I am honored to have the guest post today from my mom, Karen Tero. I have been so blessed to have parents to disciple and encourage me in the Lord. I pray that her article is a blessing to you!
By Karen Tero
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
You are always yielding - You are either yielding to sin or yielding to righteousness (God). It is always your choice. If sin is reigning in your body, it is because you are allowing it do so.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Because you are saved, sin does not have the power to dominate you.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 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?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Although you are saved by grace, you can still live your life as a servant to sin. These verses were written by Paul to Roman Christians. He was reminding them that they were free from sin and were now the "servants of righteousness." They were struggling, as you are, with the infirmity of the flesh. They were having a difficult time living a life of righteousness. I think that they had yielded so long to sin that they were having a difficult time resisting. This was causing doubt and defeat.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul is acknowledging that they were struggling because of "the infirmity of your flesh." The struggle was not because they were not saved - it was because they had not learned how to resist sin. They were still living as though they were in bondage to sin when, in fact, they had been set free from sin and were now "servants of righteousness unto holiness."
I think that the marriage of a woman can illustrate this point. For the sake of this analogy, we are going to assume that she has overbearing parents who are always trying to run her life. When she is in her parents' home, she is "under the power" of her parents. Through the years, she has learned to yield herself to her parents. She is "bound" to them - to obey them. However, when she gets married, the "bonds" of matrimony set her free from the "bonds" of submission to her parents. Now, once married, her parents still try to control her life. They try to sway her to continue to follow them rather than her husband. Because she has spent her life doing so, she has great difficulty listening to and following her husband. The voice of her parents tend to overpower the voice of her husband because it is the voice she is most familiar with. As long as she continues to listen to her parents, they continue to have power over her. This does not mean she is no longer married, it simply means that she has chosen to yield to her parents rather than to her husband. Each day she has the choice to yield to her parents or to yield to her husband. Her parents can have no power over her unless she is willing to yield to them. By the same token, her husband now has the right to her "service." However, he cannot force her into submission - she must yield to his leadership. Either way, she must choose: She will yield to her parents - or she will yield to her husband. The longer she is married, the easier it will be to yield to her husband. The stronger her relationship with her husband is, the more natural it will be for her to yield to him. As she learns to recognize and love his voice, the voice of her parents will have less and less power over her life.
This is the way it is in our life with sin and righteousness. When we are first saved, the voice of sin is the more familiar voice. It is the voice we have responded to for years. The voice of the Lord is sweet, but strange in our ears. When faced with a choice, the voice of sin often drowns out the voice of God in our spirits. Our flesh yields to sin - not because we are lost, but because we are in the habit of yielding to the voice of sin. The more we spend time with the Lord, the more we will learn to recognize His voice. Slowly, we will learn to yield ourselves to righteousness rather than sin. It is a daily choice.