Many Christians live defeated spiritual lives. They may not want to live this way, but they have not been able to overcome issues in their lives that impede their spiritual growth. Many are crippled by fears, consumed with worries, quick to become angry, and given to lustful thoughts. Some are enslaved to alcohol, drugs, or pornography. Others have struggling marriages because they have not been able to overcome a bad temper, a biting tongue, or an unforgiving spirit. Consequently, they are trapped into thinking that it is impossible to change sinful habits, thoughts, and tendencies they have been characterized by for years and, as a result, adopt a defeatist attitude.
So writes Armand Tiffe in his new booklet The Liberating Truth of Romans 6. He is convinced, and rightly so, that too many believers do not know who they are in Christ, or how to apply the truths concerning their new position in Christ. To illustrate, he shares a powerful story.
In 1972, an incredible thing happened on the Island of Guam. A World War Two Japanese soldier came out of the jungle he had been hiding in for 27 years. Why was he hiding in the jungle for all those years? Because in 1945, when it was reported that the war had ended, he refused to believe it. He refused to believe that Japan had surrendered, so he remained in that jungle for 27 years hiding in underground caves. Now, here is a question to ponder. During those 27 years, was he free to return to his homeland? Technically, officially speaking, at any time between 1945 and 1972, he was free to come out of that jungle and return to his homeland, just as many other Japanese soldiers did. However, because he did not want to believe the war was over, he lived in a self-imposed bondage in that jungle for 27 years. Was he free? Technically, yes, but not in reality because he chose to live in bondage. In the same way, many Christians are living in the jungle of sin, even though Jesus Christ has defeated the power of sin in their lives. They have been set free from sins domain, but refuse to believe it, so they go on living in a self-imposed bondage to sinful habits, thoughts, and tendencies.
Understanding who you are in Christ (dead to sin, and alive to God) is not only an essential piece of the “sanctification puzzle,” so to speak, but a rich truth that should lead to humility toward God, and grace toward others.
If you’re struggling to overcome personal sin, want to enrich your spiritual walk in Christ, or better equip yourself to come alongside others in grace and truth, understanding and applying Romans 6 is essential. Check out this excellent resource.