Even so (6:11a)
The first key word (know) has to do with the mind and is implied in the transitional phrase even so. Those two words are crucial to Paul’s explanation, referring back to the truths he has just given in the first ten verses of the chapter. The idea is, “You must know and fully believe what I have just said, or else what I am about to say will make no sense. The truth that you are spiritually dead to sin, and the reality that you are spiritually alive to Christ are not abstract concepts for your finite minds to attempt to verify. They are divinely-revealed, foundational axioms behind Christian living, apart from which you can never hope to live the holy lives your new Lord demands.”
Realizing the importance of the truths he presents in verses 1–10, Paul uses forms of know and believe some four times (vv. 3, 6, 8, 9), and in other places he implies that his readers know about certain other truths (see, e.g., vv. 2, 5, 7).
Scriptural exhortation is always built on spiritual knowledge. Although God would have been perfectly justified simply to have given men a list of unexplained do’s and don’ts, in His grace and compassion He did not choose to be autocratic. The basic reason He reveals as to why men are to live according to His standards was summarized in His declaration to ancient Israel: “Be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44). Quoting that very command, Peter admonishes Christians: “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’ ” (1 Pet. 1:15–16).
Scripture is replete with specific commands and standards for conduct, and behind all of them are divine truths, explicit or implicit, upon which those commands and standards are founded.
Paul has just declared that, as believers, we are united with Jesus Christ in His death and have through Him had the penalty paid for our sin. We have risen with our Lord Jesus Christ in His resurrection and therefore are able to walk in newness of life. Because Christ will never die again to sin, we will never die again to sin.
For a Christian to live out the fullness of his new life in Christ, for him to truly live as the new creation that he is, he must know and believe that he is not what he used to be. He must understand that he is not a remodeled sinner but a remade saint. He must understand that, despite his present conflict with sin, he is no longer under sin’s tyranny and will never be again. The true understanding of his identity is essential.
Through Hosea the Lord lamented, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hos. 4:6). Isaiah declared, “Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; for the Lord speaks, ‘Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand’ ” (Isa. 1:2–3). Paul admonished believers in Philippi, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8). He reminded Colossian believers that they had “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Col. 3:10). Faithful divine living without divine knowledge is impossible.
consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (6:11b–12)
The second key word (consider) has more to do with what we would call the heart. In its literal sense, logizomai means simply to count or number something. Jesus used it of Himself during the Last Supper when He disclosed to the disciples that He was the One “numbered with transgressors” of whom Isaiah prophesied (Luke 22:37; cf. Isa. 53:12). But the word was commonly used metaphorically in the sense of fully affirming a truth, of having unreserved inner confidence in the reality of what the mind acknowledges. Though both aspects actually occur in the mind, we think of this matter in the sense of being “heart felt.”
In the next chapter of this epistle Paul will illustrate from his own life how difficult it is for a Christian to realize experientially that he is free from sin’s bondage. As we look honestly at our lives after salvation, it is more than obvious that sin’s contamination is still very much with us. No matter how radical our outer transformation at the time of salvation may have been for the better, it is difficult to comprehend that we no longer have the fallen sin nature and that our new nature is actually divine. It is hard to realize that we are actually indwelt by the Holy Spirit and that God now calls us His children and deems us fit to live eternally with Him in His heaven.
To help us consider, it is advantageous to note that there are a number of reasons believers often find it difficult to comprehend that they are now free from sin’s bondage. Many of them do not realize that marvelous truth simply because they have never heard of it. They assume, or perhaps have been wrongly taught, that salvation brings only transactional or forensic holiness—that because of their trust in Christ, God now regards them as holy but that their basic relationship to sin is the same as it always was and that it will not be changed until they go to be with Christ. That view of salvation often includes the idea that, although trust in Christ brings the believer a new nature, the old nature remains fully operative, and that the Christian life is essentially a battle between his two resident natures. This makes salvation “addition” rather than “transformation.”
A second reason Christians often find it hard to believe they are actually free from the tyranny of sin is that Satan does not want them to believe it. If the enemy of our souls and the accuser of the brethren can make us think he still dominates our earthly lives, he weakens our resolve to live righteously by making it appear hopeless.
A third reason Christians often find it difficult to believe they are free from sin’s compulsion is that the reality of the new birth in Christ is not experiential, it is not physically observable or verifiable. Redemption is a divine and spiritual transaction that may or may not be accompanied by physical or emotional experiences. A believer cannot perceive or experience in any humanly verifiable way the moment of his dying and resurrection with Christ.
