Bible Commentaries
Romans 6

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

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Verses 1-23


“Wherefore” leads back to chapter 3, where the apostle is referring to the sinful condition of all men. It was by one man that sin entered the world bringing physical death as a penalty, and that all have sinned is proven by the fact that all have paid that penalty (Romans 5:12 ). To be sure the law was not given to Moses till Sinai, but as “death reigned from Adam to Moses,” it is evident that there was a transgression of another law than that written on stone, for “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Romans 5:13 ). For the nature of this other law compare again Romans 2:15 .

But as sin came through the first Adam, so the gift of righteousness came through the second Adam. It was just one offense that brought the condemnation, but the gift of righteousness covers “many offences” (Romans 5:16 ; Romans 5:19 ). It was the giving of the law at Sinai that revealed how many these offences were (Romans 5:20 ) for “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20 ). Nevertheless, though sin was thus seen to abound, yet “grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20 ). “Sin” as used here is different from “sins,” the former referring to our fallen nature, and the latter to manifestations of that nature.

What Paul had said about grace abounding where sin abounded, might lead an uninstructed mind to infer that it put a premium on sin. Or in other words, if man were justified by faith only, what provision was made for a change of character? How did salvation by grace affect one’s experience as well as his standing before God? Chapters 6 to 8 work out this thought as follows.


The believer is identified with Christ in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:1-10 ). The baptism into Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3 ), is the pentecostal experience which becomes the birthright of every believer the moment he believes. He is then baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of which Christ is the Head (1 Corinthians 12:13 ); and being so baptized he is considered as one with Christ as any member of a human body is one with the head of that body. This means of course, that he is regarded in God’s sight as having died when Christ died he was “baptized into His death.” The sequel however, must be equally true, and he is regarded as having risen from the dead when Christ rose. Hence he is now in a legal or judicial sense walking before God “in newness of life.” Being dead he “is freed from sin” (Romans 6:7 ), i.e., having legally died in Christ when Christ died just as every member of a body dies when its head dies, he has paid the penalty of his sin in Christ, and having now arisen in Christ after the payment of that penalty, “death hath no more dominion over him” (Romans 6:9 ), he has not again to pay the penalty of sin.

It is now his duty to reckon this to be true, and no longer to allow sin to reign in his “mortal body” (Romans 6:11 ). The way to accomplish this is not by efforts and resolutions on his part, but by yielding his new life unto God. He yields his new life by yielding the members of his body unto God his eyes, ears, tongue, hands, feet, brain, etc. (Romans 6:13 ).

The result will be his deliverance from the dominion of sin God will see to it (Romans 6:14 ). The old relation of the man to the law of sin, and his new relation to Christ are illustrated by the effect of death upon servitude (Romans 6:16-23 ). The old servitude was rendered to sin the end of which was death. But death in another form, i.e., crucifixion with Christ, has now intervened to free the servant from sin, and enable him to become the servant of God, with “fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22 ). The relationship is next illustrated by marriage (Romans 7:1-6 ). Death dissolves the marriage relationship, and as natural death flees a wife from the law of her husband, so crucifixion with Christ sets the believer free from the law, or rather its penalty resting upon him on account of his sin.

“Newness of spirit” and “oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6 ) are expressions requiring a word of comment as we meet with them again in another epistle. By the “letter” is meant the Mosaic law, and by the “spirit” the power and relationships of the new life in Christ Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 3:6 ).


1. What is the significance of “wherefore” at the beginning of this lesson?

2. How is it proven that all men have sinned?

3. Did you cross-reference 2:17?

4. What is the distinction between “sin” and “sins”?

5. What thought is it that chapters 6-8 are working out?

6. What is the meaning of “baptized into Jesus Christ?”

7. How may the dethronement of sin be accomplished in a believer?

8. What two illustrations of this truth are employed in this lesson?

9. Describe “oldness of letter” and “newness of spirit.”

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Romans 6". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. 1897-1910.