11 In the same way, count yourselves (or consider yourselves) dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Why would Paul recommend this? What good does it do to "consider yourself" anything?
If a bird considers himself a fish, will he be able to adapt to an aquatic home, swimming and breathing through gills as a fish does? If a Frenchman considers himself an Spaniard, will the language skills and knowledge needed to function in Spanish society be immediately accessed, understood and practiced?
Paul must realize there is something more to this "considering" business than mere self deception. Considering must be more than the mental or audible vocalization that we are "dead to sin." Instead, it must be a reshaping of our beliefs -- an inception of sorts -- so that our core convictions (which govern our thoughts which govern our actions) are completely rerouted to affirm and act on the truth that sin is no longer our master, Jesus is.
Considering, then, means adopting an entirely new framework for understanding sin (what was once pleasurable) and obeying God (what is now pleasurable). To consider means to repeatedly reteach your mind this way of thinking until you are able to live the truth that you are alive to God and dead to sin.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Greek word Paul used for "consider" was logizomai, derived from lógos. (Ding ding! A thought-bomb should have gone off in your mind just now.) Christians who have looked into the scholarship behind the first chapter of John should recall that lógos was the word John used to describe Scripture, Jesus and Absolute Truth.
In the beginning was the lógos, and the lógos was with God, and the lógos was God.
In the beginning was the truth, and the truth was with God, and the truth was God.
So when Paul exhorts the Romans to "consider," he is telling them: Make it your sole pleasure and primary ambition to align your minds with truth, Scripture and the person of Jesus! If you consider yourselves dead to the world's logic and alive to God's, then you can resist the pull of sin and claim victory in Christ.
Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus.
Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus.
In closing, I would like to leave you with some theologians' takes on the word "consider," (pulled from this helpful website.)
What has been established [in this passage], namely, that believers are in principle dead to sin and alive to Christ, must become the abiding conviction of their hearts and minds, the take-off point for all their thinking, planning, rejoicing, speaking, doing. They must constantly bear in mind that they are no longer what they used to be. Their lives from day to day must show that they have not forgotten this.
F. B. Meyer:
Reckon that you have died, and whenever sin arises, to menace or allure you, point back to the grave, and argue that since you died in Christ, you have passed altogether beyond its jurisdiction, for you have yielded your members as weapons of righteousness unto God. And having been crucified with Christ, you now no longer live, but Christ liveth in you. Let it become your daily habit to place the grave of Jesus between yourself and all allurements of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The Apostle Paul:
...You have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.