Open your Bible, if you will, to the sixth chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans. We're progressing through this wonderful epistle. For those of you who might be with us for the first time or the first time in a long time, we are studying Romans, the great Magna Carta of the Christian faith. We find ourselves in the sixth chapter.
We're looking particularly at the first 14 verses. And we've divided it up into three parts, this being the third of those three parts. And tonight we're going to title the section from verses 10 through 14, actually verses 11 to 14, "The Life of the New Man...The Life of the New Man." If there's anything that God wants from His people, it is that they be holy. Peter in his first epistle made that abundantly clear when he quoted God as saying, "Be ye holy for I am holy." That's basic to the will of God. And if we are really the people, as the choir said we were, who desire to do what He wants us to do, then what He wants us to do is be holy. And that's what we're going to find about...out about in our study tonight.
Look at verse 11 and let's set the text in mind. "Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts; neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin but yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace."
The account of our Lord's raising of Lazarus from the dead came to mind this week as I studied this passage. It is a marvelous story of God's resurrection power. You remember that Lazarus was four days dead. He was so dead that when Jesus approached the tomb and asked that it be unsealed and opened, Lazarus' sister in horror said, "Lord, by this time he stinketh." She didn't say it in good King James English, but that's the way they translated it. What she meant was he's too dead to even be bothered with.
But Jesus came and demanded that in spite of her protest, the grave be open. He spoke the word and Lazarus rose from the grave and walked out. And when he came out where everyone could see him, the text says that he still had on him the grave clothes and our Lord said, "Loose him and let him go."
That event, for some reason, stuck in my mind as an analogy. I see many people who have been lifted out of the deadness of being separated from God, who have been redeemed and yet they still have on the grave clothes. And the Lord would say to them, "Get off your grave clothes, be loosed, be free."
If I can borrow that truth of resurrection in Lazarus' case as an analogy, let me do that and leave it with you in that regard. Like Lazarus, we need to shed the grave clothes. We have been raised from the dead. We walk in newness of life. We need to get rid of that which remains of our deadness.
And I think that's the essence of the truth in the text I just read to you. We know by the time we reach verse 11 that we have died and risen again, don't we? We've already taken care of that in the first ten verses. We've studied it in depth in the last two weeks. And now we are to learn in verses 11 to 14 that having been raised from the dead and having experienced in our position victory over death as to its penalty and its power, victory over sin as to its penalty and its power, we are now ready to move on, take off the grave clothes and live to the fullness of life. Now I really believe that Christians want to do this. I believe that Christians want to know real victory over their conquered enemy sin.
If you look in Romans chapter 7, just to help us in our thinking at this point, we find in verse 15 Paul saying this: "For that which I do, I don't understand. For what I would, that do I not. But what I hate, that do I." And what he tells us there is that as a believer he has a desire to do what's right, he has a desire to see victory in his life, he has a desire to conquer sin. And then we hear him saying something very similarly in verse 18, "For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me but how to perform that which is good I find not, for the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do." And here is a man struggling with sin.
But I really believe that he like other believers desires the victory. As of yet in Romans 7, he may not know the secret to that victory. But I think if he were not only to go into chapter 8, but to go back to chapter 6, he would find that reality, that secret--if you want to call it that.
Now, how do we get off the grave clothes? That's what we want to talk about. How do we really strip ourselves clean? How do we, as Peter said it, lay aside the old, put off, as he said it in 1 Peter 2:1? How do we put off that which shouldn't be there in our lives? We're going to find that to be answered very graphically, I think, in this text.
Now, remember, just as a sort of a background to this passage, Paul is speaking of the great theme of justification by faith. He has discussed how one is justified, or how one is redeemed in chapters 3 and 4. He presents the security of that redemption in chapter 5 and now he presents the effect of that redemption in chapter 6, 7 and 8. And the effect of redemption is to produce holiness. First of all, holiness in our position before God and then holiness in our practice. First of all holiness in our state, as the old theologians used to call it, and then holiness in our behavior.
Now, three key words are necessary for us to understand how to overcome sin. I'm going to give them to you and then I'm going to go back over them as we study together. In fact, you can follow your little outline, if you like. The three words are in the text: know, reckon and yield. And the force of this whole passage collects under these three terms. Everything that we've said in the last two lessons is going to come back to collect itself under the first term. So, let's take that first term.
