As Christians we often know we’re not living like we should and keep trying to change so we can please God but don’t always succeed. Why? Maybe it’s the way we think about it. We try to overcome bad habits on our own, asking God to help us.
The good news is we don’t have to fight our wrong actions because they died when Christ was crucified! Maybe you say if such a thing is dead, why does it keep on occurring? Why do I keep on doing what I don’t want to do? I fly off the handle if someone says the wrong thing to me, and I really don’t want to do that. How can that happen if it’s dead?
The Bible says, My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). We need to start practicing the godly way we know we should live. Gradually we’ll see the wrong actions disappear, replaced by the way we want to behave.
Paul explains all of this in Romans 6: 1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. 12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace (emphasis mine).
These verses tell us exactly how this happens. Spiritually our self-will and wrong actions died when Christ became our Savior, but we may not realize the significance of this. We must start thinking this way and it will change the way we act. When we think daily about the wrong we do dying with Jesus, we’re able to start practicing the good we want to do. Yes, it doesn’t happen immediately. Just as a baby tries to stand up many times before he stands very long, so we must keep on trying until it becomes natural.
Perhaps we haven’t noticed these verses so we don’t even know what benefits we have as Christians. Lack of knowledge keeps us imprisoned when the capacity to escape already belongs to us. Let’s start taking to heart what the Bible tells us God provides when we trust Jesus as our Savior. We might surprise ourselves.
All verses from Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.