Romans 6:12

A renewed application of the subject just discussed. The reign of sin; the reign of grace. I. THE REIGN OF SIN.

1. The self yielded to sin. Man's higher self - reason, conscience, and will - should dominate over the "soul" and the "flesh," the mere passions and lusts; man's spirit should be king. But the true self has been discrowned, and the lower self - the lusts - has gained the mastery. And in this false mastery of the flesh, sin reigns. Oh, degradation! we are led in chains, and sin lords it over us!

2. The members yielded to unrighteousness. Man's lower nature should be the instrument of the higher, for the working of all that is just and good. In Paul's philosophy of human nature the "body" is synonymous with all the active life; and is not the activity of our whole life to be used subordinately to the dictates of the enlightened will? But the activity of life is yielded to the usurping power of sin, instrumental to unrighteousness.


1. The self yielded to God. Man is not an irresponsible ruler of his own nature; his sovereignty is delegated by God. And only in absolute devotion to God does he realize a true self-conquest. God claims again possession of the spirit which has been torn from him by the power of sin. The claim is one of authority; but the authority is the authority of love.

2. The members yielded to righteousness. God requires the homage of the heart; he also requires the service of the life. Only through the heart can the life be rightly swayed. "Not under law." A resurrection, and a resurrection-power. Yes, because he lives, we may live also! But the appropriation of this power is of man: "Present yourselves." Here is the marvellous gift of human freedom, which may be a freedom unto death; but there is the boundless power of love and life! Therefore choose life, that thou mayest live! - T.F.L.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.
"Let not sin reign" because it is —


1. Sin has usurped its sway over the heart. It forms no part in the original plan of our world.

2. It gains the ruling power gradually. If the criminal knew from his first sin the tremendous power it would have upon his life his downward course would have been arrested. The chain was drawn tighter by degrees.

3. As Britons we hate everything oppressive, the public sentiment is against all tyrants; still the greatest of all is tolerated in the hearts of thousands.

II. A DISHONOURABLE REIGN. Occasionally we are obliged to blush at the deeds done in the name of England. But as a rule we are proud of our country, not so much on account of its wealth and military strength as the position it has gained for uprightness. Sin is dishonourable to God and to man. It is the transgression of the best law, and the highest ingratitude.

III. A DESTRUCTIVE REIGN. Peace, moral beauty, and strength are destroyed wherever sin has the ruling power. It is a cancer that eats its way gradually, yet effectually, to the very roots of our being. Conclusion: Subjects we must be; it is for us to decide under whose government. We cannot govern ourselves, we must serve either righteousness or sin. How thankful we ought to be that there is a higher, stronger, purer power ready to enter the heart and rule there. We are under no obligation to let sin have the throne. The Spirit is willing to govern if man will open his heart.

(Jenkin Jones.)


1. All men are sinful (Romans 3:10-12).

2. There is no sin but all men by nature are prone to (Psalm 51:5).

3. But there is some sin that everyone is inclined to more than others (Psalm 18:23), by —

(1)The constitution of his body (1 Corinthians 9:27).


(3)Custom (Jeremiah 13:23).

(4)Condition in the world (Proverbs 30:8, 9).

(5)Temptations (1 Peter 5:8).

4. The sins we are most inclined to may have a prevalency over us, either —

(1)Partial (Romans 8:20, 21), or —

(2)Plenary, without resistance (Romans 6:12, 20).

5. When sin has a full prevalency in us it is said to reign over us. Because we —

(1)Are subject to its power.

(2)Obey its minions (Romans 6:16; Romans 7:5).


1. It has no right or title to this kingdom, but only God as —

(1)Our Creator.

(2)Preserver (Acts 17:28).

(3)Redeemer (1 Corinthians 6:20).

2. We are buried with Christ by baptism into His death, and so are free from sin (Romans 6:1-3, 7, 10, 11, 14).

3. If it reign in us it will ruin us (Romans 6:23).


1. Faith in Christ.

2. Prayer (Psalm 119:133; Romans 7:24).

3. Watchfulness (Proverbs 4:23).


1. Of examination. That is a reigning sin —

(1)Which is your chief end and greatest pleasure (Colossians 3:5; Philippians 3:19).

(2)Which is made habitual by custom (Jeremiah 13:23).

(3)Which your thoughts run most upon and study most for (1 John 3:8, 9).

(4)Which we most willingly submit to (John 8:44; Romans 6:13; Romans 7:21, 22).

(5)Which we do not love to hear reproved.

(6)That for whose sake we commit others (Psalm 18:23), as David's murder for adultery.

(7)Which distracts us in holy duties (1 John 2:15).

2. Of exhortation. Consider —

(1)Sin is the greatest slavery in the world (2 Peter 2:19; Titus 3:3).

(2)Christ came into the world to redeem thee from it (Romans 3:26).

(3)If sin reign in thee, thou hast no part in Christ (Matthew 6:24), for Satan reigns over thee (2 Timothy 2:26).

(4)Thou wilt have but bad wages for thy service.

(a)In this life — the torture of a guilty conscience — a curse on thy estate (Malachi 2:2) — the wrath of an offended God (Psalm 7:11).

(b)In the life to come — separation from God — imprisonment in hell (ver. 23).

(Bishop Beveridge.)


