Count Yourself Dead and Alive (Romans Sermon 36 of 120)
August 12, 2001 | Andy Davis
Sanctification, War Against the Flesh, Fullness in Christ
I. The Power of Positive Thinking?
Please if you would, take your Bibles and turn to Romans chapter 6. We're continuing our look in Romans 6. This morning we'll be looking at a tremendous section of scripture, Romans 6:5-11. And as we come into Romans 6, we come into Paul's teaching on the doctrine of sanctification. Sanctification is a big word to describe the rest of your life after you come to faith in Christ. Growth and holiness, that you may grow step by step into the image of Christ, that you may be godly in this world. In justification, God simply sees your faith and declares you not guilty of all your sins before His judgment seat. You're declared not guilty. You're clothed positionally with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, but you yourself haven't been transformed at all. That's the work of sanctification. That's the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. And it's a hard work, isn't it?
All of you who know Jesus Christ and know yourselves, know how difficult it is to grow in grace. What a terrible, terrible thing is sin. That it takes the full work of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit to save us from it. The Father, in working out His plan and the Son in effecting it and bringing it to bear, and the Holy Spirit in applying it to each one of us, it takes all of that, that we may be saved from sin. And so, if you're a Christian now, if you're walking with Jesus, you may have a feeling well up inside you, as Paul voices in Romans 7, "What a wretched man," or, "What a wretched woman I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?"
Have you ever felt that way? You read the commands of God and you just can't seem to live them out. You just can't seem to love Him with all of your heart, to think about Him, to walk with Him moment by moment. You're so easily led astray, and you stumble over the same things again and again. Have you ever felt that? The power of sin that remains in your life and you wonder, you say, "How can it be that I'm declared righteous? Not guilty of all of my sins and yet I struggle this much with sin? Could it be that I'm not a Christian? What's happening to me? How can I grow in godliness? How can I grow to be like Jesus?" You have, if you're a Christian, a yearning desire to be like Jesus in this world. And yet it just doesn't seem to work out.
It doesn't seem to go that way. Sin seems so strong, doesn't it? Well, now, in Romans 6 and in Romans 7 and in Romans 8, we come to the center of how it is that Paul teaches sanctification. And you know something, it's so different from the way we would've done it. It's so different from the way we would've done it. He zeros in on the mind first. He zeros in on the thinking, on what you know to be true of yourself and then goes out from there. Now, in the bulletin there, it says "the power of positive thinking," and if you think I'm going to stand up before you today and preach a gospel of positive thinking, you haven't been here long. But I think it's a beginning place. You know where that phrase comes from, "the power of positive thinking comes from," Norman Vincent Peale, a minister in the 20th century, he died in 1984. Many people knew him, his church was huge in New York City. For 54 years he was on a radio program, The Art of Living, it was called. Perhaps you've heard of, or maybe have even subscribed to the book, Guide Posts, that comes from... It came originally from his ministry.
In 1952 he wrote a book called The Power of Positive Thinking. It was translated into 41 languages. Over 20 million people bought that book, maybe some of you have one. Peale is a very interesting guy and we're not going to go into his theology this morning, we're not going to talk about it. I repudiate a lot of it. He uses the same terms that we do, but in a different way. But he zeros in on this idea of positive thinking and he was speaking to some Merrill Lynch executives, you see his message transferred very easily from the church to business. It worked everywhere. And this is what he said,
"There is a deep tendency in human nature ultimately to become precisely what you visualize yourself as being. If you see yourself as tense and nervous and frustrated, if that is your image of yourself, than assuredly that is what you will be. If you see yourself as inferior in any way, and you hold that image in your conscious mind, it will presently, by the process of intellectual osmosis sink into the unconscious, and you will be what you visualize. If on the contrary, you see yourself as organized, controlled, studious, a thinker, a worker, believing in your talent and your ability and yourself [that's the kernel of the message there], over a period of time that is what you will become. Now, you may believe that all this is theoretical, but I believe and I've tested it out in so many cases that I'm sure of its validity. That if a person has a business, for example, and images that business at a certain level and fights off his doubts, it will come out that way all because of the power of the positive image.
