Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 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.
There are things that govern our every day lives. Many of these things are hard to be understood, but nevertheless they still govern us. We would all be hard pressed to understand gravity, but every one of us has our weight holding us down.
It is true of every true Christian — everyone who is in Christ, baptized into His death, burial, and resurrection by the operation of God — that he is dead to sin. Sin has no further legitimate control over him.
Now, let it be known here that these are instructions to saved people. Paul does not tell the unsaved to not let sin reign in their mortal bodies. The mortal bodies of the unsaved do not have this option. They are collectively and individually the servants of sin (Romans 6:17, 20), servants to uncleanness and iniquity, (Romans 6:19), dead in trespasses and sins, walking according to the course of this world, energized by the prince of the power of the air, and by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:1–3).
But when we are saved by grace through faith in Christ’s finished work of redemption for us on the cross, we learn that we are quickened together with Christ, and raised to sit together in heavenly place in Christ (Ephesians 2:5–6).
Note well that these instructions from the apostle of the grace of Jesus Christ speak not of a license to sin, but of freedom from sin in grace. Sin is a dethroned king in the one who is in Christ. The one who is in Christ is not under sin’s overlordship, and has no obligation to his old sinful nature. In verse 14, he states this reason for not allowing sin to reign is because we are not under law but under grace. This speaks strongly against any who say that teaching the wonderful grace of God in saving sinners apart from moral and religious works, solely by His grace, will produce a careless worldly lifestyle that sins freely because we cannot be saved and later become unsaved.
The saved person is free from sin because of grace and as we yield to grace and not to the dethroned master, grace is bringing about the fruit that our grace bestowing God desires. The saved person is not walking in grace when he puts himself under the law. The law only points out our very unworthiness of this grace1. We do, however, yield ourselves to God. This is our part in this. We are free to yield ourselves to God because sin is no longer on the throne. We yield ourselves to God as alive from dead because we are alive from the dead. God raised us up together with Christ because He crucified our old man of sin in Christ.
Christ was made our sin, and when He was raised from the dead, we who are in Him are made His righteousness. Our sin died in Him, and His life now lives in us. So it is now not only possible, but natural, for the newly created child of God yield to God as His instruments. Again, we do not need to die to sin daily, for we have already died to sin. We need to be who we are as dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:11). This is the resurrected life. It is not contrary to our nature, but very much what is our new nature. If we are still yielding to sin, that is contrary to our nature.
If we were under law for our salvation, justification, or sanctification, sin could gain a foothold, but as under grace, sin will not have dominion. This is completely contrary to majority thinking. It is the unsaved that need law to rule over them externally to contain and control the sin nature that rules over them internally. But this is not necessary to the one in Christ under grace. Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. The law shows how bad you are as a sinner and how much you need it to contain you and deter you2. Grace saves you and makes you new. Grace sets you free to be what you tried to be under law but had no power. Grace sets you free to be what God created you in Christ Jesus to be and to do what He ordained you to do.
Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
This does not modify or qualify the by grace through faith salvation that Ephesians 2:8&9 say so unapologetically and clearly3. This gives the grace through faith salvation a direction. We are not saved from sin to remain in sin, but to be free from it. So we do not continue in it against nature, but walk as dead indeed unto it. We present ourselves to God as His to use because He saved us and made us His to use. This is the resurrected life, lived in the flesh here and now, in these mortal bodies. Our life in Christ begins now. While sin still fights for dominion over us, grace, in the blessed Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, is still our rightful Lord.
Romans 6:14 — “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
If you see in yourself under the weight of the guilt of your sin, Christ died for your sins. He rose from the dead to be your justification, and when you believe on Him for your salvation, God places you in Him and makes you alive, where previously you were dead indeed in sin. If you are still struggling to make yourself right with God, STOP! You cannot do it. You must be saved and you can and will be when you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel that saves is simple. Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, and faith in that simple Gospel is what saves sinners.
If you are saved and still struggling against sin, you also stop, and simply yield yourself to that gospel that you believed for salvation. You are alive unto God, now simply order your life that way. You are in Christ so walk in Christ. You don’t have any making up to do. Christ has made you new. Walk as new.
- Grace by definition has nothing to do with the worthiness of the one receiving it, but is completely about the kindness of the one granting it.
- 1 Timothy 1:9–11 — “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”
- Ephesians 2:8–9 — “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
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