If you’ve ever heard James McDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Illinois, preach you know he’s a pretty passionate guy who loves to proclaim the Word of God. I recently caught one of his sermons on Romans 6:11. It was tremendous! As I thought about what he said it struck me that this verse brings powerful truth to bear on the bondage of addictions or any habitual sin. For the first five chapters in the book of Romans there are many declarations but Romans 6:11 is the first imperative in the book of Romans. An imperative is a command requiring action. Here’s what Romans 6:11 says, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (NIV). I prefer the King James Version. The KJV puts it this way, “Likewise reckeon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Lord is giving us a two-part command: 1. consider or reckeon (the Greek can be translated “suppose” or “conclude”) yourself as dead to sin. This is the volitional or choice part of the two-part command. When tempted to sin or act out on my addiction I have a choice to make. I can embrace the temptation and heed its siren call or I can deny it any place in my life. When tempted I need to immediately declare out loud, “I’m dead to ____(Specific sin)____!” There is something very powerful in speaking the truth of the Word of God out loud. It exposes the temptation to the light and breaks its power.
2. The second part of the command is a contrast to being dead to sin. We are “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Alive declares an action that is ongoing in my life. I am now and forever alive to God through the instrumentality of Jesus Christ. He made me alive to God. This is the second part of the command. So with my mouth I declare the truth that I’m dead to sin and I declare with my mouth that I’m alive to God as His child. When tempted to view pornography or smoke marijuana or lie my way out of a situation, Romans 6:11 might sound like this, “I’m dead to (pornography or drugs, or lying)!” “God has made me alive to live in holiness!” Breaking the power of temptation is essential lest we cave and give in to it. Finally, take action. Like Joseph in the Old Testament, get out of there! Join me in . . .
Refusing to give the devil any ground in my life,