10 Oct 2007

Sin shall not be master over you

Submitted by theshovel
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For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14

Notice that there is no suggestion here that sin will not be master over us dependent upon how we might be viewing the truth of Christ in us at any given time. It is a simple declaration of a fact brought about by our having been removed from the realm of law and placed into the realm of grace. I know this sounds crazy, even dangerous. Ironically, when the basis of our judgment considers our life to be something other than what has been brought about in Christ, it is then that we consider sin as if it is master over us.

Jim, Looking at the whole context may challenge what you are saying. If this is simply a declaration of this imutable reality in Christ (on one level I agree and feed on that), Why did Paul say (both before and after that verse):

Then do not let sin reign in your mortal body, to obey it in its lusts, Romans 6:12

…so now yield your members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification. Romans 6:19

—Isaac

Hello Isaac,

Actually, it is the whole context that has continued to challenge my thoughts on the individual phrases and/or verses. Those verses prior to verse 14 are exactly why Paul wrote the fact of verse 14 as he did. Now, I know you agree with what I say about Christ on a doctrinal level, but as that is a foreign concept to me anymore you make a huge assumption when you hear my words as if that’s how I’m presenting them. I’m not separating truth from life, for they are one and the same.

For example, “a simple declaration” (as I wrote) and “simply a declaration” (as you took it to mean) are not saying the same thing at all. Instead, it reduces the life I see to a doctrine. For to me, this simple declaration of Christ is not simply a declaration. It is life, it is living, it is power. It is not separated from me, from what I think, or from what I do.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:1-14

I could have quoted more, but I want to keep this reasonably short. Everything here is connected to the fact that we are as Christ Jesus is: Dead to sin, alive to God.

This is what answers the absurd fleshly question: Are we to continue in sin so that grace might increase? But where is sin? Done away, for we are freed from it. Doctrinally, I was able to agree with the idea, but as an idea, it remained rather sterile. Paul’s insistence leaves no room to accept this as a “positional truth,” but as reality.

What is it to not let sin reign in your mortal body? Well, it doesn’t come through any effort of the flesh, that’s for sure. But what causes sin to reign in the dying body? Is it not law that stimulates sin? Is that what Paul had written just before launching into this chapter?

The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20-21

To not let sin reign in your mortal body is to refuse to give into the law’s demand that it still owns you, as if you are still obligated to it. But I’m not going to stop there, I want to consider the rest of this amazing declaration.

and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Romans 6:13a

Whereas many of us have been taught to view this within the confines of the futile and endless cycle of dedication and re-dedication it actually demands something far different. To present “the members of our body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness” is exactly the insanity we came out of, even despite some of our attempts to put a good face on it. It is what the world is made of, religious or not. It is what we were in this world without Christ. Our own history is a commentary. Now, what really makes this first part clear is to consider it in view of the second part.

…but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Romans 6:13b

Who we are in Christ is not some mind game we play, it is how we live toward God himself. This is not an altar-call. It actually destroys every altar-call I’ve ever seen, because coming before God as a sinner is a prerequisite in such set ups. Here Paul insists that these believers not only see themselves before God as those who are alive from the dead, but as having members that are instruments of righteousness to God. We live before God as alive, instruments of righteousness, with no sin in the picture!

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14

We see ourselves as sinners only through the law. And then we respond as if we were obligated to its illegitimacy. But having died with Christ and made alive with him we have been removed from it. The truth that we are not under law but under grace is the reason why sin shall not be master over us.

Also,

Then put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil lust, and covetousness, which is idolatry; Colossians 3:5

—Isaac

How else would we put our members to death outside of refusing to see ourselves as being alive to them? This is the same basic thing he told the Roman believers “and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” only in this case he names the fleshly virtues.

It bears repeating, I am not saying that avoiding the experience of sin saves us. But it enables us to better grasp and become conscious of our right mind–our spiritual reality. The reality is, it is not I who sin but sin dwelling in me. It is an identity issue. And the waters are muddied when we miss our mark. —Isaac

And I appreciate this. Really I do.

Jim

New Testament: 

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