It is the term "know." Would you notice, first of all, verse 3, the first word, "Know." Verse 6, the first word, "Knowing." Verse 9, the first word, "Knowing." The first ten verses of Romans 6 are doctrinal. They're cognitive. They're presenting to us foundational data, substantive truth upon which we can build. And so, as we look at our text, chapter 6 verse 11, the first word is "Likewise." And that takes us back pulling us all the way through the first ten verses again. The term could be translated "Things having been thus settled, we now move on." The term "likewise" simply means "now after all of that is well in mind and in hand, we pursue the next truth." And that's its intent. You cannot come to verse 11 without the first ten verses. And we've learned, I think, in the years that we've taught the Word of God and studied together that duty is always founded on doctrine, isn't it? That exhortation never comes in a vacuum, it always comes built on a precept, built on a divine truth. Because this is true, this is how you are to behave. And so, we have had ten verses of solid foundational doctrine.
And what has that doctrine been? Let me just give it to you as rapidly as I can. That the believer is one with Christ, right? When He died, we died. When He was buried, we were buried. When He rose, we rose. As He walks in newness of life, so we walk in newness of life.
In other words, Paul has been saying that we are united with Jesus Christ in His death, therefore we, too, have fulfilled the penalty for sin. We have risen with Christ in His resurrection therefore we walk in newness of life. Every demand of the law was met. Every demand of sin was met. The power of sin has been conquered. Christ will never die again. He says that very clearly in verse 9 and 10. And because He will never die again, we will never die again. Because His death so effectively conquered sin, we dying in Him effectively conquer sin as well.
So, what he has said is that when you become a Christian and you place your faith at that moment in Jesus Christ, by a divine miracle you enter into His death and resurrection, your old life dies and you rise to walk in newness of life. In dying in Christ, the believer pays the penalty for sin so that sin and death make no more claim on that believer. Not only is the penalty paid, but the power of sin is broken. And sin has no more dominion over Him. We now live in new life. We are a new creation...a new man, a new nature, if you like. We're not what we used to be.
Chapter 5 ended, you remember, from verse 12 on, telling us basically that we were in Adam. And when we were in Adam we all died. But when we come to Christ and in Him we all are made alive. So it is that the whole human race can be identified as being either in Adam or in Christ. If they are in Adam, when Adam sinned, they sinned. When Adam fell, they fell. When Adam died, they died. And if we are, by faith, in Christ, when Christ dies, we die. When He rises, we rise. That's the essence of the theological solidarity that the Apostle Paul is teaching in this great text.
And so, to begin with we want to know that this is true. And we've been giving that to you in the last two lessons. If we are to live out, I believe, the fullness of the new life in Christ, if we are to really live as new creations, then it begins with the knowledge of that fact that I am not what I used to be. I am new. And I have to know that to begin with. And what is the essence of that newness? I am no longer under the tyranny of sin, you remember that? Sin is no longer my absolute master. I need to know that.
Now, I believe it is a basic principle of the Word of God that people, first of all, have to know what's true. You remember back in Hosea where the prophet Hosea said of the people of God that they were destroyed because of a lack of knowledge not a lack of dedication, not a lack of consecration, not a lack of commitment, not even a lack of worship activity, not even a lack of religion, not even a lack of revelation but a lack of knowledge? They didn't know so they couldn't function. You'll never be able to live out what you don't know. You remember in the very special indictment of Isaiah chapter 1 verses 2 and 3, Isaiah sums up his indictment of the people of God and says, "Israel does not know?" They don't know.
And if you look in the New Testament, you find the same thing. In fact, in Philippians 4 verse 8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just and pure and lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think...think on these things." Count on what you know to be true.
In Colossians chapter 3 and verse 8, very important word to us. He talks about putting off anger and wrath and malice and blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth, lie not one to another. Since you have put off the old man with his deeds, the old man's been put off, we saw that already, and you have put on the new man, then he says, "Which is renewed in knowledge." It is renewed in knowledge. You can't function on what you don't know. And so, we begin by knowing. And, beloved, we know that the power of sin to tyrannize us has been broken, don't we? We know that we do not have to be prey to sin's power. We know that we do not have to fall victim to it. We do know for certain that it cannot force us to do that which is against God.
Now, once you know that, I think you're on your way to victory. Because it puts confidence in your heart, the doubt is gone, the fear is gone, you know you are dealing with a vanquished foe, you know you are dealing with a monarch who has been dethroned. The tomb is really open and we have really come out of the grave and we can get off the grave clothes and get on with the victory.
So, it begins with knowing. Now let's go to the second word in verse 11, "Likewise," now that you understand the knowing part, now that the foundation is laid, "reckon," that's the second word...reckon. "Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that ye should obey its lusts."
Now, the second term is reckon and here, beloved, doctrine gives way to faith. The word "know" dealt with the mind. The word "reckon" deals with the heart. You know it to be so intellectually, and now you believe it to be so, you reckon.
