The first five chapters of Romans has dealt with JUSTIFICATION. Romans chapter 6 deals with SANCTIFICATION. The word "sanctification" means "holiness" (being set apart for God's service). This word is found in Rom. 6:19,22.
|God has saved me from the PENALTY of sin--this is JUSTIFICATION (Romans
God is saving me from the POWER of sin--this is SANCTIFICATION (Romans 6-8).
God will save me from the PRESENCE of sin when my salvation is completed--this is GLORIFICATION (Romans 8).
Thus Romans 6 deals with these crucial questions: How shall I live the Christian life? How can I have victory and dominion over sin? How can I live a life that is set apart for the service of the Lord Jesus Christ? How can I be free from the bondage of sin? What must I do to live a life that is pleasing to God? How to Live the Christian Life
If someone were to ask, "What must I do to be saved?" or "What must I do to be justified?" then certainly we would want to give this person Gods answer from the Bible (compare Acts 16:30-31). Likewise, if a believer were to ask, "What must I do to live the Christian life?" or "What must I do to walk in newness of life?" we should be able to give clear answers from Gods Word. The answers are found in Romans chapter 6. The tragedy is that so many Christians fail to understand Gods principles of victory and holiness. Instead of following Gods principles they follow various fleshly schemes and carnal methods. They try self improvement techniques. They try self discipline techniques. They try confession of sin (which is good and right, see 1 John 1:8-10) but the confession does not seem to stop the sinning and they fall into the sin-confess-sin-confess-sin-confess cycle (constantly confessing their sins but never able to forsake their sins). They struggle, they work at it, they strive to do better, etc. but it is ever the same old story--DEFEAT! Paul describes it well in Romans 7:14-18: The things that I want to do I dont do and the things that I hate, those things I do! I desire to do Gods will but I cannot perform that which is right! The harder I try the more I seem to fail!
Lets briefly survey the chapter to see what Romans 6 deals with:
|v.1-not continuing in sin;
v.2-not living in sin;
v.4-walking in newness of life;
v.6-not serving sin (being a slave to it);
v.10-11-living unto God;
v.12-not letting sin rule over us;
v.13-serving God with our bodily members;
v.14-not being under the dominion of sin;
verses 19 and 22-holiness.
Yes, these verses speak of the Christian life, our relationship to sin, how to have victory, etc.
What must I do to live a holy life? Lets search Romans chapter 6 for commands. It is interesting that the first real command is not found until verse 11--"RECKON". The emphasis in these verses is not upon DOING but upon KNOWING (See Romans 6:3,6,9,16; 7:1). To have victory there are certain things which I need TO KNOW! Its not that I need to DO SOMETHING, but I need to KNOW SOMETHING!
The three key words in Romans 6 are these: 1) KNOW (v.3,6,9); 2) RECKON (v.11); 3) YIELD (v.13). First, the believer must KNOW THE FACTS! These facts center upon the death and resurrection of Christ (the facts of justification centered upon the very same gospel facts also--Rom. 4:25). These facts center upon what Christ has already accomplished by His death and resurrection (His FINISHED WORK). The emphasis is not upon what I do but upon what Christ has already done! Secondly, the believer must RECKON or COUNT ON THESE FACTS (consider them to be true). Faith is the key! Faith fixes itself upon the facts of Gods Word and counts them as true! Faith says "Amen" to the facts of Gods Word. Faith says, "Yes it is true. I am dead to sin and I am living unto God! I rejoice in this fact!" (compare verse 11). Thirdly, the believer in Christ is to YIELD or present his bodily members to God as one who is ALIVE FROM THE DEAD (v.13). As a new creature in Christ he realizes that all that he has is to be presented to the service of the King of Kings!
There are some problems with the King James translation in Romans chapter 6, especially when it comes to some of the verb tenses. For example, in Romans 6:6 the King James Version reads, "Our old man is crucified with him" but the past tense is used in the Greek and so it should be translated in this way: "Our old man was crucified with him." This is important because it is talking about something that has already happened, not something that is happening. It is helpful, therefore, to provide the reader with a translation of the first 14 verses of Romans chapter 6.
This translation is based on the King James Version with changes made when necessary
based on the original Greek text.
"Then"=therefore. This word refers us back to the end of chapter five (see especially 5:20 which talks about grace abounding by sin).
"Shall we continue in sin?"--Shall I continue to abound in sin so that grace will abound? Those who don't understand the grace of God might reason in this way: If Gods grace is magnified by sin, then I will really sin so that I might even more abundantly show forth Gods amazing grace. If Gods grace is magnified because of what a sinful wretch I am, then Ill become even a worse wretch! The hymn says, "Amazing grace . . . that saved a wretch like me." I'll become even more of a wretch so that God's grace will appear all the more amazing!
Here is how the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14) turns the grace of God into lasciviousness (shameless conduct, unbridled lust--Jude 4): "If as you Christians say a person is saved by grace and not by any works (not by how good you are) and if a saved person is saved forever, then it seems to me that once a person is saved he can live any way that he pleases. If a person is not saved by how good he is and if a saved person will not be lost because of how bad he is, then what would keep him from being bad? Why cant he continue in sin to show everyone how gracious and forgiving God can be to His wicked child?"
