There are three little words found in Romans chapter six that are perhaps the three most important words to be found in the Christian’s vocabulary, especially in his prayer life. They are: KNOW, RECKON, and YIELD.
Three times the word know or a form of it appears in the beginning of Romans chapter six. These verses are verse three, verse six, and verse nine. The first thing Paul says that we are to know is that we were baptized into Christ’s death when we were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:13). The second thing is that our “old man” (Adamic nature) is (lit. “was”) crucified when Christ died and as a result we are no longer bound to “serve sin.” Thirdly, we learn that Christ’s resurrection has broken the dominion of sin.
In these first ten verses we learn some startling truths and it is absolutely necessary that we know the sound basis for these “exceeding great and precious promises” (see II Peter 1:3-4 and note the word “knowledge”).
The great thing that we know is the truth of our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Crucified with Him (verse 6), buried with Him (verse 3 ) and resurrected with Him (verse 13). Therefore, on this basis, we are dead to sin (verse 2) and freed from sin (verse 7).
The only way we could ever know this truth is from seeing it in the Scriptures and believing it certainly requires faith. On the other hand, not to believe it when God has said it so plainly (even though we may not understand it) is unbelief, which is what kept Israel out of the promised land and will keep us from enjoying the victories of the Christian life. (See Hebrew 3:7- 4:11).
“Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, and looks to God alone:
Laughs at impossibilities, and cries, It Shall Be Done!”
Remember in the “faith” chapter (Hebrew 11) how that “faith is the substance if things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen?” And how Moses, “endured as seeing Him who is invisible”? In Romans 4:19 we read concerning Abraham and the promise made to him by God,
that “in faith he considered not his own body now dead.... neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb”, but he believed in God, “who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were” (v.17). Applying this truth to our daily lives is what it takes to “walk by faith and not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness,” (Rom. 4:3). With this verse, we make the transition to the next word, but don’t leave Romans 4, because we are going to need to look at verses 4 and 9 where the word “reckoned” is used. This is the same Greek word as the word “counted” in verse 3.
In verse 11 of chapter 6 Paul tells the Roman believers to “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.” As we have seen above, this word has been translated in other places by the word “count”. In comparing verses 6 & 7 of chapter 4, we see that the word “impute” is also used, helping to explain the meaning of “counting” or “reckoning”. In Philemon 18 we see the same word used in a very practical manner: “...put that on my account”.
This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.
Perhaps this little poem learned years ago in Romans class at Providence Bible Institute may help: “Reckon, reckon, reckon,
It’s not how you feel,
You take care of reckoning
And God will make it real!”
(Illustrations concerning trusting the compass.)
We are taught in this passage, than, that we are to count ourselves to be dead to sin even if we don’t feel as though we are. We are to do this by faith and God will treat us as if it is so and be sure it is if He says so! We are also to reckon ourselves to be “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11b).
Finally, under this point, let us reflect on a number of other verse in Scripture that speak about this position that we now have in Christ. Romans 6: 1-13; 7:4-6; II Cor.5:14-15; Gal.2:19-20; 5:24; 6:14; Col.2:11-12; 2:20; 3:1-3; II Timothy 2:11; 1 Peter 2:24. On the basis of the teaching in these verses, let us act on Romans 12:1-2
The thought about reckoning ourselves to be alive naturally leads us into the third and last of our three words.
In verse 13 on the positive aspect of yielding, we are told to yield ourselves “unto God, as those that are alive from the dead.” This is as phenomenal as to expect that Sarah would have a child at ninety years old! Abraham anticipated that God would raise up Isaac from the dead if he had slain him and figuratively received him as if he had been resurrected (Heb.11:19).
It takes precisely the same kind of faith that Abraham had, for us to believe that we are already resurrected, but it is obvious from this passage in Romans that the Christian life is to be lived on this basis and this basis only.
Since Paul goes on in verse 13 of Romans 6 to say that we are to yield (present) our members (bodily parts) to God as instruments of righteousness on the basis of counting ourselves to be already resurrected, it would seem that certain other verses like Romans 8:11 and Philippians 3:11-13 should be understood positionally as well, though many commentators do not agree. It seems that the majority of Christians don’t understand Paul’s teaching on positional sanctification, or choose not to accept it, which is sad. Every time you read or hear someone say, “we must crucify the flesh” you can pretty well conclude that they don’t understand.
In conclusion, let us consider the strong request of the apostle in Romans 12: 1-2. The word “present” is the same Greek word as the word “yield” above. It is my personal conviction that the blessings of victory over sin inherent in the great Bible truths that we have just studied are only possible to those who have been willing to do what Paul is asking the saints to do in this passage. It would not seem possible that one could resist the Lord in this area if they really understood and appreciated the importance of positional teaching. Let us be quick to acknowledge, humbly before the Lord, our total obedience and submission by verbally surrendering our body to God and on the basis of a one-time spiritual transaction let us daily consciously reaffirm our commitment before the throne of grace. God bless you as you take this important step.