Now what does it mean to reckon,logizomai? The word has many translation possibilities. It is used of a mathematical kind of expression. In its literal sense it means "to number something, or to count something, or to account something, or to estimate something." But it is also used in a figurative way. In fact, it's been used quite extensively in chapter 4, I think. Eight times it's used there. Basically translated "to impute," or to put to someone's account where the Lord says that in salvation, God puts to our account righteousness. But it also can be used in a figurative sense to refer to calculating in the mind, or reasoning in the mind, or affirming in the mind that something is so. And that's the way it's used here. We could translate it simply "affirm." You know and now affirm that it is true. Or conclude that it is true. Or if you want to put it in the category of the genuine Christian term that is all encompassing, "believe that it's true." You know it is because the data says it is, now believe it with a heart belief. Come to that settled confidence.
Now at this point, somebody might say, "Well, you know, this is hard. It's hard for me to believe that I am a person who no longer possesses a sin nature. It's hard for me to believe that I am a person who no longer is a victim of the old man. It's hard for me to believe that I have died and nevertheless I live and yet not I but Christ lives in me. It's hard for me to believe that I possess the divine nature. It's hard for me to believe that planted within me is an incorruptible seed. It's hard for me to believe that I'm a new creation and behold, all things are new. It's hard for me to believe that I am already fit for eternity and that translation into glory for me will be less of a change than salvation was. It's hard for me to believe that the life of God lives in my soul. It's hard for me to believe that Jesus Christ dwells within me. It's hard for me to accept that. I know that's what it says there, but for me to affirm it is difficult."
Well, I understand that. In fact, I'll tell you why it's difficult. You want to know why it's difficult? I'll give you four reasons why it's difficult. First reason is maybe you've never been taught that before. I think it's difficult for a lot of folks cause nobody ever told them that. I mean, they just think that they're going to be victims of sin all their life. There are a lot of folks who believe when you get saved, all the Lord does is save you transactionally and leaves you in the same mess you're still...you've been in all along. And you just sort of hack your way through the jungle of sin and its tyranny the rest of your life. And they don't know any different. And that's a tragic thing to tell people
Or else they're told that when you become a Christian, it isn't transformation, it's addition. You were an old man, an old nature, you just get a new one added to it and now you've got a big war going on inside of you, you poor thing, you. You see. No, it may well be that you've never been taught what the foundation is. And now you're just sort of getting it taught to you and maybe it's coming slowly.
Let me give you another reason. Another reason it's hard to believe that sin has no tyranny over you, and sin does not have power to utterly control you is simply because Satan doesn't want you to believe that. I don't think he wants you to believe that. I don't think you...he wants you to believe that he and his forces and sin are vanquished in terms of their ultimate ability to control you. If I read my Bible right, Satan always shows up as the accuser of the brethren, doesn't he? He really does. And he not only accuses the brethren before God, but, believe me, he accuses the brethren before the brethren. And Satan will do everything he can to put Christians on a tremendous guilt binge. And some Christians kill themselves because of it. We see that, Christian people who commit suicide. And a lot of Christians are under tremendous anxiety. Satan doesn't want us to believe that sin is a vanquished foe. And maybe we haven't been taught that. That's two reasons.
Let me give you a third reason. And this may be a surprise. The third reason that you may not know this, and hang on, is because basically the redemptive recreation that God did in you, are you ready for this?, was non-experiential. That's right. It was a divine transaction. It was not experiential. When you were saved, there was not a real death and a real burial and a real resurrection, it spiritually occurred. But all of that truth was non-experiential. We know that because there are people who've been saved for a while and they still don't know that even happened. Maybe you didn't know till two weeks ago. See, it's not experiential. Salvation in its purest essence is non-experiential. You can't define a person's salvation by some kind of external experience.
I've seen people come to an invitation response to a prayer room and cry their eyes out and it wasn't genuine. Haven't you? And I've seen people who look like were very cold and calculating in the whole process and it was as genuine as it could be and the divine transaction really occurred.
You see, basically, redemption is non-experiential. It is a faith fact. You can't experience dying in Christ actually. You can't experience your burial. You can't experience being raised. You have to take it by faith. You want to know something? The people who are always running around looking for signs, don't have great faith they just have little faith. The people with the great faith can accept the fact of the Word of God without having to have some external proof. People running around looking for external verifying phenomena to the reality of Christ in their life don't have great faith, that's doubt looking for proof.
But we have not objective external verifiable things that we can see as our evidence of death, burial and resurrection in Christ. We can't see the fact that sin is a vanquished foe. God doesn't give us this vision of sin lying down having been knocked out. We don't have that. And so, that makes it hard.
