Practical Sanctification
Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 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. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)






Paul wrote this letter from Corinth, Greece during a three month visit to the church there in late 56 and early 57 A.D. The letter is heavy with Christian Doctrine, Christian teaching.

The teaching for chapters six through eight is sanctification. Sanctification can be defined as the process of being made holy.

In the previous passage, Paul teaches sanctification as being positional, meaning our standing with God. In this passage he teaches sanctification as being practical, meaning how we work out this standing in our lives.

Looking at the previous passage for context, we note that Paul wrote: “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” (v. 10). On the cross, Christ finished the work of sin. Sin died and Christ was risen to “live to God” a new life as the Resurrected Christ.

Just as “Christ died to sin”, in this passage Paul writes “likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin (v. 11a). This is Paul’s first commandment in this letter.

Positionally, Christ’s death on the cross put sin to death and we Christians died to sin with Him. Practically, Paul commands us to “be dead indeed to sin”.

Christ has declared us dead to sin. Positional sanctification says that we are dead to sin, we are unable to sin. When we become a Christian, we become a new creation, dead to sin and alive to righteousness, “alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (v. 11b).

Positional sanctification is what God says about us. Practical sanctification is how we work that out in our daily living. Next, God tells us how to do that.

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” (v. 12). As Christians, sin should not reign in our lives. Sin should not have dominion over us.

“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.” (v. 13). Our bodies should not be instruments of “unrighteousness to sin”, but “righteousness to God”.

 “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (v. 14). As Christians, we are now under grace, not the law. The “law” can be defined as the Torah, the first five books of Moses in the Old Testament, or, more broadly, the entirety of the Old Testament.

The law only defines sin. It tells us what not to do, but does not give us the power not to do it. The indwelling Holy Spirit gives the Christian the power to live a holy life.

Even though we have this power, we still have free will. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in order for this power to have dominion over our lives.

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (v. 15). Is grace a license to sin? Certainly not, Paul writes. Grace is a license to pursue righteousness instead of being bogged down by sin.

“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (v. 16). If we allow sin to have dominion over our lives, we are slaves to sin which leads to spiritual death, eternal separation from God. However, if we allow obedience to have dominion over our lives, we are slaves to righteousness which leads to eternal life in Heaven.

“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” (v. 17). Here, Paul praises those Christians who have been obedient to his teaching and turned from sin.

“And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (v. 18).  Christians are now free from the bondage of sin and are now under the dominion of righteousness.

 “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” (v. 19). Paul, speaking to our mortal selves, calls us to holiness just as our mortal selves previously called us to sin.

 “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” (v. 20). Before we were Christians we were bound to evil and free of doing good, righteousness. The call of sin on our lives overpowered any interest we had in righteousness.

“What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” (v. 20). Our previous lives of sin, of which we are now ashamed, would have led to a dead-end life, eternal separation from God.

“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”” (vv. 22-23). But now, as Christians, our lives lead to holiness, and eternal life in Heaven.

Sanctification is the process of being made holy. We will never be holy this side of Heaven. However, when we yield to the Holy Spirit living within us, we will grow in holiness day by day as we walk in obedience to God.

 

Art Toombs Ministries

Online Bible Commentary