Now, that's very interesting isn't it? There's no Jesus Christ in there, of course. And the whole thing is a focus for zeroing in on getting you to believe in yourself. That's not the Christian message. But you know something, as with many issues of false teaching, there is a kernel of truth here, isn't there? And that is the tremendous power of the mind. There's a tremendous amount of power in how you think, isn't there? And the Apostle Paul wants to zero in on how you think about yourself, and that is going to be the solid basis on which he's going to give you commands. Now, we would do it the other way, wouldn't we? If we ever really did get to talking about how you think about yourself, we are very practical people, aren't we? We want to be told what to do. Give me 10 easy steps on how to defeat this problem in my life. And if you write a book, 10 Easy Steps on Defeating Sin in Your Life, how well do you think it will sell? That's what people want. They want the 10 easy steps, we're very practical, very pragmatic. Don't give me doctrine. Don't give me ideas. Don't give me thoughts. I want to know what I can do. Give me some helpful hints, some things I can put up with a magnet on my refrigerator to help me defeat this sin issue in my life.
Paul Teaches a Different Approach
This is not the way Paul teaches, Paul has a very different approach, doesn't he? He approaches the mind, he approaches the thinking first and then he tells you how you should live. He zeros in on how you think about yourself, and then he commands you to live accordingly. Now, in my study in the Book of Romans, as I have gone through now halfway through Chapter 6, five-and-a-half chapters, I looked very carefully through Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, halfway through 6, and I have not found one single command yet. Isn't that interesting? There is not one command in those first five chapters and 10 Verses, not one. He just tells you what is. He just tells you that the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. He just tells you that the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. He just tells you that apart from Christ you're storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed.
He just tells you that everyone has sinned, that there is no one righteous, no, not one. He just tells you that Jesus Christ is the propitiation, the sacrifice that takes away the wrath of God through His blood. He just tells you that Abraham was justified or declared righteous by faith alone. He just tells you these things. He brings you in Romans Chapter 5 and gives you assurance of salvation and then tells you these very deep things that you still haven't quite figured out, nor have I, about our relationship to Adam, how we were originally sinful in him and now our relationship in Christ. He just tells you, he hasn't told you a thing to do yet, he just tells you what is. And now in the first 10 verses in Romans 6, he does the same, more of the same, he just tells you things about yourself, tells you things that are true, and then finally, in Verse 11, you get first command in the Book of Romans.
The First Command in Romans
Look at it, Romans 6:11, the first command and we're going to read the whole section, but I want to center this out. "In the same way, count yourselves or reckon yourselves or consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." That's the first command in the Book of Romans. Think of yourself this way. Does that surprise you? You pragmatic Americans, you want to be told what to do, just tell me what to do. Tell me where to go, tell me what to buy, tell me what to eat or what to wear or what not to wear. Give me a set of dos and don'ts. That's the very thing Paul does not do. Instead, he gives you doctrine. Now, listen, Romans 6, I'm going to read verses 1-11, we're gonna center in or begin our study at Verse 5.
"What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase? By no means. We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life. [Verse 5], If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly be united with Him in His resurrection, for we know that our old self was crucified with Him, so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now, if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, for we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again, death no longer has mastery over Him, the death He died, he died to sin, once for all. But the life He lives He lives to God. In the same way count yourselves, dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
II. Context in Romans
This is the way that Paul approaches, teaching you sanctification. Now, the immediate context of this section in Romans 6, is the great statement that he made at the end of Romans Chapter 5, about the nature of grace. If you look at the end there, 5:20, it says, "The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased grace increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." What an incredible statement. And he's saying basically that that grace is undefeatable, grace reigns like a conqueror. Grace is an emperor, it is impossible for you to sin more than grace can cover. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, so that if you're under grace rather than under law or under sin, you're completely free forever from sin.
