This is an exegetical sermon from Romans 6:12-14. It explains how sin reigns in our bodies but how are bodies are meant to glorify God. This sermon was originally preached by Pastor Justin Bragg at The Resolved Church in San Diego, CA. Audio unavailable.
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:: The Resolved ::
Justin Bragg (elder)
This morning we find ourselves in vv 12-14
Vs 11 ended with a capstone statement. A conclusion of sorts.
Let’s be honest, sometimes Paul tends to ramble just a bit
After discussing the intricacies of life and death and sin and righteousness
It’s possible that the readers have gotten a little bit lost on this mountain of information
Summarize: “so you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to god in Jesus Christ.”
Now what. Where do we go from here?
Paul has a tendency to beat the dead horse.
And just when it seems like Paul lives in another world. That he doesn’t share the same mind as you and I; sometimes he starts to speak to us on a level we can relate to again
That’s where vv 12-14 pick up.
If it stopped after “consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to god,” without any talk of how, then I don’t know how much I could appreciate the truth being spoken.
Telling believers to consider themselves dead to sin without directing them to how is as futile as telling a drowning person to simply swim to shore.
Paul understands what is going on inside of you and me.
He knows me better than I do sometimes
Sure, I’m saved. Been a card-carrying member of the Christian faith since the age of 5
I’m pretty sure I’m going to heaven.
I mean, if heaven exists, and if you get there the way the bible says you’ll get there, then I’m pretty sure that I’m going to have a nice corner lot with a small yard in god’s neighborhood.
Where I don’t get noise complaints from neighbors.
And I don’t have to move my car the first Wednesday and Thursday of the month for street sweeping
I’m pretty set up for the future. But in the meantime… that’s where I have trouble
The instruction: I must consider myself dead to sin and alive to Christ.
Let’s get to the reality here. Let’s get specific.
What does this even mean – dead to sin, alive to Christ?
What does it look like? How do we get past the theoretical and doctrinal and to the everyday?
The oversleeping my alarm clock.
The working 40 hours a week at a job I don’t really like.
The fights with my friends.
The food I eat and the hours I sleep.
In those things. The 24 hours of my day –dead to sin and alive to Christ?
How am I supposed to live and experience this life and this world?
What is it I’m supposed to do?
First, look at what we’re not supposed to do: read 12-13b
V 12 don’t let sin reign in your mortal bodies.
Why? Because the reign of sin in your body makes you obey terrible passions
V 13 don’t present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness.
The reign of sin
Sin is a power, not just an act.
V12: “let not sin reign in your mortal body.”
Sin threatens to reign. It is not just the acts we do but the power that takes us captive through desires and brings actions about.
In using the word ‘reign’ – just the verb form of the word king – it’s obvious that Paul is pretty serious about sin’s influence in your life
Do not be subject to the evil ruler of sin
Sin is an evil king demanding obedience from its resisting subjects
Sin will dominate you – if you let it. It’s that serious.
But I thought we were dead to sin. How did it find its way back into the picture?
Although your body, the whole you is severed from servitude to sin, it is nevertheless a body that still participates in the weakness, suffering, and dissolution of this age
And when sin has made residence in the throne of your mortal body, then your desires are turned away from all that is good, and toward evil and wicked passions.
This is where greed, pride, gluttony, and the whole lot of grievous sins comes in
When sin is your master, then obedience to its horrendous passions is the outcome.
And it goes even further – all the way to the actual parts of your body.
Members as instruments for unrighteousness
When I first read this, because of some study I have done in Thessalonians that uses the word “members” I thought this entire passage was about sexual organs, as the Thessalonians. Passage is
Thankfully. It is not, because I blush at the mere mention of any part of the body that is covered by “underwear”
Here is what members does refer to: the parts of your bodies. Every part of you.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes (knees and toes).
And what should not be done with these parts?
Don’t use them as instruments (or more correctly translated – weapons) for unrighteousness.
How might my members be used as instruments for unrighteousness? Let’s take a look:
My tongue and my mouth.
You wouldn’t believe the things that come out of my mouth.
I don’t know many sailors, but the phrase “curse like a sailor” comes to mind.
I can tell a pretty convincing and elaborate lie, and get most people to believe me
I scream and I yell.
You got some juicy gossip – I promise to keep it a secret to your face while dialing 10 numbers on my phone.
My eyes and ears
I’m a sucker for a pretty girl. I always look for too long.
I see the new car. The iPod. The sweet leather jacket. I see it, and I am consumed with want.
I can’t help but try to overhear the rumors being spread.
Pour the sweet poison of compliments into my eager ears – they serve my pride well
My hands and feet
My hand reaches for the joint. Lifts the bottle to my lips. Makes a fist. Flips off the driver of the car that just cut me off
My feet walk in to bars when I should be walking home.
I’ll kick you to the curb if you get in my way.
My sexual organs
I keep trying to stick my parts in places it doesn’t belong
In everyday life – it’s not my mind, or even my heart that I follow… but my crotch.
Letting sin reign in this body. This flesh. These hands/feet, eyes/ears, mouth
Keep following these passions.
I keep thinking they’re going to make me happy
They used to make me happy. They used to feel good
But it’s different now. What’s different?
What I know. I know too much. I know that I am dead. And I know that I have a new life
Dead to sin. Alive to Christ
And yeah, we have these bodies. These bodies are still influenced by sin.
Tricked into thinking it’s going to bring some new joy
But it’s the same old guilt and shame
Do not be a slave to sin. Do not let sin have reign in your life.
