Romans 6:11
So you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Sermons
Alive unto GodH. J. Wilmot-BuxtonRomans 6:11
Death to Sin Through ChristCharles G. Finney Romans 6:11
Buried and Risen with ChristT.F. Lockyer Romans 6:1-11
Justification Securing SanctificationR.M. Edgar Romans 6:1-11
The Practical Power of the ResurrectionC.H. Irwin Romans 6:1-14
Christ Dying for Our Sin, and Living for Our SalvationT. Dale, M. A.Romans 6:8-11
Christ's Death and LifeJ. Oswald Dykes, D. D.Romans 6:8-11
Christ's ImmortalityTe De Witt Talmage.Romans 6:8-11
Christ's Resurrection not a Return to the Former LifeCanon Furse.Romans 6:8-11
Dead and Alive with ChristT. Robinson.Romans 6:8-11
Dead Indeed, But LivingJohn Stoughton, D. D.Romans 6:8-11
Death and Life in ChristC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 6:8-11
Death and Life with ChristJ. H. Newman, D. D.Romans 6:8-11
Death and Life with ChristCapel Motineux, B. A.Romans 6:8-11
Living with ChristT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 6:8-11
Of the ResurrectionBp. Andrewes.Romans 6:8-11
The New LifeT. G. Horton.Romans 6:8-11
The Undying OneCanon Liddon.Romans 6:8-11
Alive unto GodW. Birch.Romans 6:11-14
Christians Dead unto Sin and Alive unto GodW. Jay.Romans 6:11-14
Dead But AliveC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 6:11-14
Dead to Sin and Alive unto GodT. Chalmers, D. D.Romans 6:11-14
Dead to Sin and Alive unto God Through ChristC. G. Finney, D. D.Romans 6:11-14
Dead to Sin, Alive to GodCanon Vernon Hutton.Romans 6:11-14
Death a DutyD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 6:11-14
Dying to Sin and Living to GodMarcus Dods, D. D.Romans 6:11-14
Dying to Sin and Living unto GodD. Moore, M. A.Romans 6:11-14
Dying to Sin and Living unto GodJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 6:11-14
Holiness the Church's LifeT. W. Jenkyn, D. D.Romans 6:11-14
Life in DeathSt. J. A. Frere.Romans 6:11-14
The Burial of the PastBp. Temple.Romans 6:11-14
The Transfer of Life to GodJ. Hamilton.Romans 6:11-14
To suppose that the acceptance of the grace of God in Christ renders us careless about the further committal of sin is to misapprehend the nature of redemption. We cannot dissociate the external results of Christ's work from a consideration of its inward effects upon the mind and heart of the man who profits by it. For a practical refutation of the supposition, the apostle points to the acknowledged meaning of the ceremony wherein each believer indicates his close relationship to the Saviour.

I. BAPTISM THE SYMBOL OF AN ALTERED LIFE. What can more forcibly set forth an abandonment of former feelings and, behaviour than being "dead and buried"? The allusion here to immersion is questioned by none, and a water grave speaks eloquently of a changed attitude to sin and the world. We are so constituted that this appeal to the senses powerfully impresses both the actual participator in the act and the spectators of the living picture.

II. A SYMBOL OF COMPLETE FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST. The follower of Christ repeats in his inward experience the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ. These were necessitated by the presence and enormity of sin, and to "put on Christ" as our Redeemer is to adopt his crucifixion and subsequent triumph as our expression of hatred against all that perverts the moral order of the world. To be immersed into the death of Christ is to be completely surrendered to the claims of the Son of God, and to share his hostility to evil, rejoicing in his conquest over death and the grave, and the adversary of mankind. By compliance with his commandment does the disciple signify his entire dedication to his Master's service.

III. CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS NEW LIFE. Emerging from the Burial, the candidate rises with Christ as his Example and Companion. His is to be an active life, "a walk," not a dreamy repose of self-absorption into the bliss of Nirvana. The contrast to the old career was exemplified in the resurrection gladness and glory of the Lord. No more was sin to exert its baleful influence; the body of the risen Lord no longer could be tortured with hunger and thirst and suffering. The Saviour was limited no longer by material barriers; he was endowed with full authority from on high, and crowned with ever-increasing splendour. When the Apostle Paul saw his Lord, the Brightness excelled the noonday sun. These triumphs are in their degree repeated in the spiritual life of the baptized believer. He casts off the works of darkness and puts on the armour of light. He keeps his body under, so that the spirit rules. The voice from heaven proclaims him God's beloved son. Instead of anguish there is peace and joy. He sits in heavenly places, and God causeth him always to triumph in Christ Jesus. Such is the ideal life of fellowship with Christ in his resurrection, shadowed forth By the ascent from the baptismal waters. - S.R.A.







Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus.
The Bible speaks of three kinds of deaths.

1. That which is a necessary event — the death of the body.

2. That which is a moral crime — death in trespasses and sins.

3. That which is a righteous obligation — death unto sin.This is a death which every man should die, though few men do so. It is a death which requires earnest individual effort, and involves the agonies of a self-crucifixion. What is meant by being "dead indeed unto sin"?

I. NEGATIVELY. It does not mean —

1. Being dead to the existence of sin. Every soul should realise this. Without a due regard to this we shall be incompetent to appreciate the history of Providence.

