Why Do Christians Continue to Sin? (Pt 9)

Daily Devotion – Day 359

“For the death that He [Christ] 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” (Romans 6:10-11, NKJV).

Yesterday we did not say anything about the passage from Romans 6:10-11. We will do that today, because the passage provides key insights into the topic we have been discussing in the current series. 

Another reason sin recurs among Christians is, they fail to see that their life and that of Jesus are intertwined. Many still think of Jesus as if He is up there and they are down here. This makes them suppose that there are two separate lives: one for Jesus and another for believers. It is like disconnecting the head from the rest of the body. Such a view of the Christian life leads to a host of problems, not the least of which is our implicit admission of defeat when it comes to living without sin. Take another look at today’s opening Scripture. It contains critical truth. If we can grasp what is in it, we would lead a completely different life. 

Notice that in the passage Paul is drawing a parallel between the life of Jesus and the life of believers. He tells us what Jesus did (past tense) and what He is currently doing (present tense). What did Jesus do in the past? He died to sin once for all. And what is Jesus presently doing? Currently, the life Jesus lives, He lives to God. Immediately after making this point, Paul turns to believers and says, “Likewise you also. . .” Paul wants believers to know that the life of Jesus he has just described is the same life expected of a believer. Hence he tells us, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesusour Lord.” 

Jesus and believers are one; they share the same life. He is in believers and believers are in Him. The life Jesus lived on earth is the same life believers must live on earth. Some things, of course, are exclusive to Jesus. For example, He alone is Savior of the world; He alone is the mediator between God and man; He alone is the firstborn from the dead, etc. But in everything else, how Jesus lived on earth applies to Christians. The Holy Spirit that was in Jesus is the same Holy Spirit in us. The divine ability in Jesus that enabled Him to live sinless is the same divine ability in us. If being without sin was good for Jesus, it is good for us also, and the Father expects nothing less. 

Paul says, Jesus died to sins once for all; then he applies that to us. We, like Jesus, must reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin. Being “dead indeed to sin” is another way of saying we choose to live a life in which we sin no longer. We are not called to die slowly to sin. No, we are dead to sin (past tense, done, finished). And every day we wake up, we reckon ourselves dead to sin. In place of sinning, we live our present life for God alone, just as Jesus currently lives for God. We need not be afraid of this calling. We, rather, ought to be thankful, for it is an honor to be called to live like Jesus. Let this be our motivation in our daily walk with the Father.

We will pause here and continue tomorrow, if the Lord wills. Until then, enjoy life in Christ. Amen.

For further studyColossians3:1-17

Accepting Jesus’ Terms and Conditions

Daily Devotional | Day 247

“Then He [Jesus] said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24, NKJV).

Eternal life is a free gift, but it is not without conditions. It is free in the sense that God alone is its author. We can receive eternal life, but we can’t create it. Additionally, eternal life is free because God offers it out of His love and goodness.

In today’s Scripture passage, Jesus lays out an underlying principle on how to obtain salvation from Him. The principle explains Jesus’ terms and conditions for salvation and discipleship. In the passage, you will notice two things. Jesus talks about discipleship (following Him) and getting saved. Unfortunately, in some quarters, people have tried to create a false dichotomy between discipleship and salvation.

To such people, being a disciple of Christ and being saved are two separate realities. They conclude, therefore, that you can be saved without following Jesus as His disciple. Or, you don’t need to be Jesus’ disciple to be saved. All you need to do is confess your faith in Christ. Following Jesus is good and commendable, but it is not required for salvation. But the reality is, such a position is a dangerous misreading of the Scriptures. Jesus taught the very opposite, as we can see from today’s reading. Let’s get into the passage.

If anyone desires to follow Jesus, He demands that they deny themselves and take up their cross. This means your love of self must end. You do that by dying to self. Dying to self simply means detaching yourself from the pride of life, lust of the flesh and lust of the eye (see 1 John 2:15-16). The cross is a symbol of death. Carrying your cross means remaining ‘dead’ to the flesh and its lusts (see Galatians 5:24). Immediately after this statement, Jesus adds that those who want to save their life will lose it, but those who lose their life for His sake will save it.

As you can see, Jesus connects the reality of following Him (and carrying one’s cross) with the reality of getting saved. They are two sides of the same coin. Jesus’ point is clear: If you want Him to give you a new life (eternal life), He wants you to let go your old life. You can’t have both.

If you hold on to your old life and its pleasures, it is impossible to receive God’s gift of eternal life. In Christ, the only way to live is to die. The Cross is a necessary path to the Resurrection. You must lose your old life at the Cross, if you want to enjoy Resurrection life. Skipping the Cross is not an option, if you want to live and reign with Christ (see Romans 8:17). Losing your old life at the Cross can be painful, but it is liberating. It is the only viable path to eternal glory. 

Accept and obey Jesus’ terms and conditions. You will be glad you did.

Blessing: May the Lord’s goodness and mercies follow you today. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Luke 14:25-33