“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV).
Because Jesus, God the Son, came to earth, took on flesh, lived the perfect life, died a sacrificial wrath absorbing death, and rose from the grave, if we look to Him by faith we are now counted righteous in Him, because His righteousness is credited to us. All that Jesus is and all that Jesus has done as the God-man is ours by faith. Because He died on the cross, we in our sin have died on the cross. As that great hymn says, “My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought… My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more… Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Oh, my soul…” And because He lives so do we and so shall we.
As Romans 6:5 says, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” And that’s the promise of life to come. But in Romans 6:4 we’re told, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” And that newness of life starts here and now… As Peter put it, we are to die to sin and live to righteousness. We are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).
In Christ we are saved from sin and counted righteous; and though practically we know that we are still sinners and that we aren’t righteous, we are still called to embrace who we are in God’s eyes, and day by day die to sin and live to righteousness. As Martin Luther said, we are, “Simul Justus et Peccator.” That is, we are simultaneously, or at the same time, righteous and sinner. We are counted righteous in Christ, thus there is no more condemnation for us (Romans 8:1); but, we still have a life to live, a Christian life to live, and though we still sin, we are to fight it and seek to live righteously, for the glory of Christ.
We are under grace, not law… So, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it” (Romans 6:1-2)? We are to die to sin and live to righteousness, to live in line with the Moral Law, not to earn anything, but because everything has already been given to us in Christ.
I am nothing; Christ is all!