It is an intriguing verse, is it not? And it is found in the writings of the apostle Paul and it deals with a very, very important matter: sin.
- “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Romans 6:12 – NKJV)
I must tell you that before I came to Jesus as Lord and Savior I never had a struggle with sin. But since that night when I fell to my knees and cried out to Jesus to save me, I have been in this extreme battle with it! (I have often made known that in coming to Christ at such a later time in my life, having lived so far outside of the grace of God, I have brought a lot of baggage with me into my new life in Christ.)
Sin . . . a very real power that I find exceptionally hard to define. I know we can look at the original languages and turn to our dictionaries for the English definition, but as much as that may help, it doesn’t go far enough. Sin is a foe that is as ugly as Satan himself, as ugly as anyone or anything I could possibly attempt to describe.
Sin . . . is a very real power that is a formidable foe. God Himself described it to us when He addressed Cain prior to him slaying his brother Abel.
- “So the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.'” (Genesis 4:6-7 – NKJV)
This sin, as the Lord describes it, seems to be like a living entity. It “lies at the door” and it has a “desire for . . . Cain.” It could be described like something seen in a B-movie, that slithers around seeking to attach itself to someone and possess them and bring ruin upon them.
Sin . . . a very real power. And this power has plagued mankind since the fall, actually lying at (our) door and desiring to rule over us. This text has caused me at times to shiver. And worst of all, when we consider this sin, we are reminded that it is that which has caused a separation between us and our Creator, our God. To have sin reign in us is to be separated from God!
But take note! For the Holy Spirit says to us, prior to verse 12,
- “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? . . . knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, [in our believing union with Christ] that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin . . . [So] reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin . . .” (Romans 6:1-11 – NKJV)
As Paul writes, knowing this, we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus are to stop letting sin have its “reign in [our] mortal bodies.” (Note: The Greek construction of verse 12, with the verb reign being in the present tense, in the imperative mood, “forbids the continuance of an action already going on” – Wuest) Thus, a command to stop letting sin have its way in our mortal bodies.
Kenneth Wuest writes, “The sinful nature is a dethroned monarch.” This slimy, seemingly living entity, sin, that once we were enslaved to, can now be kept from the throne of our hearts which the Lord Jesus now occupies.” Wuest goes on to say, “The believer is well able to do this” (to stop letting sin reign in our mortal bodies) because “he has the divine nature and the Holy Spirit to urge him on, and give him the desire and the power to refuse the sinful nature and obey the Word.”
We must grasp that the ugly nemesis is not the boss anymore . . . and act accordingly!
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