2. Being dead to the memory of our own sins. We can and ought never to forget the fact that we have sinned. The memory of the fact will serve to restrain from the wrong, to stimulate to the right; it will heighten our gratitude to pardoning mercy, and swell the joys of eternity.

3. Being dead to the effects of our sin upon our own history. The pardon of sin does not free us from all the effects of sin. The law of moral causation goes on. The sins that we have in youth committed against our constitution, intellect, interests, follow us to old age. It was so in the case of Job.

4. Being dead to the ruinous workings of sin around us. David beheld the way of transgressors and was grieved. So did Jeremiah. So did Paul at Athens. So did Christ, etc. So must all good men. We are to battle against it.

II. POSITIVELY. It may involve three things.

1. The death of all interest in its attractions. Sin in our world has wonderful attraction. The taste, the skill, the genius of ages, have been expended in investing it with all conceivable charms. But the holy soul sees through it, and is disgusted. To it, all its attractions are but as a spangled dress that robes an ugly theatrical.

2. The death of all desire for its pleasures. Sin has "pleasures for a season." The holy soul has higher — the pleasures of a purified imagination, as exalted hope, a God-inspiring soul, an approving conscience, a smiling God.

3. The death of all fear about its penalties.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

1. Life is a series of fresh beginnings. We cannot really undo the past, but still we have to do as much towards it as we can. Nothing is more natural than to say to ourselves, "Let me begin again; all this has been a very foolish mistake; I am very sorry that I took the turn I did." The beginning again is made impossible by the indelible character of what we have done. Besides the reputation we have acquired, there is the memory of our past life. If we could but wipe out the past, and retain the experience that we have gained without the pain and sin through which we gained it, that would, as it seems, wholly satisfy our need, and we could really commence afresh. We do not quite ask to be put on the same level as we might have reached if we had been more careful, more in earnest. What we ask for is to be enabled to fight the next battle without the burden of the past on us. We want, in short, to bury a great deal of the past, and not have its presence haunt us any more.

2. To this need Easter Day is the answer. You are at full liberty to do all you ask. Let not the memory of sin haunt you with any such daunting terrors or shames. Bury the dead past with all its sins; on this one condition, that you are "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." If you can learn from the past your weak points, your besetting sins; if you can gather out of it that which came from God, and that which you can use in the service of God, then, by all means, bury the rest, and defy its power; and live in the power of the Son of God.

3. It is true that every deed passes into the substance of our being, and we can never be after it what we were before. But for all that, the sins that we have committed must not be allowed to work upon us beyond the measure that God has assigned to them. You have sinned, and you cannot be what you were, nor what you might have been. But you still can be a servant of God, and even your past sins can become in His hands instruments of His will. The fall of David gave us the thirty-second Psalm; the fall of St. Peter fitted him to strengthen his brethren. The weakness of St. Paul taught us the lesson, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness." There is even in evil a good element; and out of sin we may draw strength; and when we have drawn out all that may help us for the future, we need not fear to bury all the rest. Christ has expressly taken all that on Himself. We have, in the death and resurrection of Christ, the certain assurance that they who live unto Him need fear no condemnation.

4. Not with the past is our chief business, but with the present and the future. Let me then give a few cautions to those who really desire to reckon themselves to be dead unto past sins, but alive unto God. It is not at all uncommon to find that a high festival like Easter gives us a sense of recovered freedom, and a sort of confidence in our strength to win the battle. And then this excitement wears off, and we are not only back where we were before, but have the additional weakness caused by an additional defeat. Now —

I. BEWARE OF CONFOUNDING A SLIGHT REPULSE WITH A REGULAR DEFEAT, and of allowing your enemy to win, not because you are really beaten, but because you merely fancy you are. A temptation comes to you in the shape of an evil thought. Do not yield as if the evil thought were as bad as the evil word or deed. Cast out the foe, and let him not drive you to sinful actions. Or, again, if you have actually given way, do not say that this is complete defeat. Fight every inch of ground. However much you may be defeated, the mere fact of your having kept up the battle retains you on Christ's side, and ensures you His help.

II. In recommencing the battle with sin, DESPISE NOT THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS. Life to our foolish eyes seems not so earnest, not so solemn as we had thought it. We had been prepared for something extraordinary, and we find nothing that is not commonplace. We are like soldiers who have been drilled for a pitched battle, and then find nothing but a war of outposts, and so become discontented and careless. But the power of the Spirit of God is as much shown in small things as in great. The microscope proves that God's hand will fashion the wing of an insect as carefully as the grandest and most complicated animal structure. So, too, is it in the spiritual world; and the Creator would have the slightest impulse of the will as perfect and as pure as the deliberate choice of the reason.

III. BE NOT CONTENT WITH NEGATIVES. Do not only resist temptation, but seek to serve God by diligent discharge of duties, by kindness, by turning your thoughts to your Father in heaven, to the Cross of your Redeemer. And I put the first of these first, though the last is the most important, because it is with the first, the outer duties, that we always have to begin. Begin with such duties, for those you are justified in even forcing yourself to do, and however much your inclination may lead you another way, still these duties are to be done. I cannot, in the same sense, bid you force yourself to love God and Christ; but God will most assuredly give you at last, if not at once, the power of loving Him if you are doing your best to obey Him, and when thoughts of Him and of Christ enter your heart, do not turn away.