Every true believer who knows the grace of God should respond to this in only one way: "GOD FORBID! LET IT NOT BE! PERISH THE THOUGHT!"
Those who know the grace of God in truth do not use it as a license to sin. Gods grace teaches just the opposite (see Titus 2:11-12). The depths to which our wretchedness and our wickedness have already reached are certainly enough to magnify our gracious God and there is no need to add sin upon sin. We have sinned sufficiently already (see 1 Peter 4:3). We have already explored the depths of depravity and we don't need to go any deeper into the muck and mire of sin. Furthermore, the book of 1 John teaches us that those who continuously practice sin have never been born of God (see 1 John 3:6,8,9; 5:18). The true child of God hates sin and desires to be free from its terrible slavery. He certainly does not desire to continue in it.
"How shall we that have died to sin live any longer in it?" (See the translation from the Greek given above.)
Notice that this verse is not a command. Paul is not saying, "You need to die to sin!" This verse is a statement of FACT: The fact is this: I, (put in your own name, if you are a believer), DIED TO SIN!" Also notice that it is not something that will happen but it is something that has already happened! (past tense) Its done! It has already been accomplished! I died to sin! Be careful to go by FACT and not by EXPERIENCE. Our personal experience would often seem to contradict this fact. My experience (the way I actually live) would often tell me that I am very much alive to sin, but God says I died to it! The unsaved person is dead unto God (Eph. 2:1--no relationship, no vital contact) and living unto sin. The saved person is dead unto sin and living unto God (compare verse 11). Sin has no more claim upon his life. God has every claim upon his life, in fact GOD IS HIS LIFE! (See Col. 3:3-4.)
We must not confound our relationship to sin with its presence! Distinguish this revealed fact that we died, from our experience of deliverance. For we do not die to sin by our experiences: we did die to sin in Christs death. For the fact that we died to sin is a Divinely revealed word concerning us, and we cannot deny it! The presence of sin "in our members" will make this fact that we died to it hard to grasp and hold: but God says it. And He will duly explain all to our faith (William Newell, Romans).
The believer's death to sin involves our UNION with Jesus Christ as will be explained in the following verses. We have been so identified with Jesus Christ that His death to sin (v.10) has become our death to sin. We died to sin in Him.
Notice the key word "KNOW." Paul is setting forth a fact that the believer needs to know and reckon upon. Dont be ignorant of this fact! Believe it!
"As many of us" = all of us. This has happened to everyone who is a true believer in Christ. The only ones who have not been baptized into Jesus Christ are those who are not saved.
"Baptized into Jesus Christ" This is not water baptism. This is not baptism into water but baptism into Jesus Christ. Someone has rightly said that there is not a drop of water in Romans 6. The baptism Paul is talking about in Romans 6 is REAL BAPTISM not RITUAL BAPTISM. This real baptism takes place the moment a person is saved and it is a work that only God can perform. Ritual baptism (water baptism) takes place after a person is saved and it is meant to be symbolic of real baptism (a picture of what happened to me the moment I was saved). "Baptism into Jesus Christ" is also mentioned in Galatians 3:26-27. The result of this baptism is that the believer is "IN CHRIST" (see Gal. 3:28; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 8:1; etc.). The word "baptism" comes from a verb which means "to immerse, to dip, to place something into something, and thus to identify totally with something." The believer has been immersed into Jesus Christ and placed into Gods Son with the result that he is "IN CHRIST." This is where he has been positioned (placed, put). Thus we often speak of the believers POSITION IN CHRIST.
There are two great truths that we find repeated again and again in the New Testament: 1) BAPTISM 2) INDWELLING. Baptism puts me in God and indwelling puts God in me. The Lord predicted this relationship in John 14:20--"ye in Me (BAPTISM) and I in you (INDWELLING)" and see also John 17:21,23,26.
BAPTISM INTO JESUS CHRIST:
|If I have been BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST, then this means that I have been...
Christs HISTORY has become my history because I am IN CHRIST. Thus, His death is my death, His burial is my burial, His resurrection is my resurrection and His ascension is my ascension (see Eph. 1:20-21; 2:6--In Christ I am seated in heavenly places!). The Christian is so closely identified with and in Christ that the Lord Jesus could say to Saul of Tarsus, "WHY PERSECUTEST THOU ME?" (Acts 9:4). When the BODY (the church) is hurt the HEAD feels it!
Water baptism is to be a PICTURE of this glorious relationship and position that the
believer has IN CHRIST. Consider the following:
"We were buried with Him." What is the significance of the burial of Christ? Consider these two facts:
1) THE BURIAL OF CHRIST LOOKS BACK TO HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS. The burial of Christ is connected with His death, even as Romans 6:3-4 indicates. To say that someone was buried is to say that someone died! "Last week my father was buried" (This means "my father died"). Normally the only kind of people that are buried are dead people. Lazarus was buried (John 11) because he had died! The burial of Christ was the great demonstration that Christ had really died. Compare the argument of 1 Cor. 15:3-5 which first gives a statement and follows it with a proof: Christ died for our sins! The proof: He was buried! Christ rose again from the dead! The proof: He was seen!
