A phrase that we often repeat in our student ministry goes “Know + Be + Do = Authentic.” This is a picture of inward transformation that leads to the outward expression of our lives. We believe this is the essence of spiritual growth! As we grow in knowledge, that knowledge grows roots down into our hearts that then naturally begins to pervade our thoughts, attitudes, and actions–all through the empowerment of the Spirit who is at work within us. I believe this is what authentic Christianity looks like.
Over the past couple of weeks we have been walking through Romans 6 with our students as a part of a larger series on the gospel as presented by Paul in Romans. Last night we tied together three actions highlighted by Paul from the first 14 verses of chapter 6. It was neat for us to see how these three actions correspond so well with our know+Be+Do progression. I presented a tool, of sorts, to the students that they can use in dealing with sin in their lives. Perhaps it can offer you some encouragement today as you face that struggle as well. Here is how Paul moves from know to be to do, along with some summary truths and statements upon which we can focus as we battle and struggle with sin.
Know: I remember…
First, Paul calls his audience to know, or remember, some things that are true for those who are in Christ. He repeats the phrase “you know” 3 times early on in this passage. He is not revealing something new, but rather calling his readers to remember some key truths. It is good for us to preach these truths to ourselves often, recalling who we are in Christ as we live and struggle each day. We should preach these things to ourselves often.
- I am united with Jesus in his death.
- My old self was crucified with him.
- God intends to bring the whole body of sin to nothing.
- In Christ I am no longer enslaved to sin.
- I am united with Jesus in his life.
Be: I consider…
Because we know these things to be true, Paul calls us to then consider two specific realities about our lives. This word consider means to reckon. It doesn’t mean to feel like it or even fully understand it. In fact, rarely to do we truly feel that either one of the realities Paul calls us to consider here are true. But this is where the Word must inform our feelings. Paul doesn’t intend for his audience to claim a promise, but to act upon a settled fact. These things are true because of who we are in Christ. So we must consider these truths about our ourselves.
I consider (or reckon) myself…
- dead to sin.
- alive to God.
Do: I yield…
Paul offers the first command of this passage (and subsequently of the entire book of Romans!) in v. 12. Why? Because we have no hope of obedience without the foundation and power of the gospel! Because we know who we are in Christ, and because we then consider ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God, we are to then yield our lives to living in accordance with those truths.
I yield my life…
- I will not let sin reign in my body.
- I will not be ruled by my passions or feelings.
- I will not present my body and offer it up to sin.
- I will present myself to God and choose life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (6:23)
I challenged our students to work through these 3 steps several times over the course of this week (and hopefully beyond!) as they consider their own struggle with sin. Will you join me in doing the same? Remind yourself this week of the glorious truths of what it means to be united with Christ presented in Romans 6. Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in light of those truths. Then, yield your life to those truths and realities. As you do, remember the beautiful promise from 2 Peter 1:3-4:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.