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Romans 6:7-11

7. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

7. Qui enim mortuus est, justificatus est a peccato.

8. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

8. Si vero mortui sumus cum Christo, credimus quod et vivemus cum eo

9. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

9. Scientes quad Christus suscitatus ex mortuis, amplius non moritur, mors illi amplius non dominatur:

10. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

10. Quod enim mortuus est, peccato mortuus est semel, quod autem vivit, vivit Deo.

11. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

11. Sic et ipsi æstimate vosmet esse mortuos quidem peccato, viventes autem Deo in Christo Iesu Domino nostro.

7. For he who has died, etc. This is an argument derived from what belongs to death or from its effect. For if death destroys all the actions of life, we who have died to sin ought to cease from those actions which it exercised during its life. Take justified for freed or reclaimed from bondage; for as he is freed from the bond of a charge, who is absolved by the sentence of a judge; so death, by freeing us from this life, sets us free from all its functions. 189189     This verse has occasioned various explanations. The most obvious meaning of the first clause is, that to “die” here means to die with or in a similar manner with Christ, for in the next verse, where the idea is resumed, “with” or like “Christ,” is expressly stated. The verb, δεδικαίωται, “is,” or has been “justified,” has been considered by the early and most of the later commentators in the sense of being freed or delivered. This is the view, among others, of Chrysostom, Basil, Œcumenius, Beza, Pareus, Hammond, Grotius, Doddridge and Macknight. But it must be added, that it is a meaning of which there is no other clear instance in the New Testament, though the verb occurs often. Scott, aware of this, gives it its common meaning, “justified;” and though he does not take the view of Venema, Chalmers, and Haldane, as to the general import of the former part of this chapter, he yet considers that to be “justified from sin” here, is to be justified from its guilt and penalty. Nor is it irrelevant to the subject in hand to refer to justification: for it is a very important truth to declare, that to die to sin is an evidence of being justified from its guilt. — Ed.

But though among men there is found no such example, there is yet no reason why you should think, that what is said here is a vain speculation, or despond in your minds, because you find not yourselves to be of the number of those who have wholly crucified the flesh; for this work of God is not completed in the day in which it is begun in us; but it gradually goes on, and by daily advances is brought by degrees to its end. So then take this as the sum of the whole, — “If thou art a Christian, there must appear in thee an evidence of a fellowship as to the death of Christ; the fruit of which is, that thy flesh is crucified together with all its lusts; but this fellowship is not to be considered as not existing, because thou findest that the relics of the flesh still live in thee; but its increase ought to be diligently labored for, until thou arrivest at the goal.” It is indeed well with us, if our flesh is continually mortified; nor is it a small attainment, when the reigning power, being taken away from it, is wielded by the Holy Spirit. There is another fellowship as to the death of Christ, of which the Apostle often speaks, as he does in 2 Corinthians 4, that is, the bearing of the cross, which is followed by a joint-participation also of eternal life.

8. But if we have died, etc. He repeats this for no other end but that he might subjoin the explanation which follows, that Christ, having once risen, dies no more. And hereby he teaches us that newness of life is to be pursued by Christians as long as they live; for since they ought to represent in themselves an image of Christ, both by crucifying the flesh and by a spiritual life, it is necessary that the former should be done once for all, and that the latter should be carried on continually: not that the flesh, as we have already said, dies in us in a moment, but that we ought not to retrograde in the work of crucifying it. For if we roll again in our own filth, we deny Christ; of whom we cannot be the participators except through newness of life, inasmuch as he lives an incorruptible life.

9. Death no more rules over him, etc. He seems to imply that death once ruled over Christ; and indeed when he gave himself up to death for us, he in a manner surrendered and subjected himself to its power; it was however in such a way that it was impossible that he should be kept bound by its pangs, so as to succumb to or to be swallowed up by them. He, therefore, by submitting to its dominion, as it were, for a moment, destroyed it for ever. Yet, to speak more simply, the dominion of death is to be referred to the state of death voluntarily undergone, which the resurrection terminated. The meaning is, that Christ, who now vivifies the faithful by his Spirit, or breathes his own life into them by his secret power from heaven, was freed from the dominion of death when he arose, that by virtue of the same dominion he might render free all his people.

