Why do Christians have so much trouble with sin? This passage seems to teach that we shouldn’t! In reality, it shows us some steps that we need to take if we want to overcome sin. When I first learned the steps, the keywords were taken from the KJV of the Bible: know, reckon, yield, and obey. The Net Bible uses the words know, consider, present, and obey.
Know — Paul continues with his discussion about how some distort Christian/Jewish teaching. After all, if grace is good then more grace would be even better, so we should continue to sin! But there is a fundamental misunderstanding here. When we believe, our nature is changed. We used to be slaves to sin. Now we are dead to sin. We live new lives (through the Spirit, as he makes clear later). One of the ways we achieve victory over sin is by knowing this fundamental truth. Note: did you catch the imagery of baptism by immersion in 6:4? It’s very easy to see the ritual of baptism being used to reinforce this basic doctrine for new Christians.
Consider — Is it enough to just know? We often teach that knowledge isn’t enough for salvation. You can know facts, but it doesn’t mean that you believe them. The same is true about doctrine. You can know things about the Bible, God, and life, but have you really thought about them? Have you considered their importance? Do you really believe them? Have you counted them to be true? In Psalm 1:2 we’re told to meditate on God’s commands. That is what we are doing here. We’re thinking about them, mulling them over, and keeping them close. Being dead to sin is not just something to know, it’s something to remember and believe.
Present — We willingly submit our will to God’s will. We present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). We know how He wants us to live – dead to sin, and alive to Him. We think about how He has given us the power to live victoriously over sin. This is where the struggle ends. We make a conscious decision to follow Him and His will regardless of what we want. The good news is that, over time, His will becomes our will.
Obey — This is the final step. We obey from the heart that pattern of teaching we were entrusted to (6:17). Having done the groundwork, we find that we are truly “free from sin and enslaved to God” (6:22). We live for God (righteousness), we grow (sanctification), and we look forward to our future (eternal life)!
Romans 6:23 “For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.“