You're free forever, as we're going to find out, from the law and its condemning power; you're free forever from these things, you're in a new realm now, a new regime, a new nation almost. You've been transferred into a new kingdom, this kingdom of grace through Jesus Christ. And that causes questions to rise in your mind, doesn't it? Well, if that's the case, then why don't we just sin? Why don't we just sin, then? Why don't we sin all the more so that grace may increase? Let's just give in to our lust, let's just give in to our sinful tendencies, so that we can see grace go ever higher, so that God can get the praise for saving even more. And that's the question he asks in 6:1, and that's what he's dealing with here. What then will be our relationship to sin, then, if we're justified? What about the sin in our lives, what then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may increase? He says, may it never be. And then he harkens back to the doctrine that we learned in Romans 5, of union with Christ. You were born united with Adam. Every single person on the face of the earth, every human being, it doesn't matter what nation, doesn't matter what language, doesn't matter what culture, every single person on the face of the earth is born in Adam.
They're united with Adam. And so, they stand under Adam's condemnation. They stand under the death penalty. They stand under the sin nature that came. All of that in Adam. Now, by faith in Jesus Christ, we've been transferred into this new kingdom, the kingdom of Jesus Christ, also called the kingdom of righteousness, the kingdom of grace, the kingdom of God. It's all the same. There are two kingdoms. And we have been united with Christ in the same way, but different, we went through that, that we were united with Adam. Actually, our union with Jesus Christ is far more powerful, far stronger, far greater than our union with Adam ever was. But there is this union. And so, we talked about that with the baptism analogy, remember? In verses 3-4, he says, "Don't you know that all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" Into His death, there's a union. Christ's death is our death. And then he goes on from there. "We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." In the NIV I like "walk in newness of life," it's closer to the Greek. There's a walking in the newness of life here. That's the context.
III. One Verse: Power for Sanctification
And now we go into Romans 6:5. And there in verse 5, we have this one verse, power for sanctification. He gets all the elements together in one verse, and this is Paul's way. Paul is just an amazing teacher, and he brings so much truth together in just one verse. Look at verse 5. "If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection." He's zeroing in on this idea of union with Christ. So we have the full doctrine of sanctification in one verse. We have the negative side, death, and we have the positive side, resurrection. And both are needed for sanctification, you have to understand both. You have to understand the death and you have to understand the resurrection. And if you understand them, and if you reckon yourself dead and alive, you will grow in holiness. That's how it works. So he's got both of the elements here. And so, the first half, the death half, he expounds in verses 6-7. And the life half and the resurrection half, he expounds in verses 8-10, and then in Verse 11 he says, "Think of yourself this way." You see how it works?
So we've got the negative side, death. We've got the positive side, resurrection. He expounds on each of them, and then he says, "Now, consider yourself this way. This is the kind of person you are. This is who you are in Christ." That's how he teaches sanctification. Now, as he looks about it, there's no if about it, there's no uncertainty. I know it says, "If we have been united," but it really should be translated "since." There's a sense of certainty here. "Since we have been united with Him like this in His death." If I can just stop and say right now, if you are not united with Christ in His death, you are not a Christian… Putting it negatively, if you are not united with Christ in His death, you are not a Christian. If you are a Christian, you have been united with Him in His death, putting it positively. So there's no doubt about this at all. This is a completed action in the past. We have been united with Him. And this is a massive change, isn't it? It's a tremendous change. Never stop being amazed at what God has done in your life. "He has rescued you," it says, in Colossians, "from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred you or brought you over into the kingdom of the Son He loves."
Isn't that incredible? There's a real power struggle going on, but God's power is so much greater than that of Satan. He's the one who binds up the strong man and plunders you from the strong man's house. You're rescued, you're free. You're free forever from the devil and from sin and law and death and all those terrible things. You are rescued by someone more powerful, Jesus Christ. How does that make you feel? Isn't that a joyous truth? We were rescued. And we've been united with Him like this in His death. Now, the word "united" in the Greek means "grown together" or "planted together." We were planted down together. I tell you, Paul is never going to get far away from the idea of fruit-bearing. In this whole chapter, he's always looking ahead to fruit. We'll get there later in the chapter, and then in chapter 7:1-6 again, there's a sense of fruit. He wants fruit, he wants to see fruit. And the idea that you can sin all the more so that grace may increase is totally contrary to the fruit that God wants out of your life. He wants fruit.
