By Kenneth Wuest
He is to take these facts into his reckoning as he deals with temptations that confront him or evil impulses that come from within. His attitude should be that, in view of the fact that the power of the evil nature is broken, he is under no obligation to obey its behests (Rom. 8:12). He has been emancipated from sin, and the proper procedure is to read God’s emancipation proclamation to the insistent demands of the Adamic nature. The believer must also realize that whereas before salvation, he could not help it when he sinned, yet since God saved him, should he sin, it is because of his free choice, since sin’s power has been broken. He is responsible for that sin. This should make him think twice before he contemplates an act of sin at the demand of the evil nature.
Then, he must also count upon the fact of his possession of the divine nature. This will keep him from depending upon himself and his own strength in his effort to live a life pleasing to the Lord Jesus, and will cause him to throw himself upon the resources of God. He will be trusting the Lord Jesus to fill him with the Holy Spirit (John 7:37, 38), with the result that the Holy Spirit will do two things for him. He will suppress the activities of the evil nature (Gal. 5:17) and He will produce in the believer a Christlike life (Gal. 5:22-23). Paul says in Galatians 5:16, 17, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the cravings of the flesh, for the flesh has a strong desire to suppress the Spirit, and the Spirit has a strong desire to suppress the flesh, and these are entrenched in a permanent attitude of opposition to one another, so that you should not do the things that you would desire to be doing;” and in Galatians 5:22, 23, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.”
Contrast this adjustment of the intelligent Spirit-taught saint, with that of the believer who is not aware of the fact that God has broken the power of sin in his life, with the result that he is more or less under its compelling power, try as he may to live free from sin. Since he is ignorant of the fact that God has placed within him His own nature, he depends upon himself and his own strength in an effort to defeat sin in his life and live a life pleasing to God. This believer is living a defeated life because he is not in proper adjustment to the new mechanical set-up of his spiritual being. . . The translation of verse 11 follows: “Thus also, as for you, constantly be taking into account the fact that you are those who are dead with respect to sin, and indeed those who are living ones with reference to God in Christ Jesus.” A paraphrase may make things clearer yet. “Thus also, as for you, constantly be taking into account the fact that you are those who have had the power of sin broken in your lives and those who have had the divine nature implanted.”
The words in verse 12, “let not sin reign,” are in a construction in the Greek which forbids the continuation of an action already going on. The word “reign” is in the Greek “reign as king.” The tense speaks of habitual action. “That you should obey” is literally, “with a view to habitually obeying.” The word “lusts” is literally “cravings.” “Therefore” does not go back to “sin” but to “body.” . . . “Lusts therefore” refers to the cravings of the human body, which cravings come from the sinful nature. The translation reads, “Therefore, stop allowing sin to reign habitually as king in your mortal bodies, with a view to your habitually obeying the cravings of that body.” God is never unreasonable in His demands upon His own. What He asks of us is always within our ability to fulfill as we appropriate the divine resources of grace. Since the power to sin is broken and the divine nature is implanted, we are well able to keep sin from reigning in our bodies (Treasures from the Greek New Testament, pp. 96-98).
Kenneth Wuest Bio:
Kenneth Samuel Wuest (1893-1962) was a noted New Testament Greek scholar of the mid-Twentieth century. He was a professor of New Testament Greek at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and published over a dozen books on the New Testament. Wuest is credited as one of the translators of the original New American Standard Bible (NASB). He later went on to produce his own English translation of the New Testament (the Wuest Expanded Translation – abbreviated WET). In his translation of the New Testament, Wuest attempts to make the original Greek more accessible to the lay reader by drawing out (in translation) the full variety of possible meanings and translations of the underlying Greek words.