Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spiritual Baptism (Part IV)

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.” (Romans 6:12-14)

Verses twelve through twenty-three deal with the results of spiritual baptism. What may appear at first glance to be a direct commandment to the believer in verse twelve is actually a third person commandment to sin with indirect application to the believer. English does not use third person commands; therefore, when one appears in the Greek text, the King James translators used the word let. Literally, God has told sin that it no longer has permission to reign over the believer. The removal of sin's kingship in the Christian's life is a set reality that cannot change. Because this is so, and because sin has been commanded to step down from its place of rule, the believer is then directly commanded in verse thirteen to stop yielding to its ways. Neither yield ye is a second person plural command rather than a third person singular such as the one in verse twelve. It is also a command that carries with it the idea of “stop doing an action that is currently taking place.” God knows our tendency to serve the old master, even when such unspeakable victory has been given. The word yield means to present or, literally, to stand by. Sadly, this is how many Christians live. They spend much of their lives “standing by,” waiting to satisfy the next carnal desire or respond to the next sensual feeling. God says, “Stop standing by for sin and start standing by for Me.” The second command to yield the members is slightly different and carries with it the thought of beginning an action not yet started. Rather than having the body's members available to present to the old master, the holy Master wants those members to be available for His service.

The last verse has been a difficult verse for some. The basic idea is that sin can no longer use the unalterable standard of the law as a foothold to fight against the believer. Romans 7:11-13 is a good example of this concept. In summary, sin's kingship has been removed solely by God's power, and because of this, the believer is able to obey the command to cease standing by for sin's purposes. Bad motives, thoughts, desires and actions no longer have to be the norm. A Christian can have victory. If a man cannot get the victory over sin, he is either unaware of the victory which the Bible teaches or he is not truly redeemed. Victory comes by the Spirit of Christ, yet, “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9).”

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