According to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the
New Testament, to obey (hupakouo--Strong's
#5219) means (1) to listen or harken, as of one who,
when there is a knock at the door, comes to listen who
it is; or (2) to harken to a command, thus to be
obedient to or submit to. It derives from akouo
(Strong's #191) meaning to hear, to attend to or
consider what is or has been said.
For instance, Rhoda hearkened to Peter=
s knock and went to the door (Acts 12:13). The
wind and the sea (Mt 8:27, Mark 4:41, Luke 8:25) and
unclean spirits (Mark 1:;27) obeyed Jesus.
Children are to obey their parents and servants
are to obey their masters (Ephesians 6:1-5).
In the same way, we obey sin when we respond
to the lusts that it arouses in our flesh. In
Romans 6:12, Paul indicates the way sin gains its power
to control us:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,
that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Sin, which already dwells in our flesh, knocks at the
door of our will. It asserts itself upon us by
stirring up lust (epithumeo--#1937) or evil
desire, thus asking (or demanding) to be listened to and
obeyed. (The word lust means to set the
heart upon, long for, desire. It derives from
a word meaning passion (as if breathing hard),
which word derives from another meaning to immolate
or sacrifice by fire.) Once we respond to the
lusts or evil desires, we have submitted to the source
of them, namely, sin.
However, if we learn to recognize the stirring of
evil desire as the knock or command of sin, we can
choose to not attend to or consider those desires.
We can decide not to listen, harken, or submit to them,
and thereby refuse to give sin dominion over us.
Indeed, as Paul continues in verse 13, we can cease
yielding or presenting the members of our bodies to sin
as instruments of unrighteousness , but rather present
ourselves to God, and our members as instruments of
righteousness unto God.
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