“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness.” Romans 6:13
“Just Say No” was an advertising campaign as part of the “War on Drugs” in the 1980s and early 1990s. The purpose was to discourage children from engaging in illegal drug use by offering varying ways of saying No. The slogan was created and championed by First Lady Nancy Reagan during her husband’s presidency. In 1982, the phrase was first used when the First Lady was visiting Longfellow Elementary School in Oakland, California. When a little girl asked Mrs. Reagan what to do if she was offered drugs, the First Lady responded, “Just say no.” Just Say No clubs within schools and school-sponsored anti-drug programs soon became common throughout the country, where youth were making pacts not to experiment with drugs.
While the “Just Say No” campaign had positive effects on the youth of America regarding the War on Drugs, its logic cannot be applied to a Christian’s war on sin. Believe it or not, Just Say No is not the key to a Christian’s victory over sin. We don’t just say no.
Don’t misunderstand; we must say No. When tempted to sin, there is an engagement of our will and we must make a choice. But this choice is enabled and undergirded by what has already happened in Romans 1-6:12. Saying No is based on what God has already done in Christ. It is based on Christ’s death and resurrection for our sin, and our complete union with Him. We have been justified (made right with God) by faith because of this union. Because of Christ’s work on our behalf, we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11). And now, because of all of this, when we are tempted to present our bodies as instruments of wickedness, we can make the choice to say No to that and instead offer our bodies to God.
Romans 6:13 lays out a clear choice…offer our bodies to sin or offer our bodies to God. Whenever we make any choice, we prefer one thing over another. It is helpful to apply this same logic to sin. When tempted with evil desires, we must regard God and His ways as preferable over the fleeting pleasures of sin. When we consider the whole of what God has done for us in Christ, there is no comparison. No temporary pleasure can compare to the promises and goodness of God. Therefore, we can Just Say No.
Application: Do you prefer Christ over the temporary pleasure of sin?