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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - ROMANS 6
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    CHAPTER 6

    Ro 6:1-11. THE BEARING OF JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE UPON A HOLY LIFE.

    1. What, &c.--The subject of this third division of our Epistle announces itself at once in the opening question, "Shall we (or, as the true reading is, "May we," "Are we to") continue in sin, that grace may abound?" Had the apostle's doctrine been that salvation depends in any degree upon our good works, no such objection to it could have been made. Against the doctrine of a purely gratuitous justification, the objection is plausible; nor has there ever been an age in which it has not been urged. That it was brought against the apostles, we know from Ro 3:8; and we gather from Ga 5:13; 1Pe 2:16; Jude 4, that some did give occasion to the charge; but that it was a total perversion of the doctrine of Grace the apostle here proceeds to show.

    2. God forbid--"That be far from us"; the instincts of the new creature revolting at the thought.
    - How shall we, that are dead, &c.--literally, and more forcibly, "We who died to sin (as presently to be explained), how shall we live any longer therein?"

    3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ--compare 1Co 10:2.
    - were baptized into his death?--sealed with the seal of heaven, and as it were formally entered and articled, to all the benefits and all the obligations of Christian discipleship in general, and of His death in particular. And since He was "made sin" and "a curse for us" (2Co 5:21; Ga 5:13), "bearing our sins in His own body on the tree," and "rising again for our justification" (Ro 4:25; 1Pe 2:24), our whole sinful case and condition, thus taken up into His Person, has been brought to an end in His death. Whoso, then, has been baptized into Christ's death has formally surrendered the whole state and life of sin, as in Christ a dead thing. He has sealed himself to be not only "the righteousness of God in Him," but "a new creature"; and as he cannot be in Christ to the one effect and not to the other, for they are one thing, he has bidden farewell, by baptism into Christ's death, to his entire connection with sin. "How," then, "can he live any longer therein?" The two things are as contradictory in the fact as they are in the terms.

    4. Therefore we are--rather, "were" (it being a past act, completed at once).
    - buried with him, by baptism into death--(The comma we have placed after "him" will show what the sense is. It is not, "By baptism we are buried with Him into death," which makes no sense at all; but, "By baptism with Him into death we are buried with Him"; in other words, "By the same baptism which publicly enters us into His death, we are made partakers of His burial also"). To leave a dead body unburied is represented, alike in heathen authors as in Scripture, as the greatest indignity (Re 11:8, 9). It was fitting, therefore, that Christ, after "dying for our sins according to the Scriptures," should "descend into the lower parts of the earth" (Eph 4:9). As this was the last and lowest step of His humiliation, so it was the honorable dissolution of His last link of connection with that life which He laid down for us; and we, in being "buried with Him by our baptism into His death," have by this public act severed our last link of connection with that whole sinful condition and life which Christ brought to an end in His death.
    - that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father--that is, by such a forth-putting of the Father's power as was the effulgence of His whole glory.
    - even so we also--as risen to a new life with Him.
    - should walk in newness of life--But what is that "newness?" Surely if our old life, now dead and buried with Christ, was wholly sinful, the new, to which we rise with the risen Saviour, must be altogether a holy life; so that every time we go back to "those things whereof we are now ashamed" (Ro 6:21), we belie our resurrection with Christ to newness of life, and "forget that we have been purged from our old sins" (2Pe 1:9). (Whether the mode of baptism by immersion be alluded to in this verse, as a kind of symbolical burial and resurrection, does not seem to us of much consequence. Many interpreters think it is, and it may be so. But as it is not clear that baptism in apostolic times was exclusively by immersion [see on Ac 2:41], so sprinkling and washing are indifferently used in the New Testament to express the cleansing efficacy of the blood of Jesus. And just as the woman with the issue of blood got virtue out of Christ by simply touching Him, so the essence of baptism seems to lie in the simple contact of the element with the body, symbolizing living contact with Christ crucified; the mode and extent of suffusion being indifferent and variable with climate and circumstances).

    5. For if we have been planted together--literally, "have become formed together." (The word is used here only).
    - in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection--that is, "Since Christ's death and resurrection are inseparable in their efficacy, union with Him in the one carries with it participation in the other, for privilege and for duty alike." The future tense is used of participation in His resurrection, because this is but partially realized in the present state. (See on Ro 5:19).

    6, 7. Knowing this, &c.--The apostle now grows more definite and vivid in expressing the sin-destroying efficacy of our union with the crucified Saviour.
    - that our old man--"our old selves"; that is, "all that we were in our old unregenerate condition, before union with Christ" (compare Col 3:9, 10; Eph 4:22-24; Ga 2:20; 5:24; 6:14).
    - is--rather, "was."
    - crucified with him--in order.
    - that the body of sin--not a figure for "the mass of sin"; nor the "material body," considered as the seat of sin, which it is not; but (as we judge) for "sin as it dwells in us in our present embodied state, under the law of the fall."
    - might be destroyed--(in Christ's death)--to the end.
    - that henceforth we should not serve sin--"be in bondage to sin."

