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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Romans 6

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

PRELIMINARY REMARKS ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF CHAPTERS6–8

After the Apostle has exhibited the antithesis of Adam and Christ in its principal or fundamental form and significance, Romans 5:12-21, he passes on to exhibit the same antithesis in all its consequences, first of all for believers, but then also for the whole world.

The negative side of this consequence is exhibited in Romans 6, 7 : The dying with Christ to sin and to the entire old form of life.

The positive side is exhibited in Romans 8 : The new life in Christ.

I. The first division is again divided into four parts.

A. As Christians have fundamentally (objectively by the death of Christ himself, and subjectively through the faith sealed by baptism) died with Christ to sin in order to walk in newness of life, so should they act as those who are dead to sin. For their new life is an organic connection with Christ, an organic development; yet it is not a life subject to fatalistic natural necessity, but, in conformity with fellowship with Christ, it is a life in true freedom, as life after Adam has been one in false freedom, or the seeming freedom of hard service. It is a religiously or ethically organic relation; Romans 6:1-11.

B. Because believers are dead to sin, they are free from its dominion. They should therefore take knowledge of the fact that they are delivered, and keep themselves from the bondage of sin; and in the power of their freedom, they should yield themselves under grace to be the servants of righteousness; Romans 6:12-23.

C. But their being dead to sin means also that they, as those who passed into newness of life, have received in themselves the new principle of life, which is righteousness, or the inward substance of the law. Therefore, by Christ, they are dead to the law in the narrower sense, in which they lived in matrimonial alliance. They should serve, not in outward ordinances, but inward principle—from the force of grace, the impulse of the heart; Romans 7:1-6.

D. But if to be dead to sin means also to be dead to the law, as well as the reverse, there follows nothing therefrom contrary to the holiness of the law. The law, rather, was designed, by its constant operation in awakening and increasing the conflict with sin, to effect the transition from the state of sin to the state of grace; Romans 7:7-25.

II. The second or positive part is thus prepared. The condition of believers is free from all condemnation, because, in harmony with its character, it is a life in the Spirit of Christ. But it is a life in the Spirit which is prepared by the Spirit through the glorification of the body and the whole nature; for the Spirit, as the Spirit of adoption, is the first security for it, and the believer is certain of it before-hand in blessed hope; chap8.

A. This life in the Spirit now demands, first of all, the laying off, in the conduct of the Christian, of all carnal lusts, which must, however, be distinguished from a positively ascetic mortification of the body; Romans 8:1-10.

B. As the Spirit of God testifies to adoption, so does it, as the Spirit of the risen Christ, secure the inheritance—that Isaiah, the renewal of the body, and the glorification of life; v Romans 8:11-17. The certainty of this blessed hope is established: a. On the development of life in this world, Romans 8:18-30; b. On the future or heavenly administration of the love of God and the grace of Christ, which make all the forces that apparently conflict with salvation even serviceable to its realization; Romans 8:31-39.

Meyer’s inscription over chaps6–8 is: “Ethical Effects of the δίχαιοσύνη θεοῦ. Chap6; 7 shows that the δικ., far from giving aid to immorality, is the first to exclude it, and to promote, restore, and vitalize virtue; and chap8 exhibits the blessed condition of those who, being justified, are morally free.” Tholuck: “It has been shown down to this point how much the Christian has received by that δικ. πιστ.; Romans 1:17. It is the mention of the fulness of grace called forth by the power of sin, that now leads the Apostle to exhibit the moral consequences of this communication of grace, which in turn leads him further (chap7). to the statement of the insufficiency of the legal economy; and in antithesis thereto (chap8), to the moral effects of the economy of grace and its saving issue; so that the Apostle, after amplifying and enriching the explanations between Romans 1:18 and chap5, returns to the same point with which chap5 concluded.” The Apostle does, indeed, return to the same point with which, not the whole of chap5 concluded, but with which Romans 5:11. concluded, but in a sense altogether different, inasmuch as from Romans 5:12 on, the Apostle brings out, not merely the actual antagonism of sin and grace in humanity, as before, but the principial antagonism of the two principles in its ethical and organic aspect.


Verses 1-11

Second Section.—The contradiction between sin and grace. The calling of Christians to newness of life, since they were translated by baptism into the death of Christ from the sphere of sin and death into the sphere of the new life.

Romans 6:1-11

1What shall we say then? Shall [May][FN1] we continue in sin, that grace may 2 abound? God forbid[Let it not be!].[FN2] How shall we, that are dead [who died]3to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as [all we who][FN3] were baptized into Jesus Christ [Christ Jesus][FN4] were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are [were] buried with him by [through] baptism into death: that [in order that] like [omit like] as Christ was raised up from the dead by [through] the glory of the Father, even [omit even] so we also should walk in newness of life 5 For if we have been planted together in [become united[FN5] with][FN6] the likeness of his death, we shall be also in [with] the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is [was] crucified with him, that [in order that][FN7] the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforthwe should not serve [be slaves to][FN8] sin 7 For he that is dead [hath died][FN9] is freed [acquitted] from sin 8 Now if we be dead [died] with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:[FN10] 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him [dominion over him no more]. 10For in that [or, the death that][FN11] he died, he died unto sin once11[for all]: but in that [or, the life that] he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise [Thus] reckon ye also yourselves to be [omit to be][FN12] dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord [ἐν Χριστῶ Ἰησοῦ, in Christ Jesus, omit our Lord].[FN13]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The section Romans 6:1-11. Survey. The death of Christians to sin, and their new life.

a. The effect and demand of grace: death and life, Romans 6:1-2.

b. According to baptism, Romans 6:3-4.

c. According to the connection with Christ in His death and resurrection, Romans 6:5-6.

d. According to the power and import of death, especially as a dying with Christ, Romans 6:7-8.

e. According to the power of the new life as an incorruptible life with Christ, Romans 6:9-11.

Romans 6:1. What then shall we say? The οὖν introduces the true conclusion from the previous verses, Romans 5:20-21, by repelling the false conclusion which might be deduced from what is said there. [ἐπιμένωμεν, the deliberative subjunctive. See note on ἔχωμεν, p160.—P. S.]

Romans 6:2. Let it not be [μὴγέοιτο]. See Romans 3:4; Romans 3:6 [and Textual Note6, p112.—P. S.]

How shall we who died to sin [οἱτινες ἀπεθάνομεν τῆἁμαρτία.] οἵτινες [decribing the quality], as such who. Living in sin is utterly contradictory to the character of Christians. And the contradiction is very intense, not simply because of the aversion and repulsion between natural death and life referred to by Rungius (see Tholuck).[FN14] The Christian is specifically dead to sin; and the life in sin, as a definitely false life, is opposed to this definite death. We have here an expression, therefore, not merely of “freedom from all life-fellowship with sin” [so Meyer], but also of the positive contradiction and repulsion between sin and Christian life. The reality of this contradiction is decided, figuratively exhibited, and sacramentally sealed by baptism. Yet the Apostle does not simply borrow his expression of it from baptism; but, rather, the death and resurrection of Christ underlie the figurative meaning of baptism.

[ἀπεθάνομεν, we died (not, are dead, E. V.), is the historic aorist, as ἥμαρτον, v12, and ἀπεθάνετε σὺν τῶ Χριστῶ, Colossians 2:20; comp. Galatians 2:19, νόμω̣ ὰπὲθανον; Romans 7:4. The act of dying refers to the time of baptism, Romans 6:3 (Bengel, Meyer, Philippi, Alford, Wordsworth), which, in the Apostolic Church, usually coincided with conversion and justification, and implied a giving up of the former life of sin, and the beginning of a new life of holiness. The remission of sin, which is divinely assured and sealed by baptism, is the death of sin. Sin forgiven is hated, sin unforgiven is cherished. This, too, shows the inseparable connection between justification and sanctification; and yet they are kept distinct: the justified is sanctified, not vice versâ; first we are freed from the guilt (reatus) of sin, then from the dominion of sin; and we are freed from the one in order to be freed from the other. τῇἁμαρτία, as far as regards sin; it is the dative of reference, as Galatians 2:19; 1 Peter 2:24; while in Colossians 2:20 Paul uses ἀπό with the genitive in the same sense. A similar phrase is σταυροῦσθ αι τῶ̣χόσμω̣, Galatians 6:14, to be crucified to the world, so as to destroy all vital connection with it, and to have no more to do with it, except to oppose and hate it. πῶς expresses the possibility, which is denied by the question (Meyer), with a feeling of indignation (Grotius: indignum est si loti in lutum revolvimur). ζήσομεν covers the whole future. To live in sin, to hold any connection with it, is henceforth and forever incompatible with justification.—P. S.]

[Paul evidently regarded baptism not merely as a sign, but also as an effective means of grace (comp. Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 5:26); else he would have reminded his readers of their conversion rather than their baptism. We must always remember, however, that in the first missionary age of the Church the baptism of adults implied, as a rule, genuine conversion—the baptism of Simon Magus being an exception.—P. S.]