1. Made the body mortal.

2. Developed its lusts.

3. Through it enslaved the soul.


1. We ought, because Christ has redeemed us.

2. We can, through grace.

3. We must if we would be saved.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

If a man has a strong besetment, he must treat it as he would a savage dog. He must keep it kenneled and chained, and never suffer it to go beyond its tether, however it may bark or growl. He will have to say to it every now and then, "Down, sir." He will sometimes require the stern resoluteness expressed in John Foster's saying, "This soul shall either conquer this body or shall leave it." Ruthless, bloodless, indomitable will is needed sometimes in order that a man may fight well the battle of his life.

1. Some would substitute here in place of "mortal," as liable to death, the idea of actual death in Christ. Sin having been plucked of its sting, our Saviour having received it in His own body, therefore there is no more power in our adversary to inflict its mortal poison upon us; he is not only disarmed of his right to condemn us, but of all ability to tyrannise over us. In virtue of his defeat he will not obtain the dominion over our hearts unless we let him. Our resistance, backed as it is by the plea of a Saviour crucified, and by the power of a Saviour exalted, will be greatly too much for him. We who have been baptized into Christ are somewhat in the same circumstances that the children of Israel, after being baptized into Moses in the Red Sea, were in reference to the tyranny of Egypt. Their enemy was engulfed in that abyss over which they found a shielded way; and, placed beyond his dominion, it was now their part to exchange the mastery of Pharaoh for the mastery of God; but those who rebelled were cut off in the wilderness.

2. And this analogy does not fail us if we take "mortal" in the customary signification. While in these mortal bodies, we are only on a road through the wilderness of earth to the blessedness of heaven. All who are really partakers with Christ in His death have got over a mighty barrier. They have been carried through the strait gate of acceptance, and have now to travel along the narrow way of duty and discipline, "not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Let not sin reign over us on the passage that we have yet to traverse. Let us stifle every rising inclination for the carnalities of Egypt, and come not under the power of those lusts which war against the soul, till we reach the spiritual Canaan where every inclination to evil shall cease to exist and so cease to annoy us.

3. We cannot fail to perceive how widely diverse the injunction would have been, if instead of, "Let not sin reign," Paul had said, "Let sin be rooted out"; or if, instead of saying," Obey not its lusts," he had bid us eradicate them. The more enviable state, of course, would be to have no inclination to evil, and could we attain that higher state, we would become on earth what angels are in heaven; but if doomed to the lower state during all our abode here, then we may understand that the life of a Christian is a struggle of two adverse elements, and the habitual prevalence of one of them, and that sin is not to be exterminated, but to be kept at bay. Let us try to banish it, and defeated in this effort, we may give up in heartless despair the cause of our sanctification; but trying to dethrone it, and succeeding in this effort, while we mourn its hateful company, we may both keep it under control and calmly look onward to the hour of release. We cannot obtain such a victory as that we shall never feel the motions of the flesh, but we may obtain such a victory as that we shall not walk after the flesh. The enemy is not so killed as that we are delivered from his presence; but, by an unremitting strenuousness on our part, we may keep him so chained as that we shall be delivered from his power.

4. The time is coming when, freed from every opposing tendency, we shall expatiate over the realms of ethereal purity and love — just as the time is coming when the chrysalis shall burst with unfettered wing from the prison in which it is now held; and where, we doubt not, that it is aspiring and growing into a meetness for traversing at large the field of light and air above it. This representation of indwelling sin —

I. CONDUCES TO THE PEACE OF A BELIEVER. The very occurrence of a sinful desire, or feeling, harasses a delicate conscience, and he may be led to suspect therefrom his interest in the promises. But it will quiet him to be told that there is a distinction between the saint who is struggling below and the saint who is triumphing above.

II. CONDUCES TO THE BELIEVER'S PROGRESS, for it leads to a most wholesome self-distrust which, for one thing, will save him from needlessly thrusting himself into a scene of temptation. God will grant succour against the onsets which temptation maketh upon us, but He does not engage Himself to stand by us in the presumptuous onsets which we make upon temptation.

III. LEADS US TO SUCH MEASURES AS MAY STRENGTHEN THE GRACIOUS PART OF OUR CONSTITUTION for every such encounter as cannot be shunned. Temptation will come, though we should never move a step towards it. What, then, is the best method of upholding the predominance of the good principle over the evil one? A fresh commitment of ourselves in faith and in prayer to Him who first put the good principle into our hearts — another act of recurrence to the fulness that is in Christ Jesus — a new application for strength from the Lord our Sanctifier to meet this new occasion for strength which He Himself has permitted to cross our path.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)


1. By breaking the power of sin (ver. 12).

2. By yielding ourselves to God (ver. 13).

II. IS IT POSSIBLE? Grace destroys —

1. The dominion of sin (ver. 14).

2. The love of sin (ver. 15).

III. WHY OUGHT WE TO DO IT? It is required —

1. By the obedience of faith (ver. 16).

2. By gratitude to God for His gracious help (ver. 17).

3. By our merciful emancipation from the bondage of sin.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)


1. Subjection of natural lusts.

2. Renunciation of the service of sin.

3. Consecration of all the powers to God.

II. ITS POSSIBILITY (ver. 14). As Christians —

1. We are not under the law.

2. But under grace.

3. Consequently receive dominion over sin.


1. Grace requires it.

2. Practice determines to whom we belong.

3. Obedience is the perfection of righteousness.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

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