(Bp. Temple.)

I. PAUL HERE EXHORTS TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF AN IDEAL SCHEME OF LIFE.

1. The facts of Christian experience are to be recognised. The moral antagonism of "flesh" and "spirit," represented by the dispositions of the body and mind, is to be reckoned with (Romans 7:21, 23).

2. They are to be interpreted in agreement with the facts of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.(1) The body being "mortal," we are to regard it as suffering the penalty of sin, even as our Lord's body was crucified.(2) Morally its promptings and tendencies are not to be accepted as the law of conduct, but to be subordinated to the purer and higher impulses of the spirit, which has already entered upon the resurrection life, being mystically united to Christ Jesus (ver. 13).

II. THE PRACTICAL INFLUENCE OF THIS UPON CONDUCT.

1. This is not to be a merely abstract distinction; it is to be acknowledged as the law according to which we are to act, just as elsewhere the apostle exhorts Christians not to consider themselves dead to sin, but to become so (Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:5).

2. Nor is this to be understood as a violation of our physical nature, as if the spirit were to be benefited at the expense of the body. Asceticism is not countenanced by Paul or his Master.

3. It is but an assertion of the true order of our nature, in which conscience and the spiritual impulses are de jure the ruling authority and power. Our appetites and affections are not evil in themselves, but become so when allowed to rule.

4. The spirit in which this service is to be rendered is one of —(1) Liberty; for the tyranny of sin, the worst of masters, is thus broken.(2) Sacrifice; of ourselves to God through Christ; the sacrifice being possible and acceptable through association with that of His Cross. So it is, in a sense, a crucifixion, through which death voluntarily endured in one sphere, conduces to life in a higher one.

5. All this is not to be regarded as a mere taking for granted or figurative supposition, but is an exercise —

(1)Of faith, identifying us with Christ.

(2)Of free will determining that the ideal shall be realised.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENT TO THIS COURSE.

1. A promise. "Sin shall not," etc.

2. The nature of the Divine economy under which we elect to live. As we are incapable of obeying the law, and the law, when unfulfilled, tends to death, we can only rely upon God's grace or favour, which abolishes not only the penalty of sin, but its influence, presence, and attraction.

(St. J. A. Frere.)

1. How intimately the believer's duties are interwoven with his privileges! Because he is alive unto God he is to renounce sin, since that corrupt thing belongs to his estate of death.

2. How intimately both his duties and his privileges are bound up with Christ Jesus his Lord!

3. How thoughtful ought we to be upon these matters; reckoning what is right and fit; and carrying out that reckoning to its practical issues. We have in our text —

I. A GREAT FACT TO BE RECKONED UPON.

1. The nature of this fact.(1) We are dead with Christ to sin by having borne the punishment in Him (vers. 6, 7).(2) We are risen with Him into a justified condition, and have reached a new life (ver. 8).(3) We can no more come under sin again than He can (ver. 9).(4) We are therefore forever dead to its guilt and reigning power (vers. 12-14).

2. This reckoning is based on truth, or we should not be exhorted to it.(1) To reckon yourself to be dead to sin, so that you boast that you do not sin at all, would be a reckoning based on falsehood, and would be exceedingly mischievous (1 Kings 8:46; 1 John 1:8). None are so provoking to God as sinners who boast their own fancied perfection.(2) The reckoning that we do not sin must either go upon the antinomian theory, that sin in the believer is no sin, which is a shocking notion; or else our conscience must tell us that we do sin in many ways; in omission or commission, in transgression or shortcoming, in temper or in spirit (James 3:2; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23).(3) To reckon yourself dead to sin in the scriptural sense is full of benefit both to heart and life. Be a ready reckoner in this fashion.

II. A GREAT LESSON TO BE PUT IN PRACTICE (ver. 12).

1. Sin has great power; it is in you, and will strive to reign. It remains as —(1) An outlaw, hiding away in your nature.(2) A plotter, planning your overthrow.(3) An enemy, warring against the law of your mind.(4) A tyrant, worrying and oppressing the true life.

2. Its field of battle is the body.(1) Its wants — hunger, thirst, cold, etc. — may become occasions of sin, by leading to murmuring, envy, covetousness, robbery, etc.(2) Its appetites may crave excessive indulgence, and unless continually curbed, will easily lead to evil.(3) Its pains and infirmities, through engendering impatience and other faults, may produce sin.(4) Its pleasures also can readily become incitements to sin.(5) Its influence upon the mind and spirit may drag our noble nature down to the grovelling materialism of earth.

3. The body is mortal, and we shall be completely delivered from sin when set free from our present material frame, if indeed grace reigns within. Till then we shall find sin lurking in one member or another.

4. Meanwhile we must not let it reign.(1) If it reigned over us it would be our god. It would prove us to be under death, and not alive unto God.(2) It would cause us unbounded pain and injury if it ruled only for a moment.Conclusion: Sin is within us, aiming at dominion; and this knowledge, together with the fact that we are nevertheless alive unto God, should —

1. Help our peace; for we perceive that men may be truly the Lord's, even though sin struggles within them.

2. Aid our caution; for our Divine life is well worth preserving, and needs to be guarded with constant care.

3. Draw us to use the means of grace, since in these the Lord meets with us and refreshes our new life. Let us come to the table of communion and to all other ordinances, as alive unto God; and in that manner let us feed on Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The great object of this chapter is to establish the alliance between a sinner's acceptance through Christ and his holiness. And here there is a practical direction given for carrying this alliance into effect.

