“Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8) is a fact of Scripture that we are quite comfortable with. If you are part of God’s family, you are not only comfortable with that fact, but you believe it. So what do you think of the fact stated one chapter later, “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (Rom 6:6-7)? The fact that “our old self died with Christ…” carries the same scriptural weight as “Christ died for us”, something we readily accept and embrace. So what does God want us to do with “our old self died with Christ…”?
God wants us to do some bookkeeping. God wants us to enter this fact into our ledger. “Even so reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11). Because our old self was crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6), God is asking us to go to the ledger and remove our name from the “sinner by nature” column and instead place it in the “dead to sin” column. A little cut and paste, if you will. The Greek word, logizomai, translated “reckon” in Romans 6:11 is an accounting term. And proper accounting, as we have learned from numerous business scandals, is the recording of facts, not fabrications. God is asking us to record a fact that is true. The fact is, the life of Christ has been planted in us by the new birth and its nature is not to commit sin (I Jn 3:9). And God would not ask us to put in our ledger something that is not true.
Satan, on the other hand, has made a living out of challenging divine fact (Gen 3:4). Why? Because lying and deceit are at the center of Satan’s nature. Jesus said, “[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44).
Satan’s work continues today in his suggestion that we doubt God’s divine facts. And his exhibit A is our daily experience. Satan holds up a mirror to our life and asks, “Does this look like someone who resembles the moral excellence of Christ?” Satan, the accuser, says you aren’t good enough to receive the promise of a life set free from the power of sin.
How should we respond to this accusation? After all, maybe our experience with sin does not line up with God’s promise about its diminished power. We start by going to the ledger, going to God’s Word and believing what is written there. This is a critical fork in the road. Are we going to believe Satan’s accusation or God’s divine fact? Are we going to turn the mirror back to Satan and show him Christ’s image etched on our new heart? When we go through the reckoning exercise and believe what is written in the ledger, we are ready to tackle the next question. “How do I put the divine fact to work in my day-to-day conflict with sin?” The short answer is by walking in the Spirit. The long answer is what the remainder of this blog is all about.