And so, we're planted together with Christ, and then we're going to grow up with Him to bear fruit for God. That's the idea. I love this... The exact same concept is in John 12:24. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and... " What? "Dies, it remains by itself, a single seed. But if it dies, it bears many seeds." Much fruit comes from there, this principle of death. So, there's a sense of planting down into Christ. His death. And then out of that comes new life. Now, the NASB has it better in verse 5. It says, "If we have been united with Him in the likeness of His death," that's better. Because our death with Christ is different that Christ's death, isn't it? Christ's death is utterly unique in the history of the world. Jesus Christ was sinless. He had no sin of His own. The law did not stand to condemn Him. And yet He died as a sin bearer. He drank the wrath of God in for us. And so, Paul's very careful, a little meticulous here, to say we have been united with Him in the likeness of His death, not exactly like Him. But in this way, we have been united spiritually with Him.
His stands alone and is utterly unique. And it says, "We will be, certainly will be united with Him also in His resurrection." Now, don't be misled. It's very important that you not be misled on the verb tense. This is not speaking of the future glorious resurrection of the body, is it? It can't be. Because what is Paul dealing with in Romans 6? He's dealing with here and now, isn't he? He's dealing with your life now. Sin in your life now. So he's talking about a resurrection that affects your life now. Not the future resurrection that will finish the job. That's the finish of salvation. We're talking about a spiritual resurrection that happened the moment you came to Christ. You've been united with Him also or will be united with Him also in His resurrection, it happens the moment you came to Christ.
I think he refers to it better in Verse 4, "As Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life." That's the resurrection life we have now as Christians. Okay, so there we have it. In one verse, you have the sanctification doctrine. There is a death side and there is a life side.
IV. United With Christ in His Death (verses 6-7)
Let's understand the death side a little bit better. Look at verse 6. "For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." Now, translating a little more accurately, it says, "Knowing this, that our old self is crucified…" Knowing this, again what is Paul reaching out to? What part of you is he reaching out to? Your mind, isn't he? He's reaching out to your thinking. He wants you to know something. He actually is referring to something you should already know.
"Knowing this," he says. So he's trying to change your thinking. As you think so you will live. You can't have ten steps to get rid of the sin habit that you don’t want to get rid of. If you're not thinking properly, you won't live properly. So we've got to have a right thinking. So he zeros in on this. And this is not a knowledge we can experience. Did you know that? You can't experience it, this knowledge that we're talking about, that your old self was crucified with Him. You can't experience it. It is not experiential knowledge. Henry Blackaby be put it this way in experiencing God. I love this. Did Abraham experience anything when he heard God's promise, "so shall your offspring be"? Abraham considered that his body was a 99-year-old body and it still felt like a 99-year-old body, didn't it? There's no change. It's not an experiential knowledge. It's a faith knowledge. You can't feel anything. And so I'm going to tell you that your old self is dead and you'll say, "I don't feel like that." But it's true, whether you feel it or not.
So what is the thing he wants you to know? He wants you to know that the person you were in Adam is dead forever. That old self is dead and gone forever. There is no resurrection for that old man in Adam. And as a matter of fact, people are very slurrish I think about these doctrines sometimes, if that's a word. They're not clear in defining. We are not to crucify the old man, are we? Why? He's already dead. He died the moment you trusted Christ. He's dead. The person you were in Adam, that person is dead. That identity. And with it all the condemnation, the wrath, all of those things, dead forever. Now, you can say, "I don't feel like that. I feel like sin has power in my life." We'll talk about that in a minute and why that is. But the person you were in Adam is dead forever. The old man is dead and will never come alive again. I think this is an incredible truth and if you understand this, this will give you power for Christian living, power for godly living in your life.
Now, I've been trying to think of different ways to illustrate this, and all illustrations are imperfect. But the illustration I came up with here is that of a witness protection program. You ever heard of a witness protection program? If you're going to testify against organized crime, you're going to run into some problems, aren't you? And what's the problem? They say the mob never forgets. And so one day, it could be five years down the road, it could be five months, you're going to get in your car and turn the ignition key and your car is going to blow up. Well, the federal government knows that and they want your testimony. So what do they have? They have this thing called the witness protection program. Well, what is it? Well, basically your old identity is gone forever. Your whole history is gone, your education, your degrees, where you live, your address, social security number, all that's gone. They may even fake a death to help protect you even more. And then you've got this new identity some other place like Tucson, Arizona or something like that. Selling golf equipment or some other thing that you never imagined you would be doing, and all of this to protect you. Okay, can you ever go back to that old life? Not and remain safe. That old identity's gone. Gone forever. Now, it's not a perfect analogy but that's about like what happened when you came to Christ.