That so many of us (all we who were). “Οσοι, quotquot. [It denotes universality, as many of us as, all without exception, but it is not stronger than οἵτινες, which indicates the quality, such of us as.—P. S.] The phrase βαπτίζειν εἰς retains the most direct figurative reference of baptism. It means strictly, to immerse into Christ (Rückert)—that Isaiah, into the fellowship of Christ. [Comp. Romans 6:4 : βάπτισμα εἰς θάνατον; Galatians 3:27 : εἰς Χριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε; Matthew 28:19 : εἰς τὸ ὄνομα. Alford: “ ‘ Into participation of,’ ‘into union with’ Christ, in His capacity of spiritual Mastership, Headship, and Pattern of conformity.”—P. S.] The explanation of Meyer [accepted by Hodge], that it never means any thing else than to baptize in reference to, with relation to, and that the more specific definitions must arise from the context, fails to do justice to this original meaning. [Comp. Lange and Schaff on Matthew, pp555 (Textual Note6), 557, 558, 560.—P. S.] But the baptizing into the full, living fellowship of Christ, Isaiah, as the Apostle remarks, a baptism into the fellowship of His death. And there is implied here, according to the idea of a covenant, the Divine adjudication of this saving fellowship on the one hand, and the human obligation for an ethical continuance of the fellowship on the other. The explanation of Grotius and others, the idea of imitation, is digressive, and weakens the sense. See Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:11; Titus 3:5.

Romans 6:4. Therefore we were buried with him [συνετάφημεν οὖναὐτῷ διὰτοῦ. βαπτίσματος εἰς τὸν θάνατον. To be buried is a stronger expression than to die, for the burial confirms death and raises it beyond doubt; it withdraws the dead from our sight, and annihilates him, as it were. The same figure in Colossians 2:12. The mystic σύν in συντάφομαι, as also in συναποθνήσκω, συσταυροῦμαι, &c, signifies the life-union of the believer with Christ; comp. the remarks of Tholuck, p281 f.—P. S.]. Buried in death; an oxymoron, according to which burial precedes and death follows, as is illustrated in the immersion into the bath of baptism. The analogous feature in the life of Christ was His rejection by the world, and His violent death on the cross. The expression denotes not only a burial before death and for death, but it is likewise an expression of the decision and completion of death, and, finally, a reference to the transition from death to the resurrection. The finished κατάδυσις, as the bringing about of the ἀνάδυσις; Colossians 2:12.[FN15]

Into death [εἰς τὸν θάνασον]. The death of Christ is not merely a death of the individual Jesus, but the death which, in principle or power, comprehends all mankind, and which absolutely separates the old world and the new world. Therefore it must not here be particularized (Calov.: the declared death of sin; others give different interpretations). [Εἰς τὺν θάνατον must be closely connected with βαπτίσματος, baptism into the death of Christ for the appropriation of its full benefit, viz, the remission of sins and reconciliation with God.—P. S.]

In order that, as Christ was raised up [ἵνα ὥςπερ ἠγέθη Χριστος ἐκ νεκρῶν διὰ τῆς δόξης τοῦ Πατρός, κ.τ.λ.]. The purpose of dying with Christ. The power that raised our Lord was the δόξα of the Father. Thus the resurrection of Christ is traced back to the highest Cause. God is the Father, as Origin and Author of the spiritual world comprehended in Christ. Before the Father’s name the creature-world ascends into the spiritual world, and the spiritual world is conjoined in the Son. The glory of the Father is the concentrated revelation of all the attributes of the Father in their unity, especially of His omnipotence ( 1 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 1:19), Wisdom of Solomon, and goodness; or of His omnipotent love in its faithfulness, and of His personality in its most glorious deed.[FN16] Before the glory of the Father the whole living world goes to ruin, is doomed to death, in order that the dead Christ may be made alive as Prince of the resurrection. Applications of the δόξα to the divinity of Christ (Theodoret [ οἰκεία θεότης], and others); in gloriam patris (Beza [inadmissible on account of διά with the genitive]); in paterna gloria resurrexit (Castalio).

From the dead, ἐκ νεκρῶν. The world of the dead is regarded as a connected sphere. Also antithesis to εἰς θάνατον.

So we also should walk in newness of life [οὕτως και ἡμεῖς ἐν καινότητι ζωῆς περιπατήσωμεν]: In newness of life; that Isaiah, in a new kind and form of life, which is subsequently denoted as incorruptibility, and therefore also by implication as continual newness and perpetual renewal of existence. Consequently, more than ζωὴκαινή (Grotius).[FN17] [Meyer, Alford: “Not ‘a new life;’—nor are such expressions ever to be diluted away thus.”—P. S.] Walk gives prominence to the practical proof of this newness in new, free conduct of life.

Romans 6:5. For if we have grown together [εἰ γὰρ σύμφυτοι γεγόναμεν]. The expression σύμφυτος, denoting originally inborn [innate]; born with [congenital, connate], means here the same as συμφυν́ς, grown together by nature. [Grotius: coaluimus; Tholuck, Philippi, Meyer: zusammengewachsen, verwachsen mit, concretus; Stuart: become homogeneous; Alford: intimately and progressively united.—P. S.] The expression complantati (Vulgate, Luther [E. V.: planted together]) goes too far, and is not justified by the language;[FN18] while the interpretation grafted into (Erasmus [Calvin, Estius, Conybeare and Howson], and others) does not express enough here [and would require ἐμφύτευτος, insititius.—P. S.] The figure denotes: believers as a unity of different branches in one root or one trunk. These characters, which are united in one spirit, as the grapes of a cluster, have sprung from one gospel or new principle of life. Thus believers have grown into an image or analogue of the death of Jesus (τῷ ὁμοιώματι, dative of direction), but not with such an analogue (Meyer, Tholuck), with which we cannot connect any clear thought. [Philippi and Meyer explain: grown together, or, intimately connected with the likeness of His death; the ὁμοίωμα being spiritual death, so that the meaning is: If we are spritually dead to sin, as Christ was physically dead, &c. So in the other clause our spiritual resurrection is the ὁμοίωμα of the bodily resurrection of Christ.—P. S.] Neither can τῷ ὁμοιώματι be the dative of instrument: We have grown together with Christ [τῷ Χριστῷ being understood as in Romans 6:6] through the resemblance of His death-baptism, the likeness of His death (Erasmus [Beza, Grotius], Fritzsche, Baur [Van Hengel], and most others). For [this would require αὺτῶ̣ after σύμφυτοι, and] believers are not grown together by the likeness of the death of Christ, but by His death itself in a religious sense, as cause (through the medium of the gospel), in order that, as an organism, they should now exhibit as a copy His death in the ethical sense.

We shall be also with his resurrection [ἀλλὰ καὶ τῆς ἀναστἅσεως ἐσόμεθα]. The antithesis is strengthened by ἀλλά [which is used sometimes also by the classics for the rapid and emphatic introduction of the antithetical idea, in the apodosis after a hypothetical protasis; see Meyer in loc., and Hartung, Partikellehre, ii. p40.—P. S.]. We shall also be grown together with Him into the likeness of His resurrection (Beza, Grotius, Meyer, Philppi; Tholuck: “abbreviated comparative”). Not σύμφυτοι τῆς ἀναστάσεως (Erasmus, Calvin, Olshausen, and others).[FN19] The reference of the expression to the resurrection of the body (by Tertullian, and others) is not in harmony with the context (see Romans 6:4); yet is altogether authorized by Romans 6:9, if we regard the new life as continuing to the bodily resurrection (therefore an ethical and physical resurrection, which Meyer and Tholuck oppose). The future, ἐσόμεθα, is indeed not imperative (Reiche [Olshausen, Stuart: expressive of obligation]); nor does it denote willingness (Fritzsche), but the certainty of the result, the necessary consequence of dying together with Christ [Tholuck, Meyer, Hodge], if we understand thereby not merely a natural consequence, but an ethical one, which involves an ever-new willingness. This is likewise indicated by what immediately follows.

Romans 6:6. Knowing this. That objective relation of the resurrection is not only confirmed by the subjective consciousness (Meyer), but it is also conditioned by it.

That our old man [ παλαιὸς ἡμῶνἄνθρωπος]. Meyer: our old ego. This is liable to misunderstanding, and expresses too much. Meyer further explains: “Personification of the entire state of sinfulness before the παλιγγενεσία ( John 3:3; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9).” This expresses too little. The old man is the whole sinfulness of Prayer of Manasseh, which, proceeding from Adam, and pervading the old world and making it old, has become, in the concrete human image, the pseudo-plasmatic phantom of human nature and the human form[FN20] (see Romans 8:3). Tholuck’s explanation is almost unintelligible: “Indication of the ego of the earlier personality; as in ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, κρυπτὸς ἐν τῆ καρδία ἄνθρωπος, 1 Peter 3:4.[FN21]

Was [not Isaiah, as in the E. V.] crucified with him [συνεσταύρω θη, comp. Galatians 2:20 : Χριστῷ συνεσταῦρωμαι· ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοἰ Χριστός]. “Namely, at the time when we were baptized,” says Meyer [referring to Romans 6:3-4]. But this is rather a superficial view. Baptism has actually and individually realized a connection which had already been realized potentially and generally in the death on the cross; see 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:19; Colossians 3:1. Tholuck: “Calovius says very properly against Grotius: σύν non similitudinem notat, verum simultatem, ut ita dicam, et communionem. The accessory idea of pain, or of gradual death [advocated by Grotius, Stuart, Barnes], could hardly have been thought of in this connection by the Apostle.” Yet we are also reminded of the violence and effective energy of the death on the cross by the following: in order that the body of sin might be destroyed. The destructive power of the death on the cross involves not merely pain and sorrow, but also the ignominy of the cross of Christ. According to Meyer, Paul only made use of the expression because Christ had died on the cross.