2) THE BURIAL OF CHRIST LOOKS AHEAD TO THE RESURRECTION. Christ was really buried and His dead body was really put in the tomb. The glorious fact of the resurrection was demonstrated to all when His body, which had been buried, WAS SUDDENLY MISSING! It was gone! "He is not here... come see the place where the Lord lay" (Matthew 28:6). Come see the place where He was buried!
Thus, when you think of the burial of Christ always remember this: 1) That body in the tomb was really dead; 2) Three days later that body in the tomb was really gone. Christ had risen indeed and was alive forevermore!
Not only have we been identified with Christ in His death but in His resurrection also. Christ died, and in Him I died also! Christ was raised up from the dead (Rom. 6:4) and in Christ I was raised up also. This idea is repeated in verse 5: "Planted together" = united. My walk (Rom. 6:4b) should correspond with my position in Christ (Rom. 6:5). In Christ I have a NEW LIFE and I ought to walk in light of THIS FACT! We must appropriate His Life by faith (compare verse 11--"reckon").
"Knowing this"--This introduces a key fact that needs to be believed! What is the "old man" (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) and what is the "new man" (Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24)? The old man refers to all that I am and all that I have in Adam; the new man refers to all that I am and all that I have in Christ. The old man is my old life in Adam; the new man is my new life in Christ. The one refers to the SELF LIFE; the other to the CHRIST LIFE. The one has to do with FALLEN MAN; the other has to do with REDEEMED or REGENERATED MAN. The old man is the old self; the new man is the new self, the new creature in Christ. The old man is characterized by that fallen sinful nature received from Adam; the new man is characterized by that divine holy nature received from God at the time of the new birth. The old man is born of the flesh; the new man is born of God. The old man came about by natural birth; the new man came about by the new birth. The old man is "CORRUPT according to the deceitful lusts" (Eph. 4:22; and compare Romans 7:24); the new man is "after God (according to God, patterned after God, a reflection of God, etc.) . . . created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:24). The new man is a new thing which did not previously exist but which was created (Eph. 4:24; 2 Cor. 5:17). Five years before you were saved the new man did not exist at all, but the old man did!
The old man is not [simply] the old nature, though it involves the old nature; the old man is characterized as having a nature that is opposed to God, and this nature stamps its character on the activities of the old man (Roy Heubner).
The old man is described by his works (his deeds) in Ephesians 4:25-31: He is a wicked liar (v. 25), he has a rotten temper (v. 26), he is a evil thief (v. 28), he has a corrupt mouth with garbage flowing out of it (v. 29) and he is characterized by bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking and an unforgiving spirit (verses31-32). In contrast the new man speaks truth (v. 25), gets angry in the right way at the right things (v. 26), works hard and knows how to give (v. 28), speaks that which is good and that which edifies (v. 29), is characterized by kindness, tenderheartedness and a forgiving spirit. The new man is a reflection of God, the One who created him!
It is important to know that the old man is immutable! He will never change! He is ever and always CORRUPT! The old man will never improve himself (in fact, when you are saved the old man will seem even worse!). The old man will never reform. He is incorrigible! He is utterly depraved and will always be so. When a person is saved the old man is not changed and the old man is not transformed.
How then does God deal with the old man? God does not change the old man. God does not transform the old man. What did God do with your old self? What did God do with all that you are and all that you have in Adam? Romans 6:6 answers this: "OUR OLD MAN WAS (past tense) CRUCIFIED WITH HIM." God condemned the old man, judged him and poured out His wrath on Him when the blessed Saviour died on the cross. My old man was crucified!
"Was crucified"--It is done! It is finished! You do not need to crucify the old man! It already was done 2000 years ago. It is not something that you do, it is something that God has already done! It is not a command to obey; it is a fact to believe! You do not need to deal with the old man. He has already been dealt with on the cross! Those who try to conquer the old man never win!
In Romans 6:6 we need to make a difference between our position and our experience. This verse is not a reference to the experience of a Christian, as many Reformed men teach. "Our old man was crucified" is a fact pertaining to our position in Christ. In our actual experience our old man often seems very alive and well, but we must not go by our experience. We must go by what God has said (the FACTS!). The fact of your position is that your old man was crucified with Christ. Claim that fact by faith in spite of appearances to the contrary! Reckon it to be so! The more we claim this fact by faith, the more it will become true in our actual experience. The more we reckon on our position the more God the Holy Spirit will make it true in our actual condition. Faith is the key.
Consider Colossians 3:9-10. Note carefully the language. It says, "you have put off" and "you have put on." These are not commands, these are facts. Why has the old man been put off? Again the answer is found in Romans 6:6. The old man has been put off because God put him on the cross! My old man was put off and crucified at Calvary! The new man has been put on the moment I was saved because I am a new creature in Christ!
Now consider the language of Ephesians 4:22,24. Here we are told to do something! Put off and put on! These are commands! But did not Colossians chapter 3 says that it has already been done? Discern the difference:
Colossians sets forth the fact; Ephesians appeals to faith! In Ephesians we are told to do in faith what Colossians tells us our God has already done in fact! How do I put off the old man? By reckoning that God has already done it! By reckoning that my old man was crucified with Christ. How do I put on the new man? By reckoning and considering myself as a new creature in Jesus Christ! By faith in the work done at the cross the old man is put off; by faith in my glorious position in Christ the new man is put on.
