How to Have Daily Victory Over Willful Sin Understanding Who I am in Christ Part II
Scripture: Romans 6:11-23
In the last sermon, I listed “Eight Facts For Your Faith” based on Romans 6:1-10.
In this sermon, I will present action steps you as a Christian must take after incorporating those eight biblical facts into your heart and mind. There are commands to obey and truths to embrace when facing temptation. Once a Christian understands who he is in Christ, he must then obey two commands:
- First, he must reckon himself to be dead indeed unto sin; and
- second, he must yield himself and the members of his body as tools of righteousness (Romans 6:13).
The first action is accomplished by faith; the second action requires a full surrender followed by an ongoing obedience.
1. I must really believe that I am dead unto sin, but alive unto God. (Rom. 6:11)
“So you also must reckon (consider) yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Do not misunderstand. Victory over sin is not achieved by our “reckoning” ourselves to be dead. Victory over sin is achieved through our union with Christ with His victory over sin.
However, because of the reality of our union with Christ, we are commanded to believe and act upon this reality as our real condition. We must gain and maintain a full sense and conviction of it.
Unless we keep in our mind that through our union with Christ we are actually dead to sin and alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord, we cannot serve Him as we ought. The death to sin that Paul describes in Romans 6:1-10 is the actual experience of all regenerate persons and fundamentally distinguishes them from the unsaved, who are under the dominion of sin.
While the saved person must still battle the temptations to sin, he is not under sin’s lordship, and his fundamental disposition in life is toward holiness (Rom 6:4). What is the method of reckoning myself to be dead indeed unto sin?
By faith I receive the powerful and liberating Word of God as Truth for my heart. Once I know that I have made a full confession of sin to God and by faith have received the assurance of pardon, I can declare on the authority of God’s infallible Word that I am set free from all sin and made fully alive to God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
As the patriarchs in Hebrews 11 acted in faith, I am not to wait until I understand all about God’s commands and promises, but I am to believe my death to sin and freedom from sin through my union with Christ to be real.
Reckoning is not claiming a promise; it is acting upon a fact!
We are to believe (“reckon”) and keep on believing that we shared Christ’s death to sin, and that we are now alive unto God in Him. We are not told to die to sin, rather, because we are in Christ Who did die to it, we are declared to be dead to sin. Reckon it so!
And since it has pleased God to call for our response of faith, let us follow His method. Faith says “Amen” to the facts of God’s Word. Faith says, “Yes, it is true. I am dead to sin and I am living unto God! I rejoice in this fact!”
Once I have reckoned myself to be dead indeed unto sin, I must yield myself and the members of my body as tools of righteousness (Rom. 6:13).
2. I must not let willful sin have any place in my life. (Rom. 6:12)
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts (passions).”
3. I must not use the members of my body for sinful purposes. (Rom. 6:13a)
“Do not present [yield] your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness but present [yield] yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”
Being “dead to sin and alive to God” is not only a matter of proper thinking (“reckon yourselves”) and faith, it also involves one’s choices and actions. A Christian must not allow sin to reign in his body.
The command, “let not sin reign in your body,” clearly in forms us that being dead to sin does not make a person impervious to temptation, nor does it remove the susceptibility of a Christian to wrong desires. But it does enable us to stop sinning willfully!
This is what Jesus meant when He commanded people to “sin no more” (see John 5:14 and 8:11). Neither Jesus nor Paul expected the impossible!
A Christian must yield himself fully to God.
The word “yield” (sometimes translated as “present”) means “to place at one’s disposal, to present, to offer as a sacrifice.” The same Greek word also appears in Romans 12:1, where it is translated “present,” and occurs in the phrase, “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service.”
Notice that the person who is to do this “yielding” or “presenting” is said to be “holy” before such a presentation becomes “acceptable” to God. In other words, this is not the yielding a sinner makes to God at salvation; it is the yielding and full surrender a Christian makes after salvation as an act of gratitude to God for His mercies (Rom. 12:1).
Yielding oneself to God involves four steps:
- a decisive act,
- a transfer of control of every aspect of your life to God,
- a finality of commitment, and
- a moment-by-moment maintenance of that commitment.
Therefore, a Christian must purposely and decisively yield himself to God, transferring to God full control of himself and his body and daily maintaining that surrender. This does not mean that there may not be further calls by God to demonstrate the reality and depth of one’s surrender.
Abraham was called to go out to a strange country (Heb. 11:8) and he obeyed; he was later called to offer his son, his only son Isaac, as a burnt offering (Heb. 11:17) on Mt. Moriah and, again, he obeyed.
4. I am free from sin, and I choose to live for God in total obedience. (Rom. 6:14-18)
“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?
May it never be!
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
Before we were united with Christ, we were “slaves to sin” (Rom. 6:17, 20). Now in Christ we have been freed from sin and are “slaves to righteousness” (Rom. 6:18) and “slaves to God” (Rom. 6:22).
5. As I once chose to live a life of willful sin, I now choose to live a holy life. (Rom. 6:19-20)
“I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations.
For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present [yield] your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.”
The freedom from sin brought by God’s grace is to lead us to yield willingly the members of our body as slaves to righteousness. We now desire to grow and develop in holy living. Prior to our repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we used our bodies as slaves to impurity and unright eousness.
However, now that we are united with Christ, we are wholeheartedly to pursue growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must continually say to ourselves:
“I am free to live righteously, and to pursue holiness.
But I am not to yield to the temptation to sin.
Through union with Christ, I can live righteously.”
6. Since I am free from the power of sin, I am able through grace to live a holy life, and victory over sin assures me of everlasting life (Rom. 6:22-23)
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Apart from holiness there is no eternal life. The practice of willful sin (slavery to sin) results in death. The fruit of obedience to God and the practice of walking in God’s truth produces sanctification.
And sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in us whereby He takes the Word of God (such as Rom. 6:1-23) and transforms us into the likeness of the Son of God.
To become as much like Jesus as is possible through God’s grace is the goal of our life on earth; and, after this life, we continue in fellowship with God and His Son throughout all eternity.
Dr. Allan P. Brown teaches such courses as Christian Beliefs, Doctrine of Holiness, Wisdom Literature, Hebrew, Preaching Holiness, Romans and Galatians, and Letters to the Hebrews.
He has been on faculty at GBSC since 1996 and is the author of several books and articles.
Dr. Brown also speaks at churches, camp meetings, revivals and more.