Updated: Nov 15
By Drew Zuverink
"Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness."
In this passage Paul shows off his clever writing ability by personifying sin. He urges Christians against offering ourselves to sin as an instrument of wickedness. The greek word that is translated into English as instrument is οπλον. The interesting part about this greek word is that every other time it's used in scripture, it's translated into English as the word weapon.
Understanding that will help us learn something important from this passage, namely, that everyone is a weapon. You are a weapon, I am a weapon, every human being is a weapon. Weapons are extremely powerful tools that are used primarily in war. Paul also depicts two agents, or two opposing army commanders, who would like to use us for their goals. Sin would like to wield us in order to spread wickedness and God wants to use us for righteousness.
How Sin Would Use Us
Sin would love nothing more than to spread evil, wickedness, and destruction into the world. For example, sin will attempt to use our harsh words to inflict pain on others. Recently I heard of a young student from my hometown who committed suicide because he was bullied. In this instance, the bullies were a powerful force for evil. Sin will also attempt to use our lack of control over lust to spread evil into the world. If men and women could simply control their sexual desires there would be no market for sex slavery. Similarly, sin will attempt to use our actions to drive people away from God. It seems like every month a new story comes out about a pastor who had an affair or whose pride is out of control, and every time this happens it leads people away from the church. The devil tempts us into sin because he wants to use us to spread wickedness.
This means that our sin is not just a personal problem. It is impossible to keep our sins from impacting others. Sin will never only affect the person committing it. We are powerful weapons, and when we give in to sinful temptations, that power will be used to harm.
How God Would Use Us
God wants to use us as weapons of righteousness. An example of this is how God uses people all over the globe to care for the hurting and the marginalized. Consider those who step into the world of foster care and adoption, are they not a force for good? God also uses our kind words to spread healing. Christian therapists, pastors who counsel, and the ordinary friend whose words bring comfort to someone in pain, are all weapons of goodness in God's hands. And when sin is attempting to use Christian jerks to drive people away from God, God is using the actions of loving Christians to bring people to him.
A Force For ...
The question we are faced with every day is, will I be a force for good or for evil? In fact, we are faced with that question multiple times each day. Also, Just because we are Christians does not mean that we are always being used for good. One could argue that the devil targets Christians the most, because their sins could spread the most wickedness. But he targets us, not just to inflict pain on the individual, but to use our sin to inflict pain on the many.
So we must stop viewing our struggles with sin as an individual problem because it's not, and we must start to hate our sinful temptations because of the harm that it would like to use us for. More than that, we must give ourselves over to God and let him use us as a force for good, for that is the aim of the Christian life. May God's Spirit open our eyes to the evils of sin and may he empower us to be a force for righteousness.