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Discussion Forum : General Topics : The new doctrine of Reckoning yourself dead to sin

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by Watchman Nee

It is only through knowing God first as the God of Isaac that we can move on to know Him as the God of Jacob. Unless we know our inheritance as something already secured and settled in Christ and given to us by God, we have no foundation for going on. To be brought under the discipline of the Spirit, without first knowing that assurance of a work of God already done in Christ, would be a terrible thing.

At the risk of laboring the point, let me say again: all that Christ has done, and all that we have in Him, is already ours. As children of God we are already in Christ; we are one with Him. We don't hope to be; it is already done. The only question is, do we really believe God's Word when we read it?

We have been crucified and buried and raised and seated together with Christ. If His death is past, so is ours. No man can say that Christ's death is future; then how can ours be? Ours is one hundred per cent as complete and finished as His; not ninety-nine per cent! Not all the sin and weakness in the world can alter that fact; sin is another question entirely.

Before we see this, we long to die in order to escape from sinning. When, however, we see that we have already died in Christ, our outlook on both sin and death is completely changed. It is not prayerful people but praising ones who reach the way of holiness-those who see, and who seeing believe, and who believing praise.

Many of us read Romans 6. 11: `Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.' Oh! we exclaim, I have tried that. I have tried to reckon myself dead to sin, but I always find I have sinned before I have had time to get the reckoning done!

But what is reckoning? Here is a five-dollar note in my wallet. I reckon I have five dollars, for the simple reason that I have it here. What use would be reckoning if I didn't have it? Reckoning means book-keeping, keeping accounts. And common sense tells us that accounts must bear a direct relation to the cash in the till. God commands us to reckon ourselves dead because we are dead, and for no other reason. `Our old man was crucified with him' (6. 6), and we know this. Therefore we are told to count upon it. The fact of the death comes before our reckoning on it, not the other way round. That is the difference between victory and defeat. The money is in my wallet, whether I reckon it is there or not; and I am dead with Christ, whether I reckon upon the fact or not. On the cross of Christ, God included me in Him, and so I have been crucified.

Let me repeat that. It is not that I identify myself with Christ; it is that God has included me in Him. He has already done it. This is something that can come to us with a flash of new- understanding. Just as once God opened our eyes to see our sins laid upon Christ, so again He must open our eyes to see our own selves in Christ. And this is something He delights to do. Suddenly we see with a flash of insight that all that Christ has already done has become ours. Thus union with Christ in death disposes of our whole unhappy past.

But this negative value to us of the finished work of Christ in respect of the old way of life is matched by a positive value to us of His living person in respect of the new. God comes with this further revelation to my heart, that Christ is in me. Christ is my Life, fighting for me, triumphing on my behalf, doing what He wants to do in me, and doing it now.

It is not that I have strength through Him to seek humility, meekness, holiness. He is all that in me; for He is my Life. The Christian has not a lot of odds and ends of virtues; indeed, he has no virtues; he just has Christ. The question is again, do we believe God's Word? Do we believe 1 Corinthians 1. 30? Oh yes, we know we should have victory, so when we meet with a temptation we take great care, and we watch, and we pray. We feel it is our duty to fight against that thing, and to reject it, so we make up our minds not to do so, exerting our wills to the utmost. But that is not our victory. Christ is our victory. We do not need willpower and determination to resist the tempter. We look to Him who is our life. `Lord, this is Your affair; I count on You. The victory is Yours, and You, not I, shall have the credit.' So often we gain a kind of victory, and everyone knows about it! We achieved it ourselves; but communion is broken and there is no peace.

 2013/3/1 16:07


Bro Travis writes........

"But, I think, if I am not mistaken, that the context of the discussion is post-salvation. In that case, sins are dealt with and we have been born again. In that case our reckoning is the realization of something that is already reality."

Amen!!! Very important to point that out brother, indeed there is a vast difference between the two subjects. In fact the subject of " cheap grace," is in the context of salvation. If one mixed the two up one would become confused and help keep many in needless bondage when indeed the Word of God says............

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Which takes us back to King David's exmple. Upon conviction, David confessed to God and cried out to God, humbling himself before a holy God. And God was faithful and just to forgive him because of his true heart of repentance, praise the Lord, not some license for sin, God forbid.............bro Frank

 2013/3/1 16:33

Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1579
Scotland, UK


Quote: I am quoting my own post here. I want to add that I have frankly not reached the stage of saying that I am totally dead to sin.

Thank you for your honesty

To all……..

There’s a big difference between having your sins forgiven which is wonderful and being dead to sin.

For instance, you sin and then confess and you know full well that during the next week or so you’ll would commit the same sins that you had already confessed.

