Dead To Sin

Each May, Haydock Park in St Helens, England plays host to the Swinton Handicap Hurdle. During the annual running in 1994, veteran jockey Declan Murphy fell and was trampled by a horse behind him, shattering his skull in 12 places. The injury was so severe that the Racing Post published the headline: “Declan Murphy dies in horror fall.” In reality, Murphy remained in a coma for four days, awaking only hours before his life support would have been terminated. As he recovered, he was surprised to read his own premature obituary, especially because he had retained no memories of his past life of racing. Reading of his own death though, inspired the jockey to mount an improbable return to the track a few years later.


Death is an ending.


Paul tells us in Romans chapter 6 that believers are dead to sin but alive to God. Our old self, he explains, has died along with its slavery to sin, and that we now live new lives. Most pointedly, he encourages that: “you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”


As believers we have heard these words many times yet we rob them of their power when we rationalize them away. We fail to appropriate the change that has taken place when we confess and repent of our sin. We undermine the power we have been given through our ignorance. We don’t do so necessarily out of a desire to sin but usually because we are simply used to our old lives of slavery. We aren’t expecting the power and freedom brought through Christ. It is not natural in this world. It is, by very definition, supernatural. There is no longer any power that can bind us to sin and death. That former person died, legally and practically.


By acknowledging our new identities, we may truly realize the freedom and victory we have been given through Christ. Our struggles, addictions, and sinful tendencies, though disheartening, are all subject to the power of Christ. They are the trappings of a dead man. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”


We will still be tempted. Our thoughts betray us still. That struggle will continue bring us pain, but freedom is now ours in Christ. We are no longer bound to the shackles of sin. Like Declan Murphy, by reading our ‘obituaries’— the truth of our death to sin— we can have confidence to go forward boldly into our new lives. It is no longer we who live enslaved to sin; we are new beings, men and women joined now with Christ: new creations with a new identity.