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 of the Day

Throughout the preceding verses, Paul demonstrated, by logical progression, that all humanity has sinned. He proves that we all fall short of God’s glory and that the consequence 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 everyone is a sinner, and every sinner is alive to sin but is dead to God. Everyone is born a sinner, is dominated by sin, and is estranged from the Lord. The unregenerate man is born in sin, he is a slave to sin, and remains 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 sin... but after salvation, he is dead TO sin. Before being saved, a man is a slave to the power of sin, but after redemption, he is no longer a slave to sin because 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 to heart 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 to keep sin in the place of death and not to allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies, since we have been freed from its power.

Because we are saved by grace through faith and positioned in Christ, we are instructed: "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts." We are not to permit sin to have any influence over our lives. We are not to give sin a foothold in our life. How do we reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin? Well, 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 over us. But how is this done?

How 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? 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.

Not letting sin reign in our mortal body is not something that we DO but something that is already DONE. We are born sinners. We are born with an old sin nature, but because we are in Christ and identified with His death on the Cross, we are made a new creation in Him. When we are saved by grace through faith, we are given a new nature - a new, Christlike nature and because of this, we are exhorted not to allow sin to have sway in our mortal body.

As a new creation in Christ, we are identified with Him, such that when HE died... we died in HIM. Because we are in Christ and identified with His nature we have been set free from the power of sin and can be instructed not to let sin have sway in our body and not to obey the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. In Him, we are truly set free from sin and have the power to resist the old sin nature and live the life of the new man - which honours the Lord.

We are not instructed to crucify our old sin nature. Rather, we are to reckon that sin in our life it already dead. Christ took the punishment for our sin when He died on the Cross in our place which means that the price of sin has already been paid, and we must reckon this to be true by not permitting sin to have any sway in our life.

It is a fact that the icy fingers of eternal death and eternal separation from God, which are the righteous wages for sin, have been cancelled forever for all who 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. 

BY grace through faith in Christ, 'old man' is dead and we have a new life within - our old life is dead and we have the life of Christ. Our old sin nature has been crucified in Christ which has set us free from the penalty of sin and its power over us, Let us, from this day forward, reckon on the truth that we have been legally set free from sin because Christ paid the full price for our sin and we are no longer under its condemnation.

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 Jesus' name, AMEN.

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