When we moved from Alabama to Florida, we had to adjust to being under Florida’s authority. We had to change driver’s licenses and car tags. We had to pay Florida taxes. We had to vote as Florida citizens. We had to obey Florida laws. When we moved back to Alabama from Florida, we had to make the same transition as Alabama citizens once again. And even though we lived in Florida for almost 20 years, we always considered Alabama our home. I often said that Alabama red clay still ran through my veins. You know the saying: You can take the girl out of Alabama, but you can’t take Alabama out of the girl. My body may have been in Florida, but my heart was in Bama.
Our union with Christ makes us citizens of a new Kingdom, with a new Ruler. Our identity changes. Our allegiance changes. We are “a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17). The problem is that our old nature moves with us and continues the fight for control. The other problem is, our citizenship has changed, but our geographical location has not and we are still under the steady influence of sin.
In Romans 6, Paul reminds us that we who are in Christ are “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (v. 11). When we came to believe in Christ, we “died to sin” (v. 2), just as He died (v 3). But the grave couldn’t hold Jesus, and it cannot hold us. We have been raised with Him to “live a new life . . . to God” (vv. 4, 10). Somebody say “Hallelujah!”
Yes, a new life, yet still with the same old ingrained patterns of sin and the same old worldly influences. That causes quite a struggle for us as Paul noted in Romans 7. But here’s the good news: “Sin shall not be your master” because “you have been set free from sin” (vv. 14, 18, 22). That means you do not have to obey your sinful desires and the influence of the world anymore. Because “Christ is your life” you can “put to death whatever belongs to your earthly [sinful] nature” (Col.3:4-5).
Here’s the bottom line: before Christ, you and I had no choice but to sin, but now as a believer, if we sin it is because we chose to. It’s a choice that is completely in your hands – and your heart. Beloved, make the choice that says “I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God!”