Another illustration of this same principle is found in Galatians 3:27 and Romans 13:14. The first passage tells us that we have put on Christ. The second passage gives us the command: "Put on Christ!" Galatians 3:27 is the FACT (you have put on Christ!). Romans 13:14 appeals to FAITH (we are told to do in faith what God has already done in fact!).
Consider Galatians 2:20--"I (the old man in Adam) have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I (the new man in Christ) live, yet not I (the old man in Adam) but Christ lives in me (the new creature in Christ), and the life which I (the new man) now life live in the flesh, I (the new man) live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me!"
Faith must believe God's facts and count them as true!
"The body of sin" (compare Rom. 7:24)-this expression refers to my unredeemed body which sin uses as its instrument. In chapter 8 we will learn that the believers future hope is that the body will be redeemed (8:23) at which time we will never sin again. Today however we possess an unredeemed body that is still subject to decay, corruption, sin, disease and ultimately physical death. SIN is still present in our members (see Romans 6:12; 6:16; 6:19; 7:5; 7:13; 7:17; 7:20-indwelling sin; 7:23; 7:25).
"Destroyed"-This should be translated "rendered ineffective, rendered inactive, rendered inoperative, made of none effect, rendered powerless, put out of use, PUT OUT OF BUSINESS." Because of Christs work on the cross and because of my reckoning upon that work by faith, SIN HAS LOST ITS POWER OVER ME: "that henceforth (no longer) we should not serve sin" (Rom. 6:6). No longer do we need to be serving as sins slave. Prior to salvation I was a continual slave of sin (John 8:34 and Rom. 8:7-8). In Christ I am now free (see Rom. 6:18,22).
It is important to remember that when a person is saved his sinful nature is not ERADICATED (pulled up by the roots and completely removed so that it will never show itself or express itself again). We know this is so for three reasons.
1) The plain statements of Scripture--1 John 1:8,10; 2:1-2.
2) The obvious fact that while in this body believers can and do sin (if my sin has been eradicated then sinning would be IMPOSSIBLE).
3) Romans 7:14-24 speaks of the PROBLEM and the PRESENCE and the POWER of INDWELLING SIN in the life of the believer.
If sin had been eradicated then it would pose no problem for the believer, it would not be present at all and it would have no power.
Beware of two extremes:
The word "henceforth" in Romans 6:6 means "no longer, not from now
on." Consider the following wonderful "NO LONGER" passages:
This verse explains ("for") why the believer does not have to be sins slave any longer. A better translation is this: "For he who has died is freed (justified) from sin." See also Romans 6:18,22--"free from sin." When Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. government freed the slaves, they had to do five things in order to take advantage of their freedom: 1) know about the proclamation; 2) believe it was true (reckon, count on it); 3) claim their freedom: pack their bags, etc. 4) refuse to be a slave--live as a free person; 5) count on all the power of the legislature of the U.S. to stand behind them. Likewise the believer in Christ needs to "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free" (Gal. 5:1) and he needs to count on all the power of God the Holy Spirit (Romans 8) who alone can make this freedom a reality in daily experience.
Now if we died with Christ (and we did!), we believe that we shall also live with Him. Faith is the key! We must believe Gods facts! "Not behaving, but believing, is God's way; behaving follows believing" (Newell, p. 234). God has revealed the facts about our identification with Christ and our position IN HIM. Faith must rest down upon these facts. Not only CO-CRUCIFIED but CO-RISEN! I shared in His death and I share also in His life!
What kind of life do I share? Eternal life, endless life! Death has no more dominion over Christ and it has no more dominion over me! See Revelation 1:18. Death is no more the lord or master over Christ. He conquered it! His death is something forever in the past. Christs resurrection was quite different from the resurrection of Lazarus. Lazarus was raised up only to die again. Christ was raised up never to die again. In Christs life I live! In His death I died. "I was crucified . . . nevertheless I live" (Gal. 2:20). Because of my union with Christ, I share in His endless life. Indeed, He is my life (Col. 3:3-4)!
Paul now explains ("for") that Christs death took place once and is never to be repeated. "Once"=once for all! This doctrine of Christ dying ONCE is important and is emphasized in the following passages: Hebrews 9:26, 28; 10:10-14; 1 Peter 3:18. If Christ must die again then this would mean that His death was not sufficient and His work on the cross was not finished (see John 19:30 and 17:4). Contrast the Bible's clear teaching on the once-for-all finished work of Christ on the cross with false Catholic teaching on the MASS. The following is quoted from the Official Baltimore Catechism:
The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice . . . Christ instituted the Eucharist as the ceremony under which His sacrifice of the next day on Calvary was to be continued through the centuries . . . The Mass continues the Sacrifice of the Cross. EACH TIME MASS IS OFFERED, THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST IS REPEATED . . . In the Mass Christ continues to offer Himself to the Father as He did on the Cross [emphasis added].
Might not Christ, the Sinless One, bear the guilt of our sins and that be all? Nay, but we were connected federally with Adam the first---with a race proved wholly unrighteous and bad. And that we might be released from that Adam-state, there must be not only our sins borne, but we ourselves released from the old-Adam headship.
