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)
Up until now in our study of Romans, we have been looking at the doctrine of the Gospel. The doctrine of the fall of man, the teaching about the Law, what it can and cannot do, the basis for Judgment, what Righteousness is, the doctrine of the universality of sin, the meaning of the cross, who Jesus is, Our union with Adam and Christ, all we have done is immerse ourselves in these doctrines up til now. And rightly so.
It is only here at this point in Romans where we are exhorted to application, to do something in view of the doctrine. In light of the fact that we are united with Christ,and have been crucified with Him, and are dead to the ‘reign of sin and death’, and alive to God, we are instructed , ‘Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body’!
What this teaches us is that now, we have a choice. We can live in the light of our co-death and co-resurrection with Jesus, and say no to all sins, out of loving gratitude to God, who has justified, washed and sanctified us. Or true enough we can ignore all of that in unbelief, and continue our sinful habits that we developed when we were “in Adam”.
By saying, “your mortal bodies”, the apostle is acknowledging that our bodies are the last part of us subject to corruption. Sin can still be expressed through our bodies, and temptation still has something to appeal to in this flesh. Though born again, spiritually and being renewed in my mind constantly, my body has yet to be saved. I still have passions and lusts in this unsaved body, but for the first time, I have the choice not to let sin reign there.
This is of course all temporary, for my corruptible body will be made incorruptible, and then my salvation will be complete!
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory,O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?(I Corinthians 15:51-55)
Salvation encompasses the whole of my being, Spirit,Soul and body. Spiritually, I enter into salvation from the moment I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, believing in my heart that God raised Him from the dead.At that moment, I am born again, justified, crucified and raised with Christ, seated with Christ in heavenly places, etc etc.
But also from that point, I enter into christian discipleship, unto the saving of my soul, (mind,volition,emotions,thoughts). This doesn;t happen instantaneously, it takes a whole lifetime. James describes it this way
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.(James 1:21)
But the last part of me to be saved, and in fact it has yet to be saved, is my body. I still have the same body that I received from Adam, and although christian, my body still has passions and lusts which are sinful, and which sin can appeal to. But even that shall be saved,
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.(Phillipians 3:20-21)
I have been saved, am being saved, and have yet to be saved. We are very much in the position Lazarus was in when Jesus raised him from the dead, standing in the door of the tomb. Behind him was death, corruption and decay, and before him was the world of the living. He was alive ,but still encased in the trappings of death, the grave-clothes! So it is with we who have been raised with Jesus, yet we await our final salvation, the glorification of the body.
In the meantime, we are to “reckon” on our co-death and resurrection in Jesus. We are to put to our account that we have died to the reign of sin and now are made alive to God, and that our members, that is our physical parts, have been ‘unemployed’ as regarding the service to sin that we once put them to, and that they are now “instruments of Righteousness” unto God.We are to put my members to the worship and service of God.