Count Yourselves Dead To Sin And Alive To Righteousness!
How often have you heard of Christians “falling into sin?” It seems like “falling into sin” is so easy to do, right?
I’ve fallen many times. Yet as the gospel transformed my thinking and the Holy Spirit worked in my life, I soon found myself “falling out of sin.” I was tired of fighting sin. I was barely trying anymore, but I found myself falling away from it. To my surprise, I also found myself loving my enemies. We rarely hear about people falling out of sin. Why is that?
Romans 6:11 tells us that we should consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness. Doing so is part of understanding the gospel. We believe that just as Jesus died, we have died to sin, and just as Jesus rose from the dead, we have been resurrected in newness of life. Our sin nature has been crucified!
Unfortunately for many of us, our religious background taught us to consider ourselves alive to sin and dead to righteousness! Far too much teaching leads Christians to think as if they are still sinners and will always mess up. And if you consider yourself alive to sin, you will keep “falling into sin.”
But if you consider yourself dead to sin and alive to righteousness, you will “fall into righteousness!” The sin habits melt away. They don’t feel natural anymore. Sin becomes boring and unsatisfying.
Falling Out Of Nicotine Addiction
I recently heard Dan Mohler share the story of a man who felt terrible because he was a Christian but kept smoking. Someone told him, “Every time you light that cigarette, thank God for making you righteous and for the work he has done in your life.” The man thought “I’d be the biggest hypocrite if I did that.” But his friend convinced him. After a few days, he went to light up his cigarette and thought “I don’t even want this anymore.” That was the end of his smoking habit. That’s what it looks like to “fall out of sin.”
As Dan says, “Make the tree good, and good fruit will follow.” The thing that’s so hard for many Christians to understand, and which offends so many people, is that we must receive righteousness as a free gift before we change our behavior. If we do not consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness, we will continue to struggle with sin. Too many people are struggling because they think they need to change their behavior first, and so they are still considering themselves alive to sin.
Falling Away From Porn
(Here’s an excerpt with a story from Present Access To Heaven.)
If we do sin, we must not withdraw from the Lord’s presence. The intent of Satan’s accusations is to make us too ashamed to approach God. Yet it is as we draw near to God and look to him that we are transformed. The one thing that we need to do, if we do sin, is to boldly come to the Father!
Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
As we saw in Hebrews 9 and 10, to approach the Father is to enter heaven itself. If you sin, the one thing you need to do is to go to heaven now!
Approach God now just as when you first came to him—not out of your own righteousness, but because of the free gift of righteousness which you received through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Don’t draw back in fear! Receive God’s mercy and grace in abundance, and let it transform you!
Romans 8:1+2 (NIV) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
I remember hearing the remarkable testimony of a man who was delivered from addiction to pornography. He became a Christian and read in Exodus how Moses talked with God as with a friend.
Exodus 33:9-11 (NIV) When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and bow down, all of them, at the entrance of their tent. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
When he read this he said “God, I want to meet you like that!” He set aside everything to pray and asked God “God, show me your glory.” Then he met God in a cloud, like Moses did. It was wonderful! He began to do this every day.
This man had so little religious background that when he became a Christian he barely thought anything of his porn habit, because it was so normal to him. It wasn’t something that he had really thought of as wrong before. But as he met God, he began to feel uncomfortable about it.
For about 30 days of these encounters, he was still looking at porn. He messed up again and again. But every day he came back to meet the Lord. God continued to meet with him, and he loved God’s presence! After a month of meeting the Lord like this daily, he stopped looking at porn.
He fell out of sin because he kept going to heaven every day by approaching God, until the presence of the Lord transformed him so much that he no longer had a desire for pornography. He became a partaker in the divine nature, and the free gift of righteousness that he had received bore the fruit of righteousness.