Dead to Sin, Alive to God

by Mike Ratliff

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2 (NASB) 

No-Lordship salvation teaches a form of grace that is weak and ineffectual. Some have referred to it as “sloppy grace.” Perhaps a more common name for it is “Cheap Grace.” Cheap Grace is that which appears free, but has little value. It has not the power to change lives. Its sole beneficence is that those who bestow it on themselves proclaim they are saved. On the other hand, Genuine Grace is that which is free, but it very costly. It is priceless. It not only saves, it changes the believer into a new creation. It is never bestowed or controlled by people, but only comes from God. It is freely given to those whose Lord is Jesus Christ. Salvation is by Grace through faith alone. Our salvation is God’s work from beginning to end. Those who claim salvation because of their own religious works such as saying a specific prayer, or walking an aisle, et cetera are trusting in themselves and the quality of those acts of works righteousness in order to claim salvation. However, the genuine Christian is regenerate, a new creation. Regeneration comes first. That is the source of the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8). It is because of this regeneration and the gift of faith that the new believer does believe, repent, and surrender to the Lordship of Christ.

Being new creations, Christians have died to sin. The light from the life born in them by God has obliterated the darkness in their hearts. They now have the ability to obey God and walk in repentance and obedience. As we have been discussing in the last several posts, the 21st Century Church is besotted with itself. It is self-focused. It is full of professing Christians who are in bondage to their flesh. They have no idea what religion is nor what God is after from His people. God desires obedience. Those whose Christ went to the cross to save them from their sin and its penalty are saved by grace through faith. They did no works to earn or deserve it. However, obedience is a fruit of a regenerate heart.

Those of us who struggled massively with repentance for years often doubted our salvation. We would read passages such as Romans 6:1-2 and think that we must not be trying hard enough. The problem is that we were never discipled how to walk in repentance. No one taught us how to take every thought captive. No one showed us how to fight the fight. As we walked through each day trying not to sin we would end up right in the middle of it more often than not. There seemed to be no power whatsoever to keep from it. For myself, I would have good periods and bad periods. My good periods were marked by an increase in time with God. I have gone back and examined those times. The times that were good were not only marked by an increase in time with God, the catalyst was always me coming to a place of responsibility where I had to rely on God to help me or I couldn’t do it. The bad times would come when those days of spiritual need would pass (in my little brain that is). I no longer was in that need so I became self-sufficient. Then I would always slip right back into my old behavior and attitudes. It was as if my life was a model for the book of Judges.

What changed? I have mentioned this several times. My restoration or revival or whatever it is, was a time over many months where I drew closer and closer to God by devoting more and more time to worship, prayer, and Bible study. On top of that, I also started studying doctrine. Yes, that’s right. Those who really love Jesus will also love His Word because it contains His image. The crux of my change was this. I learned how to become Spirit led, or some would say Spirit filled. This is described in great detail in Ephesians 5-6.  To make a long story short, God drew me to walk in repentance and I was able to actually do so as He led me. My love for Him became so deep and overwhelming that I became full of Joy. God drew me and empowered me, but I still had to obey and repent. I am still repenting. I am still having to deal with evil in my heart that I didn’t even realize was there. I still battle pride and drives for self-gratification. The difference now is that I value the Joy of the Lord and God’s glory above anything that I could experience in the flesh.

How can this be? How can a Christian who is in bondage to his flesh and half-blind spiritually go from that slough of despond to walking in victory and running the race set before him? It took time. It took obedience. It took repentance. It took prayer. However, none of that would accomplish anything outside of God’s grace. As I spent more and more time with Him my mind became more and more renewed. This transformed me from a self-focused, fleshly believer to a Spirit led believer whose heart’s desire is for God to be glorified in me. I quit trying to stop sinning. Yes, that’s right. I quit trying to use my will power to quit sinning, instead, I simply obeyed God, loved God, and served God. The desire to sin diminished in power and vitality. I was in the process of killing it. I was mortifying my sin by replacing all of the things in my life that made it easy to be fleshly with godly things. I began a many month fast from feeding my flesh what it wanted and, instead, feasted on God.

Do you want to be free of some besetting sin. Then find out what feeds that sin and fast from it. Cut it off. Do away with what nourishes that desire. Now if that is all you do, you will eventually fail. Instead of feeding your flesh, feed your spirit. Get into your Bible. Praise God. Worship Him as He deserves. Fall in love with Him and obey Him. If you will do this you will draw near unto God. He will then draw near unto you. Then he will love you and tenderly draw you into a life of repentance. Your part is to not just do this for awhile, but continue in it in place of feeding your flesh.

3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:3-14 (NASB emphasis mine)

If we will do this, then our lives in the temporal will be abundant. We will have found the only way to be truly fulfilled in this life. That abundant life is only for those who are dead to sin and alive to God.

Some may say, “Why are you talking about this stuff, what about Critical Race Theory, wokeism, intersectionality, Covid-19, et cetera?” Well, what about them? They are still going on all around us regardless. As believers we should have two main concerns. The first one is what I shared in this post and the other is to share our faith with every lost person we know or at least assist those who do that. We should be all about doing both. Time is short. Amen?

Soli Deo Gloria!

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