The fact is you have already been brought from death to life.
From sin to righteousness
Done. Finished. Signed and sealed.
Now it’s just holding on until you die. When it will all become clear;
The “sixth sense” moment where you realize Bruce Willis was a ghost the whole movie.
How do you wait? What do you do in the meantime?
A little word called “sanctification”
Sanctification – what we do in response to what god has done.
Justification is what he has done for us.
And sanctification is what he does in us – to make holy
Sin is not dead in Christians. The struggle against sin will never disappear
There is no point in telling us not to offer our bodies to sin but instead to offer them to god, unless we have a tendency to do the former
Sin’s got a hold on me through or in my body
The new man that I am – taken from Adam’s team and placed on Christ’s team – the new man is dead to sin, so sin has no hold on me – but on my body? – Sin can still reside there.
Notice how direct Paul has been about showing sin’s influence over or literal and actual physical bodies. Even to the point of talking about the physical “parts” of my body
Sin can reign or dominate my body
The new me will not be destroyed by sin. But my body – can still become a slave to its cravings
This isn’t the way it has to be though
Sin does not have to reign over my body. That’s what it says in these verses.
I have a new life. And I have a new power.
We often sin. It happens. That is why Paul is telling us not to yield our bodies to it.
We no longer need to. There is an alternative.
Live like a living person. Not like a corpse. Not like a zombie
Duane compared Jesus to vampires last week, and days before Halloween, I can compare Christians to zombies if I want to. Wake up. You’re not the living dead. You’re alive!
How does Paul say it: not just the warning/negative, but the exhortation/positive?
V 13b read
Present yourselves to god
Because you have been brought from death to life
And your members to god too as instruments of righteousness.
We’ve already covered the language of this verse.
I spent a lot of time on the negative side here, so I will be brief here.
Basically – as much as every one of the parts of your body can be an instrument for sin, it too can be used for the glory of god
It’s in the things that you say. The hands that you shake and the places you go.
Everything in this life is redeemable.
Sin has corrupted the nature of every breath, every fiber of our physical existence
But god reaches down into our pitiful existence making beautiful again what has been degraded
Redeem your speech. Redeem your actions.
How? Why? The answer to both questions in found in vs. 14.
V 14 read
Sin will have no dominion over you, because you are under grace, not the law
Here it is again. Grace. Broken record? Beaten dead horse? I don’t think so.
How will your physical body, entire existence on earth be redeemed to bring god glory? Grace
Why would you take on such a task?
What reason does one have for attempting to give god glory in everyday life? Grace
We are under grace. Not the law. We’ve covered this before. This isn’t new.
Saved from the law. Saved from sin. Saved by grace. Saved for grace
So how do you fight? Assuming you want to… it’s in a choice. Choose god rather than sin.
But what is this choosing? It is preferring.
To choose is to prefer one thing over another thing.
If god is to get glory in our choosing against sin, it must be because we regard god and what he is and promises as preferable.
Choosing is finding one thing preferable to another thing.
See god as preferable to the fleeting pleasures of sin.
You are alive to god and he looks preferable.
Sin has got nothing over you – the real you
If you’re justified. If you’re Romans 1-5
You’re not under the law – which leads to sin and death
But you know that the law was meant to lead you to something greater: grace
And where do we find grace? Christ.
The one who makes things new. The one who makes sick things well and dead things live
Maybe you haven’t had the “feeling” but if Christ is yours, then it is true.
And you’re receiving a call from the creator of the universe. Answer that call.
John piper’s two sermons on these verses were stirring.
He set up an elaborate mythical king of the castle with the rebel intruder metaphor
It was pretty elaborate. And seemingly accurate.
The message: fight. Wage all out bloody war against sin
Remember we follow a Jesus that told us to gouge out our eyes and cut off our hands if they cause us to sin
A message that tells us to be alert and to stay awake for sin prowls like a roaring lion
I’m pretty passive. Not much of a fighter. Not in support of most wars,
So comparing the Christian life to warfare has always been strange and difficult for me
But it’s here. Don’t let sin be your master. If it is. Then wage all out war on it.
Enlist every means imaginable to stave off the harsh rule of the dictatorship of sin.
Is it prayer? The bible? Church attendance?
Filters on your internet so you don’t stay awake at night staring at a bright screen in a dark room while you lust after airbrushed fictional women.
Phone calls to someone you trust when the temptation is at its peak
The life of the fighting Christian has no room for pride.
You want to know why we get up here week after week?
Why we preach sermons and do this church?
Sin is serious as hell.
I’m scared to death that this brand of zombie Christians that seem to be prevalent
Is going to wake up one day on the losing side of the sin war.
I am afraid for myself. And I am afraid for each of you.
Sin cannot be taken too seriously.
Sin is not on the same level of picking which shoes to wear, where to go to college, or what bands to listen to.
If you think you can take sin lightly – you’re dead wrong.
It will rule you. It will dominate you.
And before you know it, your life will no longer be your own, and you will end in misery.
That’s what I am afraid of. That’s why I bring up this whole fighting analogy.
But I am going to close very simply by telling you this:
It’s not just about what you resist – what you fight against.
It’s also about what you pursue. What you fight for.
Paul didn’t tell you to simply not do something that will hurt you
He goes the next step and tells you to do something that will bring you joy and happiness.
Look and listen. Touch and feel. Walk. Run. Get married and have tons of sex with your wife. The members of your body – your mortal body – you – all of you – for god. From god and for god.