1. Now, if these phrases be taken in their personal sense they would mean that we are mortified to the pleasures and temptations of sin, and alive to nothing but the excellencies of God's character, and a sense of our obligations to Him; or in other words, we are to reckon ourselves holy in order that we may become holy. It were a strange receipt for curing a man of his dishonesty, to bid him reckon of himself that he is an honest man. How, by the simple act of counting myself what I really am not, can I be transferred to that which I choose to imagine of myself? How can I reckon that to be true which I know to be false? We have heard much of the power of imagination; but this is giving it an empire that exceeds all which was before known.

2. Now you free the passage of these difficulties by taking the phrases forensically. To be dead unto sin is to be in the condition of one on whom death, the sentence of sin, has already been inflicted — if not in his own person, in that of his representative. To be alive unto God is to live in the favour of God — to which we have been admitted through Christ. To reckon that Christ died for the one purpose, and that He brought in an everlasting righteousness for the other, is to reckon, not on a matter of fancy, but on a matter proposed on the evidence of God's own testimony to faith. And when, instead of looking downwardly on the dark and ambiguous tablet of our own character, we look upwardly to the Saviour, we rest on the completeness of a finished expiation and perfect obedience, and transfer our reckoning from a ground where conscience gives us the lie, to a ground where God, who cannot lie, meets us with the assurances of His truth.

3. But it may be said, might not this be an untruth also? The apostle says to his converts, "Reckon yourselves dead unto sin" — but is it competent to address any one individual at random, to reckon himself in this blessed condition? Might not he, in so reckoning, be as deluded as in the other reckoning? I answer, It is nowhere said that Christ died so for me in particular, as that the benefits of His atonement are mine in possession; but it is everywhere said that He so died for me in particular, as that the benefits of His atonement are mine in offer. They are mine if I will. Such terms as "whosoever," and "all," and "any," and "ho, everyone," bring the gospel redemption specifically to my door; and there it stands for acceptance as mine in offer, and ready to become mine in possession on my giving credit to the word of the testimony. The terms of the gospel message are so constructed that I have just as good a warrant for reckoning myself dead unto sin, as if I had been singled out by name.

4. And what is more. You will not acquire a virtuous character by imagining that you have it. But there is another way in which it may be acquired. Not by any false reckoning about your actual character; but by a true reckoning about your actual condition. It is not by imagining I am a saint that I will become so; but by reflecting on the condemnation due to me as a sinner — on the way in which it has been averted from my person — on the passage by which, without suffering to myself, I have been borne across the region of vindictive justice, and conclusively placed on the fair and favoured shore of acceptance with God. The sense and the reckoning of all this may transform me from the sinner that I am into the saint that I am not. How shall I, now that I have been made alive again, continue in that hateful thing, of whose malignant tendencies in itself, and of whose utter irreconcilableness to the will and character of God, I have, in the death of my Representative and my Surety, obtained so striking a demonstration?

5. Mark, then, the apostle's receipt for holiness. It is not that you reckon yourself pure, but that you reckon yourself pardoned. And how it should fall with the efficacy of a charm on a sinner's ear, when told that the first stepping stone towards that character of heaven after which he has been so hopelessly labouring, is to assure himself that all the guilt of his past ungodliness is now done away — that the ransom of iniquity is paid, and that by Christ's death the penalties of that law he so oft has broken shall never reach him. It is this which brings home to the believer's heart the malignity of sin; it is this which opens to him the gate of heaven, and, disclosing to his view the glories of that upper region, teaches him that it is indeed a land of sacredness; it is this which inclines his footsteps along the path to immortality, which the death of Christ alone has rendered accessible; it is this which conforms his character to that of the celestial spirits who are there before him; for the will of Christ, whom he now loves, is that he should be like unto him; and the grateful wish and grateful endeavour of the disciple, draw forth from his labouring bosom that prayer of faith, which is sure to rise with acceptance, and is sure to be answered with power.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

I. WHAT IT IS WE ARE TO RECKON OURSELVES AS BEING.

1. Dead unto sin.(1) He who is dead is bereft of all power of thought or action. We may call him by his old familiar name, but he knows it not. We may appeal to him by all in which he used to be most keenly interested, but our words fall unheeded.(2) Such it is to be dead to sin. Temptation comes to him who is dead to sin and finds no part in him. Old sins which were once full of attraction he now cares not for; and they have no power over him. They are as much matters of indifference to him as last year's news, or last year's fashions.

2. Alive unto God.(1) To be alive to anything is to take a keen interest in it. The mother is alive to the needs of her children; the tradesman to the variations of the market; the general to every point of advantage for his own forces, or of difficulty to those of his adversary.(2) The Christian is alive towards God. He is sensitive to His smallest revelation. He listens for every whisper of His Spirit. He recognises His presence in all things. He is alive towards God because he has learned that he lives on God. Like the flower that ever opens its petals to the sun and closes them when the light and warmth of its rays are withdrawn, so the Christian soul is ever open to all the influences of God, and closed to the dark and chilling atmosphere of the world.

