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Romans 6:1-14



In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

(verse 11)

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This seems to me to be the centre of what Paul is saying in this chapter.


He’s led us through the reality of our new position in Christ: we have been buried with Christ through baptism into death and then raised to new life in him. In dying with Christ, we have really and truly died to our old self, the body of sin being put away, and our slavery to sin broken. Praise God. The reality of our death in Christ assures us that we will also live with him, really and truly – for his death was once and for all; having gone through it, death itself no longer has mastery over him. Now he lives, fully and completely alive to God.


And then Paul, having rehearsed the reality, makes his statement:


“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”


There is a necessity for our mind and emotions and imaginations and souls to be captured by this reality. The death to the old and the resurrection to the new has been decisively accomplished for us. It’s done. “It is finished!” Now we need to lay hold of the truth and live into the fullness of the reality.


I often think of the illustration of the full-grown, weighty circus elephant which is kept constrained by a chain around its leg and a simple peg in the ground. The peg would be no match whatsoever for that elephant’s heft. Yet, the elephant stays pegged. Why? Because as an infant it was pegged and couldn’t break free. The reality has now changed with its hugely increased bulk, but the elephant doesn’t realize it.


Realize it, Paul says. Realize that you have died and risen with Christ. Live fully in that new reality.


That’s the intent of the word “count.” It has the meaning of “taking into account,” weighing something inwardly, deliberating on it, meditating upon it.


Interestingly, the word is also used to mean “impute,” to credit to one’s account. Significantly, this is the word that was used again and again and again (eleven times over) back in Chapter 4 as Paul talked about Abraham’s faith which was “credited” to him as righteousness. He says the word also applies to us, “to whom God will credit righteousness” (Romans 4:24).


Romans 6:11 is the very next time Paul uses this same word. God has “counted” you as righteous. With the same weightiness, “count” yourself dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.


The fact that Paul takes so much time to work up to this command communicates to me that it is all too easy to miss it. It’s all too easy to stay pegged to the old slavery of sin.


Break free into reality in Christ. That’s the message.

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Lord, this day please work a radical renewal of my mind that grasps this life-altering fact. By your Spirit give me a fresh download of divine perspective. Strengthen me in my inner being to exert my will to count it true.

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Reflect:

Are you pegged or free? In either case, ask the Lord to transform you by the renewing of your mind – a fresh work of the Spirit. Receive. Submit to it.

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Photo by Ananthu H on Unsplash


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