12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
I love the book of Romans. It is so full of rich doctrine that you could spend an entire lifetime studying this one book and it would never get old. But sometimes when we read it as a theological guidebook, we forget that it was written as a letter.
Paul had not yet been to Rome and is writing to believers he has yet to meet. In the first part of the letter, he makes an incredible case for this novel idea of justification by faith, and he knows it is going to be read out loud to people who may not readily accept the idea that following the law is no longer necessary for their salvation.
When we get to chapter 6, it sounds as if Paul knows exactly what their objections are going to be, and he is now going to take the time to address them. You can almost picture the people squirming and hear the murmurs in the crowd as they hear the end of chapter 5: “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (5:20-21)
So what are you saying, Paul? Should we keep on sinning so we can receive more grace? “By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (6:2) Paul goes on to explain that our old self was crucified with Christ and that our new self was raised to live with him. Since Christ was raised from the dead, death no longer has power over Him. In the same way, we count ourselves dead to sin but alive in Christ.
Considering the verb tense used, a literal translation of today’s verses is, “Do not constantly allow sin to reign in your mortal body so that you are constantly obeying its lusts. Neither constantly yield your members of your body as tools of unrighteousness to sin; but once and for all yield yourselves to God.”
Because of grace, we are free from the penalty of sin. Our faith is credited to us as righteousness. This means that not only did Christ assume all of our debt when we put our trust in Him, but He filled our account so full that we can never be in debt again.
But instead of going on a sinning spree to test the theory, we have to realize that we are dead to that way of life. We live in obedience to Christ now out of love and gratitude for all He has done for us. We shouldn’t want to sin, because it should be completely contrary to our new way of thinking. We should be repulsed by our sin because it is what put our Savior on the cross.
- Are you repulsed by your sin? Do you keep a few pet sins because you know they are covered by grace and you kind of like them?
- Does your attitude towards your sin reflect the passion in Romans 6:2? If not, why not?
- What does it mean in verse 13 to offer the parts of your body to God as instruments of righteousness? How might your life look different if you made a conscious effort to do this?
- How does Romans 12:1-2 reinforce the ideas found in today’s passage?