II. WHAT RIGHT HAVE WE THUS TO RECKON OURSELVES AS DEAD UNTO SIN AND ALIVE UNTO GOD? Because we are members of Him who died unto sin once, and who now forever liveth unto God.

1. Jesus our Head and Representative lived a life that was completely dead unto sin (John 14:30), and His final struggle with it was on the Cross, which was the completion of His death unto sin. "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" is His own challenge to His enemies, and one by one they were forced to own His sinlessness. Judas, Pilate, the penitent thief, the Roman centurion.

2. He liveth unto God. Throughout His earthly ministry He did so. From the first He is "the Son of Man who is in heaven"; He is never alone, for His Father is with Him. But it is in His resurrection that He is visibly shown to be living unto God.

3. It is into Him that we are incorporated. Therefore as He died unto sin and liveth unto God, it is both our duty and our right that we should thus claim the privilege He has won for us.

III. THE BENEFIT WHICH WE GAIN BY THUS RECKONING OURSELVES.

1. To believe that we can do a thing goes a long way in enabling us to do it. We may have the power, yet if we do not believe that we have it, we lose all its benefits. This belief does not make the power, but it makes it operative. In like manner, to reckon ourselves to be anything is a great help towards being it. No doubt if we reckon ourselves to be what we are not we are guilty of self-deceit and vanity. But in seeking to avoid this mistake we must not fall into its opposite by refusing to claim what it is our right and duty to claim.

2. As Christians we have a right to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God, and the fact that we can claim it will go far to make the claim a reality. When we realise that our true position is that we are dead to sin we can face temptation with certainty of success. When we are assured that we are alive to God we can feel more confidence that He is living in us, and that His life will be perfected in us. Many a battle has been lost through fear which would have been won if the defeated army had only "reckoned themselves" equal to the conflict.

IV. HOW MAY WE BE SURE THAT THIS RECKONING IS NO MERE FEAT OF IMAGINATION OR FIGURE OF SPEECH, BUT A SOLID FACT?

1. As a matter of fact we do not find ourselves to be dead to sin. If it does not now win us by its open allurements, it lies in wait for our own unguarded moments. Neither are we yet truly alive unto God. Our moods vary. We are keenly alive to Him at one hour, and cold and indifferent the next.

2. There is but one way by which our actual condition may be made to correspond with our ideal; "through Jesus Christ our Lord."(1) It is because we are united to Him that we may reckon ourselves dead to sin.(2) It is because He to whom we are united is our Lord, that we have confidence that that which He bids us to be we may be. The more we realise that He is Lord of our inmost being, just so far will He bring it into subjection to Himself, and mould it after His own pattern. Is not all power given to Him? Has He not therefore power to make us indeed dead to sin and alive unto God? Believe it. Trust Him.

(Canon Vernon Hutton.)

I. WHAT IT IS TO BE DEAD UNTO SIN. Obviously the opposite of being dead in sin. As he who is dead has nothing more to do with earthly things, so he who is dead to sin has nothing to do any more with sin or its attractions.

II. WHAT IS IT TO BE ALIVE UNTO GOD? To be full of life for Him — to be altogether active and on the alert to do His will.

III. WHAT IS IT TO RECKON OURSELVES DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN? To believe, esteem yourselves dead to it. Regard this as truly your relation to sin; it shall have no more dominion over you.

IV. WHAT IS MEANT BY RECKONING YOURSELVES ALIVE INDEED UNTO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST? That you are to expect to be saved by Christ and to calculate on this salvation as your own.

V. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THE EXHORTATION? That there is an adequate provision for realising these blessings in fact. A precept requiring us to account ourselves dead to sin and alive to God, would be utterly untenable if no provision were made for its accomplishment.

VI. WHAT IS IMPLIED BY COMPLYING WITH THIS INJUNCTION?

1. Believing such a thing to be possible.

2. Ceasing from all expectation of attaining this state of ourselves.

3. A present willingness to be saved from sin, and the actual renunciation of all sin as such.

4. An entire committal of our whole case to Christ, not only for the present, but for all future salvation from sin.

5. The foreclosing of the mind against temptation, in such a sense that the mind truly expects to live a life purely devoted to God. Christians in this state of mind no more expect to commit small sins than great sins. Hating all sin for its own sake and for its hatefulness to Christ, any sin, however small, is to them as murder.

6. That the Christian knows where his great strength lies. He knows it does not lie in works, but only in Christ received by faith.Conclusion:

1. This text alone entirely justifies the expectation of living without sin through all-abounding grace.

2. To teach that such an expectation is a dangerous error is to teach unbelief. Dangerous to expect salvation from sin? If so, what is the gospel worth? Some expect to have to count themselves not dead indeed unto sin, but somewhat alive to it, and in part alive to God through all their mortal life. It follows as quite a thing of course that expecting no complete victory over sin they will use no appropriate means, since faith stands foremost among those means, and faith must include at least a confidence that the thing sought is possible to be attained. An elder I knew rose in a meeting and told the Lord he had been living in sin thus far, and expected to go on in sin as long as he lived; he had sinned today and should doubtless sin tomorrow, and so on — and he talked as calmly about it all as if it were foolish to make any ado, as well as impossible to attempt any change for the better. How horrible! Suppose a wife should say to her husband, "I love you some, but you know I love many other men too." And yet this is not to be compared in shocking guilt and treason with the case of the Christian who says, "I expect to sin every day I live," with unmoved carelessness. You expect to be a traitor to Jesus each day of your life; to crucify Him afresh each day; and yet you talk about having a good hope through grace! But tell me, does not every true Christian say, "Do not let me live at all if I cannot live without sin; for how can I bear to go on day by day sinning against Him I so much love!"

