Alive to Joy
Salvation is a deep well whose waters bring deep joy and refreshing to the soul. One morning years ago, while I was reading Romans 6:11 in the King James Bible, the word reckon lit up on the page like a neon sign. Although I had read this chapter countless times and even had it memorized, I had never noticed this word or thought about its meaning. I did not realize it yet, but the Lord was raising an issue. Over the years I had constructed a spiritual list of “holy things to do” and “unholy things to avoid.” I was diligent to keep my list up every day, and I felt pretty good about myself.
Instead of a pat on the back for approval, however, I got the feeling that there was something very wrong with my holiness program. With that feeling came the sudden awareness that, while I was busy keeping my holiness checklist, I had also begun considering myself holier than those who were not keeping checklists as robust as mine.
As the Lord was bringing this to the surface, I was shocked to realize that I had unwittingly developed spiritual pride. My holiness program was seriously flawed, and now I had a problem on my hands; pride, after all, is no small sin!
The Lord encouraged me: Georgian, why don’t you just do what My written instruction says and simply reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to Me?
“Lord, I’m so sorry,” I objected, “but this is the first time that I have realized what You require from me. Now that I understand that holiness comes through reckoning, I will do it. Please let me practice and then I’ll get really good at it. Besides that, Lord, You just showed me that I have pride. I need time to deal with this sin before I can confidently say that I’m dead to it.”
It is amazing how we argue with the Lord, and yet He remains patient and keeps giving us another chance.
Do it now, Georgian, He said. Don’t delay any longer, agree with what I’ve declared in the Word for you.
Everything inside me wanted to respond in obedience to the Lord at that moment, but I simply could not see how I could acknowledge something so monumental. I needed time to improve, time to practice being dead to sin.
Exasperated, I cried out, “On the basis of what, Lord? How can I say that I am something that I’m not, or that I have something that I haven’t taken the time to obtain? You just exposed the really big sin of spiritual pride in my life, and I’ll gladly deal with it, but please give me time to reckon it done.”
I had several Bible translations with me, and the Lord kindly prompted me to grab my New American Standard Bible and turn to find Romans 8:3. That is where I read that what the Law could not do, God did.
When I saw the phrase God did under the spotlight of His attention, the words exploded in my spirit like an atomic bomb. God did what the Law could not do. God did it by sending Jesus to meet the requirements of His Law on our behalf.
This lightning bolt discovery is not a dry consideration; it is a collision course with the fullness of God’s joy. By unwrapping this wonderful gift and letting this powerful truth of God’s word rule in our hearts, we step into the now of what Christ accomplished on our behalf. Jesus paid with His body and blood for us to have it. Consume it and let it consume you. Reckon it on the basis of Christ’s finished work. Reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.