World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.

Select a resource above

4. We have then been buried with him, etc. He now begins to indicate the object of our having been baptized into the death of Christ, though he does not yet completely unfold it; and the object is — that we, being dead to ourselves, may become new creatures. He rightly makes a transition from a fellowship in death to a fellowship in life; for these two things are connected together by an indissoluble knot — that the old man is destroyed by the death of Christ, and that his resurrection brings righteousness, and renders us new creatures. And surely, since Christ has been given to us for life, to what purpose is it that we die with him except that we may rise to a better life? And hence for no other reason does he slay what is mortal in us, but that he may give us life again.

Let us know, that the Apostle does not simply exhort us to imitate Christ, as though he had said that the death of Christ is a pattern which all Christians are to follow; for no doubt he ascends higher, as he announces a doctrine, with which he connects, as it is evident, an exhortation; and his doctrine is this — that the death of Christ is efficacious to destroy and demolish the depravity of our flesh, and his resurrection, to effect the renovation of a better nature, and that by baptism we are admitted into a participation of this grace. This foundation being laid, Christians may very suitably be exhorted to strive to respond to their calling. Farther, it is not to the point to say, that this power is not apparent in all the baptized; for Paul, according to his usual manner, where he speaks of the faithful, connects the reality and the effect with the outward sign; for we know that whatever the Lord offers by the visible symbol is confirmed and ratified by their faith. In short, he teaches what is the real character of baptism when rightly received. So he testifies to the Galatians, that all who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27.) Thus indeed must we speak, as long as the institution of the Lord and the faith of the godly unite together; for we never have naked and empty symbols, except when our ingratitude and wickedness hinder the working of divine beneficence. 185185     That the mode of baptism, immersion, is intimated by “buried,” has been thought by most, by Chrysostom, Augustine, Hammond, Pareus, Mede, Grotius, Doddridge, Chalmers, and others; while some, such as Scott, Stuart, and Hodge, do not consider this as necessarily intended, the word “buried” having been adopted to express more fully what is meant by being “dead,” and there being another word, “planted,” used to convey the same idea, which cannot be applied to the rite of baptism.
   “Buried with him,” means buried like him, or in like manner; and so “crucified with him,” in Romans 6:6, is the same: συν prefixed to verbs, has clearly this meaning. See Romans 8:17; Colossians 3:1; 2 Timothy 2:11. “Into death” is not to be connected with “planted,” but with “baptism,” it was “a baptism into death,’ that is, which represented death, even death unto sin. — Ed.

By the glory of the Father, that is, by that illustrious power by which he exhibited himself as really glorious, and as it were manifested the greatness of his glory. Thus often is the power of God, which was exercised in the resurrection of Christ, set forth in Scripture in sublime terms, and not without reason; for it is of great importance, that by so explicit a record of the ineffable power of God, not only faith in the last resurrection, which far exceeds the perception of the flesh, but also as to other benefits which we receive from the resurrection of Christ, should be highly commended to us. 186186     Beza takes διὰ, by, before “glory,” in the sense of εἰς, to, “to the glory of the Father;” but this is unusual. It seems to be a metonymy, the effect for the cause: it was done by power which manifested and redounded to the glory of God. The word “glory, δόξα, is used for power in John 11:40. The Hebrew word, עוז strength, power, is sometimes rendered δόξα by the Septuagint; see Psalm 68:34; Isaiah 12:2; 45:24. God’s power is often expressly mentioned in connection with the resurrection; See 1 Corinthians 6:14, 2 Corinthians 13:4; Colossians 1:11. — Ed.

5. For if we have been ingrafted, etc. He strengthens in plainer words the argument he has already stated; for the similitude which he mentions leaves now nothing doubtful, inasmuch as grafting designates not only a conformity of example, but a secret union, by which we are joined to him; so that he, reviving us by his Spirit, transfers his own virtue to us. Hence as the graft has the same life or death in common with the tree into which it is ingrafted, so it is reasonable that we should be partakers of the life no less than of the death of Christ; for if we are ingrafted according to the likeness of Christ’s death, which was not without a resurrection, then our death shall not be without a resurrection. But the words admit of a twofold explanation, — either that we are ingrafted in Christ into the likeness of his death, or, that we are simply ingrafted in its likeness. The first reading would require the Greek dative ὁμοιώματι, to be understood as pointing out the manner; nor do I deny but that it has a fuller meaning: but as the other harmonizes more with simplicity of expression, I have preferred it; though it signifies but little, as both come to the same meaning. Chrysostom thought that Paul used the expression, “likeness of death,” for death, as he says in another place, “being made in the likeness of men.” But it seems to me that there is something more significant in the expression; for it not only serves to intimate a resurrection, but it seems also to indicate this — that we die not like Christ a natural death, but that there is a similarity between our and his death; for as he by death died in the flesh, which he had assumed from us, so we also die in ourselves, that we may live in him. It is not then the same, but a similar death; for we are to notice the connection between the death of our present life and spiritual renovation.

