In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Romans 6:10-13 (NIV)
Read: Romans 6
Consider: Righteousness in God’s sight is brought about through the obedience of Jesus to his Father’s will. God allowed his Son to die on a cross to pay the price for our sin, so that we could be brought back into a right relationship with him.
Being made righteous, Paul tells us in Romans 6 that we should therefore live righteously. Here is the difficulty. How are we to do that and what should it look like in practice?
Having been set free from the consequences of sin, we then have to live in a way that shows that Christ reigns in our lives. Paul talks in Romans 6 about the choice we have to make. We can either use our body as ‘an instrument of wickedness’ or as ‘an instrument of righteousness’. I don’t need to spell out in any detail what Paul is getting at here, but it is clear to all of us that our thoughts and actions (including our natural desires) can so easily be used negatively. Paul’s encouragement goes beyond us keeping our bodies in check (under control), to us consciously offering our bodies to God as instruments in his hands.
What does the word ‘instrument’ conjure up in your mind? Perhaps it is a musical instrument that can be played well in the hands of a musician, or perhaps you see a tool that can be used in the expert hands of a master craftsman. The Greek word (ὅπλον) translated here as instrument is elsewhere in the New Testament translated as ‘weapon’ and also as ‘armour’. This gives the word a whole new meaning as a weapon can be used either defensively or offensively, while armour is generally worn for protection. The word ὅπλον is generally used within the context of battle and, as such, gives even richer meaning to Paul’s encouragement for us to use our body as ‘an instrument of righteousness’.
The key to all of this is that we have to be willing to offer ourselves to God and for every part of our being to be used to bring glory to him. If we resist his will we are unlikely to become instruments of righteousness. Willingness on our part is only the beginning. We need to surrender to God every day, being mindful of the battle that is taking place in us.
There is no suggestion here that this will be easy. If the battle analogy is correct we should expect that it might be difficult. What we do know is that we cannot become ‘an instrument of righteousness’ unless we are willing to surrender to God.
Pray: Father, our desire is to be instruments of righteousness. Help us to be willing to offer you every part of our being, to be used in your service. Amen