Now God's way was, not to "change" the old man, but to send it to the cross unto death, and release us from it. No one who remains in Adam's race will be saved! "Ye must be born again!" should sound the tocsin of alarm, yea, terror, to every one not yet in Christ. For God's method was to set forth a Second Man, a Last Adam,---Christ. Our old man would thus be crucified with Christ, so that all of the evil of the old man would be completely annulled before God for all believers. For they must righteously be released from Adam, before they are created in Christ, another Adam! And this must be done by death. (Romans, pages 221-222)
The believer does not need to die unto sin every day. Christ died unto sin ONCE. The believer died unto sin ONCE (nearly 2000 years ago). I do not need to keep dying . . . I DIED! When Christ died, I died! But there is something that I do need to do every single day. This brings us to verse 11-RECKON!
"Likewise"=in light of these facts just mentioned in the preceding verses. In Christs death I died (v.6-8, 10) and in Christs resurrection I live (v.8-10). What is true of Christ is true of me! Just as Christ died to sin and is now living unto God (v.10) so also I died to sin and I am living unto God (v.11). These TWIN TRUTHS (my death and resurrection in Christ) are seen in Galatians 2:20 and many other passages (see Col. 2:20 with Col. 3:1).
"RECKON"--This is the first real command of the chapter! Prior to this God has been setting forth FACTS that we need to know. What does this key word mean? It is a mathematical term: calculate, count, count on it, count on something as being true, take these facts into account and believe them, consider these things as true, regard yourself as dead and regard yourself as alive in Christ. The verb is in the present tense: we are to keep on reckoning, day by day, moment by moment. Reckoning is our constant duty as we walk by faith. The word RECKON is a faith word. By faith the believer must count on Gods facts and claim them as his very own. It is not enough just to know the facts. The facts must be personally appropriated by faith.
|Consider some other usages of this word "reckon" (Greek
Romans 3:28--Salvation is by faith and not of works, and this fact must be counted on by every person who is truly justified.
Romans 8:18--We need to make a calculation by adding up all of lifeís sufferings and adding up all of our future glory and then comparing them.
2 Corinthians 10:10-11 ("think")--When we come to you we will be just like we were in our letters, and YOU CAN COUNT ON IT!
Hebrews 11:19--"Accounting" is a faith word. Abraham had to make a calculation. He had these facts to work with: 1) Gods command: Sacrifice your son; 2) Gods promise: Your son will have children. By faith he added up these facts and came to this conclusion: A DEAD ISAAC CANNOT HAVE CHILDREN SO GOD MUST RAISE HIM FROM THE DEAD!
In Romans 6:11 we must reckon on the twin facts that 1) I died in Christ; 2) I am alive in Christ.
"Dead unto sin"-Why am I dead? Because I died (v.2)! The expression "through Jesus Christ our Lord" (KJV) should be translated "in Jesus Christ our Lord" (so also in verse 23). IN CHRIST I DIED and IN CHRIST I LIVE! I am IN CHRIST (Rom. 6:3) and thus IDENTIFIED with Him in His death and resurrection! There was once a time when I was OUTSIDE OF CHRIST (see Col. 4:5; 1 Tim. 3:7; etc.) and at that time I was ALIVE UNTO SIN (sin had power and claim upon my life) and DEAD UNTO GOD (because of sin I was separated from God and had no vital relationship with Him--Eph. 2:1; 4:18). But now the claim that sin had upon me has been canceled at the cross and I am now joined to a living Saviour (Rom. 7:4). Our boasting is in Christ and in His cross (1 Corinthians 1:29-31; Galatians 6:14)!
God does not ask us to "reckon" a thing to be true in order to make it true, but to reckon it so because it is so (positionally, in Him). The facts are the facts whether we reckon or count them to be true or not, whether we believe the facts or not. But we will not benefit from the facts unless we claim them by faith.
Here we have another command: "Dont be letting sin reign (as king) in your mortal body." It is possible for a believer to allow this to happen (or else this command would be meaningless). When believers fail to walk in faith and fail to reckon upon Godís facts (v.11), then sin will reign. Donít let sin be the sovereign in your life! Donít let sin be the controlling ruler. I need to reckon and believe that sin is a dethroned monarch! Sin is no longer king over me! Sin is no longer my master and I donít need to obey it as I once did (last part of verse)! God is now my King and Master, not sin.
"Mortal body"=my unredeemed body, the body that is subject to sin and death. When the redemption of our body takes place (see Rom. 8:23) then our body will be "IMMORTAL" (1 Cor. 15:51-54) and sin will never reign in our bodies. At that time a command such as the one given in this verse will be totally unnecessary! Note: the fact that sin can still express itself in our mortal bodies and even "reign" is proof that sin has not been eradicated.
Here we have another key command! "Dont be yielding! Stop yielding!" The word "yield" means "present, put at someones disposal." Dont put your bodily members at sins disposal (for sins use). This word is used in the following passages: Luke 2:22; Acts 1:3; 9:41 (as one who is alive from the dead!); Romans 12:1. In the context of Romans 6:13 it has the idea of a slave standing beside his master ready to do whatever he wants (the word literally means "to stand beside"); at his disposal, ready to do his bidding. Lord, my members are at Your service!
