What Does Romans 6:12 Mean?

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,

Romans 6:12(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Throughout the preceding verses, Paul showed by logical progression that all humanity has sinned. He proves that all fall short of God’s glory and that the consequences of our sin is death. Paul makes it very clear that the wages of sin for every sinner, Jew and Gentile alike is death - everlasting death - eternal separation from God. He shows that every sinner is alive to sin and dead to God. Every unbeliever is dominated by sin and estranged from God. The unregenerate man is born in sin and remains a slave to sin and separated from his Creator throughout his life – until and unless he is saved by grace through faith in Christ.

However the man that is born from above is no longer a slave to sin. The regenerate man is no longer in bondage to the principle of sin that entraps all who are born into the fallen race of Adam. The man or woman who has been saved by grace through faith in Christ has been set free from slavery to sin and is returned into fellowship with God from the moment of salvation. Prior to salvation a man is dead IN their sins but after salvation he is dead TO sin. Before being saved a man is a slave to the power of sin, but after redemption the power of sin has been broken in his life. As Christians, we are dead to sin and alive to Christ, and Paul encourages all believers to take this important truth and reckon it to be so - reckon yourselves to be dead to sin and reckon yourselves to be alive to God in Christ Jesus.

This instruction from Paul is based on the faithful unchanging and unalterable Word of God. It is not a fingers-crossed type of reckoning or a curious fancy that Paul is suggesting that we cling hold to, but facts – facts based on God’s word. It is by faith in Christ that we have been saved and it is also by faith in Christ that we have been liberated from the power of sin. Therefore Paul urges us not to allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies, since we have been freed from its power - because we are in Christ. We are not to permit sin to have any influence in our lives. We are not to give sin a foothold in our life. We are not to place ourselves back under subjection to the power of sin because in Christ we are dead to sin, having been released from its power and dominion.

How then do we prevent sin from reigning in our mortal bodies so that we do not obey its lusts? How do we stop the old sin nature from climbing back onto the throne of our life. How do we prevent self from dominating our lives and taking back control of our bodies? Well, Paul gives the answer in the previous verse. We are to focus on the truth of God’s Word and reckon that we are dead to sin. We are to ‘know’ and believe, that without a shadow of a doubt we are in Christ. We are to believe without faltering that there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ. We are to know that the power of sin has been broken in our life – because we believe by faith in His sacrificial work.

It is a factual knowing that the icy fingers of eternal death and eternal separation from God, which are the righteous wages for sin, has been cancelled forever for all that believe. That being the case we should not allow ourselves to slip back into fraternising with the sinful lusts of the flesh but moment by moment we should reckon ourselves dead to sin and released from its power over us – for we have been imputed with the righteousness of Christ and are made alive unto God through Him.

My Prayer

Loving Father I have read this passage many times, and I ask You to help me to see more clearly what it means to reckon myself to be dead to the power of sin and alive to You in Christ, for I want to live a victorious life in Him, to Your praise and glory, in His name I pray, AMEN.

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