Pastor David B. Curtis


Weapons of Righteousness

Romans 6:12-13

Delivered 04/09/2000

We are looking at Romans 6, the theme of which is "Be what you are." I believe that Romans 6 is the key to understanding the doctrine of practical sanctification. We saw last time that God's purpose for our lives is that we live holy.

1 Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV) but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

We are to be holy in our daily conduct.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 (NKJV) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.

This is God's will for our lives, practical sanctification or holiness.

Your practical holiness will become a reality through three basic steps. Those steps are: knowing, reckoning, and yielding. We have already looked at the first two. 1. Knowing - this is the theme of the first 10 verses in Romans 6. The thing we are to know is the doctrine of our union with Christ. We are identified with him, we share all he is and has. 2. Reckoning - Reckon means: "to regard or consider something as true." We must keep on counting as true that we are dead to sin and alive to God. We are "in Christ" and because of this, we share his righteousness.

In 1982 an unusual thing happened on the island of Guam. A Japanese soldier came out of the jungle. He had been living in the jungle for 37 years, since the end of world war II. Why? Because when the news came at the end of the war, he couldn't believe that Japan had surrendered and the war was over. So for 37 years, he lived in the jungle.

Let me ask you a question. During those 37 years was he free? Sure. At any time from 1945 until 1982, he was completely free to come out of the jungle. It's not like General MacArthur was coming in to get him. He was free. He could come out in 1950 or 1955 or 1969. He was completely free on a theoretical basis. But because he didn't believe it--because he didn't reckon the fact of his freedom to be true--he lived in self-imposed bondage in the jungle for 37 years. Was he free? Yes. Was he free? No, because he chose to stay in bondage, in hiding, in fear in the jungle.

Many Christians are still living in the jungle of sin. The war is over, Christ has won, but they refuse to believe it. They live in self-imposed bondage to sin. They are still in the jungle spiritually, because they refuse to believe that Christ has set them free.

This morning we move on to our third principle which is: yielding. Know deals with understanding the truth, reckon deals with believing it, and yield deals with the will - acting on what we know and believe.

Verse 12 brings us to the practical application of the doctrine Paul has been expounding in the first 11 verses of chapter 6.

Romans 6:12 (NKJV) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

The word "reign" is from the Greek verb basileuo, which means: "to exercise kingly power, or to exercise uncontrolled authority." The word "reign" is simply the word for "king", in a verbal form. The verb is present imperative with the negative me. This construction forbids the continuance of an action already going on. A literal translation would be: "Stop allowing sin to reign as king in your mortal body."

I know that most of you are aware of the Hermeneutical principle of audience relevance. So, let me ask you a question, "Who is Paul speaking to when he writes, 'Stop allowing sin to reign'?" He is addressing Christians. It would be pointless to tell this to unbelievers. What does this tell us? It tells us that sin can reign in the life of a believer if permitted to. Sin wants to reign in your mortal body. As long as we live in the physical realm, we will battle with sin.

Paul goes on to say, "That you should obey it in its lusts." Greek grammar refers "it" back to the body, since the pronoun is neuter, the word sin is feminine, and the word "body" is neuter. The pronoun in Greek agrees with its antecedent in gender.

It is through the desires of the body that sin wants to take control. The desires of the body are conceived as demanding obedience.

Practical sanctification is a process, we will never be rid of sin while we are in these physical bodies. The Christian life is a constant battle while we are in the physical body. We, as believers, are not to permit sin to reign in our bodies through its desires.

Why are we not to let sin reign? The word "therefore" at the beginning of verse 12 answers that question. The prohibition in verse 12 is based upon all that Paul has been saying from Romans 5:12 - 6:11 that deal with our position in Christ. So, Paul is saying, "Because of your position in Christ, do not let sin reign as king in your body."

Our position in Christ is that we are dead to sin and alive to God. We are to consider this as true, because it is true. Contrary to our experience, we are dead to sin. Now on the basis of our position, we are not to allow sin to reign in our body.

How do we stop sin from reigning? Verse 13 moves from the general to the particular and gives us some help in answering that question.

Romans 6:13 (NKJV) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

The word "present" is the Greek word paristemi, which means:"to put at one's disposal." Again, the verb is present imperative with the negative me meaning: "stop presenting."

Practical holiness becomes a reality through the three steps of: knowing, reckoning and yielding. We must know the truth about ourselves, then we must believe it. Once we know it and believe it, we are to act upon it. This command to yield deals with our will.

The Nature of the Human Will:

The will is the faculty of choice, the immediate cause of all action. You think about something and then you do it. In every act of the will there is a preference, the desiring of one thing rather than another. To will is to choose, and to choose is to decide between two or more alternatives. But there is something which influences the choice. The will is not causative, because something causes it to choose, therefore, that something must be the causative agent.

