Are You Dead?
By Eli Stutzman
May 1, 2011
When you get born again by surrendering your life and asking Jesus to live in your heart, can you now go and live any way you want to?
This question has been around as long as Christianity has. Paul dealt with it in Romans chapter 6. To really understand what is being said, it is best to read the entire chapter. Have a look at verse 6;
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
When you ponder what happens when a person apparently receives Christ into their life, has their sins wiped clean, life seems to be renewed for a while only to see the person eventually return to their former life. Doing anything they want. What has gone wrong? It seems such a waste to have put so much effort into getting clean and then it is all tossed aside.
The scripture passage above refers to dying with Christ. You may wonder, what has dying to self have to do with falling away from a commitment? Let me try to explain.
Suppose you had just bought a 12 acre field from your neighbor. It is good soil, but it is full of weeds. You mow the entire field, rake up the weeds, clear the brush and burn them. Now you clear the fence rows and till the field. Then you plant beans. It looks really good. After a few weeks the weeds are back as strong as ever. What is wrong? It seems there is a factory just pushing forth weeds faster than you can hoe.
Well, so it is with human beings. If our sins are forgiven and the "old man" as Paul puts it is still alive and well, we will have what looks good for a while. Then pressure of life comes back and sin once again takes over. There seems to be a ‘sin factory" at work producing its terrible fruit. There has to be a solution. The solution is to put the "old man" to death. In fact, we do not do the "putting" to death of the old me. God does it when I recognize the need. The "new man" is what is often called the new birth. A new set of desires emerge that look to serve my Lord. When we are baptized into Jesus Christ, we are in fact baptized into his death. Verse 3 says;
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
The solution is death! A dead person cannot sin any more.
In his book "The Normal Christian Life", Watchman Nee compares the situation to a government deciding to dry the country by dumping all the alcoholic drinks, but failing to shut down the factory that produces it. You would be so quickly defeated. Likewise, God foresaw human nature and provided a way (in fact, the only way to defeat sin).
You can make the consequences of sin terrible. Enforce the law. Embarrass them to no end. And you will find, it is not going to work. If it would've worked, Jesus Christ would not have had to go to the cross and die. Jesus did not just provide part of a solution, he provided it all. If your "old man" is still alive, you never had a "new man" either.
Just last week, I spoke to a new believer and asked him if he felt he could now live his life any way he wanted to. He told me he now had a new set of desires and now loves to meet with people who study the Bible.
Yes, the "old man" is dead. The old sin factory is shut down, and although we may sin on occasion, we now want to confess and get right again. As we grow, then sin should become less of an issue in our life.
So my question; is the "old you" really dead?
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