In order that the body of sin might be destroyed [ἵνα καταργηθῇ τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας; comp. τὸ σῶμα τῆς σαρκός, Colossians 2:11, and τὸ σῶμα τοῦ θανάτου τούτου, Romans 7:24]. It is self-evident, from Paul and the whole Bible, that there is not the slightest reference here to a [literal] destruction of the body [i.e., of this physical organism which is only dissolved in physical death, and which, instead of being annihilated, is to be sanctified; comp. 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Romans 13:14.—P. S.]. As “the old man” is the pseudo-plasmatic phantom of Prayer of Manasseh, so is “the body of sin” the phantom of a body in man consisting of his whole sinfulness; and Song of Solomon, further on, is the body of death ( Romans 7:24) the phantom of a corporeal power of death encompassing man. It is remarkable that most of the later expositors (with the exception of Philippi, p210 ff.) reject the constructions that are most nearly correct, to substitute for them others which are dualistic.

1. Figurative explanations. Sin under the figure of a body.

a. The totality of sin (Origen, Grotius). [Chrysostom: ὁλόκληρος ἁμαρτία. Calvin: “Corpus peccati non carnem et ossa, sed massam designat.” More accurately: Sin is personified as a living organism with many members (vices), which may be put to death. So Philippi: “Die Masse der Sünde als gegliederter Organismus.” Bloomfield: “Τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας is the same with παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος, and means that sin is a body consisting of many particular members or vices, an imperium in imperio.”—P. S.]

b. The nature or substance of sin (Schöttgen).

c. The figure of sin with reference to the figure of the crucifixion (Calov, Wolf, and others).

d. “The tendency of alienation from God and conformity to the pleasures of the world” (J. Müller, and others; Tholuck, p290).

e. More strongly: The whole man in his departure from God; the natural man (Augustin, Luther, Calvin [Hodge: “The body of sin” is only another name for “the old Prayer of Manasseh,” or rather for its concrete form]).

f. Reduced to a minimum: Bad habit (Pelagius).

2. Literal explanations:

a. The flesh as flesh of sin, σὰρξ ἁμαρτίας (Rosenmüller).

b. “The body belonging to the principle of sin, the body ruled by sin.” The old man had such a body, and this σῶμα, as far as it is a body of sin, should be completely destroyed by crucifixion with Christ” (Meyer). An utter confusion of the figurative and literal construction. [Winer, Gramm., p. Romans 177: the body which belongs to sin, in which sin has its existence and dominion, almost the same with σῶμα τῆς σαρχός, Colossians 1:22. Similarly Alford, after De Wette: the body, which belongs to or serves sin, in which sin rules or is manifested, = τὰ μέλη, Romans 6:13, in which is νόμος τῆς άμαρτίας, Romans 7:23. Wordsworth: the body of sin is our body, so far as it is the seat and instrument of sin, and the slave of sin.—P. S.]

c. The body as σῶμα τῆς σαρχός, and the latter the seat of sin (Semler, Usteri, Rückert, Ritschl, Rothe, Hofmann; see Tholuck, p290).[FN22]

3. The anti-dualistic expositors, who interpreted this σῶμα as the real body or the natural Prayer of Manasseh, were compelled to render improperly the καταργηθῇ, as: evacuaretur, might be made inoperative and powerless. [Tertullian, Augustin; also Stuart and Barnes: might be deprived of efficiency, power, life. Alford: rendered powerless, annulled, as far as regards energy and activity.—P. S.]

That henceforth we should not be slaves to sin. [Calvin: “finem abolitionis notat.”] Sin is regarded as the controlling power (see Romans 6:16); John 8:44. If this power is to be broken, the body of sin must be crucified. The reason for this is given in what follows. [τοῦ μηκέτι δουλεύειν ἡυᾶς τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ is a more concrete expression of the aim than the preceding clause, ἵνα χαταργηθῇ, χ.τ.λ.. See Winer, p569.—P. S.]

Romans 6:7. For he that hath died is acquitted from sin. [̔Ο γὰρ ἀποθανὼν δεδικαίωται ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας; comp. 1 Peter 4:1 : ὅτι παθὼν ἐν σαρχὶ, πέπαυται ἁμαρτίας. The interpretations of this passage depend upon the meaning of ἀποθανών, whether it is to be taken in a physical, or in a moral (legal), or in a spiritual (mystic) sense—P. S.] The chief and only question here is not ethical dying, or dying with Christ (Erasmus, Calvin, Cocceius, Bengel, Olshausen [De Wette, Philippi], and others. And the reason for this Isaiah, first, because justification must not be regarded as the consequence, but the cause of the ethical dying with Christ. Second, because not merely the being justified or freed from sin should be proved, in and of itself, but the being justified or freed from sin by death. An earlier, already present, universal, moral, and theocratical law of life is thus used to illustrate the new, religious, and ethical law of life in Christianity, in the same way that Romans 7:1-6 has reference to such a law. The universal principle which the Apostle makes his groundwork here in the figurative expression, is the word in Romans 6:23 : The wages of sin is death. The Grecian and Roman form of this antithesis was: by execution the offender is justified and separated from his crime (Alethæus, Wolf, and others). The theocratic form was the same decree of death for sin, according to Genesis 2:17; Genesis 9:6; Leviticus 23:1 ff. The sinner who was made a curse-offering, Cherem, was morally destroyed in a symbolical sense, but, at the same time, his guilt also, as well as his life of sin, was destroyed in a symbolical sense. According to Genesis 2:17, the same thing held good of natural death, not so far as it, as a momentary power, put an end to the sinner’s present life (Chrysostom, and others), but rather because it made a penal suffering extending into eternity (Sheol) the punishment of sin. All these modifications are grouped in the primitive law: death is the wages of sin; and this is the law which the Apostle makes the image of the Christian law of life. The Christian dies to sin by being crucified with Christ. Now, the being justified does not mean here justification by faith in itself (although dying with Christ is connected therewith), but justification as a release from sin by the death of the sinner himself. Because Meyer ignores the complete Old Testament idea of death, he attacks the statute of Jewish theology: death, as the punishment of sin, atones for the guilt of sin. He explains the Apostle’s declaration thus: “He is made a δίφραιος by death, not as if he were now free from the guilt of his sins committed in life, but so far as he sins no more.” The explanation of ethical death with Christ (Rothe, Philippi, and others already mentioned) here makes what is to be proved the proof itself (as Meyer properly remarks). Meyer refers the passage to physical death as exit from the present life—a view in which regard is not paid to penal suffering.[FN23] Better than this is the view: As activity ceases in the dead, and sin with it, so should it also be with you who have died with Christ (Theodoret, Melanchthon, Grotius). But there is the same inadequateness of the comparison. Tholuck’s exposition is utterly untenable (with reference to Calvin, Bengel, Spener, and others), that sin should here be regarded as a creditor who has just claims on Prayer of Manasseh, &c.; for, while a debtor is released by death from his creditor, there is by no means a δικαιοῦσθαι of the debtor from his debt.[FN24]

Romans 6:8. Now if we died with Christ, &c. [Εὶ δέ ἀπεθάνομεν σύν Χριστῷ]. δέ announces the transition to the new thought, that believers, having died with Christ, would also live with Him. But this is not a mere conclusion from the being dead to the new life; the accent rests on the qualification with Christ, because Christ lives. As we are dead with Christ in His death, in its profoundest meaning and effect—which death comprises the separation from the entire old world, and its sin and vanity—so do we believe that we shall also live with him [ὅπιστεύομεν ὅτικαί συνζήσομε ναὺτῷ] in the supremely highest and most intense life—which life is eternal, and is an eternal life. Meyer emphasizes simply the inference from the ethical death with Christ to ethical participation in the new and enduring life of Christ. He is much in error in excluding here [with Philippi] the idea of the Christian’s future share in the blessedness of the glorified Saviour (see chap8), as Origen, Chrysostom, Grotius, Reiche, and others are in confining συζήσομεν to the future life. Rosenmüller, Tholuck, and others, have properly comprised both these elements; yet the chief emphasis rests upon the assurance of the new ethical life as implying the full freedom from all sin in the fellowship of Christ. Tholuck, with Erasmus, Calvin, and others, emphasizes once for all [ἐφάπαξ, Romans 6:10] as an eternal destination to new life. This destination is commensurate with the certainty of being dead with Christ. Yet, granting full force to the conclusion, it is still an object of faith (πιστεύομεν), which rests mainly on Christ as the risen One. (Different interpretations of πιστεύομεν: Confidence in Divine assistance, Fritzsche; in the Divine promise, Baumgarten-Crusius; in God as the Finisher of the commenced work of grace, Philippi [comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:11]).

Romans 6:9. Knowing, &c. From faith in the risen One there arises the certain knowledge that henceforth He can never die; because He could die but once, inasmuch as, with the guilt of sin, He had assumed also the judgment of death. [Alford: Death could not hold Him, and had no power over Him further than by His own sufferance; but power over Him it had, inasmuch as He died. Meyer: The κυριεύειν of death over Christ was decreed by God ( Romans 6:8-10), and brought about by Christ’s voluntary obedience ( John 10:18; Matthew 20:28). The conviction that Christ lives for ever furnishes the ground and support to our own life-union with Him.]

