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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 7 - Verse 6

Verse 6. But now. Under the gospel. This verse states the conse- quences of the gospel, in distinction from the effects of the law. The way in which this is accomplished the apostle illustrates more at length in Ro 8, with which this verse is properly connected. The remainder of Ro 7 is occupied in illustrating the statement in Ro 7:5, of the effects of the law; and after having shown that its effects always were to increase crime and distress, he is prepared in Ro 8, to take up the proposition in this verse, and to show the superiority of the gospel in producing peace.

We are delivered. We who are Christians. Delivered from it as a means of justification, as a source of sanctification, as a bondage to which we were subjected, and which tended to produce pain and death. It does not mean that Christians are freed from it as a rule of duty.

That being dead. Margin, "Being dead to that." There is a variation here in the Mss. Some read it, as in the text, as if the law was dead; others, as in the margin, as if we were dead. The majority are in favour of the reading as in the margin; and the connexion requires us to understand it in this sense. So the Syriac, the Arabic, the Vulgate, and the AEthiopic. The sentiment here, that we are dead to the law, is that which is expressed in Ro 7:4.

Wherein we were held. That is, as captives, or as slaves. We were held in bondage to it, Ro 7:1.

That we should serve. That we may now serve or obey God

In newness of spirit. In a new spirit; or in a new and Spiritual manner. This is a form of expression implying,

(1.) that their service under the gospel was to be of a new kind, differing from that under the former dispensation.

(2.) That it was to be of a spiritual nature, as distinguished from that practised by the Jews. Comp. 2 Co 3:6. See Barnes "Ro 2:28".

See Barnes "Ro 2:29".

The worship required under the gospel is uniformly described as that of the spirit and the heart, rather than that of form and ceremony. Joh 4:23, "The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." Php 3:3.

And not in the oldness of the letter. Not in the old letter. It is implied here in this,

(1.) that the form of worship here described pertained to an old dispensation that had now passed away; and

(2.) that that was a worship that was in the letter. To understand this, it is necessary to remember that the law which prescribed the forms of worship among the Jews, was regarded by the apostle as destitute of that efficacy and power in renewing the heart which he attributed to the gospel. It was a service consisting in external forms and ceremonies; in the offering of sacrifices and of incense, according to the literal requirement of the law, rather than the sincere offering of the heart. 2 Co 3:6, "The letter killeth; the spirit giveth life." Joh 6:63; Heb 10:1-4; 9:9,10.

It is not to be denied that there were many holy persons under the law, and that there were many spiritual offerings presented; but it is at the same time true that the great mass of the people rested in the mere form; and that the service offered was the mere service of the letter, and not of the heart. The main idea is, that the services under the gospel are purely and entirely spiritual, the offering of the heart, and not the service rendered by external forms and rites.

{1} "delivered from the law" or, "being dead to that"

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