Do Not Let Sin Reign

5 Mins read

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (KJV, Rom. 6:12).

“Let not”

Paul begins with words that allude to the Christian’s responsibility. He has spoken extensively about what Christ has done. First, he told of the death of Christ and the subsequent resurrection.

Next, he told of the newness of life that Christ now has. He shared that Christ was dead to sin and alive to God. Then he states what has happened to Christ has happened to the believer. Now it is the responsibility of the Christian to “let not.”

The responsibility of the Christian must be seen in the Scriptures. At the same time, the work and person of Christ are foundational. Man’s responsibility must never be placed before the foundation of Jesus.

If it is, the Christian will experience little strength in his attempts to grow in holiness.

At the same time, the Christian must embrace his responsibility and be convicted by the Scriptures. Paul has said, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).

The Christian must embrace the salvation given to him and then work it out unto Christian maturity. However, he can know that he is not alone, for the Bible says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

The work of God is always the strength of the Christian. Paul did not divert from this reality when he told the Christian to “Let not.”


The next word in Paul’s command is “sin.” He says, “Let not sin.” Thus in some way, the Christian must refuse sin. Sin is the ultimate enemy of the Christian. It was sin that ultimately brought about the fall of man. It was sin that led to the curse.

Sin has disrupted the world and grieves the heart of God.

Sin is the transgression of the law. Scripture says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

The law consists of God’s commands; thus, when someone breaks the law, they commit acts of unrighteousness. The Bible states “All unrighteousness is sin…” (1 John 5:17). But sin can be broken down even further.

Sin comes through both omission and commission. Sins of commission are acts that are committed. For instance, it is a sin to lie. Therefore when someone lies, he has committed sin.

Likewise, it is sinful to steal. Therefore when someone steals, he is committing sin as well. These are examples of sins of commission.

On the other hand, it is also sinful not to do good. This is the often-overlooked dynamic to sin. It is easy to see something like lying or stealing as sinful and think, “If I avoid these things, it is enough.”

But the Bible says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). To know the good and not do it is to sin by omission.

For instance, the Bible says that the Christian should be thankful. It even says to rejoice in all circumstances and be thankful always. This is not optional. It is commanded.

But if someone is thankful and rejoices, he is not sinning by committing the act. Instead, if he does not go about life with an attitude of thanksgiving and rejoicing, he is sinning by not being thankful and rejoicing.

Herein is the sin of omission. When someone omits or neglects the proper response, he is sinning by his omission.

With these foundational elements of sin in place, it is time to move on.


The Bible says, “therefore.” Thus, Paul looks back to the work of Christ he has already presented and its effects on the believers’ lives. The believer has died to sin and has been raised with Christ.

For instance, Paul has said, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4).

Shortly after, Paul would say, “For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom. 6:7). It is not enough to know that the Christian has died to sin. Instead, it must be understood that the Christian’s death has secured his freedom.

The “therefore” that Paul mentioned was in reference to the facts previously presented.


Therefore the Christian must not let sin reign. Thus, sin is still present. It is still an enemy and will still seek to rule in the Christian’s life. For sin to reign means that sin is the dominant force in the life of the Christian.

It would mean that sin is ultimately controlling the Christian rather than God. For sin to influence the Christian in such a manner is for sin to reign in his life.

As a result, the Christian must not take sin lightly. Sin leads to bondage, and this fact is presented often in the Bible.

Scripture says, “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins” (Prov. 5:22).

While the verse presented is in reference to unbelievers, even Paul would later say, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:23).

Thus, the Christian must not let sin reign.

“in your mortal body”

But now Paul tells the Christian where he must not let sin reign, in his unredeemed flesh. The Christian has been made new. He is a new creation and has been born again. However, one avenue for sin to invade remains, and Paul brings it to light in the present passage.

It is why he cries out later, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Crist our Lord. So then with the mind I serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Rom. 7:24-25).

A war is going on, and the Christian must never surrender his arms.

At the same time, Paul would share the encouraging words, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh” (Rom. 8:11-12).

The Spirit of God will quicken the Christian; thus, advancement in Christ must occur. Therefore the Christian is indebted to God. But his indebtedness is meant to be influential.

“that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof”

When sin is allowed to reign, it will get a foothold and seek absolute obedience. Each time a Christian gives into sin, it becomes easier to commit. Sin is like a plant. It starts with a simple seed. Then the seed gets watered and placed in conditions for it to grow.

As it grows, the plant’s roots help establish the plant in the heart of the Christian. Unless sin is uprooted, it will grow and fester. The longer it is allowed in the heart, the more established its roots will become.

Eventually, it may be tremendously hard to pull out and even require assistance.

Sin seeks the whole, not a part. As a result, the Bible compares sin with leaven. Even a small amount of leaven will cause a loaf to rise. Thus a little leaven will leaven the whole loaf.

Likewise, even a small amount of poison placed into a gallon of water would contaminate it. So it is with sin.

The Christian must not let sin reign, for he has been set free from sin.

Final prayer

Father, I thank You for Your grace toward me. Thank You for the work of Christ and the Gospel message. Please help me to put sin to death. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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