In these har parts, we don’t always think. We reckon.
“Reckon ‘Bama’ll beat the Gators Saturday?”
“I reckon so.”
This is all best said chewin’ on a piece of straw, hat tilted back and feet up on a wooden chair on a wooden porch.
There’s another place that reckoning is important, and it’s in what you believe about yourself and about God.
We are told to “reckon” ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in King Jesus (Rom. 6:11). The Greek word there is logizomai, and it is used 40 times in the apostles writings.
The word is complicated, and we don’t have time to go into all its details in a blog post. I wouldn’t be qualified to be the one teaching those details, anyway. I do know one thing from experience, though …
Sometimes reckoning is easier than believing.
Take Romans 6:11, for instance. What if I were to tell you that you must believe that you are dead to sin?
Chances are, you would do what almost everyone I have asked has said they have done. You would do what I did after numerous teachers told me, back in the 80’s, to believe that I was dead to sin and alive to God in King Jesus.
You will ask, “If that’s so, then how come I still sin? How come I can’t overcome this or that? Why do I have such a bad temper? Why do I still cry ‘thou fool’ or worse to those that cut me off in traffic? Why do I, why do I, why do I?”
The worst thing I ever read back then was one man who wrote, “One day I decided to just believe that I really was dead to sin, and suddenly, boom, I was!”
I could have screamed. Yes! I want that! I believe, I believe, I believe, I believed. Nothing’s happening. No boom for me. I don’t believe. Help! How do I believe?
It was only recently (thanks Matthew), that something really clicked.
I stuck a straw in my mouth, sat back in my chair, and I asked myself, “You dead to sin?”
I answered myself, too. “I reckon.”
I wasn’t waiting around to feel something. I wasn’t looking for a “boom.” I wasn’t waiting to become dead to sin. I just wrote it down as true. I reckoned. I wrote it in my spiritual accounting book.
Somehow, when we try to believe we fool ourselves into thinking that our belief somehow makes something true or not true.
If you are in the King, if you have given up your life for the kingdom of God, then God says you’re dead to sin and alive to God in King Jesus. In fact, the apostle Paul was stunned at the idea that a Christian wouldn’t know that. “Whaaat? You didn’t know that all of us who were baptized into Jesus were baptized into his death? Yeah, that’s right. All of you were buried with him in baptism and into death. Therefore, just like the King was raised from the dead, so you should be living resurrected, too” (Rom. 6:3-4, my paraphrase).
It’s just so that I am dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus. I’m not waiting around to believe it’s so. It’s so whether I believe it or not. I wrote it down. God told me to. Well, the apostle Paul told me, you, and all the rest of us to write it down, and he also told us to write it down that he and his companions are servants of the King and stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4:1, which also uses logizomai).
So, on the authority of the steward of God’s mysteries, Paul the ambassador of the King, I’m dead to sin, and I have been ever since I was buried in baptism.
Now that I’ve thrown the requirement to believe that in order to make it happen, rather than it being true because God said it was true, no matter what I believe about it, belief has set all the way in.
By reckoning, the whole matter got taken out of my hands and my pitiful faith and put into God’s hands and into the hands of King Jesus, his Son, who is the Beginner and the Finisher of my faith.
I am finding that when I just write it down, acknowledging that if Jesus says it’s so, then it’s so whether I believe it or not, my faith has skyrocketed.
Faith in our faith is a pitiful resource. Our faith won’t do anything for us. Faith in Jesus is a limitless resource. He can do everything for us.
So if you’ve had trouble believing, like I have in the past, maybe you should start reckoning. Take the responsibilty off yourself to make it true, and let Jesus make it true (which he already did, no matter what you believe about it).
Does this really work? I reckon you ought to try it for yourself.
I don’t mind recommending that, since it’s the command of the King.
Let me add a plug for the book that got me to really do something that I’ve known to do since 1982: Forgotten Gospel. He has a great illustration of this idea that I am not going to share with you because the book’s not out yet.
My little publishing company, Greatest Stories Ever Told, is publishing it for Matthew Bryan, which we are doing because we love the message. We don’t just publish books for money (and we don’t make any money anyway). We publish books to stir up the saints to love and good works.
Unfortunately, I tripped up our schedule both by overscheduling us and by getting cancer again—bad combination. We have actually ordered proof copies, though, so we’re making progress.