Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alive to God

In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 6:11)

In his book The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges helps us understand the significance of these twin realities. Bridges talks about how Christ's death on the cross brought the forgiveness of sins and the indwelling work of grace through the Holy Spirit to be transformed into the image of Christ. Christ's death brought freedom of sin's reign on our lives but that's not all. Here in Romans Paul says we are not only dead to sin but also alive to God in Christ Jesus. "Paul said we have become slaves of righteousness (Rom. 6:18). God does not leave us suspended in a state of neutrality. He delivers us from sin's reign into the reign of His Son."

Praise God for the power he supplies for us in the battle against sin. "God 'is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us' (Eph. 3:20). This is the first implication we should grasp of being 'alive to God.' We are united with the One who is at work in us to strengthen us with His mighty power. We have all known the awful sense of hopelessness caused by sin's power. We have resolved scores of times never to give in again to a particular temptation, and yet we do. Then Satan comes to us and says, 'You might as well give up. You can never overcome that sin.' It is true that in ourselves we cannot. But we are alive to God, united to Him who will strengthen us. By reckoning on this fact - counting it to be true - we will experience the strength we need to fight that temptation.

Only as we reckon on these twin facts - that I am dead to sin and its reign over me and that I am alive to God, united to Him who strengthens me - can I keep sin from reigning in my mortal body." (Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, 69-70)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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