Let Not Sin Reign Rom. 6:12-23 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In Rom 6:12-23 Paul explains why we should not let sin reign in our mortal bodies. He gives a practical reason, a doctrinal reason and a rational reason. We will examine each of these reasons why we should not let sin reign.
The Practical Reason – Rom 6:12-16 – after we get saved sin still resides in our bodies along with its lusts. Sin desires us like a parasite desires a host off of which to live. Yet we must rule over sin [Gen 4:7] or it will rule over us. In order to keep from obeying its lusts we must do two things, simultaneously.
First, we must not yield our “members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin.” That is we cannot yield our minds, our eyes, our ears, our mouths, our hearts, our hands, our feet, and so forth as instruments of unrighteousness. If we do, sin will take over and do with us as it pleases just as it did before we were saved.
Secondly, since we are “alive from the dead” and “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” [Rom 6:11] we must yield ourselves to God and our members as instruments of righteousness unto God. As we yield our members to him, God takes charge of them as his instruments and he directs them into righteousness. That is the thoughts of our minds become obedient to Christ [2 Cor 10:5], our eye becomes single [Matt 6:22], our ears open to his words [as Christ’s were, Is 50:5], he can speak his words through our mouths [as Jeremiah did, Jer 1:9], and so forth.
According to Rom 6:14, when we were saved, we were no longer “under the law, but under grace.” Paul is going to explain this matter of sin and the law in great detail in Rom 7. However, if we look back to Rom 5:15-21 we can see that once we are under grace, grace reigns through righteousness [Rom 5:21]. Under the law we had guilt [Rom 3:19], death, and no remedy for sin; only a description of sin. Sin reigned. Under grace we have righteousness, justification, life and a remedy for sin. Grace reigns and sin’s dominion is cut off.
Paul anticipates an opponent’s question in Rom 6:15 by asking, shall we sin because we are under grace? The answer is clearly, No, because you become the servant of “whom ye obey,” [Rom 6:16]. That is you can either serve “sin unto death” or you can serve “obedience unto righteousness.” The choice seems very obvious. I have the liberty to sin but I don’t want to be under the power of sin [1 Cor 6:12]. I have the liberty to sin but I want to do those things that are expedient and edifying [1 Cor 10:23].
The wording of Rom 6:16 is very interesting because it shows that we don’t abandon the law when we come out from under the law. Look at the words in the verse closely. You either obey sin unto death or you obey obedience unto righteousness.
- Yield > Servant > Obey > Sin > Death
- Yield > Servant > Obey > Obedience > Righteousness
In other words, after you get saved it’s still not right to commit adultery, lie, steal, disobey your parents or any of those other sins found in the law. Therefore, we should not let sin reign.
The Doctrinal Reason – Rom 6:17-18 – doctrinally, we have been made free from sin. That doesn’t mean that we have been made sinless, but rather that we are no longer servants to sin. When we “obeyed from the heart” [Rom 10:9-10; Acts 8:37] not just with the mind and when we obeyed “that form of doctrine” not just a creed or a religious tradition, we were not only made free from sin but we also became servants of righteousness. In other words, we simultaneously switched from being servants of sin to being servants of righteousness. Therefore, as servants of righteousness we should not let sin reign.
The Rational Reason – Rom 6:19-23 – before we were saved, when we were the servants of sin, we yielded our members servants to uncleanness resulting in “iniquity unto iniquity.” That is when we served sin, one sin led to another. Now that we are saved, we should yield our members servants to righteousness which results in holiness. You see, we are not holy just because we are saved. Holiness is the result of yielding our members to righteousness.
Paul contrasts the life of serving sin to the life of serving God in Rom 6:20-22 to show us the rational reason for not letting sin reign. Notice the contrast:
- The servant of sin is free from righteousness, his fruit is shame and his end is death.
- The servant of God is free from sin, his fruit is holiness and his end is everlasting life.
We should not let sin reign because the wages of sin is death [Rom 6:23]. The gift of God, on the other hand, is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Conclusion: it is not uncommon for some people, after they get saved, to continue on in the life of sin that they were in before they were saved. The problem with this is that it is not practically, doctrinally or rationally reasonable to continue to serve sin once you have been saved. From this passage, we see that it is far better to not let sin reign and to begin to serve righteousness instead.