Focus on the Facts

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

- Romans 6:11

We have now spent nearly four full months studying through the first five chapters of the apostle Paul’s monumental epistle to the Romans. Paul has laid significant theological groundwork, showing us the total depravity of humanity and the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, by which God justifies us and brings us into union with Christ. Now Paul gives us something he has not given heretofore—an exhortation: “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

At last—something to do. But we must be careful to understand what Paul is saying before we spring into action. The key word, the imperative verb here, is reckon. This is the Greek word logizomai, which was used in bookkeeping (to speak of the value of something or to appraise a project’s success) and in philosophy (to refer to objective reasoning). “The common ground in these two uses of the word is that logizomai has to do with reality, with things as they truly are,” Dr. James M. Boice writes in his Romans commentary. “It is an acknowledgement of or an acting upon something that is already true or has already happened.” Paul is exhorting us to get a firm mental grasp on two important facts. First, we are dead to sin. As we have seen, this means that our old life of complacent sinfulness is ended and we cannot go back to it. Second, we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. Boice suggests that this means several things: We have been reconciled to God; we have been reborn or remade as new creatures; we are freed from slavery to sin; and we have been given a new flag to follow and a higher calling than ever before. In short, we are to see our lives as parallel to Christ—dead to sin, alive to God (v. 10).

Boice notes that this is only the first of what soon will become a rushing stream of Pauline exhortations as to how we are to live the Christian life. Being the first, it carries special importance. As Boice puts it: “The key to living the Christian life lies in first knowing that God has taken us out of Adam and has joined us to Jesus Christ, that we are no longer subject to the reign of sin and death but have been transferred to the kingdom of God’s abounding grace.” But he takes the time to restate the idea in this way: “The first step in our growth in holiness is counting as true what is, in fact, true.”

Coram Deo

Our enemy the deceiver does not want us to know ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God. He wants to persuade us to believe we are still under sin’s power and need to earn God’s favor. Thus, we must allow our minds to be renewed by God’s Word (Rom 12:1–2) lest we forget the facts. Make time for reminders from Scripture.

Passages for Further Study

2 Corinthians 5:17–18
Philippians 3:12–14
Hebrews 11:10

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