It was my birthday yesterday. At the traditional cooked birthday breakfast we opened cards and presents. My son gave me “Dead Fred” the pen-holder as one of his several generous gifts. It sits, or rather, lies on my desk with my favourite Parker biro impaling him to the surface. 

“Dead Fred” has one focus – to stay dead. And also, perhaps, to provide a moment of light relief each time a pen finds its way into his left chest cavity.  

Christians are people who died – and who need to stay dead, or at least dead to certain things.  “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11 NIV11-GK). Dead to sin, but alive to God – sounds like a hard trick to carry off – dead and alive at the same time.
As a friend of mine said years ago, “The problem with living sacrifices is that they tend to squirm off the altar.” He was referring to Romans 12, “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1 NIV11-GK). So how do we do this?  Two quick ideas follow:
  1. Go on the attack. Verses 12-14 of Romans 6 remind us that we have a choice. We can be “an instrument of wickedness”, or “an instrument of righteousness”. When we are on the attack for God pushing back the boundaries of darkness we are stronger in our fight against sin. “offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” (Romans 6:13 NIV11-GK). Can you share your faith today?
  2. Reflect on the grace.  Verses 15-18 of Romans 6 focus on our transformed status as slaves.  We are still slaves, but with a different motivation, coming from a different identity. Take some time to reflect on this new status, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:18 NIV11-GK)
We are dead/living people conscious of our temporary status in this life.  As as result we are careful about how we live and use our allotted time. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22–23 NIV11-GK)
Malcolm Cox