That’s just a form of religion, that’s not the message of the gospel because God not only deals with the past he wants to deal with the sin in you…

Colin Murray

 2013/3/1 16:36Profile

  Put your faith in what the Lord has already done.

Some of you may say: I agree that I have Died with Christ, but I have no experience of it. Am I to sit down smugly and say I have everything, when I know perfectly well I have nothing? No, we must never rest content with objective facts alone. We need subjective experience also; but that experience will only come as we rest upon Divine facts. God's facts are the basis of our experience.

Let us go back again to the question of being dead with Christ. How were you crucified? Not by doing anything at all, but by accepting the fact that the Lord had done every thing. Enjoying your death in Christ is not by your doing anything yourself, but by your putting your faith in what the Lord has already done.

If we lack the experience, we must ask God for a revelation of the eternal fact of our crucifixion with Him. Once we see that, effort will cease, and prayer will give place to praise. It was a revelation of what the Lord had done for the world that brought to an end our efforts to secure forgiveness of sins, and it is a revelation of what the Lord has done for His Church that will bring to an end our efforts to secure the our death in Him. We work because we have not seen the work of Christ. But when once we have seen that, faith will spring up in our hearts, and as we believe, experience will follow.

 2013/3/1 17:27

Joined: 2010/8/24
Posts: 1034


Ok Frank,

How then do you perceive Isiah 6, and the heavy conviction the prophet was under. Was he not a prophet in Isiah 1" The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!
For the Lord has spoken:"

Could he not just look to God or recken himself dead and get it over with.
Exactly where do revivals take place, in the church or in the world.

I am very concerned regarding this issue as you can see because I feel that an improper understanding of this area of conviction can make or break a prayer meeting such as the one we have.

Also I would like to speak with you on the phone. Blaine has my number.


 2013/3/1 17:36Profile


Untobabes, you write........

"Could he not just look to God or recken himself dead and get it over with."

These are not words that I used sister, how can I comment on something I never said? If you feel I have mis-spoken, please quote me and ask for an explanation, unless I already did that. The phrase " could he not just," seems very inappropriate to this conversation. It minimizes what it means to come into the presence of God and cry out to Him. David's confession in psalm 51 is no mere theological trick, as you seem to be suggesting. Are you suggesting that? This is not a two dimensional, theological phrase, this is no mere abstract truth. It is a awe-full thing to come into the presence of God ( meaning full of awe and reverence and glory and majesty and falling on one's face. To be broken and contrite could never be described as"he could just.") Perhaps you are confused as to what I mean by gazing on the Lord? ...............bro Frank

 2013/3/1 17:47

Joined: 2010/8/24
Posts: 1034


Obvoiusly there is serious confusion but not on my part.
What is so common in christendom and in that I include the churches I attend that I know to be dead but also intimate groupes of believers that I know to be saved such as our prayer group. There seem to be a spirit of rushing things under that guise of looking to Christ as if any lingering and thorough searching of the heart is forbidden.

I understand that corporate prayer is not the place for that heart search but what if God chooses it to be so and brought conviction right there on the spot.

I will make this final point and then have to leave.
This" looking to Christ" or "reckening one'self dead" as many here have said is something given by God. It can not be just done. With one person relief may come within a moment, with another it may take a very long time.
If we truly believe what we confess to believe, we will never urge a speedy process of conviction. When I read the menotonous diaries of the saints of old, I can see a serious departure from God truth. We may still hold to the same vocabularies they used, but the difference is vast..


 2013/3/1 18:20Profile

 Re: Untobabes

Sister will try to answer your question in an email to you.


 2013/3/1 18:48


But saints I ask again. Do we enter into faith in Christ through the groaning under our sin? Or is it not with an encounter with the living Christ. In the gospels we see people are brought into faith in Jesus through an encounter with him. Not through the groaning under sin.

In ME countries Moslems are coming to faith in Christ through dreams and visions. It is a given that those who come to Christ are turning away from their sins.

As I said in my previous post their may be times when some will come to Christ after deep conviction of sin. Others through a marvelous encounter with Jesus. It is all the work of the Sovereign Spirit.

My thoughts.


 2013/3/1 19:01



You seem determined to put me in some kind of category that you have determined in your heart. I spoke clearly, using David as the example and spoke nothing of cheap grace or rushing anything. On this you are simply wrong in regard to me. I have stated my position clearly, and it has nothing to do with what you are alluding to, that's the plain truth. I myself would never " rush," anything. However long it takes someone to come before the throne and ask for forgiveness, then that is how long it takes. There are no formulas here, either one comes before the throne, looking to Jesus, to find forgiveness, or they do not, or they take whatever time they take, on that we agree. Everything and anything else is simply an addition to what I personally spoke of, on which I would be glad to speak to. Obviously I would not allow myself to mis-represented. .........bro Frank

 2013/3/1 19:20

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