Romans 6:10. For in that he died, or, the death which he died. The expression, ὅἀπέθανεν, may mean: as far as His death is concerned (Winer); or, as far as the death which He died is concerned (De Wette); or that which He died, so that is viewed as the subject [or rather as the accusative of the object; comp. Galatians 2:20 : δέ νῦν ζῶ.—P. S.]. We prefer the last exposition, but do not refer the , with Benecke (after Hilarius, and others) to the mortal part of Christ [that which died in Christ], but to Christ’s great and unexampled experience of death. All his dying was abhorrence of sin, induced by sin, directed against sin.—Unto sin he died [τῇ ἀμαρτίᾳ[FN25] ἀπέθανεν]. Explanations: ad expianda peccata (Grotius, Olshausen); or, ad expianda et tollenda p. (Tholuck [Reiche, Fritzsche], Philippi); [or, to destroy the power of sin (Chrysostom, Beza, Calvin, Bengel, Ewald]). Indefinite reference to death (Rückert, De Wette [Alford], and others). Meyer: His death paid the debt to sin, and now it can have no more power over Him. Hofmann: With His death, all passive relation to sin has ceased. Certainly the parallel in Romans 6:11 [νεκροὺς τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ] seems to require a similar rendering. Yet we must not merely bring out prominently the repulsiveness of sin to the life of Jesus, but rather the repulsiveness of His life to sin—which repulsiveness was consummated in His death. Both together constitute the absolute separation.

Once [ἐφάπαξ]. Once for all. [The one sacrifice on the cross, as the sacrifice of the infinite Son of God, has infinite value both as to extent and time, and hence excludes repetition; comp. Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18.—P. S.]

But in that he liveth, or, the life that he liveth [ δέ ζῇ, ζῇ τῶ̣ Θ εῶ̣]. All His life, His whole glorious life, is for God. As His death consisted wholly in the ethical reaction against sin, so His life consists wholly in consecration to God, His honor, and His kingdom. [Christ’s life on earth was also a life for God, but in conflict with sin and death, over which He triumphed in the resurrection.—P. S.] Theophylact’s view is wrong: by the power of God.

Romans 6:11. Thus reckon ye also yourselves (account yourselves) dead indeed unto sin [Οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖςλογίζεσθε έαυτοὺς νεκροὺς μὲν τῇ άμαρτί ]. A λογίζεσθαι of Christ does not stand as a parallel to λογίζεσθε (which is imperative, and not indicative, as Bengel would have it).[FN26] It should rather be derived from the meaning of the death of Christ, according to Romans 6:10.

But alive unto God in Christ Jesus [ἐν χρ.’Ιησ.]. That Isaiah, in fellowship, or living union with Him (not merely through Him).[FN27] It refers not simply to living to God (Rückert, De Wette [Alford]), but also to being dead to sin [Reiche, Meyer]. The λογίζεσθε requires of Christians that they should understand what they are as Christians, as members of Christ, according to the duties of common fellowship (Tholuck, Philippi); but not that they should attain to this condition by moral effort (Baur). That Isaiah, Christian life proceeds upon the believing presupposition of our completion in Christ; but this completion is not, reversely, brought to pass by a moral effort. Of course, the telic completion then meets the principial completion as the goal of effort.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. See the Preliminary Remarks on chaps6–8, and the inscription to the present section, chap Romans 6:1-11.

2. On Romans 6:1. The false conclusion which anomianism has ever derived from the fact that sin, in its complete development, occasions a still more glorious revelation of grace, rests on the erroneous supposition that the ethical and organic relation on both sides is a purely natural relation, which justifies to an altogether passive conduct in religious and moral things. This anomianism appears in Indian heathendom, as well as in modern humanitarianism, chiefly in a pantheistic form. But in Christian religiousness it appears only sporadically in this form; yet mostly, on the other hand, in dualistic forms. This is as much as to say, that if the flesh be indulged in its sphere, the spirit will likewise maintain the ascendency in its sphere; or, grace will overcome sin, and the like. But in every form this anomianism is to the Apostle an object of religious and moral abhorrence, which he expresses by μὴ γένοιτο. He opposes this false conclusion by the truth of the relation according to which the whole of Christianity is rooted in a thoroughly religious and moral act—the death of Jesus.

3. Baptism, in its full meaning, is a dying with Christ, which is potentially grounded in the dynamic meaning of His dying for all ( 2 Corinthians 5:14), and is actually realized in the dynamical genesis of faith. It follows from this that it is not only a partial purification of the living sinner, but his fundamental purification by a spiritual death and burial; that, further, it not merely represents sensibly and seals the single parts and acts of the Christian life, but its whole justification, in all its parts; and therefore that it is available, operative, and obligatory once for all. It follows, finally, that baptism is not simply an ecclesiastical act performed on the individual, when the individual is passive, but an ethical covenant-transaction between Christ and the one who is baptized; wherefore even the baptism of children presupposes in the family, the parents, or the sponsors, a spirit of faith which represents and encompasses the child.

From all this it will be seen how very much baptism is obscured and desecrated by regarding it either as a mere ceremony which certifies the Christian life of the person baptized, or, on the other hand, as a onesided and magical act which is supposed to create the Christian life.

[In opposition to the low and almost rationalistic views now prevailing in a large part of Protestantism on the meaning and import of Christian baptism, it may be well to refer to the teaching of the symbols of the Reformation down to the Westminster standards, and of the older divines, which is far deeper. Take, for instance, the Westminster Confession of Faith (chap28): “Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his in grafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life.” (Comp. the Larger Catechism, Qu165, and Shorter Catechism, Qu94). Calvin says: “In treating the sacraments, two things are to be considered: the sign, and the thing signified. Thus, in baptism, the sign is water; but the thing signified is the cleansing of the soul by the blood of Christ, and the mortification of the flesh. Both of these things are comprised in the institution of Christ; and whereas often the sign appears to be ineffectual and fruitless, that comes through men’s abuse, which does not annul the nature of the sacrament. Let us learn, therefore, not to tear apart the thing signified from the sign; though, at the same time, we must be on our guard against the opposite fault, such as prevails among Papists. For, failing to make the needful distinction between the thing and the sign, they stop short at the outward element, and there confidently rest their hope of salvation. The sight of the water, accordingly, withdraws their minds from Christ’s blood and the grace of the Spirit. Not reflecting that, of all the blessings there exhibited, Christ alone is the Author, they transfer to water the glory of His death, and bind the hidden energy of the Spirit to the visible sign. What, then, must be done? Let us not separate what the Lord has joined together. We ought, in baptism, to recognize a spiritual laver; we ought in it to embrace a witness to the remission of sins and a pledge of our renewal; and yet so to leave both to Christ and the Holy Spirit the honor that is theirs, as that no part of the salvation be transferred to the sign.”—Dr. John Lillie, in his excellent posthumous Lectures on the Epistles of Peter (New York, 1869, p252), in commenting on 1 Peter 3:21, remarks: “But what, you will ask, is baptism, then, a saving ordinance? Certainly; that is just what Christ’s Apostle here affirms. Nor is this the only place, by any means, in which the New Testament speaks of baptism in a way that would now offend many good people, were it not that the perplexing phraseology is unquestionably scriptural. Recollect, for instance, Peter’s own practical application of his pentecostal sermon: ‘Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.’ And so Ananias in Damascus to the humbled persecutor: ‘Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.’ Paul, too, expressly calls baptism ‘the laver of the water’ by which Christ purifies His Church; and again, ‘the laver of regeneration’ by which God saves us. Frequently, also, he represents it as that by which we are united to Christ, and made partakers of His death and resurrection. Nay, Christ Himself, in sending forth His gospel among all nations, named baptism as one condition of salvation. We need not, then, hesitate to call it a saving ordinance. But how does it save? Just as any other ordinance saves—not through any inherent virtue of its outward signs and processes, but solely as it is a channel for the communication of Divine grace, and used in accordance with the Divine intention. On the one hand, while grace is ordinarily dispensed through ordinances, it is not confined to them, God being ever higher than His own appointments, and acting, when it so pleases Him, independently of them altogether. And, on the other hand, there must be on the part of Prayer of Manasseh, besides the observance of formal precept, a yielding of his whole nature to the quickening and transforming influence. Take for an example that greatest ordinance, the Word of God. It ‘is able,’ says James ( Romans 1:21), ‘to save your souls.’ But how? Not simply as it is preached, or heard, or read. That it may be ‘the power of God unto salvation,’ it must first be accompanied with the ‘demonstration of the Spirit,’ and then ‘received with meekness,’ and so become the ingrafted word. It is not the foolishness of preaching that saves; but ‘it pleases God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.’ Now, just so with baptism: equally with the gospel itself, it is a Divine institution, whereby God ordinarily dispenses His grace. But its whole efficacy is due to that grace of God, and to our fitting reception and use of the rite—not to its mere external administration, by whatsoever priestly or apostolic hand.”—P. S.]

4. According to the Apostle, the burial as well as the death of Christ is represented in the meaning and effect of baptism. But as the burial of Christ not only seals His death, but also brings to pass the mysterious form of His transition to new life, so is it also with the world’s renunciation of the secret inward life of the Christian, which develops from a germ in mysterious growth, and is hid with Christ in God. (For fuller information on being baptized into the death of Christ, see Tholuck, p280, and Philippi, p205.)

5. Christianity is not only a new life, but a newness of life—a life which never grows old, but has ever a more perfect and imperishable renewal. But as the resurrection of Christ rests on a deed of the glory of the Father, so is it with the new birth of the Christian. See the Exeg. Notes.

