I have been working through the book of Romans slowly, reading it and using John MacArthur’s teaching alongside my reading. Recently in chapter 6 MacArthur said something that was shocking but profound. He was talking about how before we come to faith in Christ we are slaves to sin, that we really can’t help but do anything that wasn’t sinful. He contrasted this with how now that we have come to faith in Christ, we have been made into a new creation (II Cor 5:17), have gone from dead to alive (Eph 2:1-5) we have a new heart (Ez 11:19-20), we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us (Rom 5:1-5) and we are no longer subject to Satan but have been transferred into Jesus’ Kingdom (Rom 6). What he said next shocked me, he said, “It is not unreasonable to think of the change that you went through when you surrendered your life to Christ as greater than the change you will go through when you are translated to heaven.”
I know we could debate that statement to death but what I found myself realizing was I had greatly undervalued that depth of change that happened the day I gave my life to Christ. Dead is the old Steve whose every inclination was to do nothing but to sin and God has done a new work in me that frees me from the dominion of Satan and the power of sin over my life. Do I still stumble at times and sin, battle with the sinful nature, fall to temptation …..yes (Rom 7), but in Christ I have been made new with the Spirit in me giving me the ability to not live as a slave to sin but freed as a slave to righteousness (Rom 6).
The day I gave my life to Christ I was not only sanctified in Christ, but further sanctification through the work of the Spirit became possible for the first time in my life. (Heb 2: 10-11). I pray God will encourage you as you walk in this truth.
- Steve Selle