1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
1. Quid ergo dicemus? manebimus in peccato, ut gratia abundet?
2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
2. Ne sit ita: qui mortui sumus peccato, quomodo adhuc vivemus in eo?
The Apostle now takes notice of that most common objection against the preaching of divine grace, which is this, -- "That if it be true, that the more bountifully and abundantly will the grace of God aid us, the more completely we are overwhelmed with the mass of sin; then nothing is better for us than to be sunk into the depth of sin, and often to provoke God's wrath with new offenses; for then at length we shall find more abounding grace; than which nothing better can be desired." The refutation of this we shall here after meet with.
1 This phrase, "died to sin," is evidently misapprehended by Haldane. Having been offended, and justly so, by an unguarded and erroneous expression of Stuart, derived from Chrysostom, and by the false rendering of Macknight, he went to another extreme, and maintained, that to die, or to be dead to sin, means to be freed from its guilt, while the whole context proves, that it means deliverance from its power as a master, from the servitude or bondage of sin. To live in it, does not mean to live under its guilt, but in its service and under its ruling power; and this is what the Apostle represents as a contrast to being dead to sin. Not to "serve sin," in Romans 6:6, is its true explanation. See also Romans 6:11, 12, and 14.
The very argument requires this meaning. The question in the first verse, -- Shall we continue in sin?" does not surely mean -- shall we continue in or under the guilt of sin? but in its service, and in the practice of it. It was the chapter of practical licentiousness that the Apostle rebuts; and he employs an argument suitable to the purpose, "If we are dead to sin, freed from it as our master, how absurd it is to suppose that we can live any longer in its service?" Then be shows in what follows how this had been effected. This is clearly the import of the passage, and so taken by almost all commentators.
But it must be added, that Venema and Chalmers materially agree with Haldane. The former says that to "die to sin" is to give to sin what it demands and that is, death; and that when this is given, it can require nothing more. In this sense, he adds, Christ died to sin (Romans 6:10); and in the same sense believers die to sin, being, as they are, united to Christ, his death being viewed as their death. However true this theology may be, (and Chalmers shows this in his own inimitable manner,) it does not seem to be taught here: though there may be something in one or two expressions to favor it; yet the whole tenor of the passage, and many of the phrase, seem clearly to constrain us to adopt the other view. -- Ed.