6. Although believers are so intimately connected or grown together in a living organism as to appear to be living on the same vine or the same branch, they are nevertheless not grown together in the form of natural necessity. While unchurchly and unhistorical sectarianism ignores the organic internal character and historical structure of the Christian communion, hierarchism, on the other hand, disregards its ethical and free inward character. The life of Christ is repeated and reflected, after His death and resurrection, in His image—the Church; but not in the sense that it is quantitatively a supplement or substitute for Him, but that it completely unites itself qualitatively with Him as its living head. Because the Christian suffers death in Christ, rises, and is justified, Christ, as the crucified and risen One, lives in him. (See. Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 1:22-24; Colossians 2:11; Colossians 3:1, &c.)

7. The Apostle’s doctrine of the old man, the body of sin, the body of death, the law in the members, &c, shows a divinatory anticipation of the idea of the pseudo-plasmas, which has first appeared in the modern science of medicine. The old man is not the real Prayer of Manasseh, nor the natural Prayer of Manasseh, but sin, which has pervaded man as the plasmatic phantom of his nature, and, as an ethical cancer, threatens to consume him. (On the various theological interpretations of the old Prayer of Manasseh, see Tholuck, p287. For a more complete interpretation of Paul’s pseudo-plasmatic ideas, see Exeg. Notes on Romans 7:24.)

8. Those who designate the real body of man as the source of sin, abolish the real idea of sin. Even the expression, that the body is not the source, but the seat of sin, is not correct in reference to the tendency of the wicked, and is only conditionally correct in reference to the life of the pious, in whom sin, as sinfulness, as a tempting propensity in the bodily part of the being, has its seat, and will continue to have its seat, until the old form of the body is laid off.

9. On being free from the debt of sin by death, see the Exeg. Notes. Death removes guilt—a definition which may be further formularized thus: the kind of death corresponds as justification to the kind of guilt; the depth of death corresponds to the depth of guilt. Therefore the death of Christ is the potential justification of humanity, because it plunged the absolutely guiltless and holy life into the absolute depth of the death of mankind.

10. On the expression body of sin, in Romans 6:6, compare the elaborate discussion by Tholuck, p288 ff. Likewise the same author, on Romans 6:9, or the relation of Christ to death; p306.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

On the relation of sin and grace: 1. It is true that the more powerful sin Isaiah, the more powerful is grace also; but it cannot be inferred from this, 2. That we should continue in sin. But, 3. We should wish, rather, not to live in sin, to which we died ( Romans 6:1-2).—To what would continuance in sin lead? 1. Not to grace, for he who sins wilfully, trifles with grace; but, 2. To the terrible looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the rebellious ( Romans 6:1-2). Hebrews 10:26.—Of Christian baptism1. What is it? a. a baptism into Christ; b. a baptism into the death of Christ2. Of what service is baptism to us? a. We die and are buried by it in repentance; b. we are raised by it in faith ( Romans 6:3-4).—By baptism we enter into a double communion with Christ: 1. Of His death; 2. Of His resurrection.—Christians are, 1. Companions in the death of Christ; but also, 2. In His resurrection ( Romans 6:5).—The crucifixion of our old man: 1. The manner and form of the old man; 2. his crucifixion.—The glorious immortality of Christ: 1. Its foundation; 2. Its importance to us ( Romans 6:8-10).—We should reckon ourselves dead in relation to sin, but alive in relation to God; that Isaiah, 1. We should, by faith, be ever taking our stand-point more perfectly in Christ; and, 2. First of all in His death, but also in His life ( Romans 6:11).

Starke: The suffering and death of a Christian are not to destruction, but a planting to life.

Hedinger: Under the grace of God we are not permitted to sin.—Müller: Life and death cling together; the more the old dies and goes to ruin, the more gloriously does the new man arise.—Either you will slay sin, or sin will slay you.—Where faith is there is Christ, and where Christ is there is life.

Gerlach: The baptism of Christians is a baptism into Christ’s death; that Isaiah, into the complete appropriation of its roots and fruits.

Besser: Paul places the gift of baptism first, and connects with it the duty of the one baptized.

Heubner: Recollections of our former covenant of baptism: 1. What has God done for us in baptism? 2. What have we to do in consequence of baptism?—Thomasius: The power of baptism in its permeation of the whole Christian life.—Florey: We are baptized into the death of Christ. Namely: 1. Upon the confession that He died for us; 2. On the pledge that we should die with Him; 3. In the hope that we shall live by Him.—Harless: The impediments to Christian life: 1. The pleasure of life, which is terrified at evangelical preaching on death; 2. The dulness and unbelief of spiritual death, which is terrified at evangelical preaching on life; while yet, reversely, 3. The pleasure, power, and pious conduct of the Christian rests upon the death which he has died for newness of life.

[Sherlock: As the death of Christ was not barely a natural death, a separation of soul and body, but a sacrifice for sin, to destroy the dominion of it, so our dying to sin is the truest conformity to the death of Christ; and as we must consider His resurrection as His living to God and advancement into His spiritual kingdom, so our walking in newness of life is our conformity to His resurrection, and makes us true subjects of His spiritual kingdom.—Henry: As natural death brings a writ of ease to the weary, so must we be dead to all the sins of our former rebellious life. We must be as indifferent to the pleasures and delights of sin, as a man that is dying is to his former diversions. As natural death cuts off all communication with life, so must sanctification in the soul cut off all communication with sin.—Macknight: We should daily recollect our baptism, and be stirred up by it to every religious act and thought possible, for it is this that sets before us the death and resurrection of Christ.—Clarke: The sacrificial death of Christ is the soil in which believers are planted, and from which they derive their life, their fruitfulness, and their final glory.—Hodge: It is those who look to Christ not only for pardon, but for holiness, that are successful in subduing sin; the legalist remains its slave. To be in Christ is the source of the Christian’s life; to be like Christ is the sum of his excellence; to be with Christ is the fulness of his joy.—J. F. H.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Romans 6:1.—[The reading of the Rec. (ἐπιμενοῦμεν) is poorly supported? A. B. C. D. F. read ἐπιμένωμεν; adopted by Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth. The above emendation is supported by the last two editors. א. K, and some cursives, have ἐπιμέν ο μεν.

FN#2 - Romans 6:2.—[Μὴγένοιτο is a very forcible negative. How it should be rendered, is perhaps a matter of taste, but the God forbid expresses its forcibleness as no other English phrase can. Comp. Galatians 2:17; p49, note.

FN#3 - Romans 6:3.—[The E. V. is literally correct, but the reference seems to be to those baptized as a whole (Meyer); hence the emendation, which is adopted by Alford, Wordsworth, Amer. Bible Union.

FN#4 - Romans 6:3.—[B, and a number of cursives and fathers, omit ̓Ιησοῦν. The order in almost all authorities is Χριστὸν ̓Ιησοῦν.

FN#5 - Romans 6:5.—[Wordsworth renders σύμφυτοι γεγόναμεν: have become connate with. This is literal and exact, but connate would scarcely be proper in a popular version. Meyer, Lange: “zusammengewachsen, grown together. United (Alford, Amer. Bible Union) is adopted in lieu of a better word. The E. V.: planted together, is based on a wrong view of the etymology of σύμφυτοι.

FN#6 - Romans 6:5.—[In of the E. V. is not found in the Greek. With, in both clauses, is borrowed from σύμφυτοι. Any further emendation must be based on exegetical views of the verse.

FN#7 - Romans 6:6.—[Ἴνα, telic, in order that. The next clause is telic also; but as a different form is chosen in Greek, it is better to let the simple that remain. Amer. Bible Union reverses the position of in order that, that, leaving it indefinite whether the first clause is telic.

FN#8 - Romans 6:6.—[The verb δουλεύειν means, first, to be a servant, or slave, then, to serve. The personification of sin, implied in this passage, makes the primary meaning more correct here, and slaves is preferable to servants, for obvious reasons.

FN#9 - Romans 6:7.—[This verse has an aorist (ἀποθανών) in the first part, and a perfect (δεδικαίωτακ) in the second. Yet the rendering: He that died has been justified from sin (Amer. Bible Union) does not convey its meaning properly. The aorist refers to something antecedent to the perfect, while the perfect states what continues to be true; hence, in English, we must invert, rendering the aorist by has died, the perfect by is acquitted. The Apostle is stating a general proposition, which is not theological, but legal; hence, acquitted is preferable to justified.

FN#10 - Romans 6:8.—[The reading συνζήσομεν, is found in א. B1. D. F, and is now generally adopted. Rec.: συζήσομεν found in B2. L. C. K, have συζήσωμεν; which Lange considers a legal correction to the hortatory. F. has συνζησόμεθα.

FN#11 - Romans 6:10.—[The grammatical question respecting is indicated by the two renderings given in each member of this verse. The meaning is essentially the same, whichever be adopted (Meyer).

FN#12 - Romans 6:11.—[Rec., א3. K. L, insert εἶναι after νεκροὺς μέν; א1. B. C, before; it is omitted in A. D. E. F. G, by most modern editors.

FN#13 - Romans 6:11.—[The E. V. is unfortunate in rendering ἐν, through, since the point of the whole passage Isaiah, that we are alive in virtue of our union to Christ—i.e, in Christ Jesus. The Rec. adds τῷ κυρίω̣ ἡμῶν, on the authority of. C. K. L, some versions and fathers. The words are omitted in A. B. D. F, most versions, by many fathers, Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth.—R.]

FN#14 - Tholuck quotes from Rungius: “Significat non modo vulgarem quandam abstinentiam a proposito peccandi, sed quandam ἀντιπάθειαν, qualis est inter mortuos et vivos.”—P. S.]

