Set Free

“His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus did not only come to bring a message of deliverance and victory, but He actually came to do the work that would be required to set men free from their bondage and sin.

According to Romans 6:6-7, “…our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin”. Now that seems quite complicated but it is, in fact, quite simple. When we come to Christ and are born again we do not have two lives – one from our natural birth and one from our spiritual birth. We only have one life – the new, born-again life. So what happened to the old one? Well, we died to the old life. And we receive a new life in Christ. This is powerful and dramatic. But it is quite scary too. It is scary because many people claim to be “born again” but there is no evidence of the old person being dead and a new person having taken its place. It’s still the same old person with his old habits, sin and bondage.

Paul is clear that if we are born again, “our old man was crucified”. That means that the old life with its values, lifestyle, thoughts, sins and addictions have been killed. Of course, this is not something we can do for ourselves but it is what the Lord does through the power of the Holy Spirit. We just need to allow Him to do it. I once remember baptizing a man who seemed to have a change of heart at the last minute and fought me as I tried to dunk him under. In the same way some of us resist the Lord as He tries to kill the old man. Yes, we want the new life with all its blessings and benefits but were not willing to let go of the old. But there is just no way we can be born again and hold onto the old life. The old has to die before the new can come. But exactly here lies the problem. Many have tried to live the life of a Christian but the old has not died and the new has not come. So it’s all a charade and an endless struggle to be something they are not.

It seems so simple “For he who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:7). None of the people in the cemetery sin any more. No matter how vile their lives were before they died, the day they closed their eyes, they stopped sinning. Simple as that. And if we have been crucified with Christ, then we will stop sinning. But that’s just the problem. Have we truly been crucified? Are we really dead?

Now, if we are truly born again, then we must live in the reality of the truth that we have been (past tense) crucified with Christ. Paul says you must “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin” (Romans 6:11). He does not mean that we must recon (or account) something that is not – that is falsehood and deception. What we must recon is the truth. Sometimes we carry a burden for a long time and then when that burden is lifted, we keep feeling the weight of that burden and we have to remind ourselves that we no longer have the problem. Then one day the reality dawns and we then we truly feel free. In the same way we need to keep reminding ourselves that we have indeed been crucified and we need to recon as God recons – that we are dead “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2).

When Jesus died on the cross, somehow by God’s almighty power, we died with Him. He did not just die in our place, but we were in Him, and died at the same time as He died. I don’t know how that worked but I know it is true because the Bible says so. Not only does Romans 6:6 say so, but also Colossians 3:2. Also Galatians 2:20 says: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;”. So now it is up to us to choose who we believe, the deceiver who wants to keep us in bondage or the Word of God.
But there is more. Not only did we die with Him, we also rose with Him. Romans 6:8 says “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him”. As much as we are made partakers with Him of His death, so we are made partakers with Him of His resurrection life. Death takes care of the bondage to sin and to the old life. Resurrection takes care of the power to live the new life of the born again man. We cannot be free from sin without death and we cannot have power to live as we should without the resurrection.

The resurrection is the most powerful thing that ever happened. All the electricity, all of modern technology and all the power that can shoot a rocket into space can never raise the dead. But the power of God raised Jesus on that third day. And it is the same power that raised Jesus that is able to empower us to live the new life. That is powerful. There is nothing else like it. “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4). Indeed the same power that raised Christ will enable us to live the Christian life!

So why is it that we just don’t get the victory and why does all this remain in the area of theory? Firstly, it is because some have not really been born again. That is very sad but true. Secondly, of those who have been born again, very few actually believe the verses we have just quoted from Romans 6. Sure, they are hard to understand, but can we not find it in our hearts to believe it simply because it is in the Bible? It is not good enough to say we believe it and then to act as though these things do not exist. We need to believe that our old life is dead and that we have been raised to walk in newness of life and that truth needs to become so real to us that we actually live that reality.
Paul gives us a few steps in this process. First we need to know these things. (Romans 6:3, 6, 9). We know them by reading them and studying and meditating on them. Second we need to believe them (Romans 6:8). Third we need to recon what God recons (Romans 6:11) and then fourth we need to do three things: We must not let sin rule us. (Romans 6:12), we should not make ourselves available to sin (Romans 6:13), and we should make ourselves available to God to do the right things. (Romans 6:13)

Oh that we may begin to understand “what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places... And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 1:19 – 2:1)