WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE RADIO SERMON September 19, 1976
ASSURED OF VICTORY OVER SIN
Does salvation by grace encourage sinful living? This is the question presented by the critic. This charge is
often lodged against the preacher of grace. The answer is clear¬ly negative. Everything about salvation by
grace encourages just the opposite. Being saved by grace involves being made one with Christ Jesus in His
death to sin and resurrection to eternal life. The appeal to one saved by grace is to present the members of
their bodies to the Lord of life as instruments of righteousness to be used by God in His battle with evil in the
This is the great doctrine set forth in the first eleven verses of this chapter. Then the appeal is stated so
urgently. The Christians must stop allowing sin to reign in their mortal bodies and begin once for all to allow
God to have the members of their bodies. This climaxes in our text for this morning. The reason for this appeal
is "For sin shall not have dominion over you." The reason that sin shall not have this dominion is, "For ye are
not under law, but under grace." These two statements make a bold claim that the Christian is assured of
victory over sin. This means that the Christian approaches the moral struggles of life assured of final and
blessed victory. If you are growing weary of the struggles, listen to the encouragement of this text.
WE ARE ASSURED OF VICTORY OVER SIN BY A PROMISE
"For sin shall not have dominion over you." How are these words to be understood? Some translators have
made these words sound like an exhortation. They have made them read, "For sin should not have dominion
over you." However the word does not lend itself to this idea, nor does the context demand it. In the context it is
clear that the writer is giving en¬couragement to carry out the admonition just delivered. The encouragement is
that "sin shall not lord it over the believer. The word "for" makes clear this connection. This means that the
believer should carry out the admonition to present their members to God, not to gain spiritual victory over sin,
but rather because they have spiritual victory. This point is important for you as a believer.
"Sin" is used in this verse as throughout the passage. It is sin personified as the terrible monarch who seeks a
place on the throne of men's hearts. It is sin exercising its terrible lordship. "Have dominion" is the word that
means to lord it over. It is the verbal form of the word for "lord" kurios. This word involves that of ownership.
When one lords it over another, he both owns and controls them. The one lorded over is actually the servant
of the lord. This asserts that the true believer shall not belong to or be controlled by sin. Sin shall not establish
its dominion over such a one. The believer will not be the subject of its terrible lordship.
This is really an assertion of the divine purpose. God's purpose in saving men is that they might come under
the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ God's Son. God has deter¬mined that sin shall not have dominion over
even one believer. He has committed Himself with all of His divine power to see that this does not happen. Do
you see the point of this? You are asked to dedicate the members of your body to the use of God and to
determine that sin shall not reign in your mortal body. When you make such a determination, you are actually
joining God in a determination He has already made. If my victory over sin is dependent upon the strength of
my resolve and the intensity of my effort, then I have no hope of victory. But if I make my resolve and enter my
struggle with the knowledge that God has already made such a determination, I am able to do it with hope.
Sin shall not have the victory! Sin shall not be your lord! Why? God has promised and purposed and
determined that it shall not. But let us be clear about the meaning of this. This does not mean that you will
never be tempted again. Any denial of temptation would be pure folly. This does not mean that I am free from
the sin nature that is within me. Any denial that sin dwellS in me would also be nothing more than self
deception. Nor does this mean that I will not commit acts of sin. Again, all of the evidence would be against me.
It does assert however that sin shall not be my lord. I will not come under the control of sin as a pattern for my
WE ARE ASSURED OF VICTORY OVER SIN BY OUR POSITION
"For" makes clear again that we have another reason before us. "Sin shall not lord it over you for, or because,
or since, you are not under law, but under grace." There are two positions before. We can be either under law
or under grace. The Christian is not under law, but is under grace. This is the reason that sin shall not lord it
The Israel of the Old Testament was "under the law". "Law" is not used here just of the Law of Moses, but law
in general, or law as a principle. It is used in the widest sense of the word law. It would include the law of
Moses, and all laws as an approach to life. If we are "under the law", there can be no assurance of victory over
sin. This grows out of the very nature of the law. The law exposes us to what we should do, but it does not
enable a man to perform. The law can do nothing more than impose upon man duty, and call for his
condemnation when he fails.
Let me illustrate what it means to be under the law. The holy law of God thunders to man, "Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." When man hears
this word of the law, there is something within him that responds by saying, "I ought to do that." But then as
man begins to try to keep that law, it becomes painfully clear to him that he is not so loving God. This burdens
the man down with a sense of guilt. Then man hears the law crying out for his condemnation. The
condemnation for breaking the law is death. The man knows that he deserves the death and condemnation
that is coming to him. He knows this because of the law. This is all that the law has ever done and can ever do.
If a man is under the law as a principle, under the law as a ruler, he has no hope of ever being victorious over
sin. The law can identify him as a sinner, make him feel guilty as a sinner, condemn him as a sinner, call for his
destruction and death as a sinner, but it can never do anything else about his sin. We however are not under
the law. This is not our position.
The Christian is under grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. To be under grace means that we are now
enjoying the favored position before God. Grace does what the law could not do. Grace provides full and
complete forgiveness. This becomes clear when you take up the terms of the New Covenant, the Covenant of
grace. In this covenant God promises, "Their sins will I remember against them no more." All of the guilt of sin is
removed. In this new covenant God does even more; He grants to the new believer the new nature within. He
makes the believer a new creature by placing within him the Holy Spirit. He writes the terms of the law upon the
heart of the believer. Law could make duty known to a man, but grace can place within man the motivation and
power to do this duty.
Let us take up our illustration again. The man under grace can be confronted with the same demanding
statement of the law that says, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.'' Broken by the law, the man under grace
confesses to God that he has not and cannot keep this law. All of the guilt accumulated from breaking this law
is canceled completely. Then to the man under grace God does something more. He writes the law within the
heart of the believer. This means that the motivation to love God comes from within. God does even more. He
places within the believer the mighty Holy Spirit who is able to enable the believer to love God with all of his
being. Increasingly the believer under grace is aware that he is under the favor of God, and out of gratitude for
this wondrous privilege he responds to God in love and praise.
Are you afraid for people to be taught that they are under grace rather than under law? You should not be. Mt.
Sinai has never produced any saints. All of the saints you will ever meet come rather from Mt. Calvary. Love is
a much greater source of inspiration than is duty or law.
Can you imagine a young bridegroom putting his young wife under law? Can you imagine him tacking up a rule
over the kitchen sink that read, "Thou shalt wash the dishes three times daily". Another list over the pantry,
"Thou shalt cook me delicious meals," Another list over the other rooms that said, "Thou shalt sweep daily and
mop weekly." Yet when you observe a young wife, though there are no laws, she is cooking the meals that she
thinks will please her husband, she is washing the dishes, mopping and sweeping the floors, and doing a
thousand things more. Why? Because of gratitude and love. Love is the greater source of inspiration. You are
most likely to live the holy life when you realize your position as being under grace. This theme will be explored
in even greater depth as we move on through this letter, but our position under grace does assure our victory
over sin. It is all of grace.
Do you feel like a sin just about has you down? Many Christians get weary in their strug¬gles against sin. One
reason for this tiredness for some is that they have been approach¬ing it all wrong. They have been
approaching it as though they had to win the victory over sin, when the victory has already been won. All we
are called on to do is to respond to the full victory of Christ in our behalf, and our victory in Him, with a whole
heart of commitment to Him. Because He has already won the victory, and sin shall not have its rule over you,
give Him the control of the members of your body once and for all. This is the New Testament way to holy living.