Friday, July 18, 2008

The Table of Reckoning

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:11)
In the death of Christ we died also. We do not make it so; He made it so. We simply receive it by faith. We reckon it to be so. The Greek word is a term of accounting and has to do with how one counts or considers a thing. For example, to reckon something to be true means to count it to be true, or to consider it to be so. The ESV shows it this way: “So you must also consider yourselves to be …” Weymouth’s Translation has, “You must regard yourselves as …”

“Reckon yourselves,” Paul says. It is an exercise of faith. We count ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God because that is what God has said, and He cannot lie. Notice that Paul begins this verse with “likewise.” Like what? Like what we see about the Lord Jesus in the previous verses:
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.(Romans 6:8-10)
Just as Christ died and now lives, even so we, if we have died with Him (and through faith in Him, we have), we will also live with Him from now on. Paul reckoned this to be true of himself when he said, “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). When he took inventory of the truth of Jesus Christ and His salvation work on our behalf, this is how it added up.

What then are we to reckon or consider as true of ourselves? First, that we are dead to sin. When we are dead to something, it no longer has any power or authority over us. We are no longer obligated to it in any way and do not have to give in to its influence anymore. That part of us that once was in bondage to sin has been set free by death, the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We can now reckon His death to be our own, so we do not have to let sin reign in us, or present ourselves as “instruments of unrighteousness” (Romans 6:12-13).

This is what Paul meant when he said, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and, “Therefore put to death our members which are on the earth” (Colossians 3:5). We “crucify the flesh” and “put to death our members” by reckoning the death of Christ to be our own, for He was crucified in our place.

That is only half of it, however, and if it were all there was to our salvation, we would still be in miserable shape, for we would simply be dead. But the amazing grace of God is that not only have we died with Christ so that are dead to sin, we have also been raised with Christ and have been made alive to God! And that is how we are to now consider ourselves. We no longer have to present ourselves to the bondage of sin and unrighteousness. We have the life of Christ at work in us and can now present ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God counts us as righteous, and we are free to live out that rightness which we have with Him.

The Table of the Lord is a place of reckoning. As we take the bread, we give account that His body was given for us. As we drink the cup, we count it as the blood that He shed for us. We behold His death, but also His life, and we reckon them as our own, dead to sin, but alive to God.

The Table of the Lord is the Table of Reckoning.