"Consider yourselves to be dead to sin." Matthew Henry points out 5 things regarding this issue of mortification that are found in Romans 6. I will quote him at length.
1. We must live no longer in sin. (vs 2) Though there are none that live without sin, yet there are those that do not live in sin.
2. The body of sin must be destroyed (vs 6). The corruption that dwells in us is the body of sin. This is the root to which the axe must be laid. We must not only cease from the acts of sin, but we must get vicious habits and inclinations weakened and destroyed that henceforth we should sever sin. It is the body of sin that sways the scepter, destroy this, and the yoke is broken.
3. We must be dead indeed unto sin (vs 11). As the death of the oppressor is a release, so much more is the death of the oppressed. Thus must we be dead to sin, fulfill its will no more. He that is dead is separated from his former company. Death makes a mighty change; such a change doth sanctification make in the soul, it cuts off all correspondence with sin.
**4. Sin must not reign in our mortal bodies, that we should obey it (vs12). Though sin may remain as an outlaw, yet let it not reign as a king. Let it not make laws, so that we should obey it. Though we may be sometimes overtaken and overcome by it, yet let us never be obedient to it. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you may obey its lusts. Sin lies very much in the gratifying of the body. And there is a reason implied in the phrase your mortal body. It was sin that made our bodies mortal, and therefore do not yield obedience to such an enemy.
5. We must not yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness (vs 13). The members of the body are made use of by the corrupt nature as tools, but we must not consent to that abuse. One sin begets another; it is like the letting forth of water, therefore leave it before it be meddled with. The members of the body may perhaps be forced to be instruments of sin; but do not yield them to be so, do not consent to it.
LORD Jesus – You, through Your obedience, have justified me by faith. Through You, the love of God has been poured out within my heart through the Holy Spirit whom You have given. In my helplessness Christ died for me. You have demonstrated Your great love for me through His death. His blood has saved me from the wrath of God and has reconciled me, vile enemy that I was, to You. Grace abounds to me, a sinner. Let not sin abound as well. My sin is great - Your grace is greater. Make me to die to sin. Make me to hate with a holy passion. Make me to flee from every inkling of it and to avoid every appearance of it. Make me to be honest in my struggle with it. Let me not be proud or fearful of being seen as a sinner but make me to be forthright regarding my frailties and even more forthright regarding the God who rescues me from them. Help me to mortify the flesh – not only the outward physical manifestations of the flesh - but also the heart and mind manifestations of it. Grant me grace in this area of mortification for You have commanded me to be holy as You are holy. Equip me, in Christ, to walk in Your will for my life! I am needful of my own crucifixion. Through the power of Your own crucifixion have mercy on me a sinner.
Mortification is the put off. I must die to sin and self. Vivification is the put on. I must live to Christ. I must walk in the newness of life. I am not simply to break the old habits of sin. No, I must replace the habits with new habits of righteousness. Die and then walk!
[Lord – You have put me in Christ. You have united me with Him. You have grafted me into His body. You have purchased me with His blood. You have adopted me as Your daughter. You have taken my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh. You have made me a new creature in Christ. Would You make me to live in the reality of those things. Make me to live to Christ. Grant me to walk in the newness of life! Enable me, by the power of your atonement to not simply attempt to stop the struggle with sin but to take hold of the obedience that you have prepared beforehand for me - that I might walk in it.]
Henry states, “Newness of life supposes newness of heart. There is no way to make the stream sweet but by making the spring so.” He goes on to say, “Walk by new rules. Make a new choice of the way. Choose new paths to walk in, new leaders to walk after, new companions to walk with.”
[Lord - Make me to walk in Your Word, to walk on Your path, to submit to Your Lordship and to surround myself with iron sharpening friends. Protect me from the counsel of the wicked, the path of sinners, and the seat of scoffers. Make me to delight in Your law and to meditate on it day and night. Firmly plant me like a tree by the streams of Your living water. Let me yield fruit in season, keep my leaf from withering, and make me to prosper in those things which will bring You pleasure and glory.]
Vivification – I am alive to God in Christ Jesus! Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, BUT alive to God in Christ Jesus (vs 11). But, what does it mean to be alive? Henry points out that it is “to converse with God, to have a regard to Him, a delight in Him.”
[Lord – make me to seek You wholeheartedly. Make me to invest in You with my thinking and actions. Make me to pursue You first as I pursue family, friends, and the lost. May Your glory be the silver thread that runs through all my thoughts and actions. Be my all in all. Make my thinking to become praying. Make my musing to become meditation. Make me to delight in You and to see Your hand in all areas of my life. Encompass my every thought, word and deed. Make my conscience tender when I am beginning to wander into the valley of the shadow of death. Convict me of my transgressions and of my omissions. Let me see when I am living as a slave to sin and am failing in the command to be alive in You. In my failures grant me mercy and strength. Let me recognize my sinful steps that I might turn from my paths and walk in Yours. Whatever I do, make me to do it all for the glory of God! Whether I eat or drink may it all be lived to You. From this text I also note that I can ONLY be alive to God in Christ Jesus. Oh, how I am seeing that more and more – and yet will I ever see it enough?! Christ alone is the fountain from which this living can flow. I cannot do it myself. Again I am confronted with how desperately I need my Savior. Truly “there is no living to God but through Him. He is the Mediator and there is no intercourse between sinful souls and a holy God, but by the mediation of the Lord Jesus. In living to God, Christ is all in all.” Blessed Christ – my Savior and the Shepherd of my weak and weary soul – be my all in all.]
Verse 13 continues with the fleshing out of this putting on of living to Christ. “And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; BUT present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” We are to present ourselves to God as those alive from the dead.
We are to "present" – that is an action. It is something I must do and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Strengthen me O my Lord!
We are to yield ourselves as instruments of righteousness to God. Henry states, “Not yield your estates to Him, but yield yourselves to Him; nothing less than your whole selves. Not only submit to Him, but comply with Him; be always ready to serve Him. Yield yourselves to Him as wax to the seal, to take any impression, to be, and have, and do, what He pleases.” Lord -Make me to yield and conform me to Christ.
We are to present ourselves to Him and we are to present ourselves ALIVE to Him. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins…. But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” (Eph 2).
“To yield a dead carcass to a living God is not to please Him, but to mock Him.” He has made me alive – why would I flee back to the land of death and decay?! Oh foolish ones that we are– may God save us from ourselves!
[Lord - help me by the mercies of God, to present my body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is my spiritual service of worship. Let me not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Lord – that is Your will for me. Make your will a reality in me!]
Here is a final note from Mr. Henry, “The surest evidence of our spiritual life is the dedication of ourselves to God. It is to yield our members as instruments of righteousness to God. The members of our bodies, when withdrawn from the service of sin, are not to lie idle, but to be made use of in the service of God. The body must be always ready to serve the soul in the service of God. Thus (vs 19) present your members as slaves to righteousness resulting in sanctification. Let them be under the conduct and at the command of the righteous law of God. Let them be under righteousness resulting in sanctification, which intimates growth, and progress, and ground obtained. As every sinful act confirms the sinful habit, and makes the nature more and more prone to sin, so every gracious act confirms the gracious habit. One duty fits us for another; and the more we do the more we may do for God.”
[Lord – help me to consider myself alive to God IN Christ Jesus! Through Him, let me present myself to You. Let me, in my entirety, live as an instrument of righteousness. Make me to walk. Make me to serve. Make me to love. Make me encourage. Make me to mortify the flesh and live to You. Sanctify me and fit me to do my duty.]