A fourth and perhaps the most common reason why Christians find it hard to believe they are freed from sin’s tyranny while they are still on earth is that their continued battle with sin seems almost constantly to contradict that truth. If they have a new holy disposition and sin’s control has truly been broken, they wonder, why are they still so strongly tempted and why do they so often succumb?
Paul’s answer follows, Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. He was not speaking of a psychological mind game, by which we keep affirming something over and over until we are convinced against our better judgment or even against reality that it is true. We know we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus because God’s Word declares it is so. In other words, those are truths of faith and they must be affirmed in faith.
David C. Needham wrote, “What could be more frustrating than being a Christian who thinks himself primarily a self-centered sinner, yet whose purpose in life is to produce God-centered holiness?” (Birthright: Christian, Do You Know Who You Are? [Portland: Multnomah, 1979], p. 69). Until a believer accepts the truth that Christ has broken the power of sin over his life, he cannot live victoriously, because in his innermost being he does not think it is possible.
Commentator Donald Grey Barnhouse said,
Years ago, in the midst of a Latin-American revolution, an American citizen was captured and sentenced to death. But an American officer rushed before the firing squad and draped a large American flag entirely around the victim. “If you shoot this man,” he cried, “you will fire through the American flag and incur the wrath of a whole nation!” The revolutionary in charge released the prisoner at once. (Romans: God’s Freedom [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961], p. 118)
In a similar way, Christ’s righteousness is draped over every believer, protecting him from sin’s deadly attacks.
We believe we are in God’s eternal purpose, plan, presence, and power because His Word assures us we are. Paul assured the Ephesian believers that God “chose us in Him [Christ Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4). And to the church at Philippi he wrote, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.… So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 1:6; 2:12–13).
There are many important and practical results of our considering ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. First, we can have confidence in the midst of temptation, knowing that with sin’s tyranny broken we can successfully resist it in God’s power. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Second, we have confidence that we cannot sin our way out of God’s grace. Just as we have been saved by God’s power alone, we are kept by His power alone. “My sheep hear My voice,” Jesus said, “and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27–29).
Third, when we truly consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ, we have confidence in the face of death. “I am the resurrection and the life,” our Lord said; “he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25–26; cf. Heb. 2:14).
Fourth, we know that, regardless of what happens to us in this life, no matter how disastrous it may be, God will use it not only for His glory but also for our blessing. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
All of those things, and many more, are true because we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. No religion in the world can or does make such a claim. Even the most ardent Muslim does not claim to be in Mohammed or in Allah. Buddhists do not claim to be in Buddha or Hindus to be in any of their multitude of gods. As Christians, however, we know that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3; emphasis added).
You Can Count on It
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
I want to start this study with a brief quiz on the early chapters of Romans, and the question I want to ask is this: How many times in the letter up to this point has the apostle Paul urged his readers to do something? That is, how many exhortations have there been?
More than ten? Thirty? Less than five?
How many imperative statements occurred in chapter 1? Were there more exhortations in chapter 5 than in chapter 4?
What do you think? How many exhortations has Paul made so far?
The answer to this question is that there have been none at all! And the reason I emphasize this is to call attention to the most significant thing to be noted about Romans 6:11. This verse is an exhortation, and it is the first in the epistle. This is the first time in five and a half chapters that the apostle has urged his readers to do anything.
What are they to do? The text says: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
This is an important enough statement in itself, but it becomes even more so when we realize that Romans 6:11 is also a turning point in the letter. I mean by this that, having gotten the first olive out of the bottle, so to speak, the other exhortative olives now tumble out naturally. The next verses are full of them: “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body. … Do not offer the parts of your body to sin … but rather offer yourselves to God … and offer the parts of your body to him …” (vv. 12–14, emphasis added).
What God Has Done
Most modern Americans are activists. So we are inclined to think, as we come to this verse, that we are at last getting to what matters. But, at the risk of prolonging our discussion of the earlier chapters beyond the limits of most people’s tolerance, I need to say that the point I am making—that this is the first exhortation in the letter—is of great practical importance.
Let me approach it this way. We live in an age of self-help books and seminars, in Christian circles as well as in the world at large, and these small books (they are usually small) and short (perhaps weekend-length) courses promise the consumer great things. The Christian versions offer formulas by which we are supposed to be able to move ahead quickly in our Christian lives. They teach us how to become great prayer warriors, perhaps even “change the world” through prayer. They show us how to relate to others successfully. They promise quick and effective methods of Bible study.
