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Dying and Rising with Christ


What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Slaves of Righteousness

15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1. What then shall we say? Throughout this chapter the Apostle proves, that they who imagine that gratuitous righteousness is given us by him, apart from newness of life, shamefully rend Christ asunder: nay, he goes further, and refers to this objection, — that there seems in this case to be an opportunity for the display of grace, if men continued fixed in sin. We indeed know that nothing is more natural than that the flesh should indulge itself under any excuse, and also that Satan should invent all kinds of slander, in order to discredit the doctrine of grace; which to him is by no means difficult. For since everything that is announced concerning Christ seems very paradoxical to human judgment, it ought not to be deemed a new thing, that the flesh, hearing of justification by faith, should so often strike, as it were, against so many stumbling-stones. Let us, however, go on in our course; nor let Christ be suppressed, because he is to many a stone of offense, and a rock of stumbling; for as he is for ruin to the ungodly, so he is to the godly for a resurrection. We ought, at the same time, ever to obviate unreasonable questions, lest the Christian faith should appear to contain anything absurd.

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.

2. By no means. To some the Apostle seems to have only intended indignantly to reprove a madness so outrageous; but it appears from other places that he commonly used an answer of this kind, even while carrying on a long argument; as indeed he does here, for he proceeds carefully to disprove the propounded slander. He, however, first rejects it by an indignant negative, in order to impress it on the minds of his readers, that nothing can be more inconsistent than that the grace of Christ, the repairer of our righteousness, should nourish our vices.

Who have died to sin, etc. An argument derived from what is of an opposite character. “He who sins certainly lives to sin; we have died to sin through the grace of Christ; then it is false, that what abolishes sin gives vigor to it.” The state of the case is really this, — that the faithful are never reconciled to God without the gift of regeneration; nay, we are for this end justified, — that we may afterwards serve God in holiness of life. Christ indeed does not cleanse us by his blood, nor render God propitious to us by his expiation, in any other way than by making us partakers of his Spirit, who renews us to a holy life. It would then be a most strange inversion of the work of God were sin to gather strength on account of the grace which is offered to us in Christ; for medicine is not a feeder of the disease, which it destroys. 183183     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 he 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 phrases, seem clearly to constrain us to adopt the other view. — Ed.
We must further bear in mind, what I have already referred to — that Paul does not state here what God finds us to be, when he calls us to an union with his Son, but what it behoves us to be, after he has had mercy on us, and has freely adopted us; for by an adverb, denoting a future time, he shows what kind of change ought to follow righteousness.

3. Know ye not, etc. What he intimated in the last verse — that Christ destroys sin in his people, he proves here by mentioning the effect of baptism, by which we are initiated into his faith; for it is beyond any question, that we put on Christ in baptism, and that we are baptized for this end — that we may be one with him. But Paul takes up another principle — that we are then really united to the body of Christ, when his death brings forth in us its fruit; yea, he teaches us, that this fellowship as to death is what is to be mainly regarded in baptism; for not washing alone is set forth in it, but also the putting to death and the dying of the old man. It is hence evident, that when we become partakers of the grace of Christ, immediately the efficacy of his death appears. But the benefit of this fellowship as to the death of Christ is described in what follows. 184184     “Baptized into (εἰς) Christ,” “baptized into (εἰς) Moses,” 1 Corinthians 10:2, “baptized into (εἰς) one body,” 1 Corinthians 12:13, are all the same forms of expression, and must mean, that by the rite of baptism a professed union is made, and, in the two first instances, a submission to the authority exercised is avowed. By “baptized into his death,” we are to understand, “baptized,” in order to die with him, or to die as he died; not that the death is the same; for it is a like death, as it is expressed in Romans 6:5, as the resurrection is a like resurrection. His death was natural, ours is spiritual; the same difference holds as to the resurrection. It is the likeness that is throughout to be regarded; and this is the key to the whole passage. It is true, that through the efficacy of Christ’s death alone the death of his people takes place, and through the operation of his Spirit; but to teach this is not the design of the Apostle here; his object seems to be merely to show that a change takes place in every true Christian, symbolized by baptism, and that this change bears a likeness to the death and resurrection of our Savior. He speaks of baptism here not merely as a symbol, but as including what it symbolizes; as he does in a similar passage, Colossians 2:11, 12, where he refers to this change, first under the symbol of circumcision, and then of baptism; which clearly proves that the same thing is signified by both. — Ed.

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.

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