FN#15 - All commentators of note (except Stuart and Hodge) expressly admit or take it for grunted that in this verse, especially in συνετάφημεν and ἠγέρθη, the ancient prevailing mode of baptism by immersion and emersion is implied, as giving additional force to the idea of the going down of the old and the rising up of the new man. Chrysostom on John 3, Hom. xxv. (al. xxiv, Opp., tom. viii. p151): Καθάπερ ἐν τινι τάφω̣, τῷ ὕδατι καταδυόντων ὴμῶν κεφαλὰς, παλλαιὸς ἂνθρωπος θάπτεται, καὶ καταδὺς κάτωκρύπτεται ὅλως καθάπαξ· εἲτα ὰνανευόντων ὴμῶν, καινὸς ἄνεισι πάλιν. He then quotes Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:6. Bloomfield: “There is a plain allusion to the ancient mode of baptism by immersion; on which, see Suicer’s Thes. and Bingham’s Antiquities.” Barnes: “It is altogether probable that the Apostle has allusion to the custom of baptizing by immersion.” Conybeare and Howson: “This passage cannot be understood, unless it be borne in mind that the primitive baptism was by immersion.” Webster and Wilkinson: “Doubtless there is an allusion to immersion, as the usual mode of baptism, introduced to show that baptism symbolized also our spiritual resurrection, ὧςπερἠγέρθη X.” Comp. also Bengel, Rückert, Tholuck, Meyer. The objection of Philippi (who, however, himself regards this allusion probable in Romans 6:4), that in this case the Apostle would have expressly mentioned the symbolic Acts, has no force in view of the daily practice of baptism. But immersionists, on the other hand, make an unwarranted use of this passage. It should be remembered, that immersion is not commanded here, but simply alluded to, and that the immersion, or κατάδυσις, is only one part of the baptismal Acts, symbolizing the going down of the old man of sin; and that the emersion, or ἀνάδυσις, of the new man of righteousness, is just as essential to complete the idea. Hence, irrespective of other considerations, the substitution of the onesided and secular term immersion for baptism, in a revision of the English Bible, would give a merely negative view of the meaning of the sacrament. Baptism, and the corresponding verb, which have long since become naturalized in the English language, as much so as Christ, apostle, angel, &c, are the only terms to express properly the use of water for sacred, sacramental purposes, and the idea of resurrection as well as of death and burial with Christ. Immersion is undoubtedly a more expressive form than sprinkling; yet the efficacy of the sacrament does not depend upon the quantity or quality of water, nor upon the mode of its application.—P. S.]

FN#16 - δόξα and δύναμις are closely related; comp. the Hebrew עֹן, and τὸ κράτος τῆς δόξης, Colossians 1:11. Meyer explains δόξα, die glorreiche Gesammivollkommenheit Gottes.—P. S.]

FN#17 - So also Koppe, Reiche, Stuart: “Καινότητι τῆς ζωῆς I regard as a Hebraistic form, in which the first noun supplies the place of the adjective.” Against this dilution, comp. Winer, p211, Meyer and Alford in loc. The abstract noun καινότης gives greater prominence to the quality of newness, which is the chief point here; comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Timothy 6:17.—P. S.]

FN#18 - σύμφυτος is not derived from φυτεύω, to plant (φυτευτός, used by Plato), but from φύω, or φύομαι, to grow. Comp. on the different meanings of σύμφυτος, Reiche, Fritzsche, and Philippi in loc.—P. S.]

FN#19 - Grammatically, this is not impossible, since σύμφυτος is constructed with the genitive as well as with the dative; but τῆ ἀναστάσει would have been more natural in this case; hence it is better to supply σύμφυτοι τῷ ὸμοιώματι, so that τῆς ἀναστάσεως depends upon τ. ὁμοιώματι.—P. S.]

FN#20 - One of Lange’s hardest sentences: “Der alte Mensch ist die einheitliche Sündhafligkeit des Menschen, wie sie von Adam ausgehend, die alte Welt durchziehend und zur alten machend in dem concreten Menschenbilde zum pseudoplasmatischen Scheinbilde der Menschennatur und Menschengestalt geworden ist.” In like manner he explains “the body of death,” Romans 7:24, and “the law in the members,” Romans 7:23, with reference to the physiological and medical doctrine of plasma and pseudo-plasma, as if Paul had by intuition anticipated modern science.—P. S.]

FN#21 - The παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος is the σάρξ personified, or the ἐγὼ σαρκικός, Romans 7:14; Romans 7:18i.e., the fallen, sinful nature before regeneration, in opposition to the καινὸς, or νέος ἄνθρωπος, or the καινὴ κτίσις, the renewed, regenerated man; Colossians 3:9-10; Ephesians 4:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:17. The term man is used because sin controls the whole personality, as, on the other hand, regeneration is a radical change of the whole man with all his faculties and dispositions. The phrase, the old Prayer of Manasseh, the man of sin, is traced to rabbinical origin by Schöttgen, Bloomfield, Stuart; but the passage quoted by Schöttgen from the comparatively recent Sohar-chadash (first published in1599) has a different meaning, according to Tholuck, p287. The Talmud, however, calls proselytes “new creatures,” and says of them “they became as little children;” see Schöttgen, Hor. i. p328, 704 f.; Wetstein and Meyer on 2 Corinthians 5:17. Meyer says: “The form of the expression (καινὴ κτίσις) is rabbinical; for the Rabbins considered a convert to Judaism as כריה חדזה.” The Christian idea of the παλιγγενεσία, of course, is far deeper.”—P. S.]

FN#22 - Tholuck takes σῶμα in the literal sense, but viewed as the seat and organ of sin (p303), and enters in this connection into a full discussion of the meaning of σάρξ, and its relation to sin, p296 ff.; but the proper place for a biblico-psychological excursus on σάρξ, σῶμα, ψυχή, νοῦς, πνεῦμα, is chap7. See below.—P. S.]

FN#23 - Meyer’s view Isaiah, that he who is physically dead is free from sin, because he is free from the body, the seat of sin. But this, as Philippi remarks, is contrary to the biblical and Pauline anthropology.—P. S.]

FN#24 - We add the views of leading English and American commentators: Scott, Macknight, and Hodge: He who is dead with Christ is freed from the guilt and punishment of sin by justification. Stuart and Barnes: The Apostle applies a common Jewish proverb concerning physical death, to one who is spiritually dead as to sin—i.e., he must become free of its influence. Bloomfield: He whose corrupt nature has been crucified with Christ is freed from its power and slavery. Alford: As a man that is dead is released from guilt and bondage among men: so a man that has died to sin is acquitted from the guilt of sin and released of its bondage, so that sin (personified) has no more claims on him, either as a creditor or as a master, cannot detain him for debt, nor sue him for service. Forbes combines the view of legal freedom from the guilt of sin (Fraser, Haldane) with the interpretation of spiritual freedom from the power and dominion of sin. “It is to sin as a whole, to its power as well as to its guilt, that the believer has virtually died in Christ as his representative and substitute.” All is already objectively accomplished in Christ, yet remains to be realized subjectively in the believer’s individual experience, which will not be completed till after the literal death of the body.—P. S.]

FN#25 - The dative of reference or relation; in point of fact, in the case of ἀμαρτίᾳ it is the Dativus incommodi, or detrimenti; while in the next clause τῷ θεῷ is the Dat. commodi.—P. S.]

FN#26 - The indicative would rather require: οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς λογιζόμεθα, instead of the second person. Alford is quite mistaken, when he says: “Meyer only holds it to be indicative.” Meyer, on the contrary, takes λογίζεσθε to be the imperative, in harmony with the hortative character of what follows.—P. S.]

FN#27 - Meyer: ἐν X, I. is not per Christum (Grotius, Fritzsche, al.), but denotes the element in which the being dead and being alive holds. Comp. Winer, Gramm., p364.—P. S.]


Verses 12-23

Third Section.—The principial freedom of Christians from the service of sin to death, and their actual departure there from and entrance into the service of righteousness unto life by the power of the death of Jesus. (Believers should live in the consciousness that they are dead to sin, just as even the slave is freed by death.)

Romans 6:12-23

12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in13[omit it in][FN28] the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye [Nor render][FN29] your members as instruments [or weapons] of unrighteousness unto [to][FN30] sin: but yield [render] yourselves unto [to] God, as those that are alive [as being alive][FN31] from the dead, and your members as instruments [or weapons] of righteousness unto [to]God 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the [omit the][FN32] law, but under grace.

