We are those who have died to sin;
how can we live in it any longer?
Romans 6:2 (NIV)
Who are you?
Each Wednesday afternoons, my friend asks the ladies in our group to introduce ourselves. We say our names, then tell who we are in Christ.
She says, “My name is Selwyn, and I’ve been delivered from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of light.”
I say, “My name is Lisa, and I’ve been redeemed” or “I’ve been given grace” or “I am a new creation,” depending on the week.
What I have never said—and what I want to be able to say—is this,
“My name is Lisa and I have died to sin.”
I just don’t feel it’s true about me.
Even though the Word says it is.
I understand I’m free from the penalty of sin. I know there’s no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1).
But dead to sin itself? Surely not me. I still sin. Daily.
Yet the apostle Paul says we “died” (Romans 6:2). Not “will die” or “in the process of dying, bit by bit” but died. Past tense. Done deal.
Dead means . . .
So what does it mean?
In Chapter Four of The Discipline of Grace, author Jerry Bridges explains it this way:
To die to sin then means, first of all, to die to its legal or penal reign and, secondly, as a necessary result, to die to its dominion over us.
. . . This death occurred even though the believer may not be aware of it.
Because we died with Christ (Romans 6:8), and Christ died to sin (Romans 6:10), we, too, have died to sin.
What does that mean practically?
Here’s an example.
Consider my sin of pride. I’m in my, um, upper 40s, and I still want to look good for my husband. But since my 30s, I’ve noticed splotchy skin and dark spots on my arms and face after a trip to the beach.
Which makes me want to avoid the beach, the place I love—I find God there, rest there, peace there. It’s good for me, good for my marriage.
If I’ve died to sin—to pride—why is it still alive?
Bridges says we don’t die to sin’s presence, but we are dead to its dominion over us—we’re no longer citizens in its kingdom.
So the beach? I go. I use sunscreen and wear a hat and seek shade when I can, but I can’t let my pride over spotted skin take away my delight in God’s awesome oceanic creation and sweet memories with my husband.
Perhaps it’s a weak example. But I’m trying to understand.
Through our vital union with Jesus Christ, [we] were furnished all the resources we need to become in fact what we have become in status.
It is through our legal union with Christ in His death and resurrection that our status has been forever changed. We must count on this and believe it.
. . . So the imperative to pursue holiness—to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies—is based on the fact of grace.
Grace. I knew it. Doesn’t it always come back to grace, to Jesus? God always makes a way through grace.Sin never gets the final word. Grace does.
I may still sin, but sin isn’t my master. Jesus is.
Next Wednesday when I’m with Selwyn’s group, I think I’ll introduce myself this way, “My name is Lisa, and I have died to sin.”
For sin will have no dominion over you,
since you are not under law but under grace.
How do you make sense of “dead to sin”?
Read more comments on Chapter 4 at Challies.
Next week: Chapter 5, “Disciplined by Grace”