Security in Christ: Conditional … or not? – Part 4
By Adrian Bateman
We are to consider—by faith—what God says is true to, in fact, BE true. Because it is. The word translated “reckon” is λογίζομαι (logizomai) and means to calculate or compute as in adding up a column of numbers. They say that two plus two equals four? If this is indeed truth, then believe it. They say that you are dead to sin? If this is indeed truth, believe it. And in believing it, act on it.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:12-13)
We have to choose to accept as true that sin should not reign in us. We are to put to death the works of the flesh. BUT NOT BY OUR FLESHLY EFFORT! This is where the holiness people go astray. They want us to fast more, pray more, read our Bible more, struggle against the sin more: just try harder! But that is using OUR resources, the power of OUR flesh and will to conquer sin. And we cannot. Like the Whack-a-Mole game, no matter how many times you hit it, it will pop up somewhere else. We are not strong enough in ourselves to defeat sin., And if we were, then WE would have something of which to boast. But no man can boast before God.
And why are we fighting sin when Christ won the once-for-all victory over it at the Cross??? Instead, we are to put to death the works of the flesh BY THE SPIRIT. This is what Paul writes in Romans 8:13. And the Spirit operates as we exercise our active faith. Not as some power force or principle, but as absolute trust in the all-sufficiency of Christ’s Blood which He shed for us. Thus it is by that faith that we “reckon” ourselves dead to sin. It is by faith we are saved … and it is by faith we are sanctified. Any attempt to give us some standard that we must live up to in order to be acceptable is a step away from grace and a step toward law. And law is not the gospel; grace is.
Paul cements that idea in his final statement in this passage:
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
IF you are under grace—which you are if you are in Christ—then sin SHALL NOT master you. Why? Because Christ defeated it at the Cross.
“But I do sin,” you say. “There are some things I do and I should not. Sin is my master in those things.” No! You are believing a lie. Where is your faith? Exercise it. Christ said, “It is finished.” Then believe that. His Word is true, regardless of what you do. Your experience does not make God’s Word a lie. Use your failure as the time to exercise your faith and call out to God with all your heart. If you sin, own it. Regardless of what it is—lust, an issue of temper, impatience, drugs, alcohol, dishonesty, whatever—go before God without any excuse and say something like this:
“Father, I have sinned. I sinned because I desired it at that moment. It is pleasurable to my flesh; but to my spirit it is offensive. I do not want to hurt You. I do not want to do despite to Your grace. I want to please You. Yet I am powerless in myself to stop. However, I believe that, at Calvary, Jesus in His sacrifice paid the full penalty for my sin and provided me with everything I need for eternal life and victorious living here and now. Therefore I am asking that the victory that He won be made manifest in my life. I do not know how often I may stumble in the future until it is fully real in my life; but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the victory WILL be made real in my life and I WILL no longer commit this sin. Not by the power of my will, or the success of my efforts; but solely because Christ has already won that victory and it is mine by faith. And by faith I claim it. Thank you, Father. I fully believe that it shall be made manifest in my life as surely as it was done for me at Calvary.”
That, my dear friends, is true faith. Not faith in our ability to be victorious, but faith in His ability to produce victory in us: It is Faith in Christ and His finished work at Calvary. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ: the Message of the Cross. And it must be the sole object of our faith. When we exercise our faith in Him and all that He accomplished on the Cross, the Holy Spirit can move in us and produce the work that only He can: true holiness of life. As we saw Him tell us through Paul in Romans 8:13, it is through the Spirit that we can put to death the works of the flesh, thus giving us another ray of light on the teaching of Galatians 2 that we are sanctified in exactly the same way we are saved—exclusively by faith in Christ’s finished work on the Cross. When we realize that Jesus Christ is the source of everything we will ever need and that the Cross is the means by which He made it all available to us, and we place our faith exclusively in that fact—trusting not in ourselves but in Christ’s finished work on the Cross—then the Holy Spirit can operate in us to begin the work of producing the nature of Christ in us: the greatest gift of salvation on this earth.
Dear friends, so beloved of God, walk in that faith. And as you do, make sure you read the Bible daily, for the Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to work in us; make prayer a habit daily, for it draws us closer to God as we speak to Him and He to us; fellowship with others of like mind, for iron sharpens iron and we each have gifts to help one another; and do not forsake worship, for it is pleasing to God and blesses and strengthens our spirit. Finally, as you do the forgoing, begin to wean yourself off the things of this world—the idle entertainments of TV and games, for they conform us to this world. But on the other hand, the Word, prayer, and worship will transform us by the renewing of our minds into the image of Christ. (Romans 12:1-2) And that is the only way that God can use us for His glory.
Lord, may this help someone today.