When we experience Jesus personally, our lives become drastically different. We move from a state of consuming information about Christ and into life formation in Christ. Romans 6 shows us that we are set free in the name of Christ Jesus. We die to sin, and raise again to life alongside Him to have a personal relationship with God, Our Father. The Gospel meets us where we are, and we are given the freedom to move forward into who God has called us to be! This is not always a linear path, but by the grace of God we are able to move past barriers that may be in our way to experiencing a life full in Christ! The world can know nothing about the formation that comes from Christ, if we as Christians don't share about our own personal formation.
Dead to Your Sins
“Live in the Kingdom of God in such a way that it provokes questions for which the Gospel is the answer.”
— Lesslie Newbigin
Once we become Christians, we are “set free from sin to live free from sin.” Because of the Gospel, sin no longer threatens to eternally separate us from God if we believe in Jesus. But that does not mean that a Christian should shrug their shoulders when temptation comes their way. No — we do our best to avoid sin not in order to be saved, but because we desire to obey the One who has already done the work of saving us.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
— Romans 6:1-4
When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, that means that we turned away from our old way of life in order to turn toward Him. The baptism Paul refers to in these verses is the symbolic action of being buried with Christ and dead to our past, sinful selves; then, we are raised to life anew with Him! Our old way led to death, but this new way leads to life. We are not made to take advantage of grace, but instead to follow God’s commands to love God and love people after He first loved us by stepping down from the glory of heaven to die for our sins.
You can put it this way: Once we are alive to God, we can never be the same. The Gospel gives you permission to be where you are, but freedom to move forward to who God wants you to be in Him.
Keep Moving Forward
To be alive in Christ means that we keep moving forward. We are always a work in progress, but Jesus’s death and resurrection gives us the power to be slaves to sin no longer. Fellowship, intake of the Word, and time in prayer will all help us to defeat our sin nature.
Whatever we nourish the most will grow the strongest in our lives; if we nourish the Christian disciplines, these will help us to overcome our sin. We make choices many times a day which will either foster our relationship with Christ or cause us to fall deeper into sin. We need to develop a hatred for sin, and a desire to avoid it.
People can have divided loyalties regarding many subjects or objects, but we cannot have a dual heart towards Jesus and the ways of the world; we cannot love God and sin. Sin lulls us into the lie that we think we are in control and can manage all the sin the world throws at us.
We have been saved from sin, and sin is what separates us from God. It is through the death of Christ that we have received eternal life, which begins while we are here on earth. Part of that life is empowerment over sin. Sin pays us back with death, but Jesus’s gift to us is a life of freedom over the power of sin. We will always struggle with the sin that is part of our human nature, but thanks to the gift of salvation from Christ instead of the death we deserve, we can receive grace, mercy, and power to overcome sin’s influence in our lives.