The father had been busy all week and made a plan to have a special time with his son. So Saturday morning, off they went. First stop? The donut shop. A few minutes later they were headed down the road. “Dad, can I hold the donut holes?” An interesting proposition that was fraught with possibilities!
“Yes, son, you may. But don’t eat the donuts just yet.” “No, Dad, I won’t.”
Moments later, the rustling of a paper bag could be heard from the back seat. “Son, don’t eat the donut holes yet.” “I’m not, Dad. I’m just looking at them.” “Okay, but don’t eat them.”
Within minutes (seconds?), more rustling was heard. “Son, don’t eat the donuts.” “I’m not, Dad. I’m just touching them.” “Give me the bag, son.”
That little boy is not too terribly different from an adult who is tempted by sin, and a “discussion” he might have with his conscience and the Holy Spirit. And the conclusion the Scriptures would have him find is, “…do not let sin reign in your mortal body…” (Rom. 6:12; NASB).
Because the believer has been united with Christ through the baptism of salvation and because of the indwelling power of the Spirit and because of the power of salvation to liberate the believer from the chains of sin, the believer should not and does not have to sin. The believer has all he needs in order not to sin. Even so, sin is still tempting. That’s why the force of Paul’s admonition could be nuanced, “Stop letting sin reign…” As long as we have the flesh (which will be until eternity) there will always be some measure of an enticement to sin. We won’t be enticed by every sin, but all of us will always be interested in some sin. We are enticed to covet and be prideful and greedy and angry and self-righteous. Yet the truth of Romans 6:12 still stands.
So why should we not sin? Let us count the reasons.
- My sin never pleases but always grieves the God who loves me and gave His Son to die for me.
- My sin demonstrates I am more satisfied with the passing pleasures of the evil one than the eternal treasures and pleasures of God.
- The time spent in my sin is forever wasted.
- In time, sin will produce a heaviness of heart — the opposite of what sin “promises.” And the inevitable repentance is always produces the pain of a godly regret.
- My sin always produces adverse consequences not only for me, but also for everyone whose life touches mine.
- My sin may even influence others to sin.
- Sin not only makes light of the cost of the cross, but it in fact makes me guilty of Christ’s death.
- My sin prevents me from being heard in prayer by God.
- My unwillingness to abstain from sin grants it a greater “authority” in my life.
- It is impossible to sin and at the same time submit to the authority and leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Our problem is not so much that we don’t see sin, but that we don’t see sin for what it is — that which promises joy and brings only destruction instead.
Yes, we may be enticed by sin, but because of the work of God to bring salvation, we don’t have to sin. We are not in bondage to sin. We can say “no” to sin. Let us work hard and not grow faint in mortifying our sin and in letting Christ, and not sin, reign in our bodies.