I do not want to suggest that these “quick fix” offerings are useless, of course. They are not useless. They are helpful to many, and I am sure they have their place, particularly in our fast-paced, solution-oriented culture. Still, if you have read any of these books or attended these seminars, isn’t it the case that you have generally been disappointed at some level, perhaps even deeply frustrated? Perhaps you have even been frustrated enough to write off completely these methods for growing strong in the Christian faith. You have said, “I am sure they must work for other people, but not for me. They help, but not enough. Probably nothing will help me. I am probably called to be just a normal [read ‘second-class’] Christian.”
What is wrong here? I suggest that because of our characteristic North American impatience with matters of basic substance or with anything requiring hard and prolonged work, we have jumped ahead too quickly to the “exhortation” parts of Christianity and have not taken sufficient time to understand and appropriate the fundamental teachings. If this is so, then Paul’s procedure in Romans should be of great help to us. Was Paul not interested in the spiritual growth of the Roman Christians? Of course, he was. But he knew that there was no use rushing ahead to tell them how to live the Christian life until he had first fully instructed them on what God had done for them in Jesus Christ. This is because the work of God in Christ is foundational to everything else about Christianity.
What Paul principally wanted his readers to understand here is what theologians call the mystical union of believers with Jesus Christ. Paul’s way of talking about this is to say that Christians are “in Christ,” “in Jesus Christ” or “in him.” Those who count such things tell us that those phrases occur 164 times in Paul’s writings. One of them is in our text, and it is the first time this exact phrase has occurred in Romans. Yet it is what Paul has really been talking about for several chapters. Romans 5 dealt with it directly, contrasting our former state of being in Adam with our present state of being in Christ. In Romans 6 this has already been presented indirectly in terms of our having died to sin and having been united to Jesus in his resurrection.
This has been done for us by God. It has been his work, not ours. We have no more joined ourselves to Jesus in his resurrection than we have died for our own sins. If we are Christians, everything that is necessary has been done for us by God.
A Bookkeeping Term
What we learn in a general way, by reflecting on the amount of teaching Paul has given in chapters 1–5 of Romans, is reinforced by the verb he uses in Romans 6:11. It is the word count (or “reckon,” as some of the other versions have it). The Greek word is logizomai, and it is related to the more common term logos, meaning “word,” “deed,” or “fact.”
In classical Greek, logizomai had two main uses:
- It was used in commercial dealings in the sense of evaluating an object’s worth or reckoning up a project’s gain or losses. In other words, it was a bookkeeping term. We have preserved a bit of this in our English words log, logistics, and logarithm. A log refers to the numerical record of a ship’s or airplane’s progress. Logistics is a military term dealing with the numbers and movement of troops or supplies. A logarithm is the exponent to which a base number is raised to produce a given number.
- Logizomai was also used in philosophy in the sense of objective or nonemotional reasoning. We have preserved this meaning in our English words “logic” and “logical.”
The common ground in these two uses of the word is that logizomai has to do with reality, with things as they truly are. In other words, it has nothing to do with wishful thinking. Nor is it an activity that makes something come to pass or happen. It is an acknowledgment of or an acting upon something that is already true or has already happened. In bookkeeping, for example, it means posting in a ledger an amount corresponding to what actually exists. If I “reckon” in my passbook that I have $100, I must really have $100. If not, “reckoning” is the wrong word for me to be using. “Deceiving myself” (or others) would be more like it.
It will also help us in our understanding of Romans 6:11 to recognize that logizomai has already been used several times in Romans and that in every case it has referred to recognizing something that is factual. In fact, logizomai has appeared fourteen times before now, and it will occur again (in Romans 8 and 9). The chief use has been in chapter 4 (eleven occurrences), where Paul employed it to show how our sins have been reckoned to Christ and punished there, and how his righteousness has been reckoned (“credited”) to us. These two “reckonings” are the two parallel sides of justification, and when we studied them (in volume 1) we saw that their strength comes from knowing that they concern realities. They are not just imaginary transactions. Jesus really did die for our sin; he suffered for our transgressions. Similarly, his righteousness really has been transferred to our account, so that God accounts us righteous in him.
This has bearing on Paul’s exhortation to us in Romans 6:11. For although he is proceeding in this chapter to the area of what we are to do and actions we are to take, his starting point is nevertheless our counting as true what God has himself already done for us.
This is so critical that I want to ask pointedly: Do you and I really understand this? We cannot go on until we do.
Can I possibly say it more clearly?
Try this: The first step in our growth in holiness is counting as true what is, in fact, true.
And this: The key to living the Christian life lies in first knowing that God has taken us out of Adam and has joined us to Jesus Christ, that we are no longer subject to the reign of sin and death but have been transferred to the kingdom of God’s abounding grace.
And this: The secret to a holy life is believing God.