But let me give you the fourth and the best reason. It's hard for us to realize that we have had the victory over sin, as I said, number one, because maybe we've never been taught that; number two, because the enemy doesn't want us to believe that; number three, because the whole thing is non-experiential; and number four, and here's the best reason, because the fury of the conflict with sin in us makes us wonder how that could be true. Did you get that? That's very important. The fury of the conflict with sin in us which we many times lose, don't we, makes us wonder how it can be so.
And when I started this series in Romans, the first message I gave was very interesting. I purposely didn't say anything about this, I just presented that we were dead and we had come alive and the power of sin was broken. And, believe me, people came and say, "Oh, you can't believe that. You can't believe that the power of sin is broken in our lives. Well...well...well...well, we have such a battle with sin. You've...where does that...where do we put that? Where's our theological category for that?"
And, people, when I said there are...there's not an old nature and a new nature, some people just really had theologically apoplexy. I mean, they couldn't handle it. They said, "Ehhh, if there's no old nature, wherrr...where's the sin coming from? I mean, I used to knew...I used to know where it was, I mean, I had a name for it. I had a box. Now you took away my box and I don't know where it's coming from."
I'll give you a box, the very one Paul's got, but wait till we get there. That's in verse 12. So, that's legitimate. I mean, here's Paul a Christian. I believe in Romans 7, and what's he saying? "Oh, I'm so sick of the battle," isn't he? The things I don't want to do I do, the things I want to do I don't do. O wretched man that I am.
And so, it is hard to believe that the tyranny of sin is broken because there's a real struggle going on with sin and we lose a lot. But we have to believe it anyway. You say, "Well, how we going to believe?" Because the Bible says so. It's a faith fact. Count on it. Affirm it. Believe it.
Now, I'm not talking about psychological games. I'm not talking about what that old thing that they used to say back in the twenties and thirties, "Everyday in every way I'm getting better and better." I'm not talking about that. I'm not talking about getting up every morning and saying, "You're really wonderful, you're really holy, you're really righteous," until finally you've got a case of self-hypnosis and you've convinced yourself of something that isn't so. I'm not talking about playing mind games. I'm not talking about that. I'm not talking about fooling ourselves. I'm saying we have to believe God's Word. Sin in its power is broken. You've got to believe it.
I mean, let's face it. Abraham had a hard time believing that he was going to have a son, too. That's right. He was 99 years old. Sarah was 90. They were both long over the hill...as far it came to production. And he looked at Sarah and he must have had a snicker and a smile and she just flat out laughed. But in Romans it says he believed God. I mean, it was a...it was a faith fact. You just had to believe it because there was no way it was basically possible.
But, beloved, we have to believe this. As one writer put it: "What could be more frustrating than being a Christian who thinks himself primarily a self-centered sinner, yet whose purpose in life is to produce God-centered holiness?" Well, you want to really be schizoid? That's a good way to go at it. Believe you're a wretched, vile, hopeless sinner under the tyranny of sin and you're supposed to produce holiness. That will frustrate you.
So, Paul says "reckon." Affirm that it is so. What does he say? "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin." "In truth," it means. Truly dead unto sin. Count on it. Affirm it that your biography has been written in two volumes. Volume one is the old man, the old nature, the old self before salvation. Volume two is the new man, the new self, the new creation. Volume one ended with my death in Christ. Volume two began with my resurrection in Christ. It is both impossible and inconceivable to reopen volume one.
So, the doctrine of salvation by grace does not lead me to sin, that was the original question in verse 1. The doctrine of salvation by grace does not free me up to sin and have God just keep exercising grace in behalf of my multiplied sinfulness. No, no, no. Because when I was saved, sin as a tyrant was cancelled out. And I must believe that. I must believe that. I am in Christ. And His holiness is mine and sin has no more dominion over me.
Now what that means is that I--and this is in theory--I really never have to sin, right? I am never a forced sinner, a victim of some wretchedness inherent in me that is not conquered. Sin has no more dominion. I am in Christ and Christ is in me. A marvelous thought.
Years ago in the midst of a Latin American revolution, an American citizen was captured and sentenced to death. An American officer rushed before the firing squad and draped an American flag over the guy just before they were ready to shoot him. And he said, "You fire through the American flag and you will incur the wrath of a whole nation." And they let him go. And there's a sense in which we are draped with a very protecting righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Isaac Watts put it this way: "In Him the tribes of Adam boast more blessings than their fathers lost." So, we are in His eternal purpose, His eternal plan, His eternal presence, His eternal power. "We have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies." "He is working in us to work out His good pleasure." "He who began a good work in us will perform it till the day of Jesus Christ." God has created us new. And we need to reckon that.
