“No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness”
(Rom. 6:13 NRSV)
An English philosopher who lived in the 19th Century writes: “To give Him something that we have is Heathen; to offer Him what we do is Jewish; to surrender to Him what we are is Christian.’” In our epistle reading (Rom. 6:12-23), the word of God charges us to present the whole of us as instruments of righteousness rather than to only offer God what we have or what we do but surrender to him what we are.
This great theological epistle of Paul to the Romans can be precisely put in these five themes; sin, salvation, sanctification, sovereignty and service. In the first part of the book, Paul writes that mankind has sinned and fall short of the Glory of God (Rom. 3:23)—hence the need for the salvation of mankind. In the second part, he reckons that the way of salvation is by Grace through faith in Christ as opposed to the law. In the third part where our reading has been taken from, the apostle writes that sanctification is the way of living the salvation which we receive by Grace.
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The apostle tries to use a human language of a master and slave relationship to make us understand how we ought to live in the salvation we have received by Grace. A slave is “a person who is wholly subject to the will of another; one who has no will of his own, but whose person and services are wholly under the control of another.” Our salvation is a change of a master from being enslaved to sin to being;
Enslaved to God—righteousness
Paul pictures a believer as one who previously was a slave to sin, one over whom sin had a total dominion—one who was fully in service of the sinful desires of the body. But the knowledge and acceptance of the Grace of God in the Lord Jesus sets one free from the slavery of sin. The freedom from the slavery of sin is not a freedom to sin, it is an enslavement to God—slavery to righteousness.
Slavery to righteousness is but an act of presenting the members of our bodies and the whole of ourselves as instruments of righteousness. The presentation of the members of our body: the eyes—what to look at, the ears—what to hear, the mouth—what to say, the hands—what to do, the feet—where to go, the heart—what we love, the minds—what we think about, the wills—what decisions we make as instruments of righteousness is the way of living the salvation—the Christian life.
In other words, a Christian is called to living a new life other than the one lived while in disobedience—while being slaves of sin. This is the life of righteousness which the believer lives under grace. Being slaves of righteousness sets us forth for sanctification—which is a state of proper functioning, to live according to God’s design. Presenting ourselves as instruments of righteousness to God is:
A call to a decisive act of self-dedication to God.
Apostle Paul’s call to present ourselves as instruments of righteousness to God ought not to be a coincidence but a conscious act. He writes;
“No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness” (Rom. 6:13).
A decisive act of self-dedication to God, of being instruments of righteousness includes saying no to ungodliness and or unrighteousness and being able to live self-controlled lives as helped by the Holy Spirit. This is because as the apostle writes in his other epistle to Titus;
“The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
A decisive act of self-dedication to God, of being instruments of righteousness must consciously seek what the eyes should look at, what the ears must hear, what the mouth should say, what the hands must do, where the legs go, how the heart must love, and what to think about.
A decisive act of self-dedication to God, of being instruments of righteous should set us on course for righteous service. In our Gospel reading (Matthew 10:40-42), Jesus sends out his disciples for service and expects those being served to also serve the servants. This points out to the fact that the church of God is being called to service, it is the services we offer to one another and to the world that makes the invisible God visible to many. Our services to one another and to the world is the Gospel in practice.
We are called to offer service to one another as members of the body of Christ. Those who are being called to minister must be able to do this faithfully and diligently. Those who are being ministered to must also minister to the ministers, they should receive them, pray for them, and offer their full support to them.
In addition, as members of the body of Christ—being instruments of righteousness is a call for us to offer service to the world. We should collectively (as a church) and individually offer our service to the world. This must be a holistic service, both socio-economic and spiritual. The 21st century church tends to trash the latter and major on the former, yet the former is our primary call. We should therefore feed the hungry, clothe the naked, quench the thirst of the thirsty, offer support to the sick and make Christ known to the world.
Conclusively, in presenting ourselves as instruments of righteousness to God, I pray that we’ll offer to God all we are daily and this will amount to being sanctified. And, as we offer our service to one another and to the world, together with John Wesley I pray that you will: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” Amen! Rev. J
 Martneau, James. (1879). Hours of Thought on Sacred Things. p. 66.
 Definition from the King James Bible Dictionary accessed from http://www.kingjamesbibledictionary.com/Dictionary/slave
 Thomas Constable. Expository Notes. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/sanctification/
 Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Bible and Theology, http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/sanctification/
 John Wesley quoted in Bryant, Al. (1996). Sermon Outline on the Fruit of the Spirit. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publication. p. 34.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version (NIV). Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is a pastor in the Anglican Church of Uganda, Ma’di & West Nile Diocese. Julius served as an assistant Chaplain and lecturer at the Arua Campus of the Uganda Christin University. He is a graduate of Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues at Det Teologiske Menighetsfakultet alias the Norwegian School of Theology, in Oslo, Norway. He is an author of the Popular Triumphing Over Odds . For pastoral assistance you can contact him here and you can also help to support this site and his ministry by donating here.