Summary: After stating the doctrine and that we are by faith to appropriate it, he now states the practical daily experience to see whether we have made it our own or not. Doctrine truly combined with belief always has corresponding verifiable actions
THE TWO MASTERS OF MAN
In the previous passage Paul has been teaching doctrine and the new man's ability to appropriate and live out that doctrine by faith in its truthfulness. After stating the doctrine and that we are by faith to appropriate it, he now states the practical daily experience to see whether we have made it our own or not. Doctrine truly combined with belief always has corresponding verifiable actions (CIT).
Our union with Christ secures not only our pardon, but also destroys the power of sin that was our old master and allows us the opportunity to serve God and live under the reign of the Gospel.
If we have died with Christ to sin and been raised by resurrection power that enables us to walk in new life, we can determine whether acts of sin or acts of righteousness will come from our life. For man cannot serve two masters.
I. Sin's Seizure, 12.
II. Submissions's Service, 13
III. Sanctification's Supply, 14.
Verse 12 hums with energy and urgency as believers are call to action. The cross and resurrection of Jesus have broken the power of sin, and believers at last stand before a real choice. We now can choose not to sin. After counting on what Christ has done, we can stop allowing sin to reign supreme in our lives. When this is understood, the believer must make some decisions to make. The one found in verse 12 is the command not to let sin use our earthly bodies."Therefore you must not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts."
First Paul deals with the negative of not yielding yourselves to sin, then he will deal with the positive replacement of giving yourself to God (vv 13b). Sin seeks to seize you in its power. It seeks to reign over your life. Reign ( ) is a present imperative and could be translated; "you must not let sin continue to reign as it once did" (5:12). Your sinful nature has been dethroned and divine nature has been imparted.
The dominance of the sinful nature has been broken, therefore God can make such a demand of the Christian who is living in the knowledge of the power of the Cross and reckoning himself dead to sin. Although the dominance of the sinful nature has been broken this does not mean it has been eradicated. The believer will no longer constantly live in sin, but he will experience an opposing force.
No one acquainted with the life of David would deny that he was indeed a child of God; in fact he was "a man after God's own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14). Nevertheless, at times he allowed sin to reign in his mortal body, and David is not the exception. It is therefore understandable that the Bible urges believers to constantly be on guard against this great danger of surrendering to evil passions, passions like those in the case of David that entice fleshly desires.
You must not let sin reign in your mortal body. Mortal ( ), meaning that which is subject to death. What the Bible is saying is that sin manifests itself through the organ of our body. The reign of sin in a life demands obedience of our mortal bodies to its sinful lusts.
Routine and habit are powerful task masters. When we do something over and over again we learn it deeply. A child plays scales up and down the piano keyboard again and again to master them. A college student writes out foreign words again and again in order to let them become part of him. An athlete practices and practices his shots on the court so he will not have to consciously think about them on game day. Habits, in this sense, can be helpful and positive.
But we all know that he threads of a habit can become a steel cable. Charles Layhton starred as the villain in the classic movie, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." He said that he had to strap himself in a harness and tie himself hunched over in order to look like a genuine hunchback. But as the days of the films stretched into weeks, Layhton found that it took longer for him to stand up straight after the days's filming. His body was getting used to being bent over.
This happens morally, too. A person can choose to stay bent over and misshapen morally instead of standing up straight in Christ. One can choose the darkness and live more like an animal than a human being made in God's image.
The believer has the responsibility of keeping the sinful nature from mounting the throne of his heart, the place which the Lord Jesus should occupy. The believer is well able to do this. His will is free. He has the divine nature and the Holy Spirit urging him to, by faith, appropriate the power of the Cross and Resurrection and obey the Word.