15What then? shall [may][FN33] we sin, because we are not under the [omit the]law, but under grace? God forbid. [Let it not be!] 16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether [either] of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17But God be thanked [thanks to God], that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have [omit have] obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine [teaching][FN34] which 18 was delivered you [whereunto ye were delivered;].[FN35] Being then [And being]made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded [rendered] your members [as] servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield [render] your members [as] servants to righteousnessunto holiness [or sanctification].[FN36] 20For when ye were the [omit the] servantsof sin, ye were free from [as regards] righteousness 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? [What fruit had ye then therefore? Things whereof ye are now ashamed;][FN37] for[FN38] the end of those thingsis death 22 But now being [having been] made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness [or sanctification], and the endeverlasting life 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ [in Christ Jesus][FN39] our Lord.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Romans 6:12. Let not sin therefore reign [Μὴ οὖν βασιλευέτω ἁμαρτίᾳ]. The Apostle conducts the following discussion in a hortatory manner, but without actually “entering the sphere of exhortation,” as Tholuck thinks. [The negative part of the exhortation, Romans 6:12-13, corresponds to νεκροὺς μέν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, Romans 6:11; the positive part, ἀλλὰ παραστήσατε, Romans 6:13, answers to ζῶντας δὲτῶ̣ Θεῶ̣. So Meyer, Philippi, Alford, Hodge, &c.—P. S.] In a didactic respect he teaches that believers, by their transition from a state under the law to a state under grace, are first properly qualified and pledged to the service of righteousness, but are not free for the service of sin. That Isaiah, the true emancipation from outward legalism leads to an inward and free legalism, but not to Antinomianism. The οὖν indicates that Romans 6:11 shall be elaborated. But as the previous section has shown what is conformable to the state of grace in itself, the present section shows what is according to freedom from the hard service of sin, which was presupposed by bondage under the law. Let not sin now reign (imp.). The true sovereign command of grace is opposed to the false sovereign command of sin, which is still present as a broken power (Luther: Observe that holy people still have evil lusts in the flesh, which they do not follow). Tholuck: “Philippi and Meyer correctly remark, that the Apostle does not expressly make any concessions to the concupiscentia [ἐπιθυμίαις]; yet his admonition does not extend any farther than that lust must not become a deed. Sin is represented as ruler in the body, which ruler is served by the μέλη as organs.” That Isaiah, however, as the one who has been the ruler; and the methods are at the same time given for destroying the lusts of the flesh, that they—by the life in the Spirit, which also changes the members into instruments of righteousness—should not only be continually ignored, but also annulled. [Alford, in opposition to Chrysostom, who lays stress on βασιλευέω, says: “It is no matter of comparison between reigning and indwelling merely, but between reigning and being deposed.”—P. S.]

In your mortal body [ἐν τῷ θνητῷ ὑμῶν σὡματι]. The σω̅μα as θνητόν must be distinguished, on the one hand, from the σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας of Romans 6:6, and, on the other, from the σῶμανεκρόν of Romans 8:10. The σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτ. is the pseudo-plastic apparent body of the old Prayer of Manasseh, and, as the sensual side of all sinfulness, is devoted with it to destruction. The body is a σῶμα νεκρόν so far as it no more asserts itself as a second principle of life with, or even superior to, the principle of the Spirit, but yields itself purely to the service of the Spirit. But a σῶυα θνητόν is the body so far as it, as the sensual organism of the earthly existence, has living organs, which shall be purified from the former service of sin and transferred to the service of righteousness. The σῶμα as a false principle is destroyed; the σῶμα as a secondary principle is dead, absolutely helpless; and the αῶμα as the organ of the spiritual principle is transformed into instruments of righteousness. It is called mortal, because its earthly propensity is toward sin and death, and it must be compulsorily brought into the service of righteousness, and exercised as for a spiritual military service in antithesis to the body of the resurrection, which will be the pure power and excellence of righteousness. Meyer is therefore correct in rejecting the interpretation, that θνητόν is the same as νεκρόν (dead to sin; Turretin, Ernesti, and others).

But it may be asked, For what purpose is the adjective θνητὸν?

1. Calvin: per contemptum vocat mortale [ut doceat totam hominis naturam ad mortem et exitium inclinare]. Köllner: It is dishonorable to make the spirit subject to this frail body.

2. Grotius: De vita altera cogitandum, nee formidandos labores hand sane diuturnos. [Chrysostom, Theodoret, Reiche, likewise suppose that the word reminds us of the other life, and of the shortness of the conflict.—P. S.]

3. Flatt: Reminder of the brevity of sensual pleasure. [Comp. Theophylact].

4. Meyer, obscurely: It is absurd to make sin reign in the mortal body, if the Christian is dead to sin and alive to God.

5. Philippi: To call to mind that the wages of sin is death. [Philippi takes σῶμα in opposition to πνεῦμα.]

6. Tholuck, with Bullinger and Calixtus: Because sensual enticements are regarded as inseparable from the present sensuous organism, &c.

7. Photius, Turretin, Ernesti: θνητόν is figuratively = dead; i. e., corrupt (in which sense νεκρός is often used).]

In all these definitions the relative dignity and estimate of the “mortal body,” which are definitely declared in Romans 6:13, are not regarded; the same members, which until then had been instruments of unrighteousness, henceforth being instruments of righteousness. The organism of earthly existence and action, which has become mortal by sin, is naturally an organism for the service of the spirit. By the dominion of sin in it, its morality became still more intense; but by the normal subjection of sin to the service of the Spirit, it shall be brought with it on the course toward everlasting life ( Romans 6:22).

That ye should obey the lusts thereof [εἰς τό ὑπακούειν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις αὐτοῦ]. According to the sense, we must supply ὑμᾶς to ὑπακούειν. To the end that ye obey its lusts. Even if the body were holy, its impulses would have to be subject to the dominion of the spirit; much more must they be subject to the spirit, since they are diseased, irritable, excitable, and inclined to self-assertion and demoniacal self-distraction.

Romans 6:13. Nor render your members [Μὴ περιστάνετε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν]. Without doubt παριστάνειν has reference here to enlistment or delivery for military service. The Apostle is writing to Rome, the metropolis of military affairs, and therefore derives his figure from Roman customs (comp. Romans 13:12); just as he admonishes the Corinthians by expressions that call up the Isthmian games ( 1 Corinthians 9:24), and speaks to the spiritual city of Ephesus concerning the battle with spirits ( Ephesians 6:11-12). Sin is already distinguished as the false ̀βασιλεύς, who causes the false summons to be promulgated that the members shall be ordered into his warfare against righteousness.—Your members. If the body has ceased to be an independent principle, only its members come into consideration (in the good sense of the principle: Divide et impera). According to Erasmus, Philippi, and others, the intellectual forces and activities (perception, will, understanding) are included in the term. According to Meyer, only the physical members are meant (the tongue, hand, foot, eye, &c.), “for which, however, intellectual action is a necessary supposition. The physical members are plainly meant as organs and symbols of ethical conduct (different from the pseudo-plasmatic members; Colossians 3:5).

As weapons [or instruments] of unrighteousness [ὅπλα ἀδικίας]. Meyer says, of immorality. But, in war, people contend for the right or the wrong; therefore the expression ἀδικία must be strictly retained.—“̔́Οπλα, according to the Vulgate, Theodoret, Luther, Calvin, Bengel, and Meyer: weapons. Calixtus and De Wette [Stuart, Reiche, Hodge, Ewald, Alford], on the other hand: instruments. The former construction can by no means be favored by appealing to the fact that the βασιλεύειν suggests warriors in service, for the trope is already obliterated (?) in that term; but it is favored by the consideration that the Apostle also elsewhere—when he uses ὅπλα in the ethical sense—employs it in the meaning of ‘weapons;’ Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 10:4” (Tholuck). [Meyer insists that ὅπλα, while so frequently used in the sense of instruments by classical authors, is never thus used in the New Testament.—R.]

To sin [τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ]. Personified as the presumptively false ruler (see Romans 5:12 ff.).

But render yourselves [ἀλλὰ παραστήσατε ἑαυτούς]. We must observe here a double antithesis: first, the aorist παραστήσατε in opposition to the previous present, παραστάνετε; second, ἑαυτούς in connection with the following χαὶ τὰμέλη, in opposition to the previous τὰ μέλη. Both are quite in harmony with the antithesis. For believers have already fundamentally placed themselves as such in the service of righteousness, and in complete unity with the centre of their life, while the man in the opposite service of sin yields his members individually to a foreign power. At all events, the Christian, as the servant of sin, would be led into the contradiction of wishing to remain free himself while he placed his members at the service of sin. On the aorist παραστήσατε, comp. Winer, p293; and Tholuck, p311. (It denotes, “according to Fritzsche, what happens in the moment; according to Meyer, that which occurs forthwith; and according to Philippi, that which appears once;” Tholuck). Tholuck does not attach importance to the difference between the aorist imperative and the present imperative, since he concurs with those who disregard the temporal reference. We hold, with Herm. Schmidt (De imperativis; Wittenberg, 1833): “The imperative present commands to occupy one’s self with something; the imperative aorist, to accomplish something.” We add to this: That something already under consideration, or already undertaken, must be carried through. [The greater definiteness implied in the aorist must not be lost sight of, whatever view be adopted.—R.]

As being alive from the dead [ὡς ἐκ νεκρῶν ζῶντα̣ς. The ὡς does not introduce a figure, but means rather (comp. Romans 6:11): regarding yourselves as those who are alive, almost = since you are. The phrase is a condensed description of the state of ἑαντούς. While the reference is undoubtedly ethical, yourselves must be taken in its widest meaning—body, soul, and spirit; and the implication Isaiah, that the whole man was once dead in sin (not to sin, as Romans 6:11), but now is alive; hence the pertinence of the exhortation. The reference to a field of battle is extremely doubtful, since it introduces a new figure so soon after Romans 6:2-11.—R.] Meyer: Those who, from dead persons, have become living. We assume the figure of a field of battle. The Christians lay there as dead or slain persons, and from dead persons they became alive; therefore they can and should go over to the banner of righteousness.

