We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
(Romans 6:9-14 ESV)
Grace has been on my mind this week, and that’s no bad thing! Our church in Berea, KY recognizes grace right there in our title so, of course it’s often on the mind! Grace has been on my mind in particular because of some premarital counseling homework me and my fiance were assigned; the assignment was to meditate on Romans 6-8.
One element of Christian life I have always found difficult to reconcile is the presence of sin in the grace-filled Christian’s life. If we are believers, if our old self has been crucified with Christ, if Jesus loves us unconditionally, if the Holy Spirit has empowered us to victory, then why do Christians still sin? Shouldn’t those truths just rock our world? Shouldn’t we perfectly obey our Lord and Savior?
My questions cropped up again with this week’s GRIT session, a ministry based here in Berea, KY from Grace Community Church. Thankfully, with all this reflecting and solid teaching I’ve been blessed to enjoy, my questions are finally getting answered! When Paul, writing to Christians in Rome, exhorts them to “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions,” the key word is reign. Reining sin is different from isolated instances of sin. Think of a king in a castle ruling, reigning, over the land. In the Christian’s life, that king is KING JESUS! We have been delivered from the kingdom of Satan and now live under the grace, love, and mercy of Christ.
Using that (admittedly feeble) analogy, think of sin in the Christian life as trespassers in that good and righteous kingdom. Jesus rules over our lives. Jesus rules over all things! He killed death so we will not taste death’s sting. He love us! He grants us His righteousness through grace. Our life is characterized by the work of the Holy, Spotless One. Sin, then, is an unwelcome visitor and has no dominion in our lives. Think of sin as a lone arrow coming over that kingdom’s wall. “Get it out!” We shout, “You have no business being in this place!”
What has FLOORED me this week is that when sin does rear its head in the life of a Christian, God’s grace more than covers our shame. What’s more, life in Christ grants us the ability to STOP sinning and to follow Jesus in obedience. Because of our new heart, we do have a desire to follow the Lord – a desire that was nonexistent and, what’s more, totally impossible before coming to faith in Christ.
Christian, be confident in the victory that Christ has secured for you! Don’t wallow in self-pity, despair, or guilt when you do fall short. Repent. Turn to Jesus. Preach the Gospel to yourself over and over. Know that grace has no boundaries.
If you have more questions, Grace Community Church would love to hear from you. If you’re close to Berea, KY, consider visiting on Sunday morning. We’d love to have you. Contact us!