(C. G. Finney, D. D.)

Paul's object in this chapter is to exhibit the inconsistency of sin with the Christian faith and position. We are, he says, planted together with Christ, and baptized into His death that we may pass with Him into a new life. There is only one kind of perfect human life, the life exemplified in Jesus Christ; and to this there is only one possible path, viz., death. The grub cannot pass to the higher life of the dragonfly without first sickening and becoming dead to all the life it has been familiar with, and we, in order to enter the true life of man, must die to the old.

I. WHAT IS IT TO BE DEAD TO SIN?

1. To be beyond its power to inflict penalty upon us. If a servant has come to a settlement with his master there remains no longer any bond between them. Now the wages of sin is death, and our wages have been paid in the death of Christ. The law has no claim upon a man who has suffered its extreme penalty, and this the old legal phraseology of Scotland brought out when it spoke of criminals being justified in the Grassmarket, when they were hung there. By death they cleared scores with the law. Thus we have by the death of Christ the removal of our guilt.

2. To be irresponsive to the appeals of sin. How unmoved, how irresponsive the dead are! Let the master shout at his slave's dead body; not one finger stirs to obey his orders. Was the dead man vain and fond of applause? the acclaims of a world bring no smile of pleasure to his face now. Was he mean and greedy? Fill the dead hand with gold; the fingers will not close upon it. The soldier who a few months before sprang forward at the sound of the bugle, now knows no difference between the charge and the retire. The most passionate kiss that love presses on the face of the dead wins no acknowledgment, no returning embrace. Such is the insensibility of the true Christian who avails himself of his position. The man who was led by his appetites, and could not walk the streets without sinning, sets the Cross of Christ before him, and finds he can as little sin as if he were a corpse.

3. Not only a complete but a final severance from sin. Death is a state from which no one returns to the old life. So it was with Paul himself, who realised his position in Christ.(1) There are animals which hibernate, and for all practical purposes are dead for a season; they cease to be a terror to their natural prey, they entirely abandon their haunts and habits; but when the warmth of spring penetrates to their temporary burying place there is a revival of their old instincts, energies, and habits. With many persons the abandonment of sin is a mere hibernation. For a while they seem to have lost all taste for their old ways, and, in the ardour of a newly conceived idea of life, the man is impregnable to all that would lead him from it. He is wrapped up in his new and strong resolve, and while that lasts he is insensible to the storms that would drive him from his path. Or something has made the world distasteful; his prospects have been blighted, and he withdraws from his former keen engagement in this world's affairs. Or there comes to the man of pleasure higher and better impulses; the Spirit of Christ strives with him, or some outward event warns him, and for the present he becomes dead to the solicitations of appetite. Or a young person comes under the influence of someone who does live a consecrated, unselfish, Christ-like life, and the influence is commanding while it lasts. All those temporary abandonments of sin are mere sleeps, or states of torpor; the soul of sin lives on securely underneath the lethargic surface, and, when the period of slumber passes and the cause of insensibility has exhausted itself, will return again with renewed and stronger life to all its old habits and ways.(2) Men sometimes commit suicide. They see that things have gone so far wrong as to be irretrievable. To go into hiding and wait for a better time is in vain; carefully weighing probabilities, they conclude that their severance from the world must now be final. This requires a clear judgment and a strong will. The same deliberate and decisive finality of action is required of us. Less than this will not do. We cannot get into a new life in any other way than by dying to the old. Yet how many of us stand, like Nero, with the dagger at our throat but with a hand far too nervous to drive it home. It is this great act of will that marks the second birth.

II. WHAT IS MEANT BY LIVING TO GOD? This aspect of our participation with Christ is more important.

1. To die to sin is but a necessary preliminary. By itself it is incomplete and ineffective. Death can never form a desirable state, but only life, and it is because death of this kind promises fuller life that we pass through it.

2. Some persons, however, are dead to sin, but they are dead to everything else. Religion, instead of enlivening and enlarging them, seems to benumb and deaden them. For all the active good they do they might as well be in the grave. The poor man who needs help would as soon think of knocking at a tombstone as of knocking at their door; active beneficence on their part would startle us as if the sheeted dead had come to our aid. Where there is fulness of life there is activity, joy, love, intensity; not coldness, selfish caution, parsimony, and seclusion from the woes, the joys, the interests of men.

3. And where there is life it will appear; burying the seed beneath the clod, the life that is in it will work its way through, and show what it is. The body of Christ could not be held under the power of death, and if the Spirit of life that was in Him be really in us, that life will break through all that overlies it. And if you do not fill your life with Christian activities, and your heart with Christian joys, they will soon be filled and flooded with the old life. Do not make it needful that men should feel your pulse, or hold a mirror to your mouth to see if you be really alive; but let it be seen by the brightness of your vision, by the activity of your step, by the force and helpfulness of your hand, that you have a more abundant life.

