Dead to Sin and Alive to GodJune 10, 2016 Theological Reflection
"For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:10, 11).
I remember being really excited when I started introducing people to Deanna as my wife. It was great! She wasn't my fiance or my girlfriend; she was my wife. It was different, and while most people didn't think twice about it, it made me feel something. The reason it made me feel something was because it was something. Things were different now. This covenant changed who I was as a person. My identity expanded, and now I was a husband. This same feeling came when my son was born. From the pictures I was posting on Facebook to the smile that was glued onto my face, everything that exuded from my being was declaring to the world that I was now a father. Because of certain events, I was now a very different person. And those differences in my identity carried implications. A baby's cry carried a weightier significance now, my paycheck had to be sorted through differently, certain holidays required closer attention than they did prior. My behavior, my priorities, and even my calendar just looked different.
The same is true when it comes to who we are as Christians. Prior to our conversion, we were sinners. We see this all over the Bible, and Paul the Apostle makes it clear in Ephesians 2:1 when he explains to the local church in Ephesus that they were "dead in their trespasses and sins". We were marked by sin. It was who we were. And because of this identity, we lived our lives in a manner that reflected our identity. To whatever degree varies from person to person, but the fact remains that who we were at the root budded and flowered into how we lived, thought, behaved, etc. But something happened to us. When our eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit of God, we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and as a result, who we were as a person drastically changed. In the words of the bible, we were born-again, and similar to my identity moving from single to married and the implications thereof, our new identity as Spirit indwelt followers of Jesus, there are also implications.
Paul, in his letter to a church in Rome instructs believers to "consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (6:10). Dead to sin, meaning that this persona or identifying mark is actually no longer what characterizes us, but rather who we are now as "alive to God". Our identity has been completely reshaped and reformed so that we are no longer under the authority and dominion of sin, but rather we are united to Christ and alive. Quite literally, our old nature has died, and according to the Scriptures, it has been buried with Jesus. There was a funeral and everything. But just as Jesus was raised from the dead, we too have been resurrected, and now the person that marches through the world day by day is a new creation (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). And this shift from old to new means that we have a different life ahead of us, a life that is marked by a love for God and a love for others, a hatred of sin, repentance, mercy, grace, benevolence, humility, generosity, forgiveness, justice and faithfulness. It is an identity that is rooted in who we are, and it manifests itself in how we live, think and behave. Becoming a husband and a father changed everything about my life: how I made decisions, behaved, thought, spent my money and time. If that is the case in marriage and parenthood, how much more should our lives be changed by our new identity in Christ as being alive to God?