I can feel it and live it out and experience its power of victory over my sin.
“Sin is wrong, not because of what it does to me, or my spouse, or child, or neighbor, but because it is an act of rebellion against the infinitely holy and majestic God.” ~Jerry Bridges