On Baptism, IV. Let Not Sin Reign in Your Mortal Bodies

Therefore, since our baptism into the death of Christ has crucified our old and fleshly man so that we would be set free from our slavery to sin, the apostle Paul exhorts the church to live in a way that is consistent with this reality. He gives this exhortation to the church, not because men who have been baptized into Christ are able to overpower the work of the Spirit of God, but because natural men have and always will find their way into the ranks of the fold of God. We know this is true because of the apostle’s later declarations in his discourse, and we see it clearly elsewhere in the promise of the surety of God’s work in the elect. The apostle writes, “I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Ph. 1:6 NASB). For when God begins a work in a soul, he finishes it (cf. Rm. 8:29, 30).

Therefore the apostle gives this command to the church, “Let not sin therefore reign in you mortal bodies to make you obey its passions” (v. 6:12). In other words, do not submit yourself to the slavery of sin and let sin be your Lord so that you follow after the fleshly passions of your body. As those who have been baptized into the death of Jesus Christ, we are cleansed not only from the condemnation of our wicked deeds, but we are released from the slavemaster who commands them of us so that we can live our lives in such as way that we do not submit to the passions of our flesh. For now, Christ has redeemed our flesh so that which was once use for wickedness can now be used for the sake of righteousness.

Therefore he writes, “Do you not present your [fleshly] members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your [fleshly] members to God as instruments for righteousness” (v. 6:13). In other words, that which we used formerly to perform deeds of wickedness should now be used to perform deeds of righteousness. Instead of using our fleshly members as a son of Adam would use his members, we should use are members as a son of God would use his members. Instead of having a mouth that is full of curses and bitterness (v. 3:14), we should have mouths that bless and are eager to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ (v. 10:15). Instead of feet that are swift to shed blood (v. 3:15), we should have beautiful feet that carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ (v. 10:15). Christ has redeemed all things in us so that we can now use them to glorify him and his Gospel.

How are we able to do this? The apostle declares, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (v. 6:14). Sin will not be our Lord, sin will not reign over us, because we have, in baptism, been taken out from under the law and placed under grace.

Next: On Baptism, V. You are Slaves of the Master whom you Obey

Categories: Theology

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