Now what does it mean when you do that? What does it mean when you affirm that you're really dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ? What does it really mean? Let me give you some things, some practical implications of this.
First of all, if we can affirm this in our hearts, we know then that we have confidence in temptation, right? We can be confident in temptation. I mean, it could be summed up by the very words of the Apostle Paul. "There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man and God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you're able but will with that temptation make a way of...what?...escape." There never will be a tyrannizing temptation that you cannot in the power of God know the victory over, never...cause sin is not your boss, your lord, your tyrant.
So, to know that and affirm that means that we can be confident in temptation. And that's a marvelous thing to know. I mean, you could get paranoid fearing every time a temptation came. Maybe it would be the one that you could never be able to handle. But you can be confident in temptation.
Secondly, and this may sound strange, but you can even be confident in your sinning. You say, "What in the world do you mean by that?" Well, you can be confident that when you sin, you're not going to lose your salvation. Sin may rear its ugly head and cause you to obey it even though you don't have to. But the one thing it can't do is take you back from God. It can't. You'll never have to pay the penalty again. That's what it means when it says in verses 9 and 10 that when Christ died, He died once and He will never die again. Because the one death provided the one penalty and broke the power of sin so that even in our sinning, when we fall and we fail we can have confidence in that that we have not forfeited our redemption. Great thought...great truth.
So, when you're able to reckon yourself to really be dead, then you have confidence in temptation and you have confidence even in sin. And I would say thirdly, to know that sin's tyranny is broken means you have confidence in death. You have confidence in death. "He that believeth in Me," Jesus said, "though he be dead, yet shall he...what?...live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall...what?...never die."
Boy, I want to have confidence in temptation that it's not more than I can bear. I want to have confidence even in my sin that it isn't going to take me out of the hand of God and damn me. And I want to have confidence in facing death that death has no hold on me. And you can have that confidence when you know this to be true and you affirm it so in your heart and when you're freed from fearing temptation and you're freed even from fearing an ultimate disaster from your failures and your sins and you're freed from fearing death, you can enjoy the fullness of the blessedness of your walk with God. And that's what comes when you learn to affirm or to reckon or to count these things to be true.
So, reckon that you're alive to God. It's a permanent state. And I want you to notice the Greek text says that you are alive unto God in Christ Jesus, that's the Greek text of that final phrase. In Christ Jesus...and we're right back to that same aspect of our union with Him...marvelous. Everything is because we're in Him. When He died, was His payment for sin sufficient? Was it? Then when we died in Him, so was ours. And sin can make no more claims on us. That's why we don't fear even when we sin that we be cast out...cause the penalty was perfectly paid and the power of sin was ultimately broken...in Christ..in Christ...in Christ. Listen, there's not a religion in the world that says that. People don't say, "I'm in Buddha...I'm in Mohammed...I'm in Confucius...I'm in Mary Baker Eddy Patterson Grover Frye...I'm in Madam Blavatsky...I'm in Annie Besant...I'm in Judge Rutherford...I'm in James Russell..." They don't say that..."I'm in Joseph Smith." But we're in Christ. Marvelous. And so, we reckon, we affirm it to be so.
Third word, and now we come to the heart of the thing. You want the third word? It's at the beginning of verse 13, what is it? "Yield." Some of your translations may say "present." It could be translated either way. Now if "know" has to do with the mind, and if "reckon" has to do with the heart, then "yield" has to do with the will. Yield has to do with the will. John 13:17, one of my favorite statements, the Lord says: "If you know these things, happy are you if you...what?...if you do them." That's right. This is the coup de grâce. Verse 12, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts; neither yield..." and he goes on to say "unto sin, but yield unto God."
Now, there's so much theology in these two verses and I'm just going to have a marvelous time. I just hope I can get done. Hang in there, this is so exciting. You're going to get some questions answered right at this point, I think. Now, verse 12, "Therefore..." and whenever we see a "therefore" we know what it's there for, it takes us from the past statement to the present one. "Because we are dead indeed to sin, really dead, truly dead, indeed dead," that's what it means, "for real dead, it really happened, not wishful thinking and we're alive to God, then therefore let not sin reign in your mortal body."
Now, we've been saying for ten verses that sin has no tyranny over us, that sin is not our master, that sin is not our lord." May I add this? We have never said that sin is not a force still to be reckoned with. It just isn't our lord anymore. It isn't our master. It's still a force to be reckoned with. And this exhortation in verse 12 tells us that though sin is a dethroned monarch, it's still around giving orders that don't have to be obeyed...but sometimes are. And it wants to pull us back under its control, even though it has no right to that. "Let not sin reign."