"Instruments"=tools, instruments, weapons. God wants our members as His tools. Our members are to be righteous tools for Gods glory. See the hymn, "Take My Life and Let It Be" by Francis Havergal.
In this verse we have the third key word in this chapter that relates to the believer's responsibility: 1) KNOW (verses 3,6,9); 2) RECKON (v.11); 3) YIELD or PRESENT (v.13). We must know Gods facts about our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. We must count on those facts by faith and appropriate them. We must present ourselves to God IN LIGHT OF THESE FACTS.
The key phrase in verse 13 is this: "but present yourselves unto God AS THOSE THAT ARE ALIVE FROM THE DEAD" (this brings us back to the great facts that we reckoned upon in verse 11). This is where many people err when it comes to consecration. They present their old self to God. God cannot and God will not use the "old man." God will not change the old man and He will not reform the old man. When we present ourselves to God, just who are we presenting? Are we presenting ourselves as those who are alive from the dead?
Lord, I thank You that in Christ old things are passed away and all things have become new. As a new creature (creation) in Christ I present myself to You, expecting You to work in me those good works which You have before ordained that I should walk in them (Eph. 2:10). As one who is dead to sin and alive to God I present myself to Thee.
This is the kind of consecration that is pleasing to God. For His holy service God only uses what we are in Christ, not what we are in Adam! What we are in Adam was rejected and condemned at the cross!
"Dominion" comes from the Greek word "kurios" which means "Lord" or Master." Sin shall not be your lord or master! If sin were your lord and master, then you would be a SLAVE of sin. Thus Paul is saying, "You will not be a slave of sin. Sin will not be the master over you." Why will sin not have dominion over us? "For ye are not under law but under grace." We are not under a legal system; we are under a grace system. We are not under the rule of law, we are in the realm of grace. The law is not sovereign over us. Grace is sovereign over us (see Rom. 5:21--grace reigns!). I am not under law as a rule of life, but under grace.
There are many today who try to put the Christian believer under law. This is a dangerous error and it results in putting the believer under the dominion of sin. Alva J. McClain in his book Law and Grace has these valuable comments to make concerning the believers relationship to the law:
Is the Christian believer under the law? a) Some argue that the believer is under the moral law (10 commandments, etc.), but not under the ceremonial law (sacrificial system, etc.); b) Others say that we are under the moral law, but not under its penalties; c) Still others assert that we are under the moral law as a rule of life, but not as a way of salvation (we are under the law for sanctification but not for justification) . . . We will not be misled by any of the above erroneous views if we hold fast to a complete definition of the divine law, namely, that the law of God in the Bible is one law, including moral, ceremonial and civil elements, and inseparable from its penalties.
The preposition under (hupo) means "subject to the power of any person or thing, to be under the power of something, to be under the rule or sovereignty of something." An excellent illustration may be found in Matthew 8:9 where the Roman centurion says, "For I am a man under (hupo) authority, having soldiers under (hupo) me." Just as the centurion was absolutely under Roman military authority, both as to its laws and its penalties, so also were his soldiers under his authority. In summary we may say that for one to be "under the law" in the Biblical sense is to be under the law of God--the entire Mosaic legal system in its indivisible totality--subject to its commands and liable to its penalties.
Now the Word of God declares plainly that the Christian believer is not "under the law." At least four times, simply and without qualification, the New Testament asserts this great truth: 1) Romans 6:14; 2) Romans 6:15; 3) Galatians 5:18; 4) 1 Corinthians 9:20 (see New Scofield Bible or NASB). (McClain, pages 41-43)
The Bible makes it very clear that a person is not under law as a way of salvation. The law (trying to keep the law) can never justify (see Romans 3:20; Gal. 2:16; Acts 15:7-11; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:27-28). A man is saved by grace through faith apart from any works of the law.
The Bible also makes it very clear that a person is not under law as a rule of life. The law (trying to keep the law) can never sanctify (produce holiness). The law is holy (Rom. 7:12) but it cannot make us holy. Romans chapter 6 makes it clear that sanctification is not by the works of the law. This is also the teaching of the book of Galatians (see especially Gal. 3:2-3). Indeed, Romans 7 (as we shall study later) shows us the utter frustration and failure of man trying a legal method of sanctification.
When Paul says in Romans 6:14 that the believer is not "under law but under grace" he is referring to sanctification (the believers progress in holiness) not to justification (the believers right standing before God in Christ). Paul earlier in his epistle made it clear that no person is justified by the works of the law (Romans 3:20; 3:28). In chapter 6 the subject is that of sanctification (holiness--verses 19,22) not justification (which was dealt with in chapters 3-5). It is clear from Romans 6:14 that Paul is talking about being free from sins dominion and power and authority, and this is what sanctification is all about.
To be "under law" is to be under the dominion of law (Romans 7:1) and held by it (Romans 7:6). When a person is "under law" he is "under the dominion of sin" (see Romans 6:14). The two go together. To be under law is to be under sins bondage and dominion. This is because the LAW DEMANDS but it gives no ability to perform (compare Romans 7:18). John Bunyan wrote of the contrast between law and grace in this way:
Run, John, run! The law commands,
But gives me neither feet or hands.
