In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11 (NIV)
My late father-in-law, Ken Terhoven, in commenting on being dead to sin and alive to God used to tell the following story:
There were once a young boy and an old man. Try as he could, the boy could never get one over the old man. No matter what he asked, the old man always had the right answer. Then one day, the boy hatched a plan. He would catch a sparrow and hold it tightly in his hand with just the beak and the tail sticking out. He would then ask the old man what kind of bird it was. If the old man knew it was a sparrow then he’d ask him whether it was a dead sparrow or a live one. If the old man said it was dead, then the boy would open his hand and let it fly away. If the old man said it was alive, then the boy would twist his hand and wring the sparrow’s neck.
After catching a sparrow the boy went to visit the old man. Clutching the sparrow tightly, with only the beak and tail showing, he asked, “What is it?” “Why, it’s a sparrow of course,” said the old man. “Well is it a dead un or a live un?” inquired the boy eagerly. The old man paused, then looking the boy square in the eyes, he said, “That all depends on you.”
Similarly, to be “dead to sin” or “alive to God,” all depends on you.