4. This life, like Christ's resurrection life, is real. Our Lord took pains to prove that His risen body was not a phantom. Our risen life must be equally substantial. From the first some have had a name to live while really dead. Their appearance of newness does not bear scrutiny; they are airy nothings, pithless, pretentious, disappointing appearances; they imitate the conduct of those who have real life, or they are lifted up and carried along by the crowd around them, but when left to act in their own strength they are found to be powerless — dead. All about them is unreal; the religious expressions they use are borrowed, learned as a foreign tongue, so that you can readily detect the accent. Their prayers are forced; their whole religious life is a makeup; not an actual, constant, self-supporting, free life. Strive to be true, to stand upon your feet, to act upon convictions of your own, to speak as you feel, without being an echo of other persons. Be sure that in yourself there is a true, risen life.

(Marcus Dods, D. D.)

The apostle exhorts us to reckon ourselves to be —

I. "DEAD UNTO SIN."

1. This involves death.(1) To its ensnaring artifices. Moses "chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Hence we learn that sin is not without its pleasures, and that if we will cast in our lot With the people of God we must lay our account with losing them.(a) But these pleasures last but for a season.(b) They are only pleasures when viewed in a false light. Let but the light of truth dawn in upon the soul, and we find that we have been embracing disappointment and vanity and pain (ver. 21).(2) To the indwelling love of it. This will follow on the true discovery of its nature. When we are conscious of having had a deception practised upon us, our hatred is proportionate to the measure of our former love. We find that we have been nursing a viper in our bosom, and therefore, on discovering it, we are anxious to cast it away.(3) To its reigning power. This, indeed, is the only true mortification of sin. "Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth." Let the natural man be pierced through and through, until ye have crucified the whole "body of sin." The head of pride must be crowned with thorns; the hands of covetousness must be pierced with nails; the unruly appetites must be put off with vinegar and gall. Yea, the whole man must be laid in the grave, must be buried with Christ, in order that with Christ also it may rise to newness of life.

2. Here is the design of all religious ordinances, viz., that the root of bitterness may be destroyed in the soul. We are buried with Christ in baptism, in faith that our corruptions shall be drowned, even as the Egyptians were when they lay dead on the seashore. We approach the Lord's table in faith that the food which we there receive spiritually into the soul shall operate as a poison to all those corruptions which yet reign within us. Every prayer we offer up is a blow at sin; every self-denial we practise is to starve out corruption from the soul. But, in order to the completeness of this death of sin within us, it is needful that we take away all the means of life. "Fire is as effectually put out by taking wood away as by throwing cold water upon it." We must take care to blockade all the avenues of temptation; we must intercept those supplies which "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life," are forever conveying into the soul.

II. "ALIVE UNTO GOD." We are not to give a dead carcase to a living God; neither, on the other hand, when the members of the old man have been crucified, are they to remain idle. No; after they are buried, they are to rise again, and be laid as a free will offering on the altar of God. Being dead to sin we must henceforth be alive to God.

1. To the honour of God's name.

2. To the interests of His kingdom.

3. To the glory of His grace in the entire sanctification of our souls.Conclusion:

1. All comes to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. If there be any subjugation of the power of sin in the soul, "His right hand hath got the victory"; if there be any quickening to a renewed existence, He it was who began, and who must complete the work.

2. Let shame prompt you to die to sin. If Christ died for sin, the least we can do is to die to sin.

3. Let gratitude prompt us to "live to God."

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. THE BELIEVER'S TRUE POSITION.

1. Dead to sin: to —

(1)Its attractions.

(2)Dominion.

(3)Condemnation.

2. Alive unto God.

(1)His presence.

(2)His favour.

(3)His influence.

(4)His authority.

II. THE MEANS THROUGH WHICH IT IS ATTAINED — Jesus Christ.

1. Faith in Him.

2. Identification with Him.

III. THE DUTY OF REALISING THIS.

1. Theoretically.

2. Experimentally.

3. Practically.

IV. THE MOTIVES BY WHICH IT IS ENFORCED — "likewise."

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

We are reminded that Christians are —

I. "DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN."

1. This implies more than their avoiding sin. A man from fear of loss, hope of advantage, or from reference to his reputation, may be induced to avoid what he loves: and there are many who are ready to wish that it were lawful to indulge in sin. Lot's wife left Sodom, but her heart was in it still, and if all those were to become pillars of salt who profess to forsake the world, while hankering after it, we should hardly be able to move about.

2. Christians are mortified to sin. The Christian's aversion to sin is natural, and we know that all natural aversions operate universally. It is not to some particular vice to which he may have no constitutional propensity or little temptation. If it were lawful to say to a mother, "Why you may take your child and throw it out of the window," she could not do it. And why? Has she not strength to open the window? Has she not arms to throw it out? Oh! but it would violate every feeling of her nature; it would be impossible and this would be a safer prevention than any argument or threatening against it. So the Christian "doth not commit sin" — that is, as others do, and as he once did — "for His seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin because he is born of God."

