Romans 6 tells me that I have died to sin when I died with Christ. Often, I do not feel so dead to it. Temptation and sin still can have a strong pull, urging me to live for myself and forget God’s design for me. But translators tell us that, “Our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with” (6:6), means that this old body of sin has been rendered powerless by Christ’s crucifixion. Sin can be likened to a toothless lion. Or an evil king that has been dethroned and imprisoned, yet still barking orders to his former subjects, frightening them unnecessarily. I can still choose to succumb to his orders, but I no longer have to. I now have a choice. I can choose to listen to Another Voice and follow the Good Shepherd.
Chapter 7 reassures me that this means that I have died also to the Law, so that it no has jurisdiction over me. I am no longer subject to its condemnation. Christ has fulfilled all the requirements of the Law in my place; I no longer have to do this to be right in God’s eyes. Just as I have been forgiven forever, not according to what I have done, but according to God’s choice to punish Jesus in my place, so too, I can now only live a life that makes Him smile when I stop trying to perform in my own effort and let Him do what I cannot.
So I am no longer wringing my hands at not being able to do what I want to do, nor at not being able to do what I know is right. Christ has already lived my righteousness for me. Dead to the Law, I no longer have to see righteous goals and tell myself, “That is what you now must do!” Instead, I say, “O Lord, that kind of victorious, righteous life is beautiful! I want to be like that! You can make me like that! Please do it for me! I cannot do this on my own. I trust You to make me like that!”