The First Command in Romans Tells the Justified to Impute Themselves Dead to Sin
Romans 6:9 “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death Christ died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must impute yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The first command in Romans tells Christians to count themselves dead to sin, to “reckon yourselves” dead to sin.
It’s important to not forget that imperative. But it’s even more important to remember that we don’t make the indicative come true by obeying the imperative. The justified elect do not become dead to sin because they count themselves dead to sin. Nor do the justified elect become dead to sin because they are daily dying to sin.
On the contrary, the justified elect are commanded to count themselves dead to sin because Christ has died for them as their representative and substitute. Christs died for the elect so that they ARE dead to sin, as soon as they are legally “baptized into this death”.
There are not two different “deaths to sin”. Christ’s death to sin becomes by imputation the justified elect’s death to sin. It’s one and the same death. It’s Christ death as satisfaction to God’s law. The death to sin of Romans Six is not the regeneration or renewal of the justified sinner.
But there are two different imputations, two different countings. The justified elect impute themselves as dead to sin, declare themselves dead to sin, but their imputing and declaring are not what cause Christ’s death to sin for the elect. Nor is it their counting themselves dead to sin that which transfers righteousness from Christ to them.
It is not their imputing themselves dead to sin which creates an exchange of their sin to Christ. Christ already died for the elect. Christ already did not die for the non-elect.
There are two imputations, one by God’s agency and the second by human agency as a result (not condition) of God’s imputing. For the sake of completeness, we should also remember that God not only credits the sin of the elect to Christ but also credits the death of Christ to the elect. In addition God once credited the sin of Adam to all humans.
And don’t forget the second command in Romans. 6:12–“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those WHO HAVE BEEN brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”