11 Likewise you also, reckon [keep on reckoning] yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive [ongoing] to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This verse shifts the emphasis from the fact of what Christ did to what we should do about what He did. Beginning with this verse there are four commands whereby the believer is to act on what he knows. Three verbs demonstrate our responsibility: “reckon,” “let,” “present” (or yield). The shift to imperatives is a turning point in Romans.
In this verse we are to “reckon” or count on two things:
that we are dead to sin, and
that we are alive to God.
11 Likewise [thus] you also,
Christians are to “likewise” consider that what was true of Christ is also true of us (vv. 6-10). “Likewise” is an inference from verses 1 to 10. “Also” indicates that Christians are to function like Christ. Our relationship to sin is exactly like Christ’s. We are no longer in Adam; we are now in Christ. His act of death to sin involves everyone who is in Him.
reckon [calculate continually] yourselves
The believer is to “reckon” something. This is a term of faith where we count something as true. It is not enough to understand verses 1 to 10; we need to believe them as true. The word “reckon” means to calculate or compute something as true. As an accounting term it carries the idea of put to an account.
Since Christ died for sin, all His association with sin was broken forever. He died “unto” sin, and because Christians are united to Him and His death, they died “unto” sin as well. Our relation to sin is exactly the same as His—we are dead unto sin.
“Reckon” is a command (imperative) and is not an option. By reckoning ourselves dead with Christ we answer God’s reckoning us righteous. We are to do this with daily application (present tense). The Christian is no passive object in the process. His responsibility is to calculate something as true. He lives in the light of the death and resurrection of Christ. His death already defeated sin’s reign.
“Reckon” is a command that we keep performing upon ourselves (middle voice). The word “reckon” is a term of reality; we deal with something that is actually true. In bookkeeping, we enter into the ledger only the exact amount we possess. The next two phrases show us what is factual and real.
We are to reckon on a regular basis (present tense). God expects us to maintain what we have before Him positionally—we died at one point to sin forever.
God does not say we should reckon sin dead but “yourselves” dead to it. Since we are in Christ as our federal head, we are to regard ourselves as dead in Him as our representative.
Christians are to continually parlay their position in Christ to their daily spiritual lives.
There is a difference between our position and our condition. What Jesus did for us in grace never changes. Our standing before God is eternal, but the state of our Christian living is a dynamic that does change. The idea is this: “Since what Christ has done for us is a settled fact, start acting like what we are.” We are free to live the Christian life because of what Christ has done.
Christians cannot live a spiritual life without faith. If we revert to a struggle with sin, then there is no hope for victory. The deciding factor is not our work but the work of God for us. We live by faith in both justification and sanctification.