3. You see how the apostle treats this matter: "How shall we, who are dead to sin," by profession, by obligation, by inclination, "live any longer therein?" (ver. 2). As no creature can live out of its own element, so it is impossible for the Christian, now that he is regenerated, to live in sin.

II. "ALIVE UNTO GOD." If there were no instance of immorality in the world, I should want no other proof that man was a fallen creature than his insensibility and indifference towards God. That a subject should be dead to his sovereign, a child to his father, the creature to his Maker, a beneficiary to his benefactor; can you imagine that God made man with such a disposition as this? Now real religion must commence in the destruction of this insensibility. Christians are alive unto —

1. God's favour. While many ask, "Who will show us any good?" he prays, "Lord, lift up the light of Thy countenance upon me." He knows and feels now that "His favour is life," and His "loving kindness better than life." This makes him happy, whatever may be his outward condition.

2. His presence. Is the sanctuary now attractive to him? It is principally because it is "the place where His honour dwelleth." Does he love the retirement of the closet? It is because there he holds communion with his God. He loves the company of the godly because they remind him of God, and considers heaven as the perfection of his happiness because he will be forever with the Lord.

3. His glory. It is this that led the apostle therefore to say, "Whether we eat or drink," etc. Hence he sympathises with the cause of God in all its variations. If professors fall away, and bring a scandal upon it, he is sorrowful. On the other hand, if the Word of the Lord runs and is glorified, and if believers walk in the fear of the Lord, in this he rejoices.

III. "THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD." As —

1. Their Example. In His principles, temper, practice, they see the character which we have described fully embodied. In Him there was no sin; He always did the things that pleased the Father: He was our religion incarnate.

2. Their Teacher. He has set before us those arguments and motives which have the greatest tendency to turn us from sin and to God, so that we may be dead to the one and alive to the other.

3. Their dying Friend. Is it possible for me to love and live in that which crucified the Lord of glory?

4. Their meritorious Saviour. When He died for their sins He at the same time obtained for them grace for trial, duty, and conflict.

IV. "RECKON YOURSELVES" AS SUCH.

1. In order to maintain the conduct that is suitable to such; for your conduct should correspond with your character and your condition. The way to know what you ought to do is always to consider what you are.

2. In order to keep you from wondering at the treatment of such.

3. In order that ye may rejoice in the portion of such. If the world frowns on you, God smiles; if they condemn you, He is near to justify. You may be losers in His service, but you can never be losers by it.

(W. Jay.)

This means that a man —

I. BREATHES GOD'S LIFE. There was a man taken out of the water apparently dead. The physician came and breathed into the nostrils and mouth of the poor fellow, and then pressed the breast; breathed in again and pressed the breast. At last he had the joy of hearing a gasp, and then of seeing the opened eye. "Alive unto God" means that God has breathed into you His breath; the breath of life and of righteousness.

II. PUTS FORTH EFFORT. There is a picture in Brussels of a man thought dead of the plague. He was not dead. After a time, awaking, he felt he was nailed up in the coffin, and the picture shows him to be in the act of pushing up the lid. So it is with the man who is "alive unto God." He puts forth efforts, and he repeats them till he is delivered.

III. REQUIRES FOOD, TO SUSTAIN THE NEW LIFE.

IV. DESIRES THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. What efforts some men make to acquire knowledge of earthly things. The Christian, whilst not despising that knowledge, desires especially to know God.

V. RESISTS SIN. There is that fight going on. The unconverted man reasons — "Don't sin, because you may be found out." The devil strikes him down to the ground, and he says, "There is no life in him now." But how is it with the Christian when Satan endeavours to overcome him? He has God's armour on, and the sword of the Spirit, and he stands, because he is alive unto God.

VI. BEARS THE CROSS. Being "alive unto God," and having Christ's love in the soul, we can lift up and carry the heaviest burden with rejoicing of heart, for we have His life; the life that Christ had, that same life is in us. Conclusion:

1. Is it not being alive in faith to God? It is not alive unto creeds, but unto God. It is faith in the presence of God.

2. It also is alive in hope to God — that hope which is the anchor holding on amidst all earth's tempests and all the wild sea's roar.

3. It is alive in love to God. What will not the soul endure for those whom it loves! It imitates the example of those who have its affection.

(W. Birch.)

In the days of King John of England the dignity of the English crown was brought to its lowest. King John submitting to the Pope as a vassal, and before the Pope's legate, taking off his crown, he handed it to the legate, who took it, put it down for a moment to show his possession of it, then handed it back to John to be held by him as a vassal of Rome. But this incident illustrates how we Christians can die to ourselves, yet be living for Christ. We take our life in our hands, and hand it over to God. But see, He lifts it again and holds it out towards us, saying, "Take this life and use it for Me, as My vassal, My servant."

(J. Hamilton.)

Holiness is the life of the Church; it is this that makes the Church a living body, and consequently the means and agent of its own growth and happiness. A living thing grows from itself, and not by accession from without, as a house or a ship grows. A flower does not grow by adding a leaf to it, nor a tree by fastening a branch to it, nor a man by fixing a limb to his frame. Everything that has life grows by a converting process, which transforms the food into means of nourishment and of growth and enlargement. A holy Church lives, and its holiness converts all its ordinances and provisions into means of deep-rooted, solid, enlarged, and beautiful holiness.

(T. W. Jenkyn, D. D.)

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