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Recently Added
to Exposition of Romans:


Romans 8:29-30—This “golden chain” begins with love and ends with glory
(September 06 2017)

Questions and Answers


1. Please explain reckoning. What is it?

2. So it’s not something hard to do, like some kind of mind trick, right?

3. How does it work? You speak of its power. Where does its power come from?

4. You speak of reckoning as cousin of faith. Are they the same, or is reckoning any different from faith?

5. Is this what you mean by enforcing the word of God?

6. Abraham is an example of both faith and reckoning. How did they work in his life?

7. How important is the Bible?




1. Please explain reckoning. What is it?

Reckoning is a term that was used in math and accounting. If you take a list of numbers, add them up, and recheck your math, then you can count on the result being true. So in the biblical sense the meaning of the word reckon is to count on the truth of what God says. That is why some biblical translations use the word count or consider instead of reckoning. So when Paul says to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ, he means we can count on it being true or consider it done. That is how God thinks of us—dead to sin and alive to God—and we need to think of ourselves the same way.

2. So it’s not something hard to do, like some kind of mind trick, right?

Paul is saying something totally normal. Now here is an interesting point. Everyone considers some things true—even if they are not true—so everyone reckons. Biblical reckoning recognizes the truth of what God has done to set his people free from sin and give them new resurrected life to worship him. Reckoning is not an option for followers of Christ. Romans 6:11 is a command by the Apostle Paul to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ.

3. How does it work? You speak of its power. Where does its power come from?

You’ve heard the adage, “The thought is father to the act.” What we think influences what we do. That’s why Paul gives the command to reckon. It’s a command not to do something but to think something. What he commands us to think is such a powerful thought that it will inevitably leads to action. If I think God is disappointed in me, if I sense his frown instead of his smile, I will either keep my distance from him or try to earn his acceptance through works. That’s what Martin Luther did before he discovered the gift of justification by grace through faith. I describe Luther’s discovery of justification as God’s gift at the beginning of chapter 3. To understand that God has delivered us from the control of sin and made us alive for intimate fellowship with him is truly as liberating for us as it was for Luther. It’s with this understanding that Paul wants us to regard ourselves. The old heart or old self of sin was crucified on the cross. God has given us a new heart with new desires to love him and please him. We are not to think of ourselves as sinners who sometimes act as saints but as saints who sometimes sin. This New Covenant understanding is tremendously motivating. Reckoning reminds us who we are in Christ so we live in accordance with who we are.

4. You speak of reckoning as cousin of faith. Are they the same, or is reckoning any different from faith?

I write about this at the end of chapter 3 on thinking God’s thoughts. Reckoning follows faith. On the basis of faith, God declares us dead to sin and alive to him. Now reckoning takes over and enforces the status that faith brought about. Reckoning enforces in our thought life what God has said about us, and thought becomes father of act. In the face of temptation, reckoning says I am dead to that. In terms of intimacy with God and pleasing him, reckoning says I am alive to that. Reckoning positions our mind and will to obey God and seek intimacy with God.

5. Is this what you mean by enforcing the word of God?

Exactly. Reckoning is an enforcement mechanism. What God says is true about our status in his thoughts we insist become true in our own thinking and behavior. Reckoning enforces the truth. Seeing what the word of God says about us, we command our thoughts to align with that truth. We cannot be passive about this. I devote an entire chapter to enforcing the word of God in our life.

6. Abraham is an example of both faith and reckoning. How did they work in his life?

Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham believed God and on the basis of Abraham’s faith God declared Abraham righteous. God thereafter counted or reckoned Abraham to be righteous. And because God reckoned Abraham righteous, Abraham was now able to reckon himself righteous. Faith precedes reckoning. Faith obtains the status; reckoning recognizes the status. If Abraham began to doubt his righteousness, he would then have to remember what God said and once again reckon himself righteous. Knowing his status as righteous in God’s eyes certainly affected his behavior, and he progressively aligned his behavior with his status. He obeyed God.

7. How important is the Bible?

The Bible is absolutely the foundation of this important message. I believe Dead to Sin, Alive to God to be an inspiring and uplifting study from the word of God showing how believers can learn to think of themselves as God does. I’ve done my best to write clearly and convincingly on this point. From beginning to end the book’s focal point is the Bible. There is power, by the way, in the scriptural declarations of freedom in Christ in the book’s appendix. The word of God has the power to transform our lives, and if readers proclaim aloud these wonderful verses over themselves daily, this alone will produce dramatic results in their thinking and behavior.

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