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the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 6

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verses 1-2


That we should continue to live in sin? In chapter 5 Paul showed us that man’s sin provided a reason and a need for God’s grace and mercy. Some said. “If that is true, then the more we sin, the more God can show his grace. Certainly not! [God forbid is not in the Greek.] Paul makes this plain: the Christian life begins with death to sin. In the next few verses, Paul shows us that in the act of baptism, we died to sin and divorced ourselves from it, and that we have been sealed with the death of Christ (see note on Revelation 7:2-3).

Verse 3


For surely you know this. He reminds them that they already know the meaning of baptism. When we were baptized into union. John Wesley wrote: “In baptism we, through faith, are ingrafted into Christ; and we draw new spiritual life from this new root, through his Spirit, who fashions us like unto him, and particularly with regard to his death and resurrection.” Into union with his death. We contact the death of Christ in the act of baptism.

Verse 4


We were buried with him and shared his death. A burial implies death. Baptism is a burial. As death and burial terminate physical life, Paul reasons, so should baptism into Christ terminate our “love affair” with sin. [The original mode of baptism was immersion – a burial in water (and the Spirit, John 3:5).] In order that. God’s power raised Christ from death. He now lives a new life in heaven. Paul says this is what our baptism means to us. We die to sin, are buried, and raise from the liquid grave to live a new life. Compare 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Verse 5


For if we became one with him. “Being raised to life” is understood as a spiritual raising from death. The next verses show this. “You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins” (see Colossians 2:11-13). We reach out through faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ to make ourselves part of it. In the climax which is baptism, we die with Christ and are raised to life with Christ.

Verse 6


And we know this. In our baptism we were crucified with Christ. The power of the sinful self. Sin has taken possession of our bodies. When we are “crucified,” sin can no longer make us its slave. As the crucified body of Christ was insensitive to external forces, so in our being crucified with Christ, we no longer respond to sin. [This does not mean we lose the ability to sin. Compare Colossians 3:5; 1 John 1:8-10. Luther says: “This teaches us that we are not so utterly freed from sin by faith that we can be idle, lazy and secure, as though sin did no longer exist.”]

Verse 7


For when a person dies. The claim sin has over a person, ends at death. The death of a slave terminated his period of slavery.

Verse 8


That we will also live with him. Paul returns to his main line of reasoning. In baptism, the burial in the liquid grave climaxes in EMERGING from the water. This is both a symbolic and a real resurrection from the dead.

Verse 9


For we know. When Christ raised from death, death had no more claim over him. He now lives forever!!! We who have shared his death, must also share his eternal life!!! [On the time factor, see 1 John 3:1-3.] Notice this also applies to the kind of life we live right now (compare 1 Corinthians 6:15-20).

Verse 10


The death he died was death to sin. Before Christ died, he was tempted in every way that we are (Hebrews 4:15), and on the Cross was made to share our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; compare Leviticus 16:21-22). After he died, sin could no longer make him its victim. Note that Christ raised from death in his BODY and went up to God in his resurrection BODY.

Verse 11


In the same way. This is the application of the first part of this chapter. The ESSENCE of our faith is a union to him in which his experience becomes ours. We die to sin in Christ’s death; we become alive to God in Christ’s resurrection [Sanctification is the believer taking justification seriously.]

Verse 12


Sin must no longer rule. This shows two possibilities: (1) one who has died with Christ and been raised to new life could still return to being the slave of sin (compare Hebrews 6:4-6); (2) one who is new in Christ has the option of living a holy life. [Not the ascetic life of human holiness, but the living sacrifice of God’s holiness.]

Verse 13


Any part of yourselves. The New Testament teaches a holistic view of man (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Greek thought viewed man as a soul imprisoned in a body of flesh. The New Testament views man as a UNITY of body, soul, and spirit. It makes a lot of difference in our conduct, whether we view our bodies as a prison or a “temple of the Holy Spirit.”

Verse 14


Sin must not rule. Law has no answer for the power of sin. It is not restraint, but inspiration, which sets us free from sin. But the way Paul says this raises the problem of Romans 3:8; Romans 4:1 again. He uses the rest of this chapter to settle this question.

Verse 15


What, then? Shall we sin? Since we are not ruled by commandments of law, but by the SENSE of what we owe God for his free gift of grace, are we then to make a habit of sin??? Since God set us free at the Cross, are we to make a habit of sin??? By no means! This is Paul’s inspired answer for all time! [God forbid is not in the Greek.]

Verse 16


That when you surrender yourselves. If we make ourselves slaves to sin, death is the wage we receive! But if through obedience we make ourselves slaves to God, we will be put right with him and receive all his promises!

Verse 17


But thanks be to God! Paul gives thanks to God that his readers have already made their choice – to obey God! The truths found in the teaching you received. Paul points back to their baptism as a point of obedience. All the apostles taught the same truths (the Good News), so we find a parallel to this in Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21 and notes.

Verse 18


You were set free from sin. When they died to sin and were baptized into union with Christ’s death (Romans 6:3-4). And became the slaves of righteousness. “You do not belong to yourselves but to God; he bought you for a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Verse 19


I use ordinary words. He apologizes for using the slave-master relationship of human society to teach them a spiritual truth, but their moral weakness (as seen in their past lives) makes it necessary. Slaves of righteousness. This means to take God’s work in Christ to set men free from sin as a serious matter! The Cross is not make-believe! The price paid shows God’s valuation of we human beings.

Verse 20


When you were slaves of sin. It is a reasonable thing to devote yourself to God in righteousness, because when you were a slave of sin, you gave no obedience to righteousness.

Verse 21


What did you gain? Results show true value. They are now ashamed of their sinful acts. Sin brings death (eternal separation from God)!

Verse 22


But now. Because you have died to sin and are no longer its slave. Your gain. The result of a life dedicated to God is eternal life!

Verse 23


For sin pays it wage – death. The slave of sin earns his own death. But God’s free gift. Man has no ability to earn eternal life. What he cannot do for himself, God offers as a free gift through Jesus Christ. All have the right to come, and to accept the water of life as a gift (Revelation 22:17).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 6". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/romans-6.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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