“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
The fourth, and final, step to overcoming sin that we will consider in Romans Chapter 6 is the most obvious, yet typically the one that seems to give us the most trouble: obeying. How do we overcome sin? By obeying God. Easier said than done? Perhaps.
Obeying God is something that, up to this point in the book of Romans, hasn’t really been mentioned. The Apostle Paul has been previously discussing Salvation, of which our ability to obey God does not play a role. We are not saved by how closely we follow God’s Commandments and, as the case has already been made in the first 3 chapters, this is a good thing since none of us are capable of perfectly obeying the Law of God. If our Salvation was contingent on our obedience, we would all be doomed.
In contrast to this, it is now revealed that the fulfillment of our Sanctification, however, is contingent on our obedience. We are declared righteous by the grace of God, secured by faith in Jesus Christ alone; but in order for us to actually become righteous, we are going to have to obey God. We are declared holy by a holy God based upon what He has done on our behalf, but if we are to actually live a holy life, we must obey God’s will.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7)
Before we came to faith in Christ, it was absolutely impossible for any of us to really obey God — even if we had the desire to do so. But once we are in Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us making obedience possible. It is as we walk with the Spirit, obeying the will and commandments of God, that our Sanctification takes on new meaning. We are set apart for the use of God (sanctified) the moment we accept Christ, but that Sanctification can only become a practical reality in our lives as we obey Him.
Those final words of Romans 6:16 show what it is that ultimately leads to a righteous and holy life: “…obedience unto righteousness.” We can know, reckon, and yield all we want, but it is obeying God that defines and results in a righteous and holy life.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)
Regardless of how complicated we make it, obeying God is simply living with a singleness of purpose: that we will live to please Him and not to fulfill the desires of our flesh. This means that we will have to say no when temptations arise (and they will most definitely arise); we will need to choose to follow God’s agenda for our lives rather than living for our own gratification. Though this may seem at times to be far too daunting of a task, and we will all stumble from time to time, the Holy Spirit of God empowers every believer with the ability to stand against any temptation. Residing within every child of God is the Power to overcome sin, to trust in Jesus Christ for the deliverance from the power of sin just as we trust in Jesus Christ for deliverance from the penalty of sin.
“…And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19b)
Let us obey the Lord Jesus Christ and live a life that is holy and pleasing to Him.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,