《The Biblical Illustrator – Romans (Ch. 6b~8a)》

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The Biblical Illustrator – Romans (Ch.6b~8a)(A Compilation)
06 Chapter 6
Verse 12

Romans 6:12

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.

The reign of sin

“Let not sin reign” because it is--

I. A tyrannic reign.

1. Sin has usurped its sway over the heart. It forms no part in the original plan of our world.

2. It gains the ruling power gradually. If the criminal knew from his first sin the tremendous power it would have upon his life his downward course would have been arrested. The chain was drawn tighter by degrees.

3. As Britons we hate everything oppressive, the public sentiment is against all tyrants; still the greatest of all is tolerated in the hearts of thousands.

II. A dishonourable reign. Occasionally we are obliged to blush at the deeds done in the name of England. But as a rule we are proud of our country, not so much on account of its wealth and military strength as the position it has gained for uprightness. Sin is dishonourable to God and to man. It is the transgression of the best law, and the highest ingratitude.

III. A destructive reign. Peace, moral beauty, and strength are destroyed wherever sin has the ruling power. It is a cancer that eats its way gradually, yet effectually, to the very roots of our being. Conclusion: Subjects we must be; it is for us to decide under whose government. We cannot govern ourselves, we must serve either righteousness or sin. How thankful we ought to be that there is a higher, stronger, purer power ready to enter the heart and rule there. We are under no obligation to let sin have the throne. The Spirit is willing to govern if man will open his heart. (Jenkin Jones.)

The reign of sin

I. What is it for sin to reign over us.

1. All men are sinful (Romans 3:10-12).

2. There is no sin but all men by nature are prone to (Psalms 51:5).

3. But there is some sin that everyone is inclined to more than others (Psalms 18:23), by--

4. The sins we are most inclined to may have a prevalency over us, either--

5. When sin has a full prevalency in us it is said to reign over us. Because we--

II. Why should not sin reign over us. Because--

1. It has no right or title to this kingdom, but only God as--

2. We are buried with Christ by baptism into His death, and so are free from sin (Romans 6:1-3; Rom_6:7; Rom_6:10-11; Rom_6:14).

3. If it reign in us it will ruin us (Romans 6:23).

III. How shall we obtain the victory over it. By--

1. Faith in Christ.

2. Prayer (Psalms 119:133; Romans 7:24).

3. Watchfulness (Proverbs 4:23).

IV. Uses.

1. Of examination. That is a reigning sin--

2. Of exhortation. Consider--

(a) In this life--the torture of a guilty conscience--a curse on thy estate (Malachi 2:2)--the wrath of an offended God (Psalms 7:11).

(b) In the life to come--separation from God--imprisonment in hell (Romans 6:23). (Bishop Beveridge.)

The tyranny of sin

I. The tyranny of sin. It has--

1. Made the body mortal.

2. Developed its lusts.

3. Through it enslaved the soul.

II. The duty of resisting it.

1. We ought, because Christ has redeemed us.

2. We can, through grace.

3. We must if we would be saved. (J. Lyth, D. D.)

An indomitable will needed

If a man has a strong besetment, he must treat it as he would a savage dog. He must keep it kenneled and chained, and never suffer it to go beyond its tether, however it may bark or growl. He will have to say to it every now and then, “Down, sir.” He will sometimes require the stern resoluteness expressed in John Foster’s saying, “This soul shall either conquer this body or shall leave it.” Ruthless, bloodless, indomitable will is needed sometimes in order that a man may fight well the battle of his life.

Sin dwelling in but not reigning over the believer

1. Some would substitute here in place of “mortal,” as liable to death, the idea of actual death in Christ. Sin having been plucked of its sting, our Saviour having received it in His own body, therefore there is no more power in our adversary to inflict its mortal poison upon us; he is not only disarmed of his right to condemn us, but of all ability to tyrannise over us. In virtue of his defeat he will not obtain the dominion over our hearts unless we let him. Our resistance, backed as it is by the plea of a Saviour crucified, and by the power of a Saviour exalted, will be greatly too much for him. We who have been baptized into Christ are somewhat in the same circumstances that the children of Israel, after being baptized into Moses in the Red Sea, were in reference to the tyranny of Egypt. Their enemy was engulfed in that abyss over which they found a shielded way; and, placed beyond his dominion, it was now their part to exchange the mastery of Pharaoh for the mastery of God; but those who rebelled were cut off in the wilderness.

