Are you dead to sin and alive to God — or dead to God and alive to sin?
I recently preached through Romans 6:1–14 at 1.21 Church and was struck by the fact that we often fail to believe this truth and thus live out this aspect of the gospel. Through faith alone and grace alone, by Christ alone, we have freedom from the penalty AND the power of sin. The first part of this truth is much easier for us as pastors to believe and accept; the second part is not.
In Christ, our relationship “with sin” and “to sin” changes. In Christ, my relationship with God is restored and my relationship to sin has changed. The power switch of sin has been turned off. That is why the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
As pastors, when we reverse the truth of Romans 6, we find our justification and acceptance in the wrong things, we make excuses for our sinful behavior, and we destroy the gospel witness to the very people that God has called us to love, serve, and reach. Namely, people look into our lives and see no real difference in how we live as followers of Christ and the world around us. We need to quit blaming others and making excuses for the same sinful patterns that continually emerge in our pastoral ministry. Christ has given us victory!
I watch pastors continually struggle with the same sinful patterns and attitudes. They justify and make excuses for their sin by blaming their personality, heritage, past events, upbringing, or season of ministry that they find themselves in. Stop! This is a failure to believe Romans 6. Scripture teaches that before you became a follower of Christ what was true in Adam was true in us. But in Christ, we have the same relationship with sin that Christ has. The switch has been turned off. This is radically good news! This truth alone should cause us to live and lead a radically different kind of life.