Jewels from Romans #11

Romans 6:13

13 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. (ESV)

My home is filled with musical instruments. As I sit here at the computer in our study, I can look behind me and there is a table the size of a dining room table filled with musical instruments, and several more sitting on the floor around me: violins, guitars, a flute, a harp, a piano. Fortunately, they are all quiet now at 6:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day. And why are they all quiet? Because there is no one around to play them. There is no danger that I am going to pick up one of these instruments and play it. I have compassion on the other people in this house.

Now, why all this talk about musical instruments in a blog about Romans? In Romans 6:13 Paul writes “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.” (ESV) The Greek word translated “instruments” in this verse is “hoplon”, which means “an implement, utensil, or tool”, and is especially related to weapons of warfare. And what is a primary characteristic of an instrument? It does nothing on its own. None of the musical instruments behind me are suddenly go to start playing Bach by themselves. Swords do not kill people by themselves. Hammers do not drive nails by themselves. All of these instruments require an active force using them before they can do anything.

So, what is the point? Every one of us carries around an instrument with us everywhere we go. In Romans 6:13, this instrument is called our “members”. Collectively, our members get together to form our body. It goes everywhere we go. And how is our body an instrument? Once again, Paul writes in Romans 6:13 that either sin can use our body to play a song called “Unrighteousness”, or God can use our body to play a song called “Righteousness”. And notice that we have a part to play in the choice of which song is played. In Romans 6:13, Paul writes “Do not present…but present”. These are both active and imperative commands. The tense of “do not present” indicates an action which had been done in the past but needs to be stopped immediately. And the tense of the second “present” indicates something which needs to be done immediately. I like the word the KJV uses instead of the word “present” in these verses. The KJV uses the word “yield.”

Is it a hard choice to make? For me it is. I find myself yielding my body to sin to play a song of unrighteousness far more than I should. But it should not be a hard choice to make. Look back at the preceding two verses in Romans chapter 6:

11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions
. (ESV)

As Christians, our old self was crucified to sin along with Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. And our new self was resurrected with Jesus Christ on Easter morning. Sin should no longer reign in our bodies. We have a new Lord, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. I would much rather hear a song of righteousness being played through my body by the hands of the Maestro Jesus Christ instead of hearing the cacophony of the song of unrighteousness that sin plays every time it gets hold of the instrument of my body.

By Berean Husband

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