In the preceding verses Paul has proved that the gospel of justification by faith does not lead to a life of sin, but, rather, faith in and a love for Christ are the very foundation of and motivation for holiness (2 Cor. 5:14-17). The object of the rest of the chapter is to exhort believers to live agreeably to their union with Christ and consistently with the design of the gospel (Eph. 1:4; Col. 3:12-14). Those who are justified are sanctified. These two blessings are never separated in Scripture (Rom. 8:9; 2 Cor. 5:17; I John 4:7, 8).
Vs. 11. In consequence of our relation to Christ, there are two things we should reckon to be true.
1. 'We are dead indeed to sin.' Our sin is pardoned, paid for and put away. We do not fear condemnation or death on account of it, nor do we have any fellowship with it, nor shall it be permitted to reign over us any longer.
2. 'We are alive unto God, through our Lord Jesus.' As justified persons we live spiritually in the sight of God, having the righteousness of Christ and eternal life through him. As sanctified persons (who feel the burden of sin and the corruption of the flesh) we love Christ, his Word, his people and his commandments, and walk in the Spirit, not fulfilling the lusts of our flesh.
Vs. 12. Since Christ is our Lord and Master, his way is pleasing to us and his commandments are not grievous. We desire to live for his glory and to manifest his grace. Sin remains in the believer (to his dismay and regret), but it does not reign as his master. Sin is a struggle; it tries us and troubles us, but does not dominate or control us. Sin is said to be obeyed when we make provisions for it without struggle or opposition.
Vs. 13. The Amplified Version reads, 'Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members and faculties to sin as tools of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to life, and your bodily members to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.' Our hearts ought to be filled with love and kindness not hatred, envy and complaints. Our thoughts need to be on things pure, lovely and of good report not on flesh, materialism and the world. Our tongues should be used in praise, encouragement and witnessing not in gossip, criticism and murmuring. Our hands and feet should be serving others not employed only in selfish pursuits.
Vs. 14. Nothing is more certain than this! God's purpose, grace and Spirit are pledged to prevent it. We are in the kingdom of his dear Son. Christ is our Lord and sin is dethroned. WE are not under law as a covenant, a curse or condemnation. WE are under grace! We are under the reign of grace - the principle of grace. True holiness is not the result of law, but the result of grace in the heart (Gal. 5:13-17).
Vs. 15. The person who suggest that, since we are not under the law but under grace, we should therefore give vent to the flesh and sin, reveals his total ignorance of the grace of God and the work of Christ. Before a man is regenerated he does love evil and himself, and he hates God and holiness, but after regeneration he loves God, holiness and others. We are not looking for an excuse to sin, but we are looking for strength to avoid it.
Vs. 16. This is a good way to determine if we have been saved. We should know that if sin masters us, if we delight to do evil, if we enjoy evil companions, if we walk in darkness, then Christ is not our Master. The tenor of our lives reveals our master. What do you really enjoy? In what direction are you really going? Who is really your Lord?
Vs. 17, 18. Thank God, we have been delivered form the slavery and bondage of sin. This has been a heart work. It is not just a mental acceptance of creeds, but a heart obedience of the gospel of Christ (Rom. 7:22-25).
In verse 7 the word 'freed' means 'justified'; in verse 18 it means 'liberated' - no longer a slave under sin's control. In verse 7 we are free from the guilt, penalty and condemnation; in this verse we are said to be freed from the control and servitude of sin. Its hold over us is broken.
Vs. 19. 'I speak,' he says, 'in familiar human terms because spiritual truth is so difficult for you to understand. As you have in the past cheerfully yielded your minds, hearts, tongues and hands to do evil, now cheerfully yield them to God and holiness.'
Vs. 20, 22. "When you were the servants of sin, you had no use for or interest in righteousness. What benefit did your sin and evil bring you? The end and result of all sin is death! But now that you are the servants of God and are set free from the love and dominion of sin, you have the fruit of the Spirit love, joy, faith, peace and (the end result) eternal life!'
Vs. 23. Sin's wages justly earned is death spiritual, physical and eternal. God's gift (freely given) is eternal life for ever through Christ.