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Chapter 6

6:1 What shall we say then? [ti oun eroumen?]. “A debater’s phrase” (Morison). Yes, and an echo of the rabbinical method of question and answer, but also an expression of exultant victory of grace versus sin. But Paul sees the possible perversion of this glorious grace. Shall we continue in sin? [epimenōmen tēi hamartiāi?]. Present active deliberative subjunctive of [epimenō], old verb to tarry as in Ephesus (1Co 16:8) with locative case. The practice of sin as a habit (present tense) is here raised. That grace may abound [hina hē charis pteonasēi]. Final clause with ingressive aorist subjunctive, to set free the superfluity of grace alluded to like putting money in circulation. Horrible thought [mē genoito] and yet Paul faced it. There are occasionally so-called pietists who actually think that God’s pardon gives them liberty to sin without penalty (cf. the sale of indulgences that stirred Martin Luther).

6:2 Died to sin [apethanomen tēi hamartiāi]. Second aorist active of [apothnēskō] and the dative case. When we surrendered to Christ and took him as Lord and Saviour. Qualitative relative [hoitines], we the very ones who). How [pōs]. Rhetorical question.

6:3 Were baptized into Christ [ebaptisthēmen eis Christon]. First aorist passive indicative of [baptizō]. Better, “were baptized unto Christ or in Christ.” The translation “into” makes Paul say that the union with Christ was brought to pass by means of baptism, which is not his idea, for Paul was not a sacramentarian. [Eis] is at bottom the same word as [en]. Baptism is the public proclamation of one’s inward spiritual relation to Christ attained before the baptism. See on Ga 3:27 where it is like putting on an outward garment or uniform. Into his death [eis ton thanaton autou]. So here “unto his death,” “in relation to his death,” which relation Paul proceeds to explain by the symbolism of the ordinance.

6:4 We were buried therefore with him by means of baptism unto death [sunetaphēmen oun autōi dia tou baptismatos eis ton thanaton]. Second aorist passive indicative of [sunthaptō], old verb to bury together with, in N.T. only here and Col 2:12. With associative instrumental case [autōi] and “by means of baptism unto death” as in verse 3. In newness of life [en kainotēti zōēs]. The picture in baptism points two ways, backwards to Christ’s death and burial and to our death to sin (verse 1), forwards to Christ’s resurrection from the dead and to our new life pledged by the coming out of the watery grave to walk on the other side of the baptismal grave (F. B. Meyer). There is the further picture of our own resurrection from the grave. It is a tragedy that Paul’s majestic picture here has been so blurred by controversy that some refuse to see it. It should be said also that a symbol is not the reality, but the picture of the reality.

6:5 For if we have become united with him by the likeness of his death [ei gar sumphutoi gegonamen tōi homoiōmati tou thanatou autou]. Condition of the first class, assumed to be true. [Sumphutoi] is old verbal adjective from [sumphuō], to grow together. Baptism as a picture of death and burial symbolizes our likeness to Christ in his death. We shall be also united in the likeness of his resurrection [alla kai tēs anastaseōs esometha]. The conclusion to the previous condition introduced by [alla kai] as often and [toi homoiōmati] (in the likeness) must be understood before [tēs anastaseōs] (of his resurrection). Baptism is a picture of the past and of the present and a prophecy of the future, the matchless preacher of the new life in Christ.

6:6 Our old man [ho palaios hēmōn anthrōpos]. Only in Paul (here, Col 3:9; Eph 4:22). Was crucified with him [sunestaurōthē]. See on Ga 2:19 for this boldly picturesque word. This took place not at baptism, but only pictured there. It took place when “we died to sin” (verse 1). The body of sin [to sōma tēs hamartias]. “The body of which sin has taken possession” (Sanday and Headlam), the body marked by sin. That so we should no longer be in bondage to sin [tou mēketi douleuein hēmas tēi hamartiāi]. Purpose clause with [tou] and the present active infinitive of [douleuō], continue serving sin (as slaves). Adds “slavery” to living in sin (verse 2).

6:7 Is justified [dedikaiōtai]. Perfect passive indicative of [dikaioō], stands justified, set free from, adding this great word to death and life of verses 1, 2.

6:8 With Christ [sun Christōi]. As pictured by baptism, the crucifixion with Christ of verse 6.

6:9 Dieth no more [ouketi apothnēskei]. “Christ’s particular death occurs but once” (Shedd). See Heb 10:10. A complete refutation of the “sacrificial” character of the “mass.”

6:10 The death that he died [ho apethanen]. Neuter relative, cognative accusative with [apethanen]. Once [ephapax]. Once and once only (Heb 9:26f.), not [pote] (once upon a time). The life that he liveth [ho zēi]. Cognate accusative of the relative.

6:11 Reckon ye also yourselves [kai humeis logizesthe]. Direct middle imperative of [logizomai] and complete proof that Paul does not mean that baptism makes one dead to sin and alive to God. That is a spiritual operation “in Christ Jesus” and only pictured by baptism. This is a plea to live up to the ideal of the baptized life.

6:12 Reign [basileuetō]. Present active imperative, “let not sin continue to reign” as it did once (5:12). Mortal [thnētoi]. Verbal adjective from [thnēskō], subject to death. The reign of sin is over with you. Self-indulgence is inconsistent with trust in the vicarious atonement. That ye should obey [eis to hupakouein]. With a view to obeying.

