Don't let sin reign

Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay
Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Romans 6:12

It is always important to pay attention to connecting words like "therefore." You should always ask the question: "Why is the therefore there for?" What is its function in the overall argument? It certainly functions in an important way here.

Here, it functions to provide a basis for the command not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies so that we obey sinful desires by acting out upon them. We are not to be commanded by sin, but by Christ. You cannot live the Christian life and live under the power and authority of sin, which is why the apostle Paul begins this chapter with the expostulation: "What shall we say then, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!" (1-2).

Further, this word therefore functions to point us to what that basis is: the reality that we have died with Christ and risen with him in newness of life. This is the fundamental point of verses 3-10. In other words, there is an objective reality that defines the life of the Christian. That basis is the person and work of Christ for us - his dying for us and his rising for us, so that we have in a real sense died with him and risen with him. This means that the resources for obedience do not originate in ourselves, whether we want to locate that in our will-power or intelligence or nature. It originates outside ourselves with the work of Christ.

But though this is an objective reality (it is not tied to our subjective states of mind and heart), it is nevertheless a reality that is experienced by us. In other words, we must not think that because the basis of the ground of the exhortation lies in the person and work of Christ, that there doesn't have to be a corresponding experience of that reality in my life. For that is precisely the point here. If you have died with Christ, you will experience that reality in your death to sin and in a newness of life (4, 6).

This should do at least two things in us. First, it should drive us to work for more holiness in our lives. And second, it should encourage us to keep doing that even when we fail because Christ is more powerful than sin. We have no excuse to go on in sin - to admit to that would essentially be to say that our sin is more powerful than Christ. The logic of this passage prevents us from going there.

So, dear believer, get the logic of this passage! Keep fighting sin. Don't let it reign in you. Don't obey its desires. For Christ has died for you and risen for you in such a way that you have become united with him in his death and resurrection so that you too have died to sin and risen with him to newness of life.

By: Jeremiah Bass