My Job at the Cemetery
Likewise, reckon ye also yourself to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
— Romans 6:11
When I received my Social Security card as a young boy, my father said, “Rick, it’s time for you to get a job and learn what it’s like to earn a living.” Like other boys, I had mowed lawns to earn a little money on the side. I had even helped clean the church building on Saturdays for a whopping salary of 25 cents a week! But now that I was 12 years old, it was time for me to get a “real” job. Since I wasn’t old enough to drive, I had to look for some place to work that was close enough for me to walk there every day, and the only possibility that fit that description was the local cemetery.
So at my father’s urging, I walked to the cemetery to ask the grounds director — a gruff, old man who had run the cemetery for years — if there was any job available for a 12-year-old boy. After interviewing me, he hired me as a lawn boy to mow the graves, edge the tombstones, oversee the flowerbeds, and removed wilted flowers from the graves. Every week day after school, I walked down the street and through the huge arched entry to the cemetery, pulled the giant industrial lawnmower out of the shed, and went to work mowing graves or trimming the grass that grew up around the tombstones.
Thus, for my first fully paid job — every day after school, five days a week — I found myself working among the dead. And in all the time I worked there, I can’t recall a single instance when I discovered a corpse that had crawled out of his grave because he was tired of being dead! Once the person was dead, it was permanent. When goodbyes were spoken at gravesite rites, they were always final farewells, with everyone present being well aware that the person would never be seen alive again.
I’ve often thought of that when reading Romans 6:11, which says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The word “reckon” is the Greek word logidzomai, and in this verse, it means to count a deed already done; hence, it simply means that something is reckoned to be so or to be a fact. Thus, the verse carries the idea, “Consider yourself to already be dead to sin — a deed that has already been accomplished, a fact that has already been established, which simply needs your affirmation and recognition.” This is important because it tells us that in the mind of God, whoever you were in the past no longer has any claim to who you are now in Christ. Sin and its stimulating power has been slain by the power of the Cross. In Christ, that old person is absolutely dead.
The word “dead” in Romans 6:11 is the Greek word nekros, which describes a corpse just as real as any corpse in a morgue or a dead body being buried in a cemetery. Its life is gone, and it is nothing more than a hull. Nothing can resuscitate it; no one can breathe life back into it; and there is nothing that can stimulate it back into action again, because it’s dead and its life has been permanently terminated. Hence, this word “dead,” the Greek word nekros, pictures a body that is permanently disconnected to life. Making this even stronger is the fact that Paul said we are dead “indeed” unto sin. The word “indeed” means unquestionably, undeniably, or as a matter of fact. Paul declares this to be an immitigable truth!
Paul continued that we are “dead indeed unto sin.” The word “sin” describes our identities and activities that existed before we surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It involves the sinful nature we were born with, including all of its actions and behaviors that were contrary to God (see Colossians 1:21).
But in Christ, all of “that” has been made dead. In God’s mind, this is not a mere theoretical death. When we came into Christ, God deemed that old identity dead and powerless over us. Now in Him, there is a permanent disconnection to the old person we used to be and to the things we once did. Christ rendered the old man dead and gave us new life!
That is why Paul went on to say, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” My friend, you are not a resuscitated, newly improved version of the person you used to be. That old man is dead, buried, and permanently gone. Who you are right now in Christ is completely brand-new!
So if those old things from your past or former ways of thinking attempt to express themselves again, speak to those voices and remind them that they have lost their power over your life. If they try to wake up and act like they have still have life, your task is to reckon them lifeless — that is, keep them buried, “six feet under,” locked away in a casket that is covered with the grace of God. Never — not for a second — allow your old memories to tell you they have the right to live. Christ has rendered them powerless, and you never have to return to who you were or to what you did.
So remember —
Romans 6:11 could actually be interpreted:
“Consider yourself to already be dead to sin. It’s a deed that has already been accomplished and a fact that has already been established and simply needs your affirmation and recognition.”
Don’t argue with what the Holy Spirit is teaching you about this glorious truth. Throw your arms open, accept it, declare it, and walk free from those things that Christ has utterly and permanently disconnected from you!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I sincerely ask You to help me embrace the truth that I’ve been set free from the past and from past behaviors. I am so thankful that Jesus has become the Lord of my life and that He has rendered my old personality, my old character, my old life, to be terminated. I likewise thank You that Christ didn’t just slay my old man, but He has given me a new identity in Christ! Today I declare that I will step forward to embrace who Christ has made me to be and that I am free!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare that the past has no power over me. In Christ, I have been made free from the power of sin and its impulses to do wrong. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death; therefore, sin shall not have any dominion over me. I reckon the fleshly nature dead. Therefore, I refuse to allow its impulses to find expression through my body. If the past tries to raise its voice and speak to me, calling out to beckon me to let it assert itself, I will silence it forcefully and vocally by declaring my allegiance to obey Romans 6:11. Christ has set me free, and I declare that I am free indeed! My freedom is not a feeling — it is a reality! I embrace and enforce the truth of the liberty Jesus died to provide for me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you ever really deeply embraced the fact that Christ has liberated you completely from who you used to be? If you really believed that you were free from your past identity and old behaviors, how would that belief affect the way you are living right now?
- Do you know any individuals who have recently come to the Lord, but they do not understand that they are new creatures in Christ? Have you taken the time to help them understand that Christ no longer recognizes who they used to be and that they are truly new in Jesus? If you were in their place, wouldn’t you be grateful if someone took the time to explain that Good News to you?