13 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.
Verse 13 is a development of verse 12, explaining how a Christian does not obey the lusts of the previous verse.
13 And do not present [present tense—ongoing]
The Greek idea of “present” is to stand before. Christians are not to stand before our members to offer them continually (present tense) as instruments of sin. This would be submission to a power by obedience. It is easy to put our faculties at the disposal of unrighteousness.
Our “members” are the faculties by which we navigate our lives. This is the metaphorical use of “members.”
as instruments of unrighteousness to sin,
The Greek used “instruments” in the military context for implements of war, weapons or armor.
“Unrighteousness” stands for wickedness of any kind, anything that positions itself in opposition to God’s righteousness. Sin can be vigorous against the believer from a number of approaches.
The word “but” here shows sharp contrast, saying in effect, “On the contrary, offer your members to something entirely different.” There is no middle ground between presenting ourselves available to sin and to God. We yield to one side or the other.
present [decisive action] yourselves [parallel to “members”] to God
We are to stand before God willing to do His will at any point a decision is necessary.
The Greek (aorist imperative) indicates we present ourselves to God decisively. This is not something we meander into. Offering ourselves to God requires decisive commitment. What we present is ourselves, which is parallel to our “members.”
The idea of “presenting yourselves” here is not consecration as a one-time event. We do not get complete victory over sin when we do this. It is something we do each time we get out of fellowship with the Lord. The idea is more about applying the principle behind the facts of the first part of this chapter: “Recognize what God has done for you in Christ and apply that to your experience. You are risen in Christ; act like a resurrected believer with new life in Christ.”
as [as if] being alive from the dead,
“As” means “as if.” Christians are to operate like people raised with Christ. We are to know our status with God; we have “newness of life” in Christ. Our conduct derives from our identity with Christ. We need to identify with an event already past.
and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Righteousness is not something under our control but something by which we should be controlled. It is the righteousness in which we stand, our position in Christ for eternity. Since Christians have died to sin with Christ, we are dead in our position but not in our condition. In one sense Christians are dead and in another we are not.
Christians are not to present themselves at the disposal of sin but at the disposal of God.
We Christians are not to take command of our lives as a weapon for sin. We put ourselves at the disposal of God, who gave us status with Himself. We can be a weapon at the hands of God or the hands of sin.
If Christians do not adjust their lives to living a Christian life by positional truth, we will live mediocre existences. That adjustment is connecting to our status with God and applying it to experience. If we do not take into account that we are dead to sin and alive to God, there is no true Christian living. Everything else is religion and legalism if we don’t.
The issue of not allowing sin to “reign” in our lives has to do with dominance. This is not a denial that sin will be in our lives, but a question of whether it will control our lives. That is why we offer ourselves to God without qualification on each occasion of getting out of fellowship with God. When we yield ourselves to God at any point of spiritual conflict, our members becomes instruments that God uses.