6 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 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. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
I have been a Christian for 18 years. Yet recently I realized that for all those years, I don’t think I’ve truly experienced repentance more than a handful of times.
I know that sounds scary. It scared me too.
About two weeks ago, I attended the Men’s Conference at Woodstock GA. God struck my heart with the truth of His word, and convicted me of an old sin. There was something in this world I loved too much. Something bigger to me than God. If I told you what it was, you would think it trivial, unimportant. Trivial like a small wooden doll is trivial, but oh what snares they were to our ancestors.
For years I’d try to put it away for good, only to take it back up again. I just couldn’t decide in my heart it was really sin. I justified it. I compromised. I suffered. My family suffered.
Finally, I put it down. I turned my heart away from the detestable idol and toward God.
Then something awful happened. I felt a void in my heart, like a wound that I could not explain. Depression swept over me, rather than the joy I expected. My life felt a little less bright for a few days, like I had lost a part of me.
I had. The sin part.
The pain, the loss, the depression was the idol dying inside of me. The sin’s last breath. The death rattle of iniquity. It hurt so much because of how close it had clung to my heart. This evil cancer breeding death was a part of me. Now it was dying.
The temptations came like a flood. Take it back! You cannot live without this! You will be lost! Many times past I had believed such lies. Not this time. I watched this part of me die a cruel death. A death it deserved. The sin was drawn back 2,000 years and nailed with Christ to the cross, and died.
After that, something amazing happened. I drew in a deep breath and suddenly I could see more, understand more, feel more. A part of me had died. A new part of me was suddenly very much alive.
It was at that point that the Word from Romans 6 came to life before my eyes. This was what Paul was talking about. Death was not just a metaphor for repentance, it was repentance. Death to Life. Just like Jesus.
It was also then that I realized I haven’t really repented of much since my conversion. Other than my conversion, I can probably count three other times when I truly repented of a sin and let it die the death it deserved on the cross. Sure, I’ve asked for forgiveness countless times during my Christian life, but repentance is a different matter.
Now that I have tasted the freedom and life it brings, I hope in Christ that will change. I want to kill more sin in me to see more of me brought to life in Him.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
– Galatians 2:20