“Advance Notice” is a devotion series for moving forward and gaining momentum in your walk with Christ. "Advance Notice" means: Pay attention! This is important! Moving forward and gaining momentum in your walk with Christ is going to take some re-focusing and re-adjusting of your life in relation to Christ in your life - and it needs to happen on a regular basis. So think about your walk with Christ in advance, before proceeding any further down the path that your life takes. (A later AN may be a deeper look at this title and concept.) - Joseph
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. . . . but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life . . .” (Romans 6:11-13)
As we who are followers of Christ seek to develop a Christ-like quality to our lives, one area that we are completely unlike Christ is sin. Christ was perfect – no sin in his life whatsoever. You and I continue to struggle with resisting sin. We are not perfect and will not become perfect in this life.
That does not mean that we should give up and just give in to sin. God calls us to resist sin and press on toward holiness (Romans 6:18). Hebrews 12:4 tells us that we have not yet resisted sin as much as we should. As followers of Christ, we must live how Christ wants us to, and that means living righteously instead of sinfully.
But sin has a strong pull on us, and we are continually tempted to sin. So how can we live like Christ, pleasing God in everything? We can start by realizing who we are. We are those who have been delivered from sin and who no longer have to obey sin. Before we accepted Christ and began following him, we sinned because we couldn’t avoid it. Now that Jesus Christ has forgiven us and declared us to be righteous (Romans 3:21-24), sin doesn’t have the grip on us that it used to have. Romans 6:11 says, “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Through Christ, we are dead to sin. We don’t have to sin. We still do, but not because we have to. Christ’s presence in our lives means that we are alive and don’t have to go back to the sinful way of living.
So remember your identity. When sin tempts you to give in and go against God, remember that you are not a slave to sin. You are a servant of righteousness to do what God wants. Romans 6:12 says we should not let sin reign in us. Instead we should offer ourselves to God. Sin is what those who are dead do. Living righteously is what those who are alive in Christ do (Ephesians 2:1-5). We have been brought from death to life (Romans 6:13), so we should not and do not need to sin.
Our identity is that we belong to God and stand before God as His righteous children (John 1:12; Eph. 2:6-7). We have died to sin and it has died to us. It is as if sin is a monster that our Deliverer has killed for us, but its tentacles still wrap around our ankles trying to drag us back to sin’s depths. But the Deliverer has set us free! We are alive and sin’s grip can’t pull us back. So break free! We will continue to struggle with sin, but when you do sin, confess your sins to God to restore your fellowship with Christ (1 John 1:9). Then get back to living who you are in Christ. Live as a servant of the living God rather than a slave of sin. You are free, so don’t go through life tangling with the mess you have been set free from.