Far grander news the gospel brings--
It bids me fly and gives me wings!
The law only brings a person into bondage (as we shall see in Romans 7). Only the grace of God and the God of all grace brings deliverance! The problem is not with the law (Romans 7:12); the problem is with man who is a sinner (Rom. 7:14). The law presents man with Godís awesome and holy requirements. Man is helpless and hopeless and unable to perform what God demands (Rom. 7:15-24).
For a detailed study showing that the believer is not under the law as a rule of life, see What is the Believer's Rule of Life?
The following chart is helpful in showing the difference between law and grace:
Law is what man must do.
Grace is what God has done.
|I do something for God.||God does something for me.|
|The works of the flesh||The finished work of Christ|
|Mans works||Gods working|
|Trying and struggling to measure up to Gods standards (which sinful man can never do)||God bringing me up to His standards (which God by His grace has done in Christ)|
|Fosters a spirit of self righteous boasting: "Look what I have done!"||Fosters genuine humility with all boasting excluded: "God gets all the credit!"|
|Mt. Sinai is central.||Mt. Calvary is central.|
|Bondage: I CANNOT||Deliverance: GOD CAN!|
|God demands life and
("THOU SHALT . . . THOU SHALT NOT").
|God provides life and
("CHRIST LIVETH IN ME").
For a wonderful discussion of the believer's relationship to the law, see C.H.Mackintosh, Notes on the Pentateuch, his discussion under Exodus 20.
The natural man utterly fails to understand the grace of God. He thinks that being under grace is a license to sin. Grace is not LICENSE (freedom to sin) but it is LIBERTY (freedom not to sin). Does Gods grace teach the believer to live wickedly and to continue in sin (see Titus 2:11-12)? Think of a person with a terrible, heavy burden of sin on his back. When he comes to Mt. Sinai, what happens? He feels the burden get heavier and heavier (Rom. 7:13)! When he comes to Mt. Calvary, what happens? The burden drops off at the foot of the cross. Mt. Sinai can never break the mastery of sin, only grace can do that. Mt. Sinai can never liberate a sin-burdened soul, but Mt. Calvary can. Law can never break the power of sin. The Bible tells us what the law does to sin--IT STRENGTHENS IT! (1 Cor. 15:56) and by the law sin becomes EXCEEDING SINFUL (Rom.7:13).
Paul in this verse reminds his readers of a very simple principle. YOU ARE A SLAVE OF WHOEVER YOU OBEY! You are a servant of whoever you serve. If you were to serve Hank, then you would be Hanks servant. If you serve God you are Gods servant. If you serve sin then you are sins servant! There is another obvious principle that is implied in this verse: "No man can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24). You cannot serve God and sin. You must serve one or the other (see also John 8:34).
Believers always need to remember what they WERE (v.17) and what they now ARE (v.18) because of the grace of God. See the study: The Riches of His Grace--215 Things That Happened to Me the Moment I Was Saved.
SLAVES OF SIN
SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
How did this change come about? "Ye have obeyed from the heart (Rom. 10:9-10) that form of doctrine which was delivered you" (v.17). Paul of course is referring to the gospel message about a crucified and risen Saviour which these people had received and had believed (they obeyed the gospel by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ). Verse 18 literally says, "Ye were enslaved to righteousness." What a wonderful slavery!
Keep in mind that Paul begins these two verses with THANKSGIVING to God. Giving thanks is actually an act of faith and an act of reckoning (compare v.11). Paul was saying, "Thank you, God, that although I was once a slave of sin I am now a slave of righteousness!" In other words, he was saying, "Lord, I believe that I was once a slave of sin but now I am a slave of righteousness!" Thanksgiving is an excellent God-ordained means by which the believer can express his faith in the facts of what God has done. True thanksgiving is reckoning in action: "Thank you Lord that I died to sin and I am alive unto God in Christ Jesus my Lord" (see Romans 6:11).
What is freedom all about? Is it license to do whatever I want? Is it freedom to sin? God forbid! These verses show us that true Christian freedom is freedom to serve God. The believer is still a slave. The difference is that he has changed masters!
I am a marked man, marked with the marks of the Master. I am a slaveóa slave to righteousness, and not to sin; a slave to honesty, and not to deception; a slave to purity, and not to vice; a slave to liberty, and not to license; a slave of the kingdom, and not of the crowd; a slave to faith, and not to fear; and, best of all, a slave to the Master, and not to Mammon. As a slave, I must make haste and be about my Masterís business.
óWesley G. Huber
Paul is here speaking in human terms and using an illustration common from human relations, that of the slave-master relationship.
Before we came to Christ we served sin; now we serve righteousness!
"Yield"=present, place at God's disposal, for God's use (see v.13).
As blood bought believers, we need to make it very clear that we now have a new Master.
"Praise the Saviour, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Let us gladly render to Him all we are and have!"
This is a description of my unsaved life. I was free with respect to righteousness. I was free from living right and thinking right. I was a slave to unrighteousness. I could do nothing to please God (Rom.8:8). I was a slave to sin. But thanks be to God, I have been redeemed!