What is it that determines the will? If the will is not causative, then what is it that causes you to make a choice? Let's say that your boss comes to you and says, "You're going to California." You don't have a choice, he's telling you. But he says, "Would you like to drive or fly?" He is giving you a choice. What determines which option you choose? What determines your choice is the strongest motive power which is brought to bear upon it. With one, it may be the logic of reason-- if I drive, it will take me five days, and if I fly, it will only take me about five hours. I choose to fly. With another, the impulse of emotion-- there are a lot of plane crashes and I'm not ready to die, so I'll drive. What you think, causes you to will. Which ever of these presents the strongest motive power and exerts the greatest influence upon us, is that which impels the will to act. When you woke up this morning, you had to make a choice; will I sleep in our will I get up and go to church? This choice was made by what exerted the greatest influence upon you - your desire to worship or sleep.

In other words, the action of the will is determined by the mind. The will is not free but is in bondage to the heart. The Word of God teaches that it is the heart which is the dominating center of our being:

Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV) Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

Our choices are determined by our desires . When we have conflicting desires, which ever desire is greater at the time of decision is the desire I will choose.

Example: What causes a teenager to take drugs? Remember, your thinking will determine your choice. The Bible tells us that Daniel "purposed" in his heart not to defile himself with the Kings meat. Daniel had made a conscientious decision beforehand not to eat the king's meat.

If a teenager desires to honor and obey God and his parents, and if he believes that drugs are wrong, he will say, "No" to drugs. But if he is really undecided if drugs are wrong, and he wants to please his friends, he'll say, "Yes." This is why we are to train up our children, and this is why we are to guard our thinking -- the condition of our hearts will determine our choices. J. Edwards defined the will as: "The mind choosing."

This is why practical sanctification starts in the mind - know who you are. If you believe that it is normal for a Christian to sin every day, how are you ever going to stop sin from reigning in your life? We must know and believe that we are dead to sin.

How do we stop sin from reigning in our bodies?

Romans 6:13 (NKJV) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

We are told in this verse to "stop presenting our members to sin." The "members" are part of your mortal body. They are the various parts of the body- the eyes, ears, hands, feet, tongue, mind and emotions. These members become instruments of unrighteousness when we put them at the disposal of sin.

The word "instruments" is the Greek word hoplon. This word is only used six times in the New Testament; twice in this verse and four other times. In the other four uses it is translated "armor" or "weapons."

John 18:3 (NKJV) Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons (hoplon).

In classical Greek, the word hoplon referred to the weapons of the Greek soldier.

Listen to me, believers, your bodily members are weapons. Are you putting them at the disposal of righteousness or sin?

Your tongue can be used to speak the truth of God, or sing praises to Him, or to build up another believer. But it can also be used to back-bite, gossip, slander, and cause division and strife. The tongue is a weapon that is often used to beat our spouses or children and attack others. Look at how Peter used his tongue:

Matthew 16:16 (NKJV) Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Here Peter is using his tongue to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then a few moments later, when Jesus begins to talk about his death, Peter uses his tongue to rebuke the Lord.

Matthew 16:21-23 (NKJV) From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" 23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."

When we put our members at the disposal of sin, they become weapons of unrighteousness; and as they become weapons of unrighteousness, sin moves in to rule and reign as king in our body.

Paul is telling the Roman Christians and us to, "Stop presenting your members to be used for unrighteousness." The basis for me not presenting my members to sin is my position in Christ, my identity, who I am.

It is not that we don't like sin, because we do. But we understand and believe our position in Christ, and on the basis of who I am, I don't present my members to sin. Let me try to illustrate this: Suppose a Russian immigrates to the United States and he becomes an American citizen. He is a scientist, and in a few years he works his way to a high position in the U.S. government's field of science. Then it happens an undercover agent of the Russian government approaches him and asks him to function as a spy for Russia. Now here is a man who is compelled to make a choice. Let's suppose he decides not to let his former government rule over him, and he won't put his talents and abilities at the disposal of Russia. Why should he not allow the Russian government to rule over him? Some might say because he loves America, but the fact may be that he loves Russia more than America. He was raised there, his family is there, and he has many fond memories of Russia. If his love determines his decision, he might become a spy. But his basis for not letting Russia rule over him is his position. He is a citizen of the United States of America, and he will not put his talents and abilities at the disposal of Russia.

This is the situation of the believer. We once lived in the kingdom of darkness, and sin ruled over us, it was our master. But we were translated into the kingdom of God. Now sin still wants to rule in your body, you know that. But we are not to permit it to reign or to let it use our members. Why not? It's not because we don't like sin. The basis for our negative presentation is our position in Christ, our identity. As we understand Romans 6:1-11, we will by God's grace say, "NO" to sin.

