It is often taught that "you need to be broken over your sin." It makes us think that we have to force brokenness but forcing brokenness produces self-focused guilt. Guilt drives us away from our loving Father because it makes us feel like He loves us less because of what we've done. Instead He is loving towards us and wants us to know that our sins are totally forgiven and that His blood constantly cleanses us of any unrighteousness we come into contact with. Because of Jesus sin can never stain us!
Brokenness is not something to force. You are either broken about your deeds or you are not. God doesn't want you to bash yourself with guilt He wants you to draw near to Him and experience His accepting love for you.
To be dead to sin is to count sin as nothing. God does not hold our sins against us so we need not hold our sins against ourselves. Instead of focusing on sin, negative behavior, guilt, & shame I turn my heart to God and go on living my life for God as if the nothing had never happened though I will mend relationships as necessary if I caused others harm.
"Now if we died with Christ, we trust that we will also live with him. We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him. For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness. For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace."
Sadly we too often focus on the wrong side of what God is telling us in this scripture. We strive to "consider ourselves dead to sin," "to not let sin reign in our body," "to not present our body to sin."
God does not intend for us to focus on or strive to "be good." God intends for us to focus on Him and His goodness.
I am alive to God in Christ Jesus. I am to present myself to God as one who is alive from the dead so I may enjoy and display the gift of His righteousness. I am not under law. I am under grace. Law means I have to perform to please. Grace means I have been given every good thing by a loving God. Dead to sin means I don't think about sin thus I focus not on my deadness to sin but on His gracious love for me. When someone dies it is better for us to remember their life than to dwell on their death. I am dead to sin because I am alive to God. He's alive! I'm alive! We're in love!
This post has been heavily revised and edited on 1/26/12. It does not fully represent my life in April 2011. I have changed it to share the accurate truth with others.