Romans 6 is a fascinating chapter of the Bible. It includes so many fundamental things that Christians need to know, but it also goes much, much deeper than that. I think a pivotal verse in the text comes in verse 13, where we switch from a fundamental understanding of what changed when you were baptized to realizing you are slaves to God, living completely under His control. But before diving into slavery, Paul records verse 13, which talks about weaponry.
“And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
The word translated instruments can also be translated weapons, and in my feeble mind, that makes more sense. We are instruments – weapons – of righteousness. We aren’t weak. We aren’t fragile. We’re weapons. And as such, we do what weapons do, we just do those things in the realm of religion.
As weapon’s of righteousness, we must….
Protect Christ’s Name
So many in our world today trample the precious name of our Lord underfoot. They demean His authority, they blaspheme His holy name, they smear His perfect character in the mud. One reason they feel justified in doing such is because they see followers of Jesus, those who are to be slaves to God, walking around looking just like the rest of the world. They see supposed disciples of Christ not upholding the holiness of His character, but instead getting too involved in the world; making friends and thus becoming enemies of God (James 4:4).
As weapons of righteousness, there should be no resemblance of worldliness, no semblance of being a weapon of unrighteousness. Instead, we should be walking in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time (Col. 4:5). We should be using our time on earth to walk differently than those in the world. Using every moment to uphold Christ’s holiness, and draw others to Him. Not send them away, our hypocrisies driving them out of His loving arms.
Hurt/Strike the Enemy
Weapons are used to inflict pain. To wound. This is exactly what we should be doing. No, not swinging our Bibles around, whacking the lost over the head in hopes of converting them. They aren’t our enemy! They’re the ones in the grasp of the enemy, which is why we must strike him directly. We must fight Satan, with every fiber of our being. We must live lives wholly devoted to Jesus, rendering the devil powerless in our lives. We must be on a critical, time-sensitive mission of seeking and saving the lost. When we convert the lost, we weaken Satan’s army.
Let’s not forget, though, that the lost aren’t our enemy. Everything we do, we do to harm Satan. We impale him so he’ll loosen his grip on those we love. We don’t go out seeking to attack people, ever. Only the devil. He is our enemy.
A dull weapon isn’t a useful weapon. In order to be weapons of righteousness that are actually useful weapons, we must be sure we are sharp. The way we do that is by studying the Word. Ephesians 6:17 says, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Word of God doesn’t need any help. It is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). However, WE must stay sharp on our knowledge of that word, otherwise we do a disservice to the Holy Spirit who has revealed it to us.
Satan will quickly disarm us if we don’t know the word. Jesus is a great example of being armed; He combated Satan by quoting Scripture (Matt. 4). We can fight off Satan by doing the same thing, but we have to get into the word and know it first. And it’s not enough to just know it once, either. We must stay sharp. Continually growing and learning and applying truths to our lives. Always abounding in the word of the Lord.
Guard Your Heart
Weapons are often employed to guard those who are weaker. Our hearts are weak members. They are fragile. They are precious. We must stay on guard so that Satan doesn’t take control of such an important member. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us that prayer will guard our hearts by giving us the peace of God. It stands to reason, then, that if we aren’t vigilant in prayer, we are leaving our hearts exposed. We are leaving a door open for Satan to come inside and take control. But as true weapons of righteousness, we are going to stay tapped in to the One who can guard our hearts. If we don’t…we may become weapons of the wrong side. We may fall prey to a powerful lion who is seeking to devour us. So we must stay on guard. We must continually keep our hearts from the wicked one, instead thinking on things that are pure, lovely and of good report (Phil. 4:8).
If we’ll do all of these things, if we’ll uphold the name of Jesus by living un-hypocritical lives….if we’ll convert people out of Satan’s army and into God’s…if we’ll continually improve our knowledge of the Scriptures…if we’ll keep our hearts from being overpowered by the wicked one, then we’ll be true weapons of righteousness, able to stand in battle. Always ready to give a defense.