“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:10-11).
Jesus Christ died once for all sins one time. His perfect work was finished. The person you once were—the sinful nature you once had—died the moment you believed and declared Jesus to be your Savior. You were reborn in your spirit as a new person with a new nature by His perfect work of grace (2 Corinthians 5:17, John 3:6). It was not just the act of sin that was crucified with Jesus. The greatest exchange took place the moment you asked Jesus into your heart. Jesus, who had no sin nature, took your sin nature so you might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Why do many believers struggle to live the life they have received in Christ? If we have been reborn as a new person in Christ, why do the residual effects of our sinful nature keep trying to claim us? Why does the temptation to sin always raise its ugly head? If Satan is defeated, why don’t we walk in the victory we have received in Christ?
The battle is within our minds. We must believe that Christ is victorious over sin once and for all. We must be convinced that in Him we are dead to sin. We must believe in the new life He has given us. When we continually focus on the righteousness that is ours in Christ—when we focus on what our new born-again nature has given us—when we focus on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report (Philippians 4:8),” we conform to these truths by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). We believe the righteousness that Christ has given us is greater than any temptation which tries to claim us. We come to believe that Christ “bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24, NKJV).
However, when we focus more on our sins and failures—when we focus more on the “old person” that rises to come against us instead of focusing on the new life that is ours in Christ, we give power to the lies of the enemy. The residual effect of the “old person” strengthens. The way to get rid of the residual effect of the “old person” is not to focus on our sins but on our Resurrected new life in Christ. According to Romans 6:11, we are to count on the fact that our “old man” is dead—that we are “indeed” or “undeniably” dead to sin. We are to “reckon” that our new man is alive in Christ and wants only those things that please God.
When we renew our minds with the truths of the new person we are in Christ, our flesh will fall into line more easily with the “new person” He has made us. We will reflect the “new person” that the Holy Spirit has birthed within us.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Christ took our sins. Our sinful nature was crucified with Christ, and we were reborn by His Spirit into new life. Christ has judged us holy and presented us without fault to the Father (Ephesians 1:4). We live what we believe. If we believe that Christ has made us righteous, then His righteousness will prevail in our lives. But if we believe that there is something more that we need to do to earn His righteousness, then we will live our lives always struggling to meet requirements that only Christ could meet. And we will focus on the “old person” who can never live good enough.
With faith, we please God. When we believe that His righteousness is ours and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), we live by faith in the new life Christ has given us. Our flesh may fail at times, but in Christ, we are forgiven. We live by faith in His grace. We know that falling from grace is trying to earn the righteousness that only the perfect work of Jesus could earn (Galatians 5:4).
Our flesh has no power to defeat sin. Only Christ defeated sin. Only the righteousness He has given you, defeated your sin. And now you live that truth by faith. When you live by faith in the Son of God who died for you, you live by the righteousness Christ has given you. You live by the power of His righteousness, knowing and believing in Christ, you are forgiven.
Believe that Christ has crucified your “old person”—your sinful nature—and given you His new life. Believe all your old is gone, and you are the righteousness of God in Christ. Live by faith in who are you in Him. By the truth of His righteousness, you will stand in His power and more easily stand against the temptation of the flesh. Walking in His righteousness alone brings victory.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, NKJV).
© 2022 Lynn Lacher