and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.Romans 6:13(NASB)
Romans is the seed-bed for Christian doctrine and Paul lays out the foundational truth of the glorious gospel of grace in this book, in a clear, concise, and systematic way. In the previous chapters, Paul took pains to show us that all men are sinners - both Jew and Gentile alike. All are in need of a Saviour and the only way to escape condemnation, to be eternally justified, to be declared righteous in God's eyes, and to be positionally set apart unto Him, is by grace through faith in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in Roman chapters 6 to 8, Paul gently guides us through the lifelong process of progressive sanctification.
Every believer is placed in union with Christ, (positionally sanctified) the moment they place their trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Once we have been saved and been placed in this unbreakable union with Him, every Christian is set apart unto God. Every believer is holy unto the Lord at salvation... and from that moment, we embark on a lifelong process of sanctification, (practical or progressive sanctification) as the indwelling Holy Spirit works in our life to gradually change us, so that we become more like the Lord Jesus, Himself.
The moment we are saved, the penalty for our sin is paid in full. But for the rest of our life, we are being delivered from the power of the old sin nature... as the old flesh lusts against our new spiritual life and the spirit lusts against the flesh (our new life in Christ is at enmity with our old sin nature). The way to become more Christ-like is to stop presenting the members of our body to sin... as instruments of unrighteousness. Rather, we are to present ourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and use our members as instruments of righteousness, for His praise and glory.
But the question is: How can I do this? How can I achieve victory over the old sin nature? How can I triumph over the fleshly lust of this body? How can I conquer this body of sin so that I can please the Lord and live a holy life? How can I live godly in Christ Jesus when it seems that every good thing I want to do is tainted by my old sin nature? Well, Paul tells us that the secret of progressive sanctification is to KNOW the truth... RECKON it to be true... and YIELD one's life to the Holy Spirit.
We are to KNOW who we are in Christ and what He has done for us. We are to know that before salvation we were slaves to sin, but after salvation we are set free from bondage to sin and the curse of the law. We are to know the truth of the glorious gospel of grace - for the truth will set us free.
However, knowledge is impotent and ineffective if we do not RECKON it to be so, to believe it to be true, to trust what God has promised, and to have faith in all that He has done for us. In Hebrews we read, "without faith it is impossible to please God," which simply means that God is honoured when we believe all that He has told us in His written Word - when we reckon it to be true!!! Reckoning on the truth of God's Word is to put faith into action. It is the step of faith which not only trusts God Word but acts on it as well.
The Bible tells us that when we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, we are dead to sin and alive to Christ. He identified with our death so that by faith we identify with His eternal life - and we are therefore to reckon ourselves dead to sin and to reckon ourselves alive to Christ - we simply believe what the Bible tells us is true. Biblical fact, not spiritual fabrication.
The final step in the victorious Christian walk is to truly YIELD ourselves to Christ... to present our lives as a living sacrifice to the honour of God. We are not to engage in the fleshly acts of unrighteousness which we did before we were saved. We are not to continue presenting the members of our body to sin... as instruments of unrighteousness. Rather, we are to present ourselves to God... as those alive from the dead. We are to offer our members as instruments of righteousness to the glory of God.
We came into our positional union with Christ at salvation when we received His new life within, and we are to continue living for Him by reckoning God's Word to be true and by acting upon it in our individual lives. However, we can't do this in our own strength and power. This can only be achieved as we yield to the work of the Spirit of God within - as we die to our own desires which produce works of UN-righteousness - and live for Christ, allowing His life to work in us so that Christ is glorified in our lives.
But unlike justification, which takes place at the moment of salvation and is not repeatable... ongoing sanctification is a day by day attitude of life where we allow the Word of God to dwell in us richly and to wash us clean with His cleansing flood. When Christ is exalted in every area of our life, our bodies become servants of righteousness as He works His work within - so that day by day we grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You that at salvation I was positioned in Christ and received a new life in Him. Thank You that at justification I became a new creation and a member of Christ's Body. I pray my new life in Christ may grow in grace and that my faith in the truth of Your Word may be put into action - so that I not only believe Your Word but am ready and willing to act upon it, moment by moment, to Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.