By J.D. Greear
You’re dead to sin, so stop acting like you’re a slave to sin.
Pastor Tony Evans tells the story of a guy who visited his nutritionist and says, “I need some help changing my diet. Every time I go by a grocery store, I find myself wanting to eat dog food. When I walk in, I feel inexplicably drawn to the dog food section. And when I’m there, I find myself staring at the pictures on the dog food bags and thinking about how much fun it would be to play with those dogs. And then I’ll just rip open one of the bags and eat a scoop of the dog food. Sometimes I get so excited, I bark and howl and lay on my back and try to get people walking by to scratch my belly.”
The nutritionist says, “Well, sir, that doesn’t sound like a dietary challenge. How long have you been like this?”
The man replies, “Ever since I was a puppy.”
Some things, Pastor Tony says, require more than behavior modification. Transformation has to start with identity.
Change begins with how you see yourself. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:11, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NKJV).
“Reckon” is the Greek word logizomai, which means to look at one thing and consider it to be something else. We are to consider (reckon) ourselves as already dead to sin, and when we do, God infuses the power of new life into us.
Just as faith was the means by which we received justification, so continued faith is the means by which we access the power for sanctification.
When we put faith in Christ as the substitute for our sin, God reckons our faith as righteousness. As we reckon ourselves dead to sin, God infuses into us the power of new life. In other words, just as we believe our way into justification, so we believe our way into the power of sanctification.
You may not feel resurrection power. In fact, sin and wrong desires may feel very much alive in you. But in the Christian life, power comes through believing: Believing in the righteous identity God has declared over you releases the power to live up to that identity in you. You receive the strength to walk in righteousness.
Once we have reckoned ourselves dead to sin and alive to God, then we can embrace our new identity in Christ and present ourselves to God, submitting to his good purpose for our lives: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 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” (Romans 6:12–13 ESV).
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Source: Church Leaders