Now here you see sin personified. And sin is personified as a king and a king who rules over the lives of people. Before we were Christians, indeed sin was our king, sin was our sovereign. We were its slaves. That's right. We were its slaves. In fact, in verse 17 it says, "You were the slaves of sin." That's a fact.
Now listen very carefully. Here is an exhortation in verse 12. "Let not sin therefore reign." What does he mean? Listen, if sin is no longer the monarch, then don't let it act like it was. You got that? I mean, if it doesn't have any right to do that, then don't give it any right. This is a fact: sin has no dominion. That's a fact. That's indicative. This is an exhortation...don't let it act like it does. That's an imperative. Its power is broken. Don't let it act like it still has any right at all.
Peter, I think, speaks in the same regard in 1 Peter, beautiful passage, chapter 2 verse 9, "You are a chosen generation, you are a royal priesthood, you are a holy nation, you are a people of His own." Boy, those are great things, aren't they? "That He should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, who in time past were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but have now obtained mercy." You want to know what a Christian is? Just read it there: a chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation, people of His own, called to show forth praises, taken out of darkness into light, now the people of God, now the recipients of mercy. Then he says, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you, then abstain from fleshly lusts." I mean, take a look at who you are, you see. You don't need that.
And here comes a very important truth. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body." Would you underline that? Your mortal body. I think this will erase an awful lot of confusion. You know where sin wants to reign? It says in that verse. Where does it want to reign? In your...what?...body, your mortal. What does mortal mean? Corruptive. Is our mortal body that which will dwell eternally with God? No, that's our glorified body. It's this earthly cursed physical organism which encompasses the physical body with all of its members and organs as well as the brain and all of its functions. It is the physical body which sin seeks to rule.
Now listen very carefully to me. Before you were saved, sin reigned not only in your body but in your soul as well. But I believe when you were redeemed, the new creation is the soul. And sin is only left with the physical body to rule. And I say that because that's what he says. It is a very specific term. This is not our old nature. We're not talking about the nature, the real man, the real I inside. That was the soul, the inward man. It is not the new man, the new nature sharing residence with the old vile, sin-ruled soul. No, no, that is dead and we have a new soul, the real me, the real self. The inward man is holy and pure and set for heaven. The only beachhead sin has to approach me by terminology of Paul, and we're--granted--talking about sermo...sermantics, but let's get it right, the only beachhead is the body. You want some other terms? Our flesh, our humanness. And the word "mortal" in the dictionary, I looked it up, it means "transitory, subject to death and belonging to this world." We are new souls. We are new creations. But sin is still left in our bodies.
And that means, people, listen. If we could just get rid of these bodies, we would have instant holiness. You believe that? That's exactly what the Bible teaches, Romans 8:21, look at it..."The creation itself, also, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption," and he's talking about the physical, "and will be set loose in the glorious liberty of the children of God." I mean, won't it be great when we get rid of this...this part of us? "And we know that the whole creation, that whole physical dimension, groans and has labor pains," and not only the whole creation, "but ourselves who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is the redemption of our...what?...of our body." That's what we're waiting for. We're waiting for a redeemed body. We want to get rid of the one we've got.
Look at Philippians chapter 3 and I want you to see the consistency of the Apostle in teaching this principle. Philippians 3:20, "For our citizenship is in heaven." Now that's the soul. We are heavenly citizens. We're new creations. We are partakers in the divine nature. We're indwelt by the living Spirit of God. "Our citizenship is in heaven...from which also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." And when He comes, what's He going to do? Is He going to change our soul? No, "He's going to change our...what?...our vile body, our lowly body, the body of humiliation that it might be fashioned like His glorious body." That's what we're waiting for.
Just another passage to help you in your thinking. First Corinthians 15:50...15:50. A very important statement: "Now this I say, brethren," here you go, are you ready for this?, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." You want to know something, folks? You can't get into heaven in that thing you're in right now. Now you look at it and you think it's great, maybe. And relatively speaking it may be a lot better than somebody else's. You can't get into heaven with it. Why? The end of verse 50, "Because corruption doesn't inherit incorruption."
"Well, what we going to do about that? I mean, how we going to get in?" Oh, I'll tell you how. I'll show you a mystery. "We'll not all sleep, we'll all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump...the trumpet shall sound, the dead shall be raised incorruptible." Now, when they come out of that grave, are they going to have mortal bodies? Are they going to have corruptible bodies? No, they're going to have immortal incorruptible bodies. "For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality so when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory..." and so forth. Now you getting the picture?
