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Romans 6:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Let not sin therefore reign - This is a prosopopoeia, or personification. Sin is represented as a king, ruler, or tyrant, who has the desires of the mind and the members of the body under his control so that by influencing the passions he governs the body. Do not let sin reign, do not let him work; that is, let him have no place, no being in your souls; because, wherever he is he governs, less or more: and indeed sin is not sin without this. How is sin known? By evil influences in the mind, and evil acts in the life. But do not these influences and these acts prove his dominion? Certainly, the very existence of an evil thought to which passion or appetite attaches itself, is a proof that there sin has dominion; for without dominion such passions could not be excited. Wherever sin is felt, there sin has dominion; for sin is sin only as it works in action or passion against God. Sin cannot be a quiescent thing: if it do not work it does not exist.

That ye should obey it in the lusts thereof - Αυτῃ εν ταις επιθυμιαις αυτου . This clause is wanting in the most ancient and reputable MSS. and in the principal versions. Griesbach has left it out of his text; and Professor White says, Certissime delenda: "These words should certainly he expunged" they are not necessary to the apostle's argument; it was enough to say, Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should obey it. If it be there it will reign there; and its reign supposes, necessarily, the subjection of that in which it reigns. A king reigns when his laws are enforced, and the people obey them. When there is no executive government there is no reign. There may be a royal shadow there, but there is no king.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Let not sin therefore - This is a conclusion drawn from the previous train of reasoning. The result of all these considerations is, that sin should not be suffered to reign in us.

Reign - Have dominion; obtain the ascendency, or rule.

In your mortal body - In you. The apostle uses the word “mortal” here, perhaps, for these reasons,

(1)To remind them of the tendency of the flesh to sin and corruption, as equivalent to “fleshly,” since the flesh is often used to denote evil passions and desires (compare Romans 7:5, Romans 7:23; Romans 8:3, Romans 8:6); and,

(2)To remind them of their weakness, as the body was mortal, was soon to decay, and was therefore liable to be overcome by temptation. Perhaps, also, he had his eye on the folly of suffering the “mortal body” to overcome the immortal mind, and to bring it into subjection to sin and corruption.

That ye should obey it - That sin should get such an ascendency as to rule entirely over you, and make you the slave.

In the lusts thereof - In its desires, or propensities.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The strongest motives against sin, and to enforce holiness, are here stated. Being made free from the reign of sin, alive unto God, and having the prospect of eternal life, it becomes believers to be greatly concerned to advance thereto. But, as unholy lusts are not quite rooted out in this life, it must be the care of the Christian to resist their motions, earnestly striving, that, through Divine grace, they may not prevail in this mortal state. Let the thought that this state will soon be at an end, encourage the true Christian, as to the motions of lusts, which so often perplex and distress him. Let us present all our powers to God, as weapons or tools ready for the warfare, and work of righteousness, in his service. There is strength in the covenant of grace for us. Sin shall not have dominion. God's promises to us are more powerful and effectual for mortifying sin, than our promises to God. Sin may struggle in a real believer, and create him a great deal of trouble, but it shall not have dominion; it may vex him, but it shall not rule over him. Shall any take occasion from this encouraging doctrine to allow themselves in the practice of any sin? Far be such abominable thoughts, so contrary to the perfections of God, and the design of his gospel, so opposed to being under grace. What can be a stronger motive against sin than the love of Christ? Shall we sin against so much goodness, and such love?
Ellen G. White
Temperance, 183

Moral Powers Paralyzed—Through the channel of appetite, the passions are inflamed, and the moral powers are paralyzed, so that parental instruction in the principles of morality and true goodness falls upon the ear without affecting the heart. The most fearful warnings and threatenings of the word of God are not powerful enough to arouse the benumbed intellect and awaken the violated conscience. Te 183.1

The indulgence of appetite and passion fever and debilitate the mind, and disqualify for education. Our youth need a physiological education as well as other literary and scientific knowledge. It is important for them to understand the relation that their eating and drinking, and general habits, have to health and life. As they understand their own frames, they will know how to guard against debility and disease. With a sound constitution, there is hope of accomplishing almost anything. Benevolence, love, and piety, can be cultivated. A want of physical vigor will be manifested in the weakened moral powers. The apostle says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”—The Health Reformer, December, 1872. Te 183.2

It is Somebody's Business—You should study temperance in all things. You must study it in what you eat and in what you drink. And yet you say: “It is nobody's business what I eat, or what I drink, or what I place upon my table.” It is somebody's business, unless you take your children and shut them up, or go into the wilderness where you will not be a burden upon others, and where your unruly, vicious children will not corrupt the society in which they mingle.—Testimonies for the Church 2:362. Te 183.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 381

There is but little real, genuine, devoted, pure love. This precious article is very rare. Passion is termed love. Many a woman has had her fine and tender sensibilities outraged, because the marriage relation allowed him whom she called husband to be brutal in his treatment of her. His love she found to be of so base a quality that she became disgusted. 2T 381.1

Very many families are living in a most unhappy state because the husband and father allows the animal in his nature to predominate over the intellectual and moral. The result is that a sense of languor and depression is frequently felt, but the cause is seldom divined as being the result of their own improper course of action. We are under solemn obligations to God to keep the spirit pure and the body healthy, that we may be a benefit to humanity, and render to God perfect service. The apostle utters these words of warning: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” He urges us onward by telling us that “every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” He exhorts all who call themselves Christians to present their bodies” a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” He says: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 2T 381.2

It is an error generally committed to make no difference in the life of a woman previous to the birth of her children. At this important period the labor of the mother should be lightened. Great changes are going on in her system. It requires a greater amount of blood, and therefore an increase of food of the most nourishing quality to convert into blood. Unless she has an abundant supply of nutritious food, she cannot retain her physical strength, and her offspring is robbed of vitality. Her clothing also demands attention. Care should be taken to protect the body from a sense of chilliness. She should not call vitality unnecessarily to the surface to supply the want of sufficient clothing. If the mother is deprived of an abundance of wholesome, nutritious food, she will lack in the quantity and quality of blood. Her circulation will be poor, and her child will lack in the very same things. There will be an inability in the offspring to appropriate food which it can convert into good blood to nourish the system. The prosperity of mother and child depends much upon good, warm clothing and a supply of nourishing food. The extra draft upon the vitality of the mother must be considered and provided for. 2T 381.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 33

It is a sacred work in which we are engaged. The apostle Paul exhorts his brethren: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” It is a sacred duty that we owe to God to keep the spirit pure, as a temple for the Holy Ghost. If the heart and mind are devoted to the service of God, obeying all His commandments, loving Him with all the heart, might, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, we shall be found loyal and true to the requirements of heaven. 4T 33.1

Again the apostle says: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” He also urges his brethren to earnest diligence and steady perseverance in their efforts for purity and holiness of life, in these words: “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 4T 33.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 99.3

Christians are called to lay their bodies a living sacrifice upon the altar of God. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” [Romans 6:12, 13]. TSB 99.3

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