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6. Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

16. By no means: know ye not? This is not a bare denial as some think, as though he preferred to express his abhorrence of such a question rather than to disprove it: for a confutation immediately follows, derived from a contrary supposition, and to this purpose, “Between the yoke of Christ and that of sin there is so much contrariety, that no one can bear them both; if we sin, we give ourselves up to the service of sin; but the faithful, on the contrary have been redeemed from the tyranny of sin, that they may serve Christ: it is therefore impossible for them to remain bound to sin.” But it will be better to examine more closely the course of reasoning, as pursued by Paul.

To whom we obey, etc. This relative may be taken in a causative sense, as it often is; as when one says, — there is no kind of crime which a parricide will not do, who has not hesitated to commit the greatest crime of all, and so barbarous as to be almost abhorred even by wild beasts. And Paul adduces his reason partly from the effects, and partly from the nature of correlatives. For first, if they obey, he concludes that they are servants, for obedience proves that he, who thus brings one into subjection to himself, has the power of commanding. This reason as to service is from the effect, and from this the other arises. “If you be servants, then of course sin has the dominion.”

Or of obedience, etc. The language is not strictly correct; for if he wished to have the clauses correspondent, he would have said, “or of righteousness unto life” 195195     Beza’s remark on this is, — that obedience is not the cause of life, as sin is of death, but is the way to life: and hence the want of correspondence in the two clauses. But others, such as Venema, Turrettin, and Stuart, consider that the clauses really correspond. They take εἰς θάνατον — “unto death,” as signifying, unto condemnation; and εἰς δικαιοσύνην, they render “unto justification;” and ὑπακόη, “obedience,” is in their view the obedience of faith. This construction might be admitted, were it not for the last clause of Romans 6:18, where we have, “Ye became the servants of righteousness,” the same word, δικαιοσύνη; except we consider that also, as Venema does, as signifying the righteousness of faith, by a sort of personification: and if so, we must attach the same meaning to “righteousness” δικαιοσύνη, in Romans 6:19, which issues in, or leads to holiness; and also to “righteousness,” δικαιοσύνη, in verse 20. As the Apostle personifies sin, he may also be supposed to personify righteousness, that is, the righteousness of faith. In this case, we might as well retain the word “righteousness” in this verse, and not justification, which it never strictly means; for the correspondence in the terms would be still essentially preserved, as with the righteousness of faith eternal life is inseparably connected. — Ed. But as the change in the words does not prevent the understanding of the subject, he preferred to express what righteousness is by the word obedience; in which however there is a metonymy, for it is to be taken for the very commandments of God; and by mentioning this without addition, he intimated that it is God alone, to whose authority consciences ought to be subject. Obedience then, though the name of God is suppressed, is yet to be referred to him, for it cannot be a divided obedience.


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