Practical Sanctification - Page 1 of 4 (series: Lessons on Romans)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

22)Practical Sanctification

Romans 6:13-23

13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Being a Christian is a matter of bondage or freedom. Who is your master, Jesus Christ or the old life? You are not under the authority of Moses (v. 15), but that does not mean you have freedom to break God’s moral law (8:1–5). Yield yourself to the Lord; He is the most wonderful Master, and the “salary” He pays lasts forever.

13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin. The third and final principle in living a sanctified life is the negative principle, And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, and a corresponding positive principle is, but present yourselves to God. As those who have been justified, we are not to allow our members (i.e., our hands, our feet, our tongues, etc.) to become the instruments or weapons of unrighteousness. By knowing of our justification and reckoning ourselves dead to the penalty of sin, we are to continually keep ourselves from yielding to sin. But, on the other hand, we are to once for all, as the Greek implies, yield to God. Although we will still sin, by yielding ourselves to God, we will never again be caught in the trap of continuing in sin. Our life and all that we have will be given over to the One who has spiritually raised us from the dead.
Your members. The parts of the physical body, the headquarters from which sin operates in the believer—“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).

The third key word in this chapter—PRESENT. It refers to a decision of the will. The same word is used in Romans 12:1—“ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” This is a presentation of yourself for service. The reason most of us get in trouble is because we present ourselves to the old nature. We must not present the members of our body to sin, to be used as weapons or tools of wickedness. Our obligation is to turn-over control of our members to God, to be used in the cause of righteousness. After all, we have been raised to life from death; and, as we are reminded in 6:4, we should walk in newness of life. The redeemed man knows that his body is the temple of God’s Spirit, and that evil powers are denied even the right

of temporary entry.

But present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Why should we present ourselves to God? Because we are looking at life from a new perspective, since we are in Christ and have dedicated ourselves to God.


14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

For sin shall not have dominion over you. Paul’s concept of sanctification is not a daily dying to one’s self. Rather, it is being mature enough to rest wholly on the finished work of Calvary, knowing that we have been justified there, daily reckoning that work to be finished, and constantly yielding ourselves to be used of God. When one is obedient to these commands, the believer finds himself on a road climbing progressively toward the resurrection life of the Lord. For those who seek sanctification in this manner, the Lord has a definite promise: For sin shall not have dominion over you, that is, the person who is under grace. The believer has died to sin. He has received the indwelling Holy Spirit as the power for holy living. And he is motivated by love for the Savior, not by fear of punishment. Grace is the only thing that really produces holiness. As Denney says, “It is not restraint but inspiration that liberates from sin; not Mount Sinai but Mount Calvary which makes saints.”

For you are not under law but under grace. Now, another reason is given for why sin shall not have dominion over us as believers. The first reason was that our old man was crucified with Christ (6:6). The second reason is that we are not under law but under grace. Sin does have the upper hand over a person who is under Law. Why? Because the Law tells him what to do, but doesn’t give him the power to do it. And the law stirs up dormant desires in fallen human nature to do what is forbidden. It’s the old story that “forbidden fruit is sweet.”

We are no longer under the Law, but that does not mean that God has abrogated His moral law. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:17-19). But the Law cannot be kept, so it curses. The whole Old Testament—the Law, the Prophets, and the writings (e.g. Psalms)—certainly brings the knowledge of sin, when understood in the light of Christ’s teaching and the teaching of the apostles after His death and resurrection. When writing to the Galatians, Paul had this to say: “…that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)” (Gal. 3:11-13).

Then, why was the Law given? What good is it? The Law was given to control the old nature and to show man his sinfulness. As a believer, you are not to live by the old nature. You have a new nature, and you are to yield yourself or present yourself to God. What a glorious, wonderful privilege it is to present ourselves to Him!

Grace. Unmerited and free favor and mercy shown to sinners by a sovereign God with a view to their salvation. It is most effectively demonstrated in certain aspects of God’s relationship with his creation, the Incarnation itself being an act of grace. Grace operates in the calling of believers to faith.

Law. Mosaic law of the Old Testament—Ten Commandments. There were other laws that God gave to the Israelites, such as the Sabbath Day laws, but here Paul is referring only to the Mosaic Law


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