Our choices determine whether we live by grace or under the dominion of sin and the consequences of the law. When we agree with sin, we allow it to control us and put us under the law. Grace is God’s perfect provision to release His authority and dominion into our lives. it makes the way for us to walk in perfect liberty.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:14)
Dominion isn’t a word we use much in our ‘democratic’ world, so it has lost it’s real meaning of absolute power and rule. Despots have dominion over those they rule over, and there is no room for individual ‘rights,’ free will, or any kind of personal liberty. Dominion is an absolute, and while we don’t necessarily see it as such, spiritual dominion is a powerful reality that is still operative. Understanding it is what will provide us with liberty from it. If we continue to overlook its existence or misunderstand its very real power, we will remain in a place of bondage. Today’s verse speaks of the dominion of sin, something we must understand in order to walk free from it in the fullness of life we have in Christ. This means we must examine dominion and how it operates in the spiritual realm.
What is the dominion of sin?
With the fall, man placed himself under the dominion of sin. This means sin took authority over us. It drove our lives and our decisions, controlled our choices and actions, and left us unable to resist it. We must take hold of the truth that dominion means absolute control. There is no wiggle room. It’s a form of bondage that takes hold of us and keeps us captive to the vagaries of self and the temptations of the world and the flesh. What’s important is that sin results in and creates – dominion. It is self-sustaining. We cannot blame the devil, because it is our choice to sin. That choice begins to forge the chains and shape the bars that give sin dominion over us – a dominion that renders us incapable of making the right decision to fight sin and intensifies our captivity through continually sinning.
Using our God-given free will and personal choice to sin feeds the power of the dominion of sin. Free will is a gift from God intended to provide a way for us to choose the right way. When we subvert it to the flesh and exercise it for sin, bondage to sin results. We become enchained by the things we choose. The power sin has over us is immense because it is essentially repeating the sin of Lucifer – we place self above God and choose rebellion above obedience. Satan always encourages us to sin. He learns our weaknesses and places any manner of temptation in our path. But he cannot compel us to sin. We allow sin to drive us to continue sinning through individual choice. Each time we sin, we actively agree with sin and its power over us, thus increasing its power and diminishing our ability to resist.
The dominion of God and the dominion of sin.
There is another powerful spiritual reality that is key to releasing us from the dominion of sin. That is the truth that God has dominion over all. Nothing in this universe can deny that or diminish it. The fact that we sin and keep sinning doesn’t alter the absolute dominion of God over all. The simple fact that judgement awaits all sinners reminds us that ultimately, we are answerable to God who has dominion over all. Jesus exercised and established this dominion on earth through His death on the cross and His resurrection. Satan remains the prince of this world until his judgement. But God’s supernatural power, rule, and reign has been established in the natural world through His kingdom which has come in Christ. That dominion is absolute and cannot be affected by anything, even our sinfulness. Satan is already restricted by the dominion of God.
Non-believers remain under the dominion of sin and continue in bondage unless they come to Christ. The critical message of the cross is victory over sin and all the works of the enemy. Without Jesus, no one can ever hope to escape the bondage and destructive power of sin. Believers, however, enter the kingdom of God and His dominion. We enter a supernatural liberty which brings the complete and perfect power to overcome sin and escape from its captivity. Through Christ, we have everything we need for obedience to the dominion of God and to reject the dominion of sin. It’s not something we can do in and of ourselves. Our weak, fleshly selves don’t have the power or the ability. We must choose the sovereign rule and reign of God in our lives. The higher authority of God is the way to remove ourselves from the prison of sin.
Law, grace, and the dominion of sin.
God’s perfect solution to the dominion of sin is grace. To understand this, we must look at the issue of authority and the relationship between law and grace. The law was given to provide mankind with what is required by God. It was also the means to show us clearly that it is not humanly possible to meet the demands of the law. On our own, the law becomes the authority that establishes the dominion of sin. But God’s authority is greater, and He manifests this through grace. The law is never removed or cancelled out. It will remain in effect forever, because it’s God’s unchanging Word. To change the law would be to alter the nature and character of God, which is impossible. Grace, very practically, is God fulfilling the conditions of the law on our behalf. He asserts His sovereign authority over all on our behalf.
When we sin, we bind ourselves to the law and reject grace. We step under the dominion of sin rather than living in the supernatural authority of God. The law and its consequences are spiritual realities, and our choice determines whether we continue in bondage or perfect liberty. Jesus did not replace the law. We must either choose sin and the consequences of the law or His grace to resist and choose the right way. God’s grace is not a universal blanket that works sovereignly despite our choices. It’s freely available to every believer, but only when we choose it. Until we stand firm and make the choice of grace, it will not work in our lives. Receiving grace is our decision to live under the dominion of God rather than of sin. Grace is His power working within us to establish that choice, which brings liberty from sin.
Freedom from the dominion of sin is complete.
This seems debatable given that we still sin and will continue to sin throughout our lives. Our weaknesses remain in us after salvation, and working out our salvation is an ongoing struggle as we confront and resist sin. But this does not alter the truth that in Christ, we have absolute freedom from the dominion of sin. Jesus defeated sin, self, and the devil on the cross. It’s an eternal victory, not a temporary one. His victory is complete and perfect and always available to every believer. Our liberty from sin, however, depends on whether or not we avail ourselves of what He has provided. Today’s verse is imperative. Sin shall not have dominion over us. We shall live by grace rather than the law. That’s His promise to us. When we are tempted and choose grace, the power of sin is broken by the authority of Christ.
Thank You, Lord, for Your work of grace through the cross that provides perfect liberty from the dominion of sin. Help us to take hold of the full knowledge of our liberty in Jesus and to choose Your ways. Grant us the strength and wisdom to recognise temptation and turn from sin, trusting in Your power and authority to set us free to walk in obedience to Your perfect, sovereign dominion in our lives.