Now let's go back to Romans 6. Let me show you something. Would you look what Paul does not say? Listen to what he doesn't say. He doesn't say - Let not sin therefore reign in your soul. He doesn't say - Let not sin therefore reign in your spirit. He doesn't say - Let not sin therefore reign in you. He says, "Don't let it reign in your...what?...your mortal body." That's the only place sin can operate. Why? Because the real you, the real self is holy now. And that's why you have this struggle in Romans 7 where you say - I want the right things, that's coming from the real me, but my body is a problem to me. Have you noticed that? I've noticed that.
Let me show you. Romans 7. I hate to keep going ahead to Romans 7 cause I want to surprise you when we get there, but I can't do that. Romans 7:17...back up to verse 15, we have to cover it all, "That which I do I understand not." I don't understand me, he says. "For what I would, that do I not; and what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good." In other words, here I am, I'm doing things I don't want to do. In other words, something in me says I don't want to do that but my body wants to do that. And so he says in verse 17, "Now then, it is no more I that do it." What a statement! Who is it? What do you mean it isn't you that do? He says it is not I. What I? "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me." And that new incorruptible eternally prepared and holy new soul that God made, it's not that that's doing it, "But it is sin that dwells in me."
Oh? It's not you, it's sin that dwells in you. Hmm...where does it dwell, Paul? Verse 20, "Now, if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it but sin that dwells in me." I know you already said that but where is it in you? Don't we want to know where it is? Well, let's look at verse 22. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man," I mean, the real me, the new me, the new creation, "but I see another law," watch this one, "in my...what?...members." You know what that word means? Bodily parts...bodily parts. "And it wars against the law of my mind." Hmm, how about verse 25? "So then," after the first statement he says, "So then, with the mind," that's with the real me, "I serve the law of God but with the...what?...flesh the law of sin."
Now, there is basic theological epistemology of the substance of the struggle with sin. And I hope you understand the meaning of the Apostle Paul. I want to draw you to verse 24 of Romans 7 and this will give you, I think, the strong conclusion. "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the...what?...body." Just get me out of this body, it's killing me. Now you got it? Isn't this marvelous? You see, because you're a new creation and all you've got to do is get out of this body and you'll know the glorious liberty of the child of God. Boy, we've got to keep going....let's go back to Romans 6.
Oh, by the way...I just thought of something....the struggle then comes at the point of our body, doesn't it? Bodily desires and so forth. That's why Paul says in Romans 12, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your...what?...your bodies." See, that's the issue. That's why 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul says, "I...you know...beat my body," down, body...see. I beat it into submission because it's the body that's the problem. Now those are Paul's terms for the struggle.
Now, let's go back to Romans 6, as I said, and look at verse 12. He says then, "Let not sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts." The body is lusting, the body has its desires, the body lusts cry out for fulfillment. And they demand obedience. And remember, the body is where it's coming from. And your brain and your thinking processes are part of that body.
Now what does this tell us? "Let not sin reign therefore in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts." What it tells us is that sin will dominate you if you let it, right? I mean, if you pamper the body and you feed the body and if you entertain the body and if you entice the body and if you expose the body to temptation, you're going to have a problem. Because it's the body and all of the sensory factors that are exposed to this world become channels through which temptation can draw you into sin and sin can reign over you. So, sin will dominate you if you don't deal with it.
But you know what else this tells me? It doesn't have to dominate you because the very fact that he says "don't let it" indicates that it doesn't have to, right? He says - Don't let sin reign in your mortal body. You know what that means to me? It would like to but I don't have to let it. Isn't that comforting? Sure it is.
You say, "What's the key factor? It must be my will if he tells me don't let it do it, and I'm the guy who has to let it or not let it." I mean, you can get real mystical about the Christian life and you can say "Let go and let God." See. You can get...you can get really mystical about "Well, I do nothing and God does it all." See. See, the commands in the Bible are not to God, they're to you. And the implication here is that your will has to be activated and that's the word "yield" or "present." Your will is involved. Sin would like to rule you and it will dominate you if you let it. You don't have to let it and your will is a key factor.
I think that's what Paul has in mind in Philippians 2:12 and 13 where he says, "You need to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." It's God who's working in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure, but it will only come to the surface as your will is activated in accord with His.
I'll tell you another thing it says. It says that holiness in behavior is not a sudden instantaneous thing, it's a way of life and you fight it all the way along to be holy because as long as you're in this...what?...this body, you're going to have problems. So, these people who say, "Well, you know, ten years ago sin was eradicated from my life." My reaction to that is to just feel and see if they're still there, see. Because if you've still got your body, you've still got your problem. Sanctification is a process and that's why we don't know the fullness of sanctification until we get to be with God.