You had an identity in Adam, didn't you? Under the law, under sin, under death, and that old man is dead and died the moment you trusted Christ and troubles you no longer. Isn't that beautiful? That's incredible. And therefore it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone. The new is come." Everything's new. Isn't that incredible? So that old person you were is dead. Now, what's the result of this? He continues, "So that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin." Now what is this, this body of sin? Well, you're well acquainted with your body of sin. You and your body are actually very well acquainted. Day after day you wrestle with one another. Day after day you struggle with sin. And why? Because we've got this thing called the body of sin.
The Body of Sin
Now, what is the body of sin? It's your physical body, and all of the capabilities that come. And that includes your brain and therefore your thinking, your imagination, your planning, your passions and emotions, your hands, your feet, your eyes, your stomach, every part of you. Your mouth, your body and all that you are. And Paul calls it here the body of sin. Now, what is this body issue? It ends up being huge in Paul's theology. It ends up being huge in the Book of Romans. You've got this body and there are members to it, like hands and feet and capabilities. Next week we're going to talk about very practical things. You're going to be called to present the parts of your body no longer as slaves to sin but now slaves to righteousness. The body will just go; whoever's in charge it'll follow. Right? That's the way it is with the body. But yet, you know something? Your body's been under Adam so long it is very well trained in sin, isn't it? You're actually experts in it. Ever heard of a black belt karate expert? That person goes through all this kind of training and all these motions, whatever, so that they just come naturally. There's just this flowing that comes from that training in karate. And the person's a black belt, that means they've reached the highest level of training. You're all black belt sinners and so am I.
Every last one of us thoroughly trained in sin, we're good at it. And it's a tragedy, too, isn't it? Think about it. We just have sinful instincts at every turn in the road. Selfish instincts, prideful instincts, lustful instincts, covetous instincts. They're just there, it's almost like our body was kind of radiated, we've got this radiation poisoning and it just pulls us down to sin all the time. And so Paul says, the old man died so that as a result the body of sin might be rendered null and void. That takes time. That takes your whole life. And that's why you're struggling with sin. Because we have this treasure in jars of clay, don't we? And what is this treasure? This new identity in Christ. And what is this jar of clay? Well, it's what you're looking at right now, a jar of clay, it's what we all are. It's this mortal body, this mortal life that we have. And of that Paul cries out in Romans 7, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from... " What? "This body of death." And what's the answer? "Thanks be to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." There is a rescue from the body of death, isn't there?
Meanwhile, what are you going to do with your body? Well, you're going to beat it and make it your slave, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9. So that after you have preached to others you yourself will not be disqualified from the prize. You've got to subject your body, keep it under, be suspicious of the motions and directions of your body at all times. That's the negative side, dead to sin. And ultimately, the result is freedom from sin. That we should no longer be slaves to sin. And then in verse 7 he simply restates, "Because he who has died, has been freed from sin." Now, basically, he's just simply telling you what you are, you're dead to sin. Dead forever. And you can say, "How does this help?"
Well, basically, the way that the New Testament teaches sanctification, it speaks to you in this way, kind of like, let's say, a 14 or 15 year old boy who skins his knee, comes running to his mama, and she looks and says, "It doesn't even need a band aid and you're crying? Don't be a baby." Now, is a 15 year old boy a baby? What is the mom saying there? "You're not a baby, stop acting like one." And that's in effect what the New Testament does with sanctification. You're not a sinner, stop acting like one. Stop giving in to those old habits and tendencies that were part of your old person in Adam. You're done with that now, you're dead to sin. That's the negative side.
V. United with Him in His Resurrection (verses 8-10)
The positive side is in verses 8-10. Paul says, "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again. Death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died He died to sin once for all but the life He lives, He lives to God." Jesus Christ died on the cross, but God did not leave Him in a grave, did he? He raised Him from the dead on the third day and, according to this doctrine, you were raised that day too. You were raised to a new life, you were raised to walk in newness of life. And death no longer has any power over Jesus. Jesus submitted to death, didn't He? He yielded, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. He yielded to death, He submitted to it.