The First Reality: Dead to Sin
In our text Paul says there are two things God has done that we are to count on. First, that we are dead to sin if we are Christians. We have already seen how this is to be taken. It does not mean that we are immune to sin or temptation. It does not mean that we will not sin. It means that we are dead to the old life and cannot go back to it.
That is the reality Paul first stated explicitly at the beginning of Romans 6, in verse 2. “We died to sin,” he said. In verses 3 and 4, he restated it: We were “baptized into his death” and “buried with him through baptism into death.” It was also said in verse 5: “We have been united with him in his death.” Verse 6 said it, too: “Our old self was crucified with him.” Verse 7 again made the point that we “died” with Christ. All those statements have been factual. They describe something that has happened.
On the basis of this truth, Paul now tells us to “count” ourselves as having died to sin in Christ Jesus. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones renders it: “Consider, and keep constantly before you, this truth about yourself.” In other words, learn to think of yourself as one who has been delivered from sin’s realm.
This is such a pivotal text that it is worth adding a number of things that this statement does not mean. Lloyd-Jones lists six of them:
- It does not mean that it is my duty as a Christian to die to sin. The text has nothing to do with duty. It is concerned with fact.
- It is not a command for me to die to sin. How can I be told to do what has already been done to me?
- It does not mean that I am to reckon that sin as a force in me is dead. That would not be true. Sin is a force in me, though it is a force whose effective power over me has been broken (v. 6).
- It does not mean that sin in me has been eradicated.
- It does not mean that I am dead to sin as long as I am in the process of gaining mastery over it. That would make the statement refer to something experimental, and it does not do that. It refers to a past event.
- It does not mean that reckoning myself dead to sin makes me dead to sin. That is backwards. What Paul is saying is that, because we have died to sin, we are to count on it.
The Second Reality: Alive to God
The second reality Paul says we are to count on is that we are now “alive to God in Christ Jesus.” This statement completes the parallel to verse 5, in which Paul said, “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” It explains how the earlier verse is to be taken. You may remember that when we were discussing verse 5 in the previous study, I stressed that the resurrection referred to there is not the future resurrection of believers at the end of time but rather a present experience of Christ’s resurrection life now. That is exactly where verse 11 has brought us. It tells us that just as we have died to sin (and must count on it), so also have we been made alive to God in Jesus Christ (and must count on that also).
This is the positive side of the matter, the side we were beginning to open up in the earlier study. But we only touched on it there. Here we can ask: “Just what does being made alive to God in Jesus Christ mean? What changes have taken place?” Let me suggest a few of them.
- We have been reconciled to God. In the earlier chapters of Romans there has been a grim sequence of terms: sin, wrath, judgment, death. But God has lifted us out of that downward-spiraling sequence by a set of opposing realities: grace, obedience, righteousness, eternal life. This means that we were subject to the wrath of God but that now, being in Christ, we are in a favorable position before him. Before, we were God’s enemies. Now, we are his friends and, what is more important, he is a friend to us. There is a new relationship.
- We have become new creatures in Christ. Not only is there a new relationship between ourselves and God, which is wonderful in itself, but we have also become something we were not before. In 2 Corinthians, Paul puts it like this: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ …” (2 Cor. 5:17–18).
Another way of putting this is to speak of regeneration, or of being born again, which was Jesus’ term for it. He told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This was a deliberate backward reference to the way in which God breathed life into our first parent Adam, so that he became “a living being” (Gen. 2:7). Before that, Adam was utterly inert, a lifeless form. But when God breathed some of his breath into him Adam became alive to God and all things. Likewise, this is what happens when God breathes new spiritual life into us in the work known as regeneration. We become something we were not before. We have a new life. That life is responsive to the one who gave it.
Before this, the Bible meant nothing to us when we read it or it was read in our hearing. Now the Bible is intensely alive and interesting. We hear the voice of God in it.
Before this, we had no interest in God’s people. Christians acted in ways that were foreign to us. Their priorities were different from our own. Now they are our very best friends and co-workers. We love their company and cannot seem to get enough of it.
Before this, coming to church was boring. Now we are alive to God’s presence in the service. Our worship times are the very best times of our week.
Before this, service to others and witnessing to the lost seemed strange and senseless, even repulsive. Now they are our chief delight.
What has made the difference? The difference is ourselves. God has changed us. We have become alive to him. We are new creatures.