So, your will is implied in verse 12. Your will is really strictly the issue in verse 13. So, he says: "Neither yield ye your members," bodily parts, beloved. Faculties, organs, the bents of humanness bound up in the body, even your thought, reason, imagination, all that is in your humanness, all that is in your flesh, the physical, the earthly, the corruptible, the mortal part of you, don't yield that, don't present that as an instrument. That word always used in the New Testament, hopla [hoplon] is translated "weapon." It's always translated "weapon." And weapon is probably the best translation here. Paul consistently uses it for that.
Sin is seen as a king. He's a king who demands our bodies to be weapons to promote sin. He uses our bodies as weapons to gain dominion over the world. The body becomes the weapon for him to promote unrighteousness. So he says, "Don't let Satan be a king who collects weapons to bring unrighteousness around the world. Don't let him use you as one of his weapons." So, don't yield your bodily parts as weapons of unrighteousness for the propagation of sin.
Now, there's nothing wrong with your bodily parts. God looked on the creation He made and said, "It's good." And you can use your hands and feet and every part of your body for His glory, can't you? Why of course. Romans 12:1, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice," are you ready for this? What's the next word? Holy and what? Acceptable. Your body is acceptable unto God. That's right. Your body is neutral in that sense. You can use it as an instrument to sin or you can use it as an instrument of righteousness and you decide...you decide.
The positive then in the middle of the verse, "But yield, or present, yourselves to God...yield to God as those that are alive from the dead." And, beloved, that is always the substance or the foundation, and that phrase "as those that are alive from the dead" takes us all the way back through the chapter again, doesn't it? And it takes us back to the word "know." Have you forgotten who you are? Have you not affirmed who you are? Now yield on that basis. And yield your bodily parts as weapons of righteousness in the hand of God to produce what He wants. You have to see your body as a weapon in the hand of a holy God to produce righteousness. Isn't that marvelous? God wants to use your body as a weapon of righteousness, cutting through the sinful world....Here's My man...Here's My woman...Here's My young person...a weapon of righteousness. What a great thought that God when He wants to battle sin would pick you up and pick me up and fight his way through sin with our righteous life. A glorious thought.
Sin is a dethroned monarch. We want to know it. We want to affirm it. And we want to yield our lives as weapons in the hand of Almighty God for the purposes of righteousness.
Then he wraps it up in verse 14, and so do I. "For sin shall not have dominion over you." Oh what a great thought. Its tyranny is broken. We are no longer under its constant incessant control...never again, "For ye are not under the law but under...what?...grace." A statement of our position. We're not under law.
What does he mean by that? Well, law and sin go together because the law came to show us our...what?...our sin. The law commands, the law demands, the law rebukes, the law condemns, the law restrains, the law can't conquer sin--either its penalty or its power. By the law shall no flesh be justified. So being under law is to be damned. Being under law is to be under the power of sin. Law only increases our bondage by manifesting the sinfulness of sin and the utter inability of man to do what is right. So to be under law sort of sums up the enslavement to sin. The law aggravates sin. The law condemns the sinner. The law calls for the penalty and the law has no ability to deliver the victim. You're not under that. You're under grace and grace embraces and sums up all of the righteousness in Christ, all of the mercy of God in salvation.
And so, Paul answers the question in verse 1, "Shall we sin that grace may abound?" Oh, no, no, no, no. We're new creations. We know it. We count on it. And we yield to God and sin is no longer our master. We're not under law...we're under grace.
Beloved, that's the way to know victory. Know who you are. Believe it with all your heart. And yield to God. That's just the first 14 verses of these three chapters, and we're in for marvelous things ahead. Let's pray.
Father, thank You for our time tonight. Thank You for what You've done for us, so unworthy. Thank You that we're not who we were, we're new, fit for heaven, members of the Kingdom, blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, partakers of the divine nature, having all things that pertain to life and godliness, complete in Him. But oh the body, our humanness, our corruptibility, our mortality is such a burden. We groan. We travail waiting for the redemption of our bodies. But until that time comes, Lord, help us to know that sin is a conquered foe. Help us to believe it with our hearts as well as know it in our minds. And help us with our wills to yield to God that He may take us as weapons for the battle for righteousness...weapons in His hand. Father, may we be holy in practice, in body as we are in position and in soul. Father, we thank You for what You've accomplished in our fellowship tonight and how You've opened our hearts to understand Your Word. Thank You for the dear Apostle Paul. What a gift he was to us, such an instrument to be used. Thank You for using him that we might learn these truths. We pray, Father, that each of us would take to heart that which the Word of God and the Spirit of God presses upon us for Your glory in Christ's name. Amen.
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