“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14).
Believers are to yield themselves to God, not to sin.
Three key words in Romans 6 define the believer’s relationship to sin: “know” (vv. 3, 6, 9), “consider” (v. 11), and “present” (v. 13). The first two speak of understanding and believing that we are dead to sin. The third demands of us active obedience in our lives based on that truth. Since we are truly dead to sin, we must not allow it to be the dominant force in our lives.
Sin is a dethroned monarch, but it is still present in this fallen world and desires to lure the believer back into its grasp. Knowing that, Paul exhorts Christians, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts.” He says, “Sin has no right to rule; so don’t let it!” Peter echoed that thought in 1 Peter 2:11: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.”
How does a believer keep sin from reigning? Negatively, believers defeat sin by no longer “presenting the members of [their bodies] to sin as instruments of unrighteousness.” We must make sure that our thoughts, speech, and actions are not used for unrighteous purposes. Positively, we must yield all of our faculties to God as “instruments of righteousness.” To do both requires self-discipline—like that which Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 9:27: “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”
Yield to sin, and experience chastening and sorrow; yield to God, and experience joy and blessing. Which will you choose today?
Suggestions for Prayer
Is there a part of your life (thoughts, speech, actions, habits) where sin still reigns? If so, confess it to God, and ask for His help in breaking sin’s hold in that area.
For Further Study
Memorize Romans 12:1 to help you remember the importance of yielding your body to God.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.