10. He died once to sin, etc. What he had said — that we, according to the example of Christ, are for ever freed from the yoke of death, he now applies to his present purpose, and that is this — that we are no more subject to the tyranny of sin, and this he proves from the designed object of Christ’s death; for he died that he might destroy sin.

But we must observe what is suitable to Christ in this form of expression; for he is not said to die to sin, so as to cease from it, as the words must be taken when applied to us, but that he underwent death on account of sin, that having made himself ἀντίλυτρον, a ransom, he might annihilate the power and dominion of sin. 190190     This difference may be gathered from the general tenor of the whole passage; for his death and our death are said to have a likeness, and not to be same. And farther, in mentioning our death in this connection, in the next verse, he changes his phraseology; it is νεκροὺς and not εἶναι, which means those deprived of life — the lifeless. “The dead (νεκροὺς) in trespasses and sins,” are those who have no spiritual life; and to be dead to sin is not to have life for sin, to be freed from its ruling power. See Romans 6:18
   It is usual with the Apostle to adopt the same form of words in different senses, which can only be distinguished by the context or by other parts of Scripture, as it has been noticed in a note on Romans 4:25. — Ed.
And he says that he died once, not only because he has by having obtained eternal redemption by one offering, and by having made an expiation for sin by his blood, sanctified the faithful for ever; but also in order that a mutual likeness may exist between us. For though spiritual death makes continual advances in us, we are yet said properly to die only once, that is, when Christ, reconciling us by his blood to the Father, regenerates us at the same time by the power of his Spirit.

But that he lives, etc. Whether you add with or in God, it comes to the same meaning; for he shows that Christ lives a life subject to no mortality in the immortal and incorruptible kingdom of God; a type of which ought to appear in the regeneration of the godly. We must here remember the particle of likeness, so; for he says not that we shall now live in heaven, as Christ lives there; but he makes the new life, which after regeneration we live on earth, similar to his celestial life. When he says that we ought to die to sin, according to his example, we are not to suppose it to be the same kind of death; for we die to sin, when sin dies in us, but it was otherwise with Christ; by dying it was that he conquered sin. But he had just said before, that we believe that we shall have life in common with him, he fully shows by the word believing that he speaks of the grace of Christ: for if he only reminded us of a duty, his mode of speaking would have been this, “Since we die with Christ, we ought also to live with him.” But the word believing denotes that he treats here of doctrine which is based on the promises; as though he had said, that the faithful ought to feel assured that they are through the kindness of Christ dead as to the flesh, and that the same Christ will preserve them in newness of life to the end. But the future time of the verb live, refers not to the last resurrection, but simply denotes the continued course of a new life, as long as we peregrinate on the earth.

11. So count ye also yourselves, etc. Now is added a definition of that analogy to which I have referred. For having stated that Christ once died to sin and lives for ever to God, he now, applying both to us, reminds us how we now die while living, that is, when we renounce sin. But he omits not the other part, that is, how we are to live after having by faith received the grace of Christ: for though the mortifying of the flesh is only begun in us, yet the life of sin is destroyed, so that afterwards spiritual newness, which is divine, continues perpetually. For except Christ were to slay sin in us at once to the end, his grace would by no means be sure and durable.

The meaning, then, of the words may be thus expressed, “Take this view of your case, — that as Christ once died for the purpose of destroying sin, so you have once died, that in future you may cease from sin; yea, you must daily proceed with that work of mortifying, which is begun in you, till sin be wholly destroyed: as Christ is raised to an incorruptible life, so you are regenerated by the grace of God, that you may lead a life of holiness and righteousness, inasmuch as the power of the Holy Spirit, by which ye have been renewed, is eternal, and shall ever continue the same.” But I prefer to retain the words of Paul, in Christ Jesus, rather than to translate with Erasmus, through Christ Jesus; for thus the grafting, which makes us one with Christ, is better expressed.


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