6:13 Neither present [mēde paristanete]. Present active imperative in prohibition of [paristanō], late form of [paristēmi], to place beside. Stop presenting your members or do not have the habit of doing so, “do not go on putting your members to sin as weapons of unrighteousness.” Instruments [hopla]. Old word for tools of any kind for shop or war (Joh 18:3; 2Co 6:7; 10:4; Ro 13:12). Possibly here figure of two armies arrayed against each other (Ga 5:16-24), and see [hopla dikaiosunēs] below. The two sets of [hopla] clash. But present yourselves unto God [alla parastēsate heautous tōi theōi]. First aorist active imperative of [paristēmi], same verb, but different tense, do it now and completely. Our “members” [melē] should be at the call of God “as alive from the dead.”

6:14 Shall not have dominion [ou kurieusei]. Future active indicative of [kurieuō], old verb from [kurios], “shall not lord it over you,” even if not yet wholly dead. Cf. 2Co 1:24.

6:15 What then? [ti oun?]. Another turn in the argument about the excess of grace. Shall we sin? [hamartesōmen?]. First aorist active deliberative subjunctive of [hamartanō]. “Shall we commit sin” (occasional acts of sin as opposed to the life of sin as raised by [epimenōmen tēi hamartiāi] in verse 1)? Because [hoti]. The same reason as in verse 1 and taken up from the very words in verse 14. Surely, the objector says, we may take a night off now and then and sin a little bit “since we are under grace.”

6:16 His servants ye are whom ye obey [douloi este hōi hupakouete]. Bondservants, slaves of the one whom ye obey, whatever one’s profession may be, traitors, spies sometimes they are called. As Paul used the figure to illustrate death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ and not in sin, so now he uses slavery against the idea of occasional lapses into sin. Loyalty to Christ will not permit occasional crossing over to the other side to Satan’s line.

6:17 Whereas ye were [ēte]. Imperfect but no “whereas” in the Greek. Paul is not grateful that they were once slaves of sin, but only that, though they once were, they turned from that state. To that form of doctrine whereunto ye were delivered [eis hon paredothēte tupon didachēs]. Incorporation of the antecedent [tupon didachēs] into the relative clause: “to which form of doctrine ye were delivered.” See on 5:14 for [tupon]. It is hardly proper to take “form” here to refer to Paul’s gospel (2:16), possibly an allusion to the symbolism of baptism which was the outward sign of the separation.

6:18 Ye became servants of righteousness [edoulōthēte tēi dikaiosunēi]. First aorist passive indicative of [douloō], to enslave. “Ye were made slaves to righteousness.” You have simply changed masters, no longer slaves of sin (set free from that tyrant), but ye are slaves of righteousness. There is no middle ground, no “no man’s land” in this war.

6:19 I speak after the manner of men [anthrōpinon legō]. “I speak a human word.” He begs pardon for using “slaving” in connection with righteousness. But it is a good word, especially for our times when self-assertiveness and personal liberty bulk so large in modern speech. See 3:5; Ga 3:15 where he uses [kata anthrōpon]. Because of the infirmity of your flesh [dia tēn astheneian tēs sarkos humōn]. Because of defective spiritual insight largely due to moral defects also. Servants to uncleanness [doula tēi akatharsiāi]. Neuter plural form of [doulos] to agree with [melē] (members). Patently true in sexual sins, in drunkenness, and all fleshly sins, absolutely slaves like narcotic fiends. So now [houtōs nun]. Now that you are born again in Christ. Paul uses twice again the same verb [paristēmi], to present [parestēsate, parastēsate]. Servants to righteousness [doula tēi dikaiosunēi]. Repeats the idea of verse 18. Unto sanctification [eis hagiasmon]. This the goal, the blessed consummation that demands and deserves the new slavery without occasional lapses or sprees (verse 15). This late word appears only in LXX, N.T., and ecclesiastical writers so far. See on 1Th 4:3; 1Co 1:30. Paul includes sanctification in his conception of the God-kind (1:17) of righteousness (both justification, 1:18-5:21 and sanctification, chapters 6-8). It is a life process of consecration, not an instantaneous act. Paul shows that we ought to be sanctified (6:1-7:6) and illustrates the obligation by death (6:1-14), by slavery (6:15-23), and by marriage (7:1-6).

6:20 Free in regard of righteousness [eleutheroi tēi dikaiosunēi]. Ye wore no collar of righteousness, but freely did as ye pleased. They were “free.” Note dative case, personal relation, of [dikaiosunēi].

6:21 What fruit then had ye at that time? [tina oun karpon eichete tote?]. Imperfect active, used to have. A pertinent question. Ashes in their hands now. They are ashamed now of the memory of them. The end of them is death.

6:22 Ye have your fruit unto sanctification [echete ton karpon humōn eis hagiasmon]. Freedom from sin and slavery to God bring permanent fruit that leads to sanctification. And the end eternal life [to de telos zōēn aiōnion]. Note accusative case [zōēn aiōnion], object of [echete] (ye have), though [thanatos] in contrast above is nominative.

6:23 Wages [opsōnia]. Late Greek for wages of soldier, here of sin. See on Lu 3:14; 1Co 9:7; 2Co 11:8. Sin pays its wages in full with no cut. But eternal life is God’s gift [charisma], not wages. Both [thanatos] and [zōēn] are eternal [aiōnion].

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