Philippians 2 says that, Jesus "being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and... " What? "Became obedient to death. Even death on the cross." Obedient to His father but yielding to death and that's the way it was. But never again. Once for all that happened. And so you also died once for all to sin, forever free, forever free from sin. So it is with you as a believer in Christ. The old man in Adam is gone forever, you have a new identity. You have a new purpose, new plans, a new name, even. The Book of Revelations speaks about a new name. Everything's new because you have a new life in Jesus Christ. And you're free forever from death, death is the final domain, the final dominion, the wages of sin is death.
James 1:15 says, "After desire is conceived it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full grown gives birth to death." But death no longer has mastery over Jesus, and in the same way, sin no longer has mastery over you.
VI. Application: The Power of Right Thinking
But what is the application of this? Well, the application is Verse 11. I started with the application. Consider yourselves this way. Think of yourself as dead to sin. Think of yourself as alive to God in Christ Jesus, we'll talk more about that life. But that's what he's saying. Think of yourself that way. You want to see sin disappear in your life?
You're struggling with sin? Start with this. Consider yourself dead to it. I'll get really practical. Maybe you're struggling with anxiety. Maybe some of you are looking for a job. And that old nature pulls you down toward anxiety. There's a feeling in the stomach, it's a feeling of disbelief. You know how you begin? Say I'm dead to anxiety, I don't ever need to be anxious again. Never. I'm free forever from anxiety. Isn't that wonderful? Realize you never need to be anxious again. You're free. You say, "But, I get anxious a lot." You're behaving like you're still a slave to sin. You don't need to do that. Say, "I'm dead to anxiety, God will provide, I'm going to pray instead of be anxious," that's how you start. Or maybe covetousness. Maybe you're in the habit of looking at your neighbor's goods or his position, or his family, or something that belongs to him. And there's a pull there, and it starts with discontent; you're not satisfied with what God's given you.
Start this way, say, "I'm dead to covetousness, I'm dead to discontent, I don't ever need to be covetous again, I don't ever need to be discontent again. I'm free forever from that. Thank you, God, for the things I do have, thank you, God, for the things you've given me". Or pride. Somebody insults you, somebody opposes you in some way, and that prideful response starts coming up. You say, "No, uh-huh, that's the old body of sin, that's that old way; I'm dead to pride. I don't ever need to be prideful again. I'm free forever from that, and then I'll humble myself. Humble myself." Or irritability? Any of you are ever irritable? Do you ever come home from work irritable? I want to say a word to your spouses, those of you that are nodding. You should say to your spouse, "You never need to be irritable again, did you know that? You're free forever from irritability. And do you know how good that is for me? That I don't need to see you be irritable ever again?" But you need to be careful, because it's not going to be long the shoe's on the other foot.
You don't ever need to be irritable again. Jesus was never irritable, and you're united with Him in His life. Or lust, suppose you're struggling with that, I'm speaking to the men, and you see things that lead your mind astray. You can stop right there and say, "I am dead to that sin. I don't ever need to do that again, ever. I'm free forever. My mind is for Christ. My mind is for thinking about pure and righteous things. That's what I'm made for, not for that." Or laziness, procrastination. Any of you put off things that you should be doing? That you should have done it a while ago? You think, "I'll have time tomorrow," and you never do? You can say, "I don't need to do that, I can work hard. I don't need to be lazy, I can live for the service of another. I'm free forever of the sin of laziness and procrastination" This is how the New Testament teaches sanctification. Consider yourself dead, and consider yourself alive in Jesus Christ.
Close with me in prayer, please. Father, we thank you for the time we've had to study your word today. We thank you for the way that it teaches us. And Father, I ask in Jesus' name that you would help us to consider ourselves, what we truly are, that we died when we believed in Jesus; that old person, that old man and Adam is dead forever, and now we have a new identity in Christ. Help us to live up to that new identity, that we would live up to the calling we've received in Jesus Christ. We pray in His name, amen.