    7. For he that is dead--rather, "hath died."
    - is freed--"hath been set free."
    - from sin--literally, "justified," "acquitted," "got his discharge from sin." As death dissolves all claims, so the whole claim of sin, not only to "reign unto death," but to keep its victims in sinful bondage, has been discharged once for all, by the believer's penal death in the death of Christ; so that he is no longer a "debtor to the flesh to live after the flesh" (Ro 8:12).

    8. Now if we be dead--"if we died."
    - with Christ, &c.--See on Ro 6:5.

    9-11. Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him--Though Christ's death was in the most absolute sense a voluntary act (Joh 10:17, 18; Ac 2:24), that voluntary surrender gave death such rightful "dominion over Him" as dissolved its dominion over us. But this once past, "death hath," even in that sense, "dominion over Him no more."

    10. For in that he died, he died unto--that is, in obedience to the claims of
    - sin once--for all.
    - but in that he liveth, he liveth unto--in obedience to the claims of God.
    - God--There never, indeed, was a time when Christ did not "live unto God." But in the days of His flesh He did so under the continual burden of sin "laid on Him" (Isa 53:6; 2Co 5:21); whereas, now that He has "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself," He "liveth unto God," the acquitted and accepted Surety, unchallenged and unclouded by the claims of sin.

    11. Likewise--even as your Lord Himself.
    - reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed--"dead on the one hand"
    - unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord--(The words, "our Lord," at the close of this verse, are wanting in the best manuscripts.)

    Note, (1) "Antinomianism is not only an error; it is a falsehood and a slander" [HODGE]. That "we should continue in sin that grace may abound," not only is never the deliberate sentiment of any real believer in the doctrine of Grace, but is abhorrent to every Christian mind, as a monstrous abuse of the most glorious of all truths (Ro 6:1). (2) As the death of Christ is not only the expiation of guilt, but the death of sin itself in all who are vitally united to Him; so the resurrection of Christ is the resurrection of believers, not only to acceptance with God, but to newness of life (Ro 6:2-11). (3) In the light of these two truths, let all who name the name of Christ "examine themselves whether they be in the faith."

    Ro 6:12-23. WHAT PRACTICAL USE BELIEVERS SHOULD MAKE OF THEIR DEATH TO SIN AND LIFE TO GOD THROUGH UNION TO THE CRUCIFIED SAVIOUR.

    Not content with showing that his doctrine has no tendency to relax the obligations to a holy life, the apostle here proceeds to enforce these obligations.

    12. Let not sin therefore--as a Master
    - reign--(The reader will observe that wherever in this section the words "Sin," "Obedience," "Righteousness," "Uncleanness," "Iniquity," are figuratively used, to represent a Master, they are here printed in capitals, to make this manifest to the eye, and so save explanation).
    - in your mortal body, that ye should obey it--sin.
    - in the lusts thereof--"the lusts of the body," as the Greek makes evident. (The other reading, perhaps the true one, "that ye should obey the lusts thereof," comes to the same thing). The "body" is here viewed as the instrument by which all the sins of the heart become facts of the outward life, and as itself the seat of the lower appetites; and it is called "our mortal body," probably to remind us how unsuitable is this reign of sin in those who are "alive from the dead." But the reign here meant is the unchecked dominion of sin within us. Its outward acts are next referred to.

    13. Neither yield ye your members instruments of unrighteousness unto Sin, but yield yourselves--this is the great surrender.
    - unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and--as the fruit of this.
    - your members--till now prostituted to sin.
    - instruments of righteousness unto God--But what if indwelling sin should prove too strong for us? The reply is: But it will not.

    14. For Sin shall not have dominion over you--as the slaves of a tyrant lord.
    - for ye are not under the law, but under grace--The force of this glorious assurance can only be felt by observing the grounds on which it rests. To be "under the law" is, first, to be under its claim to entire obedience; and so, next under its curse for the breach of these. And as all power to obey can reach the sinner only through Grace, of which the law knows nothing, it follows that to be "under the law" is, finally, to be shut up under an inability to keep it, and consequently to be the helpless slave of sin. On the other hand, to be "under grace," is to be under the glorious canopy and saving effects of that "grace which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (see on Ro 5:20, 21). The curse of the law has been completely lifted from off them; they are made "the righteousness of God in Him"; and they are "alive unto God through Jesus Christ." So that, as when they were "under the law," Sin could not but have dominion over them, so now that they are "under grace," Sin cannot but be subdued under them. If before, Sin resistlessly triumphed, Grace will now be more than conqueror.

    15, 16. What then? . . . Know ye not--it is a dictate of common sense.

    16. that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey--with the view of obeying him.
    - his servants ye are to whom ye obey--to whom ye yield that obedience.
    - whether of Sin unto death--that is, "issuing in death," in the awful sense of Ro 8:6, as the GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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