As we are in the weeks leading up to Easter, I’m focusing on what the cross achieved. Perhaps, the most familiar victory of the cross to Christians is forgiveness. That is, on the cross, Jesus bore the penalty for sinners. That’s most certainly true and it’s an achievement that we dare not forget. But that’s not the only achievement. According to Romans 6. Because Jesus died to sin, we can win in our battle against sin.
It seems no matter how hard we try; the allure of sinful temptation always seems to get the best of us. And so, we adopt a defeatist mentality, that wonders, “Am I ever going to win over sin?” Will I ever stop cursing? Will I ever stop getting so angry? Will I ever stop harboring bitterness against my friend for offending me. Will I ever stop getting drunk when I’m super stressed? Have confidence that through Jesus’ power you can win in your battle against sin.
Sin is defined as any lack of conformity to the will of God or any transgression of the law of God. Sin, in Romans 6 isn’t just portrayed as treasonous act against God, it’s personified as an enslaving power. All of us here have known or know that tyranny of sin. Only one stronger than sin can break the hold of sin on our lives. Jesus is that person.
This is the liberating truth of Romans 6. To enjoy that liberty we need to know why we can win.
First, we can win because Jesus died on the cross, He changed our relationship to sin. And that change is final. Jesus died to sin “once for all time.” Secondly, we can win because we died with Christ.
Romans 6:6 says that our old self was crucified with Christ so we are no longer helpless pawns under its control.
Have you ever wondered, though, how does something Jesus did two thousand years ago, get applied to me? Did you ever think about that? The answer is in the Bible. “For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death.” -- Romans 6:5 (CSB)
When one becomes a Christian, the person is spiritually united to Jesus Christ, bound together—like in a marriage. Since the Christian is united to Jesus Christ, it means that he or she shares in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
Baptism is a picture of the Christian’s union with Jesus’ death and resurrection. It proclaims what has already happened to the believer. This truth is, the bottom line that every Christian needs to know, is because Jesus died to sin, we died to sin, too.
Now, it doesn’t mean we are exempt from struggling against it. The reality is sin will remain an ever-present temptation throughout the Christian life, but here is the encouraging news: we can win over sin by Jesus’ power.
We adopt God’s truth for ourselves. Instead of listening to what we believe about ourselves we need to listen to what God tells us to believe about ourselves in Christ: “I am dead to sin and live to God in Christ Jesus.” We personalize this truth by meditation and prayer. The idea is the more I personalize the truth, the more I live the reality of the truth in daily life. For example, having a gym membership from a fitness club does nothing for you in your struggle with weight! You must activate it- use it consistently to make your body change.
Likewise, the word of God says we must act on HIS truth to experience newness of life. We must exercise the privilege of freedom that is ours in Jesus Christ. To win over sin we need to preach to ourselves, practice the truth, and walk with Jesus daily. Walking with him begins by simply praying “Lord Jesus, I give myself to you. Through you I live and present all that I am to you and for you. Amen.”
Jesus offered himself to God and likewise, as his redeemed servants, we offer ourselves to Him.