Set Free In Order to Serve
The following is taken from Arthur, S.
Maxwell, Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories, Volume Four, Review and
Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C. (1950).
The Lord Jesus has set us free from the terrible slavery of sin. How can we do anything less than serve the One who so wonderfully delivered us from such bondage?
As we look back upon our unsaved life there is not one thing that we can claim as fruit. I was free (from righteousness) and fruitless! See Matthew 7:17-18 (a bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit). As I see my unsaved life from Gods point of view, I am ashamed. I cannot be proud of the life that I lived in the flesh apart from God and apart from His life. The end of an unsaved life is DEATH. An unsaved life can be described as follows: fruitless, fruitless, fruitless...DEATH!
"Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified!"
What a contrast! What a difference the grace of God has made! The life of a saved person may be described in this way: fruit, fruit, fruit...ETERNAL LIFE! The believer is free from sin, a slave of God, living a life that is separated from sin and separated UNTO GOD (holiness) and the end is everlasting life (an eternal relationship with God--see John 17:3).
As children of the living God, may our lives be marked by His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). May we bear much fruit (John 15) to the praise of the glory of His grace.
This verse is naturally divided into two parts. The first part shows what man deserves; the second part shows what God gives. Verse 23 is actually a summary of verses 21 and 22. The first part of verse 23 summarizes verse 21 and the second part of verse 23 summarizes verse 22.
"What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death . . . for the wages of sin is death" (v.21,23a)
"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life . . . the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (v.22,23b)
"Wages"=pay, that which we have earned, that which we deserve because we have worked for it. What hellish wages! Sin is a terrible paymaster! What a hideous employer! By a life of evil works I have earned death. Thats what my life of sin has earned for me! I would not look forward to receiving the paycheck which I have earned for the way I have lived!
"Gift"=free gift (Greek=charisma). A gift is completely different from wages. The one is earned; the other cannot be earned; it can only be received with thanksgiving. The one is deserved; the other is not deserved at all. We can be thankful that God deals with us according to grace and not according to law. Every legal system is a system of works and it involves getting what exactly what the person has earned. Gods gift of eternal life is found "IN" (not through) Jesus Christ our Lord (compare 1 John 5:11 "this life is IN His Son" and Rom. 6:11 where "through" should be translated "in").
The initial question of Romans 6:1 is answered in verse 23. If a person lives continually in sin he is showing that he is ignorant of the grace of God. He will get exactly what he has earned for his sinful living: DEATH! This DEATH involves primarily two things: 1) separation from God; and 2) punishment by God. See 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Matthew 25:41,46; Revelation 20:15; etc. The Lord Jesus Christ paid this death penalty for me. He was separated from God (Psalm 22:1; Matt. 27:46) and He was punished by God (Isaiah 53; 1 Pet.3:18). God is totally SATISFIED in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on my behalf.
My Unsaved Life
No fruit (v.21)
My Saved Life
Much fruit (v.22)
The following hymn is a wonderful reminder of the great truths of Romans chapter 6.
(to the tune of "Blessed Assurance")
CHORUS: Walking, Im walking in newness of
Romans chapter 6 can be briefly summarized in one verse. That one verse is found in Galatians 2:20.
A SUMMARY OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
IN ONE VERSE
"Not I, But Christ"
WHY IS IT NO LONGER I?
BECAUSE . . .
WHY IS IT CHRIST LIVING IN ME?
BECAUSE . . .
|In me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing . . . O wretched man that I am! (Rom. 7:18,24)||
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).
|All my righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).||
I am in Christ Jesus who of God is made unto me wisdom and righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30).
|Sin dwelleth in me (Rom. 7:20).||
Christ liveth in me (Gal. 2:20).
|I live for myself (2 Cor. 5:15).||
I live for the One who died and rose again for me (2 Cor. 5:15).
|The works of the flesh are adultery, fornication, uncleanness . . . (Gal. 5:19).||
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . . (Gal. 5:22-23).
|Those that are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:8).||
I am not in the flesh but in the Spirit. The Spirit of God dwells in me (Rom. 8:9).
|I have put off the old man with his deeds (Col. 3:9).||
I have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him (Col. 3:10).
|My old man is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Eph. 4:22).||
My new man is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24).
|My old man was crucified with Him (Rom. 6:6).||
My life is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).
|I died with Christ (Col. 2:20).||
I am risen with Christ (Col. 3:1).
|I've been baptized into His death (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 2:20).||
I've been planted together in the likeness of His resurrection (Rom. 6:5).
|I have been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20).||
Nevertheless I live . . . and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God (Gal. 2:20).
|Old things passed away (2 Cor. 5:17).||
All things have become new! I am a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
|I am dead unto sin (Rom. 6:11).||
I am alive unto God (Rom. 6:11).
|I am dead in Adam (1 Cor. 15:22).||
I am made alive in Christ (1 Cor. 15:22).
|I once was a slave of sin (Rom. 6:17,20).||
I am now free from sin and a slave of God (Rom. 6:18,22).
For further study: (1) The Christian Life and How to Live It; (2) What is the Believer's Rule of Life? (3) Living by Faith (Galatians 2:20).