In verse 13, he first gives us the negative and then the positive.

Romans 6:13 (NKJV) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

"But" Here is the positive side, we are to present ourselves and our members as instruments of righteousness.

The word "present", translated "yield" in some translations, is the Greek word paristemi, and this time it is in the aorist tense which is a once and for all action, a completed action. A one time presentation. In verse 13a it says, "do not continue to present." Then in 13b it says, "present once and for all." This would be as a husband does when he takes his marriage vows.

The believer is to put himself and all that he is at the disposal of God. Why? Again, it is because of our position, this is emphasized in the phrase, "as being alive from the dead." This is our position, and based upon our position, we are to present ourselves to God. Before you can follow the exhortation of verses 12 and 13, you must understand verses 1-11. You must understand your identity before you can yield.

The word "present" means: "to put at the disposal of God your members to be used for righteousness sake. This includes your tongue, eyes, ears, mind, hands and feet.

In Daniel chapter 3, we have the story of how king Nebuchadnezzar tried to get the Hebrew children to present their bodies in the worship of an idol. When they refused, he threatens their lives. Look how they responded:

Daniel 3:16-18 (NKJV) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 "If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 "But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

Notice that they call God, "our God" that is identity - they knew who they belonged to, and they knew that their purpose in life was to worship Him, so they were willing to be burned alive rather than dishonor their God. So Neb had them thrown into the furnace, but the fire didn't hurt them. Notice Neb's response:

Daniel 3:28 (NKJV) Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!

Notice carefully what he says, "They trusted in Him," and because of that they "yielded their bodies." They would not allow their bodies to be used as weapons of unrighteousness, they presented their bodies to be used of God even if it meant their death.

David yielded his body to be used as a weapon of righteousness when he went out to fight Goliath. Then later in his life, he yielded his body as a weapon of unrighteousness when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband Uriah. We do this same thing, don't we? At times, we are using our members as weapons of righteousness, and at others, we are using them as weapons of unrighteousness.

Let me give you another illustration: A ship with a very rich cargo sets sail from Norfolk. While the ship is at sea the owners of that ship discover that the captain is a crook, and he has plans of embezzling the cargo. The owners wire the ship saying that the captain is to be removed, and the first mate is to be put in charge.

Now, say you were a crew member, you have two options: you can submit to the captain or the first mate. What will influence your decision? Will it be your like or dislike of the captain or first mate or their position? The crew is employed by the owners of the ship, they are paid by the owners. Their position is that they are employees of the owners.

As the crew reflects upon their position, they must refuse the captain any right of rule over them, and they will do that by refusing to put at his disposal their strengths and abilities. On the other hand, they shall acknowledge the right of the first mate, and put at his disposal all of their time and talents and abilities. They will do that on the basis of their position. On the basis of their position, they will make a negative and positive presentation.

When God makes your position in Christ clear to you and gives you the faith to believe it, you will present yourself to God and not present your members to sin.

Believer, do you know who you are? You are: a saint; a son of God; as righteous as Jesus Christ, because you are in Christ. All Christ is and has, you are and have. You are dead to sin and alive to God.

Romans 6:11 (NKJV) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Because this is true of you, don't yield your members to be used for unrighteousness, but yield them to be used for righteousness. Put yourself and your members at God's disposal to be used of Him for His glory.

Have you ever thought of it this way? God has no lips except your lips yielded to him. He has no eyes except your eyes yielded to him. He has no ears except your ears yielded to him. He has no hands except your hands yielded to him. He has no feet except your feet offered to him.

Practical sanctification comes as we stop yielding to sin and start yielding to God. Let's talk about your eyes. Have you been looking at things this week that you shouldn't be looking at? Let's talk about your ears. Have you been listening to gossip, slander, filthy talk and coarse humor? Let's talk about your lips. Have you used your lips this week for swearing, for anger, slander for bitterness? Are your lips yielded to God? What about your hands? Are your hands yielded to God, or do you use your hands to grasp more of this world's goods? What about your feet? Are your feet yielded to God, or are they constantly taking you where you shouldn't go? Are all your members yielded to God, or are you using them for sin?

We will grow in practical righteousness as we follow these three steps:

1. Know your position in Christ.

2. Believe what God says about you.

3. Do not present your members to be used for unrighteousness, but present them to be used for righteousness.

Remember the command of verse 11 is in the present tense, which means: "keep on counting as true." We must keep on counting as true that we are dead to sin and alive to God.

I'm asking you now, "Who is reigning over you as king? Is it sin or righteousness?" Stop letting sin reign!

Media #150

Berean Bible Church provides this material free of charge for the edification of the Body of Christ. You can help further this work by your prayer and by contributing online or by mailing to:

Berean Bible Church
1000 Chattanooga Street
Chesapeake, VA 23322