Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Victory in Christ -- Part 5

(Part 1 of this series can be found here:

Back to Romans 6
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Because of these facts, we are not to allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies. We have the power not to allow it to reign because its dominion has actually been broken. It has strong lusts and desires, but we are not to give into them because we have died to all of that. One of the things I struggle with is the fact that when we reckon these things to be true, we still find ourselves surrounded by sinful temptations and the admonition not to let sin reign is easier said than done. So I acknowledge that right from the start. But he goes on with some other principles that help.

In verse 13 he tells us not to present our members as weapons of unrighteousness to sin. In other words, our hands, feet, eyes, etc., are our members and sin can use them as weapons against us. So we should not be handing these members over to sin to use against us in the battle we're in. In a real war we can see that it would be foolish to give our guns to the enemy so that they could shoot us with them. The same thing is true in our spiritual battle. Instead, we should hand our members over to God as instruments of righteousness. Almost moment by moment through life we can make that choice. And since we have reckoned ourselves to have died to sin, we are free now to use our members as weapons of righteousness.

In verse 14 Paul tells us that the reason we can do this is because of the amazing truth that sin shall not have dominion over us. It's reign has ended. But isn't it true that sometimes it doesn't feel all that much like it has no dominion? That's because sometimes we are in the habit of sin and we have to acknowledge that some sins we just plain like to do. But the power of sin to dominate us and rule us has been broken. How is it broken? The verse says, “for you are not under law but under grace.” The Bible tells us that the law actually increases sin. In a passage that we'll look at a little later, Paul writes, “ What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.” (Romans 7:7,8). And in 1 Corinthians 15:56 he writes, “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” (Emphasis mine) So by removing us from the subjection to the law, God has removed one of the most powerful forces toward sin. I have thought about this a lot and I still don't have it in my mind how this all works, but that is what this scripture is saying, isn't it?

Principle 6: Since you have died to sin, do not allow it to reign by giving your members to sin to be used as weapons against you.

Part 6 can be found here.

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