Battle Plan Strategy 10

Strategy 10:  I realize that I died with Christ and I am now a new creation. I am living and ordering my life as a resurrected person, not as the old person I used to be.

 

This is one of the most important strategies when attempting to win the fight against sin. We can make all sorts of resolutions and put into play all of the self-disciplines that we can muster, but real victory becomes possible when this truth is embraced and put into practice.

 

In Romans 6:2, Paul asks the question, “How shall we who died to sin, live any longer in it?” He then goes on to explain what he means by this. If you’ve been baptized into Christ – in other words, if you’ve been born again – you were baptized into Christ’s death.

 

What this means is that when God saves us, He so thoroughly unites us with His Son that there is a oneness established that makes Christ’s history our history. For example in Ephesians 2 we read, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4–6, NKJV).

 

We see here that God raised us up with Christ and has even seated us with Him in heavenly places in Christ. So Jesus’ death is our death. His resurrection is our resurrection. His ascension is our ascension.

 

What does that mean, then, when it comes to the battle against sin? It means that just as Jesus, when He died, died to sin, so we also, when we died with Him, died to sin. Jesus didn’t sin before His death, but He was subject to all of the temptations that we go through. His death put an end to that. We are to reckon ourselves dead with Christ to sin and we are to see ourselves on the resurrection side of things. This is the way Paul puts it:

 

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:11–13, NKJV)

 

The key word here is reckon. We are to count it as true because God says it. We died to sin when we died to Christ and we are to reckon on that being true as we face the many temptations of life. We’ve died and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

 

He finishes the section in Romans with the words, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.” This is not a command for you not to let sin have dominion. It is a statement of fact. Sin shall not have dominion. Its rule over us has been broken. It has no authority over us even though its power seems awfully strong. We are to believe that and act accordingly.

 

Priority Goal 10: Moment by moment I will reckon and consider and claim the fact that I died with Christ and I am on resurrection ground and therefore sin does not have any authority or power over me.

The Hope of God’s Calling

Hope of His Calling

Paul writes in Ephesians: “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18, NKJV)

Why is there hope in his calling? This is what I want us to think about today.

Let’s start with Romans 8:28-30:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28–30, NKJV)

First in this passage we learn that God works all things together for good for those who are the called according to His purpose. There is hope in His calling because we are assured that God is at work on our behalf, ensuring that all things are working together for good.

The second thing we notice is there is a sequence here. God foreknew and then predestined His own to be conformed to the image of Christ. It is these foreknown and predestined people that God called. So there is hope in God’s calling because we therefore know that God knew us from eternity past and predestined that we would become like Christ.

The verse goes on to say that those He called He justified and glorified (past tense). So we further learn that there is hope in our calling because those whom God calls have been justified, that is, declared righteous. And not only that, as far as God is concerned, they are already glorified. There is a lot of hope in that!

Romans 11:29 tells us that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. So that is another truth that strengthens our hope, isn’t it? It encourages our hope to know that God’s calling in our lives will never be revoked. He will not take it back. The deal has been sealed.

Paul’s prayer, quoted at the beginning,  is that the eyes or our hearts would be enlightened – that we would be able to “see” this truth so that our calling by God would bring us hope. I don’t think there’s a better thing to meditate on as we begin a new year!