Your New Christian Life: Three Truths for Breaking the Bondage of Sin (Part 2)

God’s desire for each Christian is to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), that is, to live a life that is lived apart from sinful habits. If you have the assurance that you have been born again, the problem in your Christian life could be that you have run back to or developed ungodly habits that are more reflective of the “old man” than the “new creature.” Previously, I challenged you to identify the sinful habits that you’ve developed and to make a commitment to overcoming them. This can only be done by “knowing” that you’ve been born again and also by choosing to no longer be the servant of sin.

Now, we must go further in the application of truth in order to ensure that we remain free from the bondage of sin. The next truth to apply is found in Romans 6:11:

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you are going to be free from the bondage of sin, then you must “reckon” yourself to be dead to sin AND alive to God. This text does not leave us without a practical example as Jesus Christ is called upon to be the model of sanctified living. Notice the word “likewise” in verse 11 and its relationship to the previous two verses in the passage:

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. – Romans 6:9-10

We must be dead to sin in the same manner as Christ. The Lord Jesus died the physical death when He became sin and “death hath no more dominion over him.” When Christ died on the cross, He cried “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). It was in that moment as the skies darkened over the cross of Calvary that God chose to turn His back on His Son.

However, Christ did not remain dead; He was victorious over death as seen in His resurrection! As a result, He will no longer experience the miseries of sin nor lose fellowship with God. He experienced death once, and He will never again be separated from the presence of God.

Likewise we should be separate from the miseries of sin and remain in fellowship with God. In order to do this, the first thing you must do is to reckon yourself to be dead to sin. You must liken yourself to be equal to a dead man when it comes to sin. You must remain inanimate as one who has drawn his last breath.

When I was in college, I was required to visit a morgue in order to tour the facility and consult with the director. It was very helpful in enhancing my understanding of what takes place when a person passes on and what the family of the deceased has to deal with during a time of grief. One of the thoughts with which I wrestled the most was how alive the deceased appeared. They were dressed in fine clothing, adorned with make-up, and appeared only to be resting. Their stillness remained despite all that was taking place around them. The person who is deceased is incapable of responding. Just like a person who has died, the Lord wants you to be dead to sin. The key concept for breaking the bondage of sin is that you must no longer respond to sin. When sin calls to you, you must remain still. When sin appeals to you, you must abstain. When sin threatens you, you must pay it no attention. If you are dead to sin then you are one who no longer responds to sin.
However, it is not enough to be separate from sin. You must also reckon yourself to be alive unto God. If you are going to separate from something, then you must also separate to something.

Notice once again the exhortation in Romans 6:11:

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Notice in this verse that there are two aspects – leaving sin and cleaving to God. In order to make this lesson more practical, the Scripture follows up with two illustrations in verse 12 about a king and a porter.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

If you have “reckoned” yourself to be dead, then sin cannot be allowed to reign in your life. In implication is that we can allow sin to exercise kingly authority. If we yield to the rule of sin, then we will bow down to it and follow its commands. If this is the case in your life, then you have chosen sin as your King. There is room in your heart only for one king: sin or the King of Kings. You cannot claim to serve the Savior when you serve sin. Who is your king? Who will reign supreme? If you choose the Savior as your King then you will become dead to sin. If you choose sin as your king then you will obey it in the lusts thereof and become enslaved. This leads to the second illustration as depicted in the word “obey.” The idea here is “to listen.” The root word is the basis for our English word “acoustics” and is also used to describe the role of a “porter,” someone whose duty it was to stand at the door and answer it when someone knocked. Our problem with sin is that we listen to it and hearken to its demands. Whenever sin comes to call, we run to the door and let it in. We stand as the porter ready and willing to answer whenever sin wants to be let in to our lives. Christians must avoid the call of sin.

In Proverbs 9, wisdom and foolishness are personified as women who call out to people. They have the same audience (Proverbs 9:4 and 9:16), but their message and motives are very different (Proverbs 9:5-6 and 9:17-18). To whom will you listen? Sin is calling, but so is God! You must determine to deafen your hears to the calls of sin and open your heart to the call of God.
These questions targets your value system. It begs the questions, “What do you cherish more? On what do you place the greater value – the sin or the Savior?” The answer to that question will determine the course of your life each day; it will direct your thoughts, decisions, and behavior.

If you place the greatest value on the Lord Jesus Christ, then you must make a “reckoning” to be dead to sin and alive to God, that is, you will make a conscience acknowledgement that you are inanimate to the calling of sin. Then, you must become spiritually connected in fellowship with God through Christ.

Let’s take this principle a practical step further. Once you determine to leave sin, you must determine to cleave unto God. Many people realize that they must get rid of the problem, but they don’t know how to replace the sinful habit with something that will be helpful to them. You must learn the “principle of replacement” in order to complete your victory over sin and to ensure you are in fellowship with God. The principle of replacement helps you to understand what should be put away from you and what you should put in its place (Ephesians 4:22-24). For example, if you have identified that the music you listen to is taking you away from the Lord, then you shouldn’t just stop listening to music all together. You should also find and listen to music that will edify your spirit. For another example, consider the type of people with whom you socialize at work or privately. Do these people present stumbling blocks to your Christian life? Do they hinder your walk with God by promoting sinful attitudes and actions? If so, you should stop associating with them AND find people who will build up your Christian walk with God.  When you identify any type of sinful habit that you may have (anger, gossip, lust, bitterness, revenge, alcohol consumption, gambling, or any other sin) then you must find a replacement for that attitude or action instead (love, joy, peace, kindness, abstinence, financial prudence, or any other virtuous style of living).  It is a great step to stop doing the sinful things, but you must ensure that you go further by replacing the inappropriate and ungodly behavior with one that is appropriate and godly.  If you don’t, then the job is only half done and you’re highly likely to depart from God and pick up your sinful habit all over again.

I challenge all of you to pray and allow the Lord to search your heart.  He can reveal if there is a “wicked way” in you that needs to be addressed.  Determine to reject the sinful behavior by confessing it to the Lord and forsaking it (Proverbs 28:13).  Then, follow through with your decision by changing your life by adopting a new and godly habit.  They say, “Bad habits are hard to break.”  I agree, but so are good habits.  Start today to develop new habits that will flourish and furnish godly fruit in your life!

Once you have those personal issues resolved, you’ll be able to go further in your service to God and others.  However, you must first ensure your commitment to serve the Savior and not to serve sin.  What are you ready to serve? The next key action will demonstrate the decision you’ve made. If you have reckoned yourself to be dead to sin, then you will yield yourself to God’s service. If you yield yourself to sin, you will become an instrument of disobedience… to be discussed in the next article!

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5 thoughts on “Your New Christian Life: Three Truths for Breaking the Bondage of Sin (Part 2)

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