In Romans 6:11 Paul tells Christ-followers to “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Was Paul simply promoting positive thinking? Was he suggesting that Christ-followers can become sinless in this life? Not at all. He was giving us the pathway to growth in our love-relationship with God.
The word “COUNT” in this verse is an accounting term. When you deposit money into the bank, that money is COUNTED by the bank as your money. In the same way, when you received Christ, God CREDITED you with Christ’s righteousness. “CREDIT” and “COUNT” are the exact same word in the original language of the Bible. In other words, the moment you received Jesus as Savior, God moved all the righteousness that was listed in Jesus’ account to your side of His cosmic ledger, and all of your sin was moved over to Jesus’ side. In banking terms, His righteousness is COUNTED as yours. This transaction is revealed in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
We are not to live by our feelings because we’ll never FEEL like we are dead to sin. Temptation and sin will always appear to be attractive to us. Instead, we are to live by TRUTH. That is what Paul is doing. He is revealing what is true about us: we are dead to sin and alive to God.
An illustration that has helped me to understand this is that of the sale of a company. The new owner often puts into place a new management team. From that point on, you are “dead” to your old boss and “alive” to the new boss. In the same way, you came under new management when you asked Christ to live inside you and be your new Boss. Sin is no longer your master, Jesus is. Thus, when temptation suggests a course of action, we are to say, “You’re not my boss anymore; Jesus is.”
Don’t overlook the second half of the verse. You’re not only dead to the old boss, but you are alive to God, your new Boss. He has established a love-relationship with you. The Bible tells us that before we received Christ, we were dead to God. In other words, we did not possess a love-relationship with Him. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” The Lord Jesus has transferred our citizenship from the kingdom of darkness and hopelessness to the Kingdom of His Father. It is a Kingdom of grace, forgiveness, love, and eternal life.
Let’s take advantage of God’s accounting methods, and start COUNTING ourselves dead to sin and alive to Him!