2. And this analogy does not fail us if we take “mortal” in the customary signification. While in these mortal bodies, we are only on a road through the wilderness of earth to the blessedness of heaven. All who are really partakers with Christ in His death have got over a mighty barrier. They have been carried through the strait gate of acceptance, and have now to travel along the narrow way of duty and discipline, “not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Let not sin reign over us on the passage that we have yet to traverse. Let us stifle every rising inclination for the carnalities of Egypt, and come not under the power of those lusts which war against the soul, till we reach the spiritual Canaan where every inclination to evil shall cease to exist and so cease to annoy us.

3. We cannot fail to perceive how widely diverse the injunction would have been, if instead of, “Let not sin reign,” Paul had said, “Let sin be rooted out”; or if, instead of saying,” Obey not its lusts,” he had bid us eradicate them. The more enviable state, of course, would be to have no inclination to evil, and could we attain that higher state, we would become on earth what angels are in heaven; but if doomed to the lower state during all our abode here, then we may understand that the life of a Christian is a struggle of two adverse elements, and the habitual prevalence of one of them, and that sin is not to be exterminated, but to be kept at bay. Let us try to banish it, and defeated in this effort, we may give up in heartless despair the cause of our sanctification; but trying to dethrone it, and succeeding in this effort, while we mourn its hateful company, we may both keep it under control and calmly look onward to the hour of release. We cannot obtain such a victory as that we shall never feel the motions of the flesh, but we may obtain such a victory as that we shall not walk after the flesh. The enemy is not so killed as that we are delivered from his presence; but, by an unremitting strenuousness on our part, we may keep him so chained as that we shall be delivered from his power.

4. The time is coming when, freed from every opposing tendency, we shall expatiate over the realms of ethereal purity and love--just as the time is coming when the chrysalis shall burst with unfettered wing from the prison in which it is now held; and where, we doubt not, that it is aspiring and growing into a meetness for traversing at large the field of light and air above it. This representation of indwelling sin--

I. Conduces to the peace of a believer. The very occurrence of a sinful desire, or feeling, harasses a delicate conscience, and he may be led to suspect therefrom his interest in the promises. But it will quiet him to be told that there is a distinction between the saint who is struggling below and the saint who is triumphing above.

II. Conduces to the believer’s progress, for it leads to a most wholesome self-distrust which, for one thing, will save him from needlessly thrusting himself into a scene of temptation. God will grant succour against the onsets which temptation maketh upon us, but He does not engage Himself to stand by us in the presumptuous onsets which we make upon temptation.

III. Leads us to such measures as may strengthen the gracious part of our constitution for every such encounter as cannot be shunned. Temptation will come, though we should never move a step towards it. What, then, is the best method of upholding the predominance of the good principle over the evil one? A fresh commitment of ourselves in faith and in prayer to Him who first put the good principle into our hearts--another act of recurrence to the fulness that is in Christ Jesus--a new application for strength from the Lord our Sanctifier to meet this new occasion for strength which He Himself has permitted to cross our path. (T. Chalmers, D. D.)

Follow after holiness

I. How must we do this?

1. By breaking the power of sin (verse 12).

2. By yielding ourselves to God (verse 13).

II. Is it possible? Grace destroys--

1. The dominion of sin (verse 14).

2. The love of sin (verse 15).

III. Why ought we to do it? It is required--

1. By the obedience of faith (verse 16).

2. By gratitude to God for His gracious help (verse 17).

3. By our merciful emancipation from the bondage of sin. (J. Lyth, D. D.)

The obligation of a holy life

I. Its elements.

1. Subjection of natural lusts.

2. Renunciation of the service of sin.

3. Consecration of all the powers to God.

II. Its possibility (verse 14). As Christians--

1. We are not under the law.

2. But under grace.

3. Consequently receive dominion over sin.

III. Its indispensable necessity. Because--

1. Grace requires it.

2. Practice determines to whom we belong.

3. Obedience is the perfection of righteousness. (J. Lyth, D. D.)

Verse 13

Romans 6:13

Neither yield ye yourselves as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God.


Yielding is an image carried over from the world of matter into the world of mind. In every case of yielding you have pressure meeting with resistance and overcoming it. Note then--

I. The pressure. There are many kinds of pressure. When your shoe pinches you it presses upon one small point only, but the kindly pressure of the air is upon every part of your body. And such is Heaven’s gentle pressure upon your soul. God presses us through--

1. The experiences of life. These Romans before their yielding were great pleasure seekers, and Paul asks what they had gained by it all. The answer is, nothing but shame and death (verses 21, 23). They were like their own Caesar, who, when at the height of his glory, asked, “And is this all?” Chrysostom tells us that the pressure of disgust at heathen pleasures brought him to the yielding point, and that many young men in his day had the same experience. And life is the same in every age. At a Jewish wedding the priest places an empty wineglass on the floor, and the bridegroom, setting his heel open it, splinters it into fragments. The strange custom is meant to remind the newly married pair that their earthly happiness is just as fragile. If so, we must ask whether there is no cup for mortals that call never be broken. Thus life puts upon us a strong pressure which should make us yield unto God.

