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THE SIXTH BOOK OF THE COMMENTAR Y ON THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS herefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal body to make you obey its desires. And do not present your members to sin as weapons of wickedness; but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your members to God as weapons of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.1 (2) Above he says, “just as sin exercised dominion in death.”2 Now, however, he has not said: Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in death, but he says, “Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal body.” By this he is teaching that sin has a certain seat and kingdom in the body.3 This is also what he has said elsewhere, “The prudence of the flesh is hostile to God”;4 and again, “The prudence of the flesh is death.”5 Moreover, the Apostle declares that all sins are the works of the flesh, which he says are “fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire , unchasteness, idolatry, evil deeds, enmity, rivalries, jealousy , rage, contention, dissensions, heresies, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”6 Now if you ask why heresies are also numbered among the works of the flesh, you will find that they too proceed from a mind of flesh. For this is how the Apostle speaks about a certain person, “He is puffed up without cause by the mind of his own flesh, and does not control his head.”7 We have said these things so that the comprehension of how sin exercises dominion in the body would become clearer. (3) For all of those things that we have enumerated above as the works of the flesh are like a kind of army [of sin], conduct1 . Rom 6.12–14. 2. Rom 5.21. 3. Cf. 5.7.3. 4. Rom 8.7. 5. Rom 8.6. 6. Gal 5.19–21; Col 3.5. 7. Col 2.18–19. 1 ing military operations under their king of sin and subject to its law, which is written in the members of the flesh. For it is certain that, in view of the fact that the flesh offers obedience to the desires of sin, [M1056] “the flesh desires contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit contrary to the flesh; and these are opposed to each other.”8 (4) But notice that when the Apostle gives the command, saying, “Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal body, to make you obey its desires,” he is showing that the matter lies within our power, that sin should not exercise dominion in our body. For unless it were in our power that sin should not exercise dominion in us, he would not have given the command at all. So how is it possible for sin not to exercise dominion in our flesh? If we do what the Apostle himself says, “Put to death your members that are earthly,”9 and if “we always carry around in our body the death of Christ.”10 For it is certain that where the death of Christ is being carried around, it is not possible for sin to exercise dominion. For the power of the cross of Christ11 is so great that when it is placed before the eyes and when it is faithfully retained in one’s mind so that the attentive eye of the mind should be fastened on the death of Christ, no [sinful] desire , no lust, no feeling of rage, no sin of envy will be able to get the upper hand; in its presence the entire army of sin and the flesh, which we enumerated above, is at once put to flight. But in fact sin itself does not exist since its substance could never exist except in works and deeds. So then, there is within us both the desire of sin, which has a kingdom in the flesh, and there is also the Spirit’s desire, which has a kingdom in the mind, according to what we said above that, “The flesh desires contrary to the Spirit but the Spirit desires contrary to the flesh.”12 Consequently, when we desire what is not permissible or what is not befitting or what is not profitable, that is the desire of the flesh. But when our soul desires and faints for [M1057] the...


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