“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11, KJV 1900)
When I was a boy, I used to watch a show called “The Beverly Hillbillies.” It was a show about a poor mountain man named Jed who stumbled upon oil when hunting for rabbit. He became an instant millionaire and on advice from his cousin Pearl moved to Beverly Hills CA. There is an interesting tension in the show between what Jed is and what he previously was, between now being a millionaire and his former life as a poor mountaineer. This tension is seen in that he always wore the old clothes and continued to drive the 1921 Oldsmobile truck that cousin Pearl lent him. He and the family struggled to make the transition to their new status as millionaires. This is a type of struggle that works in the mind where a person is changed but struggles to fully comprehend what it means.
I believe this is why Paul gives this exhortation to the readers. He tells them to “reckon” themselves dead to sin and alive to God. In our salvation experience, the fact of the transformation is so drastic that Christians may struggle to grasp the full reality of what God did in their lives. Paul has stated that “our old self was crucified with” Christ, that we died with Him. While he spoke of this in the past tense, he now tells believers to consider this as fact. The reason is that the way we look at ourselves influences the way we act.
We as believers should have no identity crisis. There should be no tension between who we now are and how we see ourselves in our own minds. Yet, it is something with which we still do struggle. Therefore, we need Paul’s reminder to consider ourselves as dead to sin and alive to God. Believer you have a new identity, not one that is corrupted and defiled, but one by which you have been counted as righteous, dead to sin and its power, and alive to God. Wrap your mind around this truth and walk in newness of life.