2. His law. This Epistle is full of this pressure. It says, You are under God’s law and you ought to obey it. But you are ever breaking it. What, then, are you to do? Escape from its terrors there is none but by yielding. The law drives the law breaker into the open arms of the Law fulfiller.

3. His love. Paul has very great faith in the power of this pressure. He states all the facts of Christ’s life and death, and shows how they all reveal God’s kindness to sinners. He does everything to win attention to Christ’s redeeming love, for he knows how it can bring the soul up to the bending temperature. Often the quietest and gentlest influences conquer resistance that defies all other pressure. Arctic explorers frozen in amid blocks of ice would fain set themselves free by main force, but in vain. But the sun at length smiles upon the stubborn snow mountain, and grim winter lets go his hold and quietly yields. Thus the resistance of our frozen hearts is melted away by Divine love.

4. In pressing a man towards Christ the Holy Spirit often unites these three and other kinds of pressure.

II. Man’s resistance.

1. There is a resistance called vis inertia, i.e., the power of doing nothing. That rock which came thundering down the hill, and now blocks the highway by its dead weight, overcomes all the pressure one hundred men can bring to bear upon it. And some offer a rock-like resistance to God. Their habits are all against God, and they won’t consider whether their habits should be changed. Habit is the Latin word habet; it has them. They are slaves with a wish to be free.

2. But others resist of set purpose. The murderers of Stephen were of this class. Some do this who are outwardly respectable; theirs is resistance without violence. Others do not care to hide their resistance. “I hated the gospel,” one confessed, “and my soul hissed against it as cold water hisses when it meets fire.” The resisting, defying power of man’s will is awful. Milton in “Paradise Lost” makes this the explanation of Satan’s character. I have read that the physician who attended a dying nobleman, famed for his genius and godlessness, one day overheard him saying, “Shall I yield? Shall I pray?” The physician held in his breath for the answer, as the dying man was not aware that anyone was within earshot. After a pause, the dying poet said, firmly, “No, no weakness!” Ah! there it is; yielding seems weakness to the unhumbled heart. Think of it--a weakness to yield to God and Christ, to eternal truth and mercy!

III. The yielding point. That point is reached when man’s resistance gives way under God’s pressure.

1. The Christian life begins with an act of yielding. The Christian does not yield as the defeated soldier yields to his foe who slays him, but with the consent of all that is within him, as one “alive from the dead.” Often a small thing, as it seems to us, makes the happy day that fixes the choice on the Saviour. The turning points of life are like the water partings of great rivers, where a raindrop’s destiny is often decided by a breath of wind. While the gentlest touch may make the pressure greater than the resistance, there must be a yielding in every case, and it must be a yielding of the whole man for the whole life. A rich Australian in his youth was a poor plough boy. A free passage was offered to him. By faith in that offer he left his native land, crossed the deep, began life anew, and so became a rich landowner. That offer was to him “a faithful saying and worthy of acceptation,” but his belief of it did him no good till he had yielded himself to it in every possible way.

2. The Christian life from beginning to end is a yielding. The Roman Christians had yielded in conversion, and Paul wishes them to rise to the highest life, and his message to them is still, “Yield.” They are the best Christians who are best at yielding and who are always, in the yielding mood.

3. The passage (verses 12-23) is full of military images. The last verse means, “The soldier’s wages--the rations--of sin is death,” it is not merely a punishment in the future. And the exact meaning of our text is, offer yourselves as volunteers unto God, and all your faculties of mind and body as soldiers’ weapons in the cause of holiness. When war breaks out many an officer who might enjoy every luxury at home, who is even an heir to a peerage, offers to serve his country on the battlefield. He offers himself by an act of the will, and the spirit of that act is carried into his whole service. His heart is stirred to its depths by soldierly ambition. Rome was a city of soldiers, and every Roman would thoroughly understand the apostle when he urged them to be the courageous and devoted soldiers of Christ. You see, then, that this yielding is not an abject, spiritless, lazy thing. It is the beginning of a life of great energy. “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead.” Have you ever spent an hour with the convalescent, “alive from the dead”? Did you ever see such zest in the work and enjoyments of life? Well, that should be the spirit of those who have devoted themselves to the service of their God. Almost every verse in this chapter testifies to the apostle’s anxiety that they would be whole-hearted in the service of Christ. When Moshesh, the chief of the Basutos, received the missionaries, he advised his chiefs to have one foot in the Church and the other out. But one chief became an earnest Christian, and said to Moshesh, “I put only one foot in the Church at first, as you advised me, but the love of Christ soon drew in my whole body.” The apostle counsels each Roman convert to give his whole soul and body. For he who does not yield everything really yields nothing. The true yielder moves together when he moves at all. Calvin chose for his seal and motto a hand holding a heart on fire, with the words, “I give thee all. I keep back nothing.” The apostle (verse 19) pleads with them to serve Christ now as they used to serve Satan. (J. Wells, M. A.)

