He began smoking in his early teens. Now he is 40 and smoking several packs of cigarettes within a few days: Ken is addicted! While listening to a sermon, the Spirit of God caught Ken’s attention with the fact that the same power that raised Christ from the dead was working in him (Ephesians 1:19-20)! The next week Ken told the entire church about his nicotine addiction and confessed that if the power that raised Christ from the dead was working him, smoking was a small battle compared to death. Ken was freed from his addiction—including the desire to smoke!
It would be nice if every struggle with sinful habits would end so suddenly and completely. We all have numerous examples of wrestling with seductive and addicting power of sin. While it is painfully obvious that the struggle with sin is an ongoing process, we must not minimize the resurrection power of God.
While Easter—Resurrection Sunday—has tremendous historical and theological significance, there are at least three powerful personal implications that we should understand. These implications infuse hope into a biblical counselor and the counselee alike. They are the resurrection identity, the resurrection resource, and the resurrection hope. Although all three of these implications are personally encouraging when faced with the controlling power of sin, in this blog we will look briefly at the resurrection identity.
Resurrection identity – Romans 6:1-13
When we perceive ourselves as lonely warriors against sin, we either give up in despair or deceive ourselves with empty promises regarding the power of self. We chase one rainless cloud after another seeking self-reformation. Even if we experience some success in modifying our outward behavior, our heart remains deceitful and evil. How empowering it is to accept the fact, as a believer, that God has identified us with Christ. This identification includes not only Christ’s death for our sin, but also his resurrection.
Our identification with Christ enables us to live a new life. Christ’s resurrection frees us from the penalty and the power of sin (Romans 6:4-5). Thus, our identity with Christ helps us to live fruitful lives for God (Romans 6:8-11).
Know Who You Are
It is wonderful to study the historical proofs for Christ’s resurrection and the theological issues surrounding it. However, we need to stop and meditate on the reality that we have been raised with him (Romans 6:3-9). Take some time to read over these verses and ask God to grant you faith to know that your identity includes being raised with Christ!
Count It to Be So!
After listening to a sermon or meditating on a scripture my faith often seems to soar. However, upon returning to the daily demands of life the emotions fade and my faith can be shaken. My thoughts can drift down the river of unbelief. I begin to think, “I am identified with the resurrection of Christ? I sure don’t feel like one who has risen and defeated the power of sin!” I wouldn’t be surprised if you had similar types of experiences. But Romans 6:11 says we are to “reckon” that we are raised with Christ by faith.
What is it that might help you trust God’s promises during seasons when doubt threatens to drown faith? Perhaps you need to pray the promises of God audibly. Maybe you need to sing a song to remind yourself of the truth that are raised with Christ. Or maybe you need an accountability partner you can call for encouragement.
We all need something to remind us not to doubt in the dark what we know to be true in light. Whether or not we feel it or understand it, we must count it to be so by faith. God has identified us with the resurrected Christ. Therefore, we have power—resurrection power—over sin.
Yield Yourself to God!
The powerful truth is that due to our identity with the resurrected Christ, we can yield our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. We can chose to obey and live fruitful lives for God rather than being slaves to sin. God has not only forgiven our sin, He has freed us from its power. Will we be sinless? No, but we should be sinning less! There is victory in Jesus.
May resurrection Sunday remind us of our new identity in Christ, who died unto sin once, but continually lives unto God. May everyday be resurrection Sunday for us.
Join the Conversation
What are some practical ways you apply a resurrection identity in your struggles? How have you helped counselees grasp this important reality in their lives?