Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God…
I. THE PRECEPT. To yield implies that two persons have been opposed one to the other, and that now one submits to the other. This submission may be a willing or unwilling, unreserved or reserved, permanent or temporary.
1. As between man and God, to yield implies that there is a great gulf which sin has caused to exist between man and God. There is no love to God in man's natural heart. Hence the unrest and misery of so many men. They are not at peace with God.
2. Into the midst of this moral chaos God has descended, and in the person of His Son has opened a way by which the sinner may be received back to God. And hence the language of God to the sinner is, "Be ye reconciled." "Yield yourselves unto God."
3. This submission must be accompanied by heartfelt sorrow for, and a determination to forsake sin, and faith in Christ.
4. It must be a willing submission. There must be no reserve, no condition, no hanging back.
5. It must be a permanent submission, not only for the present, but for the future, for time and for eternity.
II. WHY IT SHOULD BE OBEYED. "Yield" because —
1. It is your duty. There is in the hearts of Englishmen a strong feeling of the principle of duty. That famous signal — "England expects every man to do his duty," rings through the hearts of thousands when they hear it. And it is that which carries the Englishman wherever his country calls him. But, alas! there may be a sense of duty as regards man, and no such sense as regards God. But still remember that it is your duty.
(1) God is your Creator. Why were you called into being? Go and ask yon tiny insect and yon blade of grass, which, if they could speak would say, "For God." And for what is the most wonderful of God's creatures except to obey Him?
(2) God is your king. Satan exercises a mighty power, but his is an usurped dominion.
(3) God is your benefactor. Whence your life, health, comforts? Whence the forbearance, the goodness through the mercy of God to you?
(4) If you are not yielding yourselves unto God you are yielding yourself to some false god. It is impossible that man can serve two masters.
2. It is our life.
(1) Forgiveness is life. As long as a man has unforgiven sin upon his conscience, that man is dead in the sight of God. There is free and unconditional forgiveness promised to all who believe in the Saviour.
(2) The new birth is life. Have you ever thirsted for this life? It is told us of the wounded upon the field of Waterloo, that what they longed for during that terrible night, was not the relief which surgical aid could afford, not an escape from that bloody field, but simply water to quench their burning thirst. Have you, beneath a sense of sin, a sense of your wounds thirsted for the water of life? "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters."
3. It is your death if you refuse to yield (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46).
III. THERE ARE MANY WAYS IN WHICH IT MAY BE MET.
1. By obedience. But you may ask, "How am I to do it?" Just as the Lord Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, "Stretch forth thy hand," and the man stretched it forth and it was whole; so, in the same way, if a sinner present feels guilty and helpless, and hears the word of command, and makes the effort, praying for the Divine assistance, seeking to obey the precept, that man will find the needed help afforded him. Just as when Peter was sinking beneath the waves, and cried out, "Lord, save me," and the Lord caught the sinking apostle, do you say, from the bottom of your heart, now, at this moment, "Lord, save me"; and in the effort you shall find that God does save you.
2. By a refusal, "We will not have this Man to reign over us." "I love pleasure; I dislike self-denial and religious efforts." Now, I would not deny that there are such things as the pleasures of sin; but remember they are for a season only. Afterwards, there is "the worm that dieth not," etc. But I doubt whether you do find that those pleasures of sin satisfy you. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." And though there may be the noisy laugh, and the outward appearance of indifference, yet I believe that no one can hear God's word and remain in indifference, without some qualms of conscience, some dread of eternity. Oh, then, beware how you say, "I will not yield." "See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh," etc.
3. By attempting a compromise; by delay, for example. You wish for time. Now, there is no such thing as neutrality in religion. There may be neutrality as between states; between man and man; but there is no such thing as neutrality in the case of man's service to God. "He that is not with Me, is against Me." Besides, if you now despise the mercy of God, and use the promise of mercy as an excuse for continuance in sin, what right have you to expect that God will continue to show mercy? You may say, "Was there not mercy for that man who entered the vineyard at the eleventh hour, and for the thief upon the cross?" Their case was altogether different from yours. The instance of a delayed repentance is very different from the case of a late repentance. They had not had the invitation and warning before as you have. Besides, how do you know that at any future time you will be one whir more willing? The chances are, humanly speaking, that you will be less willing. It is told of one who gained his livelihood by searching the nests which were built in the cliff, that upon being let down from the summit, he gained a footing on a jutting crag beneath. He suddenly let go the rope by which he had descended. His position was most critical. The rope was swaying backwards and forwards in the air, and each time it came less near to him than before. He saw his danger; he saw the necessity of instant decision. He must either seek to grasp it by jumping from his crag, or it may be lost forever. There was no time; it must be done at once. He did it. He sprang from his crag; he seized upon the rope, and he was saved. And so, if you are conscious that at this moment you are an unsaved sinner, you have but one course open to you. It is that you now yield yourself to God. "Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."
(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.