Yield unto God

I. The duty itself.

1. In general it implies, that whatever we possess, all that we are, or have, or can do, should be consecrated to God, and devoted to His service and honour. The being which we have is derived from Him; every blessing which we enjoy is the fruit of His bounty; every talent with which we are distinguished was freely bestowed by Him. To Him, therefore, they ought to be entirely surrendered, and in the advancement of His glory at all times employed.

2. More particularly, we must yield to God our immortal souls, with all the intellectual powers which they possess.

3. All our possessions and enjoyments must be devoted to God.

II. For what purposes we are thus to yield ourselves unto God.

1. We are to yield ourselves to God, to do whatsoever He commands; in all instances of duty, to give a prompt and cheerful obedience to His authority.

2. We must yield ourselves to God not only to do but to suffer His will. We are already in the hand of God, by our essential dependence; let us likewise be so by our own consent and choice. This is the true balm of life. It is this that softens adversity, and alleviates the load of sorrow. In this we unite the noblest duty which we can perform, and the most precious benefit which we can reap.

3. We must yield ourselves to God, to be disposed of by His providence, as to our lot and condition in the world.

4. As we must be resigned to the will of God with respect to our outward lot, so we must be satisfied with His disposal, as to the measure of spiritual gifts which He is pleased to bestow on us. Should He make us but as the foot, we must be as well contented as if He had made us the hand or the head, and rejoice that we are found qualified for being even the least honourable member in Christ’s mystical body.

III. The manner in which we ought to perform this duty of yielding ourselves unto God.

1. Before we can perform this duty in an acceptable manner, it is necessary that we have just views both of God and of ourselves. We must yield ourselves to God like condemned rebels, who cast themselves on the mercy of their sovereign. Yet, while sensible of our miserable state, we must also have a view of those riches of mercy which are open to the chief of sinners.

2. We must yield ourselves unto God with serious, attentive, and awakened minds. We must remember that yielding ourselves to God will involve in it the renouncing of many favourite engagements, the performing of many difficult duties, and the mortifying of many desires, which hitherto, perhaps, it has been the whole plan of our lives to gratify.

3. In yielding ourselves unto God, our hearts must be humbled with deep repentance, for having so long gone astray from Him and His service.

4. We must yield ourselves unto God without any secret reserve or limitation, imploring that He may take the full possession of our hearts, and cast out of them whatever opposeth or exalteth itself against Him.

5. All this must be done with an explicit regard to the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom alone we have access to the Father.

IV. Enforce the exhortation by some motives and arguments.

1. Need I represent to you the necessity of this duty? Can you withdraw yourselves from being the property of God as His creatures? Can you evade the dispensations of His providence, or snatch from Him those issues of life and death which are, uncontrollably in His hands?

2. Consider the reasonableness of this duty. If there is reasonableness in acknowledging our debts, and in being thankful for our benefits; if there is reasonableness in submitting to be guided by unerring wisdom, and to be disposed of by infinite goodness; it is that we should yield ourselves to that God who made us, who preserves and hath redeemed us, and hath pledged His faithfulness to conduct all those to happiness who put their confidence in Him.

3. And this leads me to the last argument which I shall use for enforcing this exhortation, which is the advantage with which it will be attended. At the same time that we yield ourselves to God, He gives Himself to us in all the fulness of His grace. (R. Walker.)

Yielding the members as instruments

I. Yield. Present: allusion to entrance on military service.

II. Yield what? “Your members.” The whole man, more especially the bodily members, which are the organs of internal principles.

III. What as? “Instruments”--weapons, arms. The members are weapons used on one side or the other of the conflict between sin and righteousness; employed in the service of one or other of two masters or sovereigns. The body is an arsenal of arms or a warehouse of tools for good or evil. (T. Robinson, D. D.)

Yielding unto God

The word “yield” in Luke 2:22 means “present,” and so it does in Acts 23:23-24, and in Ephesians 5:27. “Yielding,” then, is to present ourselves to God as His servants, His property, wholly consecrated to Him. Consider--

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