You just woke up in a world where everyone owns airplanes. No cars, boats, or busses. Everyone has a personal airplane and they can go anywhere they want. You look in your garage and see you have an airplane, too. You are so proud of it. You tell everyone about how nice it is. You polish it and get to know every decal by name. Then, you get up and walk everywhere you go.
You believe that Jesus is your Savior, but you probably really do not believe that in practice. Christianity has devolved into being a philosophy rather than a living faith. We believe Jesus died and rose again, but we keep doing everything in our own strength. We have a jet ready and waiting for our use, but we wear ourselves to death walking everywhere.
Christ’s death for me
Jesus did not just die. He died for me. He died as me. Because we were enslaved to sin in our mortal bodies, He let His mortal body get nailed to a tree and die. Death is the only way to stop sin in my body. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:2).
How do we die? We join Christ in His death:
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)
Unlike most Christian teaching on “you have got to die to yourself” and “you have to crucify your flesh,” the Bible says we already died with Christ when we enter the waters of baptism in His name. Your flesh “was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:6).
The airplane is in your hanger. Believe in a Jesus who died and rose again—not as some lofty story, but as a daily reality. Baptism in the Name and person of our Lord Jesus Christ is your statement of faith that just as He died on the cross, so your flesh died with Him. Now that you are dead, you cannot sin, because “he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:7).
Do we have to keep dying?
For centuries, Christians have told each other that they have to keep dying out to the flesh. However, if we take Jesus’ death by faith, they we take ours as well. We know that Jesus, being “raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him” (Romans 6:9). He died once and He dies no more. Why do we lie to ourselves that we have to keep dying?
Instead of believing in a perpetual dying, we should know that since “we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Romans 6:8). You should take by faith that because “He died to sin once for all,” then “you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:10-11). Your flesh is just as dead as Jesus’ flesh on the cross. After He died, He could not be tempted by sin any longer. Neither can you.
Right thinking produces right living
Once you take by faith the fact that you are dead to sin, you will “not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Romans 6:12). Once you know who you are in Christ, you will “not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). By faith, “sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14).
All your life you have struggled with the desire to do right while you kept doing wrong. Why continue the misery? Once you realize who you are in Christ, you are free. Sin has no power over you, because “you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). A dead body cannot sin!
You are dead in Christ so the law has no force over you and sin cannot come alive. Those “who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). This does not say you have to keep crucifying it—it is done. Then, just as Jesus came back from the grave, even so we also walk in newness of life. Since true believers “live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
A proper understanding of water baptism helps us see our victory over sin by joining in the death of Christ. Now, we need a proper understanding of life, this resurrection life and how we join Christ in it.
New life in the Spirit
Jesus rose from the grave to give life to us by His Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost, the Promise came, filling dozens and then thousands with the same Spirit that empowered our Lord Jesus Christ. They spoke in new languages as the Holy Spirit moved in their mortal bodies. We can enter that same experience. The Holy Spirit is our power over sin.
A believer should “not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). Not only have I died to the law of sin, but “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). We fulfill the spirit of the Law without keeping its regulations because we “do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). Once you have the right thinking on this, you will not try to live by rules and ritual, because “those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).
Living by a new power force
Our fleshly thinking is death, but spiritual thinking is life. People “who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). That is why we die with Christ by faith, so that we can live. If you have been buried with Christ in baptism, “you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Romans 8:9-10).
Sin used to animate your body. It overpowered your will and made you do things you did not want to do. Now, your body can be empowered by a new force—the same life force that brought Jesus’ dead body back from the grave and raised Him in a glorified body that cannot be tempted with sin. So, “if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
The Spirit-filled difference
If you do not believe you are dead in Christ and alive in His Spirit, you will struggle in your own willpower your whole life. However, “if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). If you have not done it, put your flesh to death in the waters of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Worship Him and accept the free gift of His Spirit which He still gives the same way it began—by using your tongue to speak His praises in words you cannot understand.
Yes, most Christians have always believed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Instead of leaving that awesome truth parked behind closed doors, accept your identity in Christ and let your life soar. By faith, know that you are dead with Him so you can live in His Spirit. You, too, can say, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
You can locate an apostolic church in your area where someone will baptize you into the name of Jesus Christ and celebrate with you as He fills you with His Spirit.