The Book of Romans
Sanctification is one of the most practical and vital doctrines involving the Christian life. Positional sanctification is a work of God, which begins in the life of the believer at the moment of conversion. Progressive sanctification is an experience that continues throughout the believer’s life and becomes complete when the believer sees his Lord face to face and is made like Him in final sanctification. 1 John 3:2, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Sanctification involves separation from evil and the setting apart for worship and service to God. Progressive sanctification depends upon the believer’s willingness to yield to God’s will and conforming to God’s Word. It involves how the believer is to conduct himself in the present life. II Thessalonians 2:12-13, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
The key word found in the text is “yield.” The believer in this present life is to be at God’s disposal. He is to offer himself as a living sacrifice to God. Romans 12:1-2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. This is the reason that God’s Word places tremendous importance on the believer attending church. God’s gift to the Lord’s church of pastors and teachers is for the purpose of perfecting the believer, in this present life, so that they can be more like Christ in their daily walk. Ephesians 4:11-15, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
The text answers two important questions concerning progressive sanctification. 1) How is the believer to yield and 2) why is the believer to yield.
I. How is the Believer to Yield, Vs 12-13
- Vs. 12-13, Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 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. The word “yield” has reference to a deliberate act of the believer’s will based on knowledge of what Christ has done for them. It is an intellectual act not an impulsive decision based on some emotional stirring. It is a conscious decision not to allow the lust of sin to reign in one’s mortal body. It is daily surrender of once life to Jesus Christ.
- In positional sanctification believers are set apart or chosen to live for Christ. Because of one’s union with Christ one’s relationship with Christ will never be separated or changed. God sees the believer in Christ. Progressive sanctification deals with one’s daily surrender of our mortal body to God’s will. The believer in this life is in a constant warfare between the desires of the flesh and God’s Spirit working in their lives. Romans 8:16, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: The warfare is more that just a battle between right and wrong that is based on the opinion of the social media. This warfare is an everyday battle between the desires of the flesh and conforming one’s life to the example and the will of God. It is putting God first in every phase of the believer’s daily walk.
- Salvation is more than a fire escape from hell! At the moment of conversion God gives the believer the ability to live a life that will conform to the will of God. The key is to yield yourself to God as an instrument of righteousness unto God. Don’t tell me you can’t do it. You can do it through the power of the Holy Spirit.
II. Why is the Believer to Yield, Vs 14-23
- V 14, For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. The Mosaic Law consisted of external laws, which revealed the sin prevalent in the human heart. God’s grace places the believer in Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the believer. Therefore, the believer does not have to sin and can resist temptation and do what is right. II Corinthians 3:17, Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
- Vs. 15-16, What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 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? The fact that the believer is saved by grace does not give the believer an excuse to sin, but it does give the believer a reason to obey. Since the believer is no longer under the Law, but under grace, sin is robbed of its strength. The question that needs to be addressed by every believer is, “who is the master of my life?’ Is Christ really the master of our life? Just because you don’t murder, you don’t lie, you don’t do other things the Mosaic Law prohibits, doesn’t mean you are living for Christ. It may mean you are living a good life, but that is all. The Christian life is one where we obey Christ. The believer cannot experience fellowship with Christ unless he is living the Christian life. While the believer’s relationship can never be broken because of his position in Christ, his fellowship with Christ can suffer because of unconfessed sin.
- Vs. 17-19, 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. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 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. The illustration of the master and servant helps the believer to understand that he can become a servant to whatever master he follows. Now that the believer belongs to Christ the believer is freed from the slavery of sin and made the servant of Christ. The believer ought to be as enthusiastic in yielding to the Lord as he was in yielding to sin.
- Vs. 20-23, For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. In the old life the believer produced fruit that made him ashamed. In the new life in Christ, the believer can produce fruit that glorifies God and brings joy to the heart of the believer. Romans 6:23 is usually applied to the lost and it certainly does, but there is also a warning for the saved. 1 John 5:16-18, If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one teacheth him not. 1 Corinthians 11:30, For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. Samson in Judges 16 is an example of a believer who would not yield himself to God, but preferred to yield to the lusts of the flesh, and the result was death. If the believer refuses to surrender his life to the Lord by yielding his life to God is in danger of being disciplined by the Father and it could mean death.
The believer is saved by faith and the just must live by faith. You cannot live for God by yourself anymore than you can save yourself. It requires constant dependence on the strength of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit that dwells in the believer. It is a daily walk with Christ.
Created and Researched by Pastor Dennis Baker
Zion Baptist Church
3485 New Baumgartner Rd. - St. Louis, MO 63129 - Phone: 314-846-1867