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Death to Sin

By L.S. Chafer

      Several New Testament passages refer to the believer as being already dead. None of these, however, refer to an experience: they refer rather to a position into which the believer has been brought through his union with Jesus Christ in His death. "Wherefore if you are dead with Christ" (Col. 2:20); "For you are dead [you died], and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3); "I am crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20); "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14; "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24). In the last passage, as in the others, reference is made to something that is accomplished in all those who are Christ's. It could not therefore refer to some experience, the result of a special or particular sanctity on the part of a few. These passages, since they refer to all believers, can have but one meaning: in their union with Christ the "flesh with the affections and lusts" have positional been crucified. The word crucify as related to believers is always in the past, implying the judicial fact and not a spiritual experience. The believer may "mortify" which means to reckon to be dead; but he is never called upon to crucify. Even mortifying is possible only by the enabling power of the Spirit. "But if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live" (Rom. 8:13). We are plainly told that crucifixion is accomplished once for all. In view of this divine accomplishment, the child of God is to "reckon," "yield," "mortify" (count to be dead), "put off," "let," "put away," "take unto you the whole armor of God," "set your affection on things above," "put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him," "deny himself," "abide" in Christ, "fight," "run the race," "walk in the light," "walk in newness of life." Such is the human responsibility toward that deliverance which God had provided through the death of His Son and proposes now to accomplish by the Spirit.

      The divine objective, then, in all that is recorded in Rom. 6:1-10 is that we may "walk in newness of life." God has met every demand of His holiness in accomplishing for us, through Christ, all the judgments against the sin nature that He could ever demand It is recorded for us to understand and believe . . . . (He That Is Spiritual, pp. 161-162).

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