And your members [καὶ τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν. Hodge paraphrases and: and especially; but καί seems to have an inferential force here.—R.] Because they have become themselves the warriors of God, they must also regard their members as God’s weapons, the weapons of righteousness for God.[FN40]

Romans 6:14. For sin shall not have dominion over you [ μαρτίᾳ γὰρ ὑμῶν οὐκυριεύ ει]. The future, according to Melanchthon: dulcissima consolatio; erroneously regarded by Rosenmüller, Flatt, and others, as imperative. If we were to distinguish between the expression of confident supposition (Calov. and De Wette) and consoling promise (Chrysostom, Grotius, and Tholuck), we would prefer the former meaning, since the predominant train of thought throughout is didactic; yet the latter is also included.

For ye are not under law [οὐ γάρ ἐστεὑπὸ νόμο ν]. Notwithstanding the preceding declaration in Romans 5:20, the expression continues to be an oxymoron, since the law is recognized as a barrier to sin. The sense is: freedom from the law gives you so little freedom to sin, that it is only by the exercise of grace upon you that your freedom from sin has begun. [Meyer: “Were they under the law, Paul could not have given this promise (i. e., in the preceding clause), for the law is the strength of sin ( 1 Corinthians 15:56), multiplies sin ( Romans 5:20), in which aspect he intends to explain it further in chap7.” Law is here used in its widest signification. See Hodge.—R.]

Under the dominion of grace [ὑπὸκάριν], which operates as an inward and new principle of life; while the law, as such, confronted the inward life only as an outward demand—threatening, arousing, and casting down; and in this form it presupposed the dominion of sin. Bondage under the law betokened bondage under sin, without being able to remove it; but it is removed by the dominion of grace, which has become an inward law of life. [The general idea undoubtedly is: “Ye are not under a legal dispensation, but a gracious one” (Stuart); yet the whole context forbids the exclusive reference to the method of justification. “Grace” is here used in its widest sense; “the Divine grace, shown in Christ, is the power under which ye stand” (Meyer), and which assures that ye shall not be under the dominion of sin.—”Gratia non solum peccata diluit, sed ut non peccemus facit” (Augustine).—R.]

Romans 6:15. What then? May we sin [Τί οὖν; ἁμαρτήσωμεν. See Textual Note6Vr—R.]. According to Rückert, Meyer, and others, a new section should commence here; which Tholuck is right in opposing. The unity of the following with the foregoing is the fundamental thought: freedom from sin. Also the reference to the members continues throughout what follows ( Romans 6:19). There Isaiah, however, a modification. Down to Romans 6:14 the antithesis was rather an ethical demand; but now a religious confirmation predominates. There, the new life was contrasted with the old as a voluntary entrance into the military service of righteousness over against the wicked, mercenary service of sin; here, the Apostle (speaking according to human analogy) presents the obligation of a new service in contrast with the old service. In the present verse Paul therefore brings out prominently the fearful consequence of the impure Antinomian view of the state of grace, in order to condemn it forthwith. To this earnest rejection of a horrible consequence, arising so frequently in ancient and modern times, the conjunctive ἁμαρτήσωμεν corresponds better than the future. [Dr. Hodge well remarks: “Such has been the objection to the doctrines of grace in all ages. And the fact that this objection was made to Paul’s teachings, proves that his doctrine is the same with that against which the same objection is still urged.” This consideration should also prevent any limitation of “grace” to justification.—On μὴ γένοιτο, see Romans 3:4, Textual Note 6, p112; comp. Comm. Gal., p49, foot-note.—R.]

Romans 6:16. To whom ye yield yourselves. With the know ye not,[FN41] the Apostle points to the analogy of a principle of civil law; but he gives the application in the same sentence with it. To whom you once voluntarily gave and pledged yourselves for obedience [with a view to obedience; Alford] as servants (slaves), his servants ye are, and him ye obey; be it as servants of sin unto death, &c. Thus the two services preclude each other, since the masters deny each other ( Matthew 6:24). According to De Wette, Philippi, and Tholuck, the emphasis rests on ἔστε; according to Meyer, on δοῦλοι. But the actual being and availing, with its consequence, is plainly the principal idea here; the being servants is at the same time connected with it. The ῷὑπακ. is explained by Reiche: to whom you have to obey. But this weakens the sense.

[Either, or. The disjunctive ἤτοι occurs only here in the New Testament. It lays special emphasis on the first alternative (Meyer). “Either this alone, or that; there is no third;” Hartung, ii. p356 f.—R.] The ἤτοι, , a strong either, or. Sin is personified here too. But the ὑπακοή is personified in opposition to it as the παρακοη ( 1 Peter 1:14); and this is a beautiful expression for the Christian’s freedom in his obedience.[FN42] Plainly, the Apostle here makes the freedom of choice precede the servum arbitrium; according to Romans 6:17, the former was bound a long time ago.

Of sin unto death [ἁμαρτίας εἰς θάνατο ν.] According to Fritzsche and Reiche, physical death is meant; but according to Meyer and Tholuck (the early view of which latter was that it is spiritual death), after Chrysostom, eternal death is spoken of. Meyer’s ground against the acceptance of physical death is that it is not the consequence of individual sin, and cannot be averted from the δοῦλος ὑπακοῆς—an argument which Tholuck accepts. But how could this occur, if there were not in earthly life a hundred-fold gradations of physical death? The death of the suicide, for example, is not to be explained simply by the fall of Adam. And thus spiritual death has its degrees also. Therefore the Apostle speaks of death in general (so also Philippi);[FN43] as, according to 1 Corinthians15, his thorn is sin, which has eternal death in prospect. Even the forms of the misery of sin which precede death are not to be excluded.

Of obedience unto righteousness [ὐπακοῆς εἰς δικαιοσύνην.] Meyer, just as incorrectly, presents the διχαιοσύνη as the final result for the servants of obedience, in contrast with exclusively eternal death. The righteousness of faith is certainly assumed here; but the “uprightness which is adjudged to believers in the judgment” is gradually developed to its completion from obedience as the form of the new life.[FN44] (On the construction of this verse with Romans 6:17-18 [Rückert and Reiche], by which Romans 6:16 is the propositio major, Romans 6:17 the minor, and Romans 6:18 the conclusion. Comp. Tholuck.)[FN45]

Romans 6:17 But thanks to God, &c. [κάρις δὲτῷ Θεῷ, κ.τ.λ.]. It may be asked, whether the first proposition is a mere introduction to the second as the principal proposition, so that the thanksgiving refers merely to obedience (Grotius, Estius, and others); or whether the thanksgiving refers to both propositions (Meyer, Tholuck).[FN46] Tholuck says, in favor of the latter view: “Since ἦτε precedes, and μέν is wanting, ἦτε must be read with all the more emphasis; as 1 Corinthians 6:11 : καὶ ταῦτα τίνες ἦτε; Ephesians 5:8 : ἦτε γάρ ποτε σκότος; and the immediate object of thanksgiving is that this time of the bondage to sin is past.” Evidently, the deliverance from the service of death is in itself already a satisfactory ground for praise and thanksgiving; yea, we naturally thank God for this with the greatest emotion (God be praised: delivered!), although this negative side of salvation cannot be regarded as separate from the positive.

But ye obeyed from the heart [ὑπηκούσατε δέ ἐκκαρδίας]. They were only conditionally voluntary in their bondage to sin; but they have become obedient from the very bottom of their heart.

That form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered [εἰς ὓν παρεδόθητε τύπον διδακῆς]. The simplest solution of the attraction εἰς ὃν παρεδ. is τῷ τύπω̣ τη̅ς διδαχ., εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε.[FN47] Explanations:

1. Christian doctrine in general (the most common). Meyer says properly to the contrary: By this the expression τύπος would not be explained. Beza, indeed, explains it: A seal under which we are placed to receive its impression.[FN48]

2. The doctrinal form of the gospel according to Paul, in opposition to anti-Paulinism (De Wette, Meyer, and others).[FN49]

3. Œcumenius, Calvin, and others, have taken the word in the sense of the ideal which the doctrine holds up. For a still more untenable explanation by Von Hengel, see Meyer.

Tholuck first repudiates the presumption of anti-Paulinism. Yet it does, indeed, come into consideration, so far as it judaistically obscured the Pauline doctrine of free grace. Tholuck is then inclined to accept the explanation of Beza, and says “that it is by no means a common expression ‘to be delivered to a doctrine,’ even if, with Chrysostom and Olshausen, we consider at the same time the guidance of God as the active factor.” But the Apostle says, in Galatians 1:6, what he holds concerning this type of doctrine in opposition to its obscurations.

God himself has committed them to this school of faith.

Παρεδόθητε is not middle (Fritzsche), but passive. [Winer, p245, seems to justify the change to the active form which the E. V. adopts, but there is a good reason for the choice of the passive, viz, the activity of God in committing them to this type of teaching. This thought appropriately follows “Thanks to God.” So Meyer, comp. Philippi.—R.] It follows, from what has been said, that the Church was already won over by the Apostle’s friends to the Pauline form of the gospel. But here the matter treated of is the essential element; the true energy of freedom from the law is the true energy of life in obedience unto righteousness.

Romans 6:18 And being made free from sin [ἐλευθερωθέντε ςδ έἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας. Aorist participle, referring to the definite act of deliverance. The clause stands in close connection with Romans 6:17, not as a conclusion (since οὖν would occur in that case), but rather as an expansion.—R.]. The δέ leads us to emphasize the expression: ye are enslaved, or made servants, &c. From the nature of the case, they knew the negative past—free from sin—earlier and better than this full consequence: ye became the servants of righteousness.

Romans 6:19. I speak after the manner of men. The ἀνθρώπινον is analogous to the κατ’ ἄνθρω πον in Romans 3:5.[FN50] By slavery