- We are freed from sin’s bondage. Before we died to sin and were made alive to God, we were slaves of our sinful natures. Sin was ruining us. But even when we could see that clearly and acknowledge it, which was not very often, we were still unable to do anything about it. We said, “I’ve got to stop drinking; it’s killing me.” Or, “I am going to ruin my reputation if I don’t stop these sexual indulgences.” Or, “I’ve got to get control of my temper, or curb my spending [or whatever].” But we were unable to do it. And even if we did get some control of one important area of our lives, perhaps with the help of a good therapist or friends or a supportive family, the general downward and destructive drift was unchanged. We really were non posse non peccare (“not able not to sin”), as Saint Augustine described it.
But, being made alive to God, we discover that we are now freed from that destructive bondage. We still sin, but not always and not as often. And we know that we do not have to. We are now posse non peccare (“able not to sin”). We can achieve a real victory.
- We are pressing forward to a sure destiny and new goals. Before, we were not. We were trapped by the world and by its time-bound, evil horizons. Being saved, we know that we are now destined for an eternity of fellowship and bliss with God. We have not reached it yet. We are not perfect. But we echo within what Paul said in describing his new life in Christ to the Philippians: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12–14).
- We can no longer be satisfied with this world and its offerings. To be sure, the world never did really satisfy us. The world, which is finite, can never adequately fill beings who are made with an infinite capacity for fellowship with and enjoyment of God. But we thought the world and its values were satisfying. We expected to be filled.
Now we know that it will never work and that all we see about us, though it sometimes has value in a limited, earthly sense, is nevertheless passing away and will one day be completely forgotten. Our houses will be gone; our televisions will be gone; our beautiful furniture and cars and bank accounts (even our IRAs and Keoghs) will have passed away. So these tangible things no longer have any real hold on us. We have died to them, and in their place we have been made alive to God, who is intangible, invisible, and eternal, and of greater reality and substance than anything else we can imagine.
Therefore, we know ourselves to be only pilgrims here. We are passing through. Like Abraham, we are “looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).
“A Man Like Me”
Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
I think of Nehemiah as an illustration of what this means and of what our attitude should be. Nehemiah had determined to rebuild the wall of the ruined and abandoned city of Jerusalem, and he was being opposed by the rulers of the rival city-states around him. Two of his opponents were Sanballat of Samaria and Geshem the Arab. They invited him to a conference to be held about a day’s journey from Jerusalem on the plain of Ono. This was a ploy to slow down Nehemiah’s project and perhaps even to kidnap or murder him. Nehemiah refused to stop the work and go to the meeting. His words were classic: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh. 6:3).
Later when the same people tried to frighten him with rumors of a plot on his life, Nehemiah replied, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” (v. 11).
It is that courageous, self-aware attitude to life that I commend to you. “Shall I go on sinning so that grace may increase?” You should be able to answer, “How can such a one as I do it—I who have died to sin and been made alive to God in Christ Jesus?” For that is what has happened to you, if you are a Christian. You have been removed from your former state to another. Your job is to reckon it so, to count on it. You must say, “A person like me has better things to do than to keep sinning.”
11 In the previous verses, Paul has been imparting information on the subject of union with Christ, and in keeping with this he has three times used the word “know” (vv. 3, 6, 9), as a way of focusing on what is true. Now he employs a different key word—“count” or “reckon” (logizomai [GK 3357], the same term used so often in ch. 4 in connection with righteousness), used in the imperative. We encounter here the oddity of the juxtaposition of the indicative and the imperative—i.e., something is flatly affirmed to be true, and then immediately we encounter the command to act in a way that manifests this truth. This interesting feature of Pauline thought is the result of the tension between what is sometimes called “positional” truth and “experiential” truth and is not unlike that between present and future eschatology. The challenge of Christian living for Paul can be stated in the maxim, “Be what you are,” or, “Act out your true identity.”
Counting something as true does not create the fact of union with Christ but makes it operative in one’s life. The charge to consider oneself “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” is thus in the present tense, stressing the necessity to keep up the process if one is to avoid reactivating the body of sin. Paradoxically, the Christian is dead and alive at the same time, as in Galatians 2:20—dead to sin and self but alive and responsive to God. The Christian is to give no more response to sin than a dead person can give. On the other hand, all the potential afforded by redeemed life is to be channeled godward: “alive to God.”
Paul seems to lay considerable stress on the importance of this process of counting true or reckoning. It is not a matter of attempting to convince oneself of something untrue, thus amounting to self-deception. Rather, it is a matter of letting the truth of union with Christ have its intended effect. What is factually true must be allowed to become a matter of experience. Christians are “to arm themselves with the mentality that they are dead to sin; for that is what happened to them in the baptismal experience” (Fitzmyer, 438).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 1, pp. 332–336). Chicago: Moody Press.
 Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, pp. 673–680). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
 Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 107–108). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.