We must know the truth of what God’s Word says about our position in Christ so that we can have victory over issues in our life where the devil tries to trick us into believing lies, which result in sin.
God’s whole purpose in the plan of salvation was to save us from sin.
If we died with Christ we believe that we will also live with him. Christ was raised from the dead and cannot die again. Death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
The words “we will also live with him” refer to an experience of resurrection life here and now. There is a future resurrection and the same union of the believer with Christ that we have been talking about is a guarantee of it. But that is not what these verses are about. They refer to Jesus’ passage from a world where death reigned to the sphere of resurrection life. They refer to our passage from the reign of death to the reign of grace, to a present resurrection. This is what Paul said of himself in Philippians, where he wrote, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). He meant that he wanted to be victorious over sin.
This is the first time Paul urges his readers to do anything in the book of Romans. The Greek word for “count” in this verse is “logizomai” which is important because it means something that is reality, that is, with things as they truly are. It has nothing to do with wishful thinking. Paul’s starting point for exhorting us is counting as true what God has Himself already done for us. Sanctification begins with knowledge. The first step in growing in holiness is counting as true what is in fact true. Sanctification is knowing that God has taken us out of Adam and has joined us to Jesus Christ and then beginning to live that way. The secret to a holy life is believing God.
When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, He won the victory over the devil once and for all. The completeness of what Jesus accomplished for us is not clearly understood by many Christians today and as a result they spend an excessive amount of their life fighting a war that has already been won for them. God isn’t asking us to win the war again over the devil – that’s ancient history. He wants us to believe what truly happened 2000 years ago and use that victory in our daily lives to keep the devil in a bound condition. That is what triumphing is all about. By disarming the powers God took the devil’s guns away from him and stripped him of his ability to do what he had formerly done to the human race. Then God boldly and publicly showed that satan is no longer allowed to ravage mankind, provided we will accept Christ and His finished Work in our lives and live on God’s terms.
Paul takes his language here from the Roman customs of that time. When a Roman general defeated his opponent in war, the Roman Senate arranged a triumph for him upon his victorious return to Rome. A giant procession was organized, led by the conquering general. He was dressed in all his finery and placed in a magnificent chariot pulled by 2 beautiful white horses. The defeated general and all his underlings who had survived the war were stripped naked, bound and chained to the back of the conquering general’s chariot. This was purposely done to show the people they had nothing to fear from this defeated enemy from that time on. The procession then advanced through the streets of Rome as the citizens cheered the winning general. After his chariot passed by, cheers turned to shouts of derision for the conquered for who followed. People insulted them, spit upon them and hit them with rocks; absolutely humiliating this enemy who had had the gall to believe he could defeat the mighty Roman empire.
Applying this scenario to Christ’s victory over the devil, symbolically speaking, God put Jesus in the chariot and chained the devil and his demon hordes to the back of the chariot. And they are still there if we understand what God’s Word says.
Because we are “in” Christ, according to Romans 8:1-2, we are in the chariot with Christ Jesus, enjoying the spoils of winning the war! That is the reason we don’t have to beg God for what has already been accomplished. We aren’t’ standing on the sidelines, hoping a small part of the victory will rub off on us by chance. We are always triumphant in Christ! The reason some Christians have so much trouble with the devil and suffer assaults through fear, sickness, depression, sin and want is that they are believing the devil’s version of what their position is in Christ more than what God tells them about it in His Word.
We are expressly commanded to “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The wrestling match or battle or spiritual warfare that we are engaged in today revolves around this area of deception or illusions which the devil uses to trick us into believing his lies about the situation instead of God’s Truth. When the devil tries to put his symptoms of fear and sickness on us, we need to battle them with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
When the devil says he’s going to kill us or our children, we say “No, you’re not because God’s Word says this and this. Now get out of here in the Name of Jesus!”
Keep the devil behind the chariot where he belongs! He will try to pull us out of the chariot with his tricks. In fact some Christians are bound behind the chariot and the devil is running loose in their lives, stealing, killing and destroying, because they don’t understand it is their right, as a child of God, to keep the devil in a constant state of bondage! The fact is that the devil is terrified of true disciples who stay in the chariot, believing God more than anything else.
Being in relationship with God means that He will continually be purifying us and showing us areas of sin in our lives. In humility we’re to ask His Holy Spirit help us to be holy, as God is holy. This continual work of sanctification is a process that we walk in our entire lives.
Part of our on-going battle against sin in our lives involves our recognizing the lies that we’re believing and replacing those with the truths found in God’s Word. Spend time with God today and ask Him what in your life He considers as sin. Then ask the Lord to help you by the power of His Word and His Spirit to turn away from that sin. Let this be the pattern of your life. God exalts the humble and draws them near to Himself. In the nearness of God’s holy Presence sin melts away by the power of His infinite Love.