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Friday, November 4, 2011

Under the Dominion of Grace

Under the Dominion of Grace

"So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." Romans 6:11-14 (ESV)

CONSIDER: logizomai (to take an inventory, estimate); from logos (something said or thought); from lego (to lay forth or relate or mean, rather than individual speech or simply breaking silence or an extended harangue)

DEAD: nekros (dead); from nekus (a corpse)

ALIVE: zao (to live)

A Christian is responsible for careful consideration and logical reasoning regarding circumstances in which faith in Christ places them. A Christian is dead to sin and alive to God. This means sin has as much control or influence over the Christian as it has over a dead body: none. Any sinful control or influence experienced by a Christian is the result of conscious permission given by the Christian. Thus, Paul exhorts the Christian to replace sin's control and influence with that of God's through Christ Jesus.

The Christian, under God, has authority over sin's dominion.

REIGN: basileuo (to rule); from basileus (a sovereign); from basis (a pace, "base" or "basis"; from baino (to walk)

Christians have the authority and responsibility to forbid sin from ruling their life. Sin is not to be allowed to walk freely in a Christian's life. Sin is not to be the basis, or the standard, by which behavior is determined.

The practical result of a Christian's authority over sin is the decision to present themselves to God, rather than to sin.

PRESENT: paristemi (to stand beside, to exhibit, to be at hand or ready); from para (near or beside) and histemi (to stand)

Our authority over sin is made real when we consciously make ourselves available to God, rather than to sin. The Christian should use God's Word to strengthen their spiritual minds in prayer, affirming God as their Deliverer and Divine King, giving themselves to God as an instrument (implement, utensil or tool) for His righteous purposes.

The important motive for placing ourselves under the authority and disposition of God is that of salvation: God has brought us from death to life. Sin is like a dangerous drug, bringing fleeting pleasure to the flesh while flooding our body with toxins that will destroy us. God has rescued us from the doom that sin ensures. Rather than ending in death, our bodies will be transformed into glorious life in God, through the sacrifice and resurrection in Christ Jesus.

DOMINION: kyrieuo (to rule); from kyrios (supreme in authority, controller); from kuros (supremacy)

Paul's bold statement, at first glance, may seem unreasonably rosy:

"For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." Romans 6:14 (ESV)

How can Paul say that sin will have no dominion over us, when we all fall to temptation at times?

Dominion refers to ultimate, sovereign control. For the Christian, sin is no longer that which determines our ultimate end. Sin gained sovereign authority over man's ultimate end because of law. The law of God required complete, perfect righteousness, giving sin complete, perfect control over those who lacked perfection. The grace of God requires faith in Christ Jesus as the complete, perfect sacrifice that satisfies the law of God. Under the influence of grace, sin no longer has authority over our ultimate fate.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)

We are free from the doom of eternal death, and this freedom and salvation is the driving motive for presenting our bodies, minds and emotions to God for His service.

Image courtesy of Dave Edmonds (www.biblequizzes.org.uk)