Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Rejecting the Reign of Flesh

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

In Romans 7:16-17 Paul writes, “If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Paul refers to his sin nature, his flesh, as if it were another person living inside him.

Paul does the same thing in Romans 6:12 by warning believers not to let sin dwell in their mortal bodies. Not permitting sin to dwell in us is a defensive measure against a constant attacker. How, then, does the believer hold this constant aggressor back?

There are two obvious answers to the problem. We must reckon (believe) ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11). “Reckon” is in a verb tense of continual action which implies that the flesh continually seeks to control our lives.

The second obvious answer to rejecting the flesh from reigning in our lives is an act of the will. The words “let” and “reign” are the translation of one word in the original language. That word is also in a tense that means continual action. Our choosing not to permit sin to reign as king in our mortal bodies must be continual. Stated another way, I must continually reject living out of my own point of view.

In Romans 6:12, there is a third truth that will aid us in not permitting sin to reign in our mortal bodies. The words “that you should obey it in its lusts” are not referring to sin. They refer to our bodies. When we permit the flesh to reign as king in our mortal bodies, the result is the arousal of passions in our bodies. This condition has resulted in tragedy in individual lives, families, and churches. This sad fact is a strong motivation for us not to permit flesh to reign in our mortal bodies.

A fourth reason we can reject the reign of the flesh as king is by obeying the last of the five commands for experiencing the grace of God. “[Present] your members [your body] to God as instruments of righteousness. When we do this, there is no room left for the flesh to reign in our bodies because God reigns in our bodies.