Ingrafted, etc. There is great force in this word, and it clearly shows, that the Apostle does not exhort, but rather teach us what benefit we derive from Christ; for he requires nothing from us, which is to be done by our attention and diligence, but speaks of the grafting made by the hand of God. But there is no reason why you should seek to apply the metaphor or comparison in every particular; for between the grafting of trees, and this which is spiritual, a disparity will soon meet us: in the former the graft draws its aliment from the root, but retains its own nature in the fruit; but in the latter not only we derive the vigor and nourishment of life from Christ, but we also pass from our own to his nature. The Apostle, however, meant to express nothing else but the efficacy of the death of Christ, which manifests itself in putting to death our flesh, and also the efficacy of his resurrection, in renewing within us a spiritual nature. 187187     The word σύμφυτοι, is rendered insititii by Calvin, and the same by Erasmus, Pareus, and Hammond. The Vulgate has “complantati — planted together; Beza, “cum eo plantati coaluimus — being planted with him we grow together;” Doddridge, “grow together;” and Macknight, “planted together.” The word properly means either to grow together, or to be born together; and φύω never means to graft. It is only found here; and it is applied by the Septuagint, in Zechariah 11:2, to a forest growing together. The verb συμφύω is once used in Luke 8:7, and refers to the thorns which sprang up with the corn. It occurs as a participle in the same sense in the Wisdom of Solomon, 13:13. It appears from Wolfius that the word is used by Greek authors in a sense not strictly literal, to express congeniality, conjoining, union, as the sameness of disposition, or the joining together of a dismembered limb, or, as Grotius says, the union of friendship. It might be so taken here, and the verse might be thus rendered, —
   For if we have been united (or, connected) by a similarity to his death, we shall certainly be also united by a similarity to his resurrection.

   The genitive case here may be regarded as that of the object, as the love of God means sometimes love to God. Evidently the truth intended to be conveyed is, that as the Christian’s death to sin bears likeness to Christ’s death, so his rising to a spiritual life is certain to bear a similar likeness to Christ’s resurrection. Then in the following verses this is more fully explained.

   “The Apostle,” says Beza, “uses the future tense, ‘we shall be,’ because we are not as yet wholly dead, or wholly risen, but are daily emerging.” But the future here, as Stuart remarks, may be considered as expressing what is to follow the death previously mentioned, or as designating an obligation, as in Matthew 4:10; Luke 3:10, 12, 14; or a certainty as to the result. — Ed.

6. That our old man, etc. The old man, as the Old Testament is so called with reference to the New; for he begins to be old, when he is by degrees destroyed by a commencing regeneration. But what he means is the whole nature which we bring from the womb, and which is so incapable of the kingdom of God, that it must so far die as we are renewed to real life. This old man, he says, is fastened to the cross of Christ, for by its power he is slain: and he expressly referred to the cross, that he might more distinctly show, that we cannot be otherwise put to death than by partaking of his death. For I do not agree with those who think that he used the word crucified, rather than dead, because he still lives, and is in some respects vigorous. It is indeed a correct sentiment, but not suitable to this passage. The body of sin, which he afterwards mentions, does not mean flesh and bones, but the corrupted mass; for man, left to his own nature, is a mass made up of sin. 188188     It is thought by Pareus and others, that “body” is here assigned to “sin,” in allusion to the crucifixion that is mentioned, as a body in that case is fixed to the cross, and that it means the whole congeries, or, as Calvin calls it, the whole mass of sins, such as pride, passion, lust, etc. But the reason for using the word “body,” is more probably this, because he called innate sin, man — “the old man;” and what properly belongs to man is a body. The “body of sin” is a Hebraism, and signifies a sinful body. It has no special reference to the material body, as Origen thought. The “man” here is to be taken in a spiritual sense, as one who has a mind, reason, and affections: therefore the body which belongs to him must be of the same character: it is the whole of what appertains to “the old man,” as he is corrupt and sinful, the whole of what is earthly, wicked, and depraved in him. It is the sinful body of the old man. — Ed.

He points out the end for which this destruction is effected, when he says, so that we may no longer serve sin. It hence follows, that as long as we are children of Adam, and nothing more than men, we are in bondage to sin, that we can do nothing else but sin; but that being grafted in Christ, we are delivered from this miserable thraldom; not that we immediately cease entirely to sin, but that we become at last victorious in the contest.