Likewise you also, consider yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. ~ Romans 6:12
What you do—and the actions you take—are determined by what you consider. Notice that the apostle Paul said, “consider yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In other words, you’re not physically dead to sin, and we all know that because we still feel temptation—he said you must consider yourselves to be dead to sin.
Not only that, we are also to consider ourselves to be “alive to God,” and the meaning here is like being one that has been raised from the dead.
And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. ~ Romans 6:13
Obviously, someone that actually died and rose from the dead as Christ did will not have a problem with sin. Since we did not literally die in Christ, we are left with having to consider it as true—that this is our status in Christ Jesus. But what does it mean to consider something? Paul explains it:
But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. ~ Romans 6:17
We usually understand obedience in relation to commandments, but in the New Testament, obedience has to do with obeying “from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” Doctrine is a teaching that informs you of the way things are, so the starting point to living it out is to consider what it teaches as being true.
The more you are taught and believe about who you are in Christ Jesus, the more that teaching will lead to a fulfilling of your new creation life. Your job is to continually remind yourself—i.e., consider—of your new position in Christ so that your emotions and body will conform to this spiritual reality.
When you do this it becomes easier to resist sin and then fulfill righteousness. This is important because you are God’s agent of change in the world and righteousness will not reign on this planet unless we reign in God’s life:
For by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 5:17