Romans 6:12-14 says, “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 5 is the ground for Romans 6. Because you have been justified through faith in Christ, you are dead to sin. You are not its slave anymore. You are free. You can now walk in the newness of life. There are two things you can do to apply this verse to your life:
First, do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness.
When I was in college, I have always thought that this verse was funny. The way Paul wrote the sentence sounded weird to my ears. The NIV was graphic: do not offer your members as instruments of unrighteousness. What members? The only members I knew back then were church members. That was until I understood Paul that was actually talking about body parts. He was saying, “do not present your body parts to be used for unrighteousness.” I remember feeling so blown away.
At the age of 17, I knew exactly which parts of my body were being used as instruments of unrighteousness. I knew exactly that there were parts of my anatomy that were being used in unrighteous ways. And I was surprised at the accuracy of Paul’s language. So this is how you practically apply this text to your life: take an inventory of your body parts.
When I was in high school, I almost always forget something every time I travel to join school events. Sometimes I’d forget to bring my toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, or other small items. It was so frustrating. I was a kid; I didn’t have a sophisticated travel routine. This was my hack: the night before going on a travel, I would take inventory of my whole body and identify the items I would need from head to toe.
So for the head I would need shampoo, cotton buds, tooth brush, tooth paste. For my torso I would need T-shirts, undershirts, deodorant. And on and on, going down to my toes I would take inventory until all the essentials are inside the bag. That helped me a lot.
Now I suggest we do something similar for Romans 6. Paul says, “do not offer the members of your body to become instruments of sin.” We ask, which members of my body? All of them! So what we do is we stand in front of a mirror and one by one we take inventory of all our body parts. From head to toe, name all the parts and ask the question: is this body part being used as instrument of sin? Is this body part being used to do something unrighteous?
Your eyes, what you see, what you watch. Your ears, what you hear, what you listen to. Your eyebrows and the constant rolling of your eyes when someone is talking, put that in the list. Your mouth, your words, your language, your tone of speaking, your sarcasm, your cursing. You hands, the instrument you use for work. Are you doing honest work? What else do they do? On and on, make that list, take that inventory, identify the body parts that are instruments of sin. And here’s the trick: do not skip the private parts. Do not skip the sexual parts because chances are those are the parts that are the most given to as instruments of unrighteousness.
Second, present your body parts as instruments of righteousness.
Stand in front of that mirror once again and start naming your body parts, this time, to offer them to God as instruments of righteousness. This is the opposite of what you did in step 1. You know that your head or your intelligence is sometimes used in a manner that doesn’t glorify God. Offer that to him. You know that your eyes are so immersed in media that feed lustful thoughts to your mind. Name that, offer that to God. You know that your hands are sometimes used to hurt people, or work in dishonesty; offer that to God. You know that your tongue had spoken words that divide, words that cause mistrust and doubt, words that bring people down. Name that tongue and offer that to God as instrument of righteousness.
One by one, present all the members of your body, all your body parts in subjection to the Lordship of Christ. And again, do not skip the private parts. Do not skip the sexual parts because chances are those are the parts that are the most difficult to offer as instruments of righteousness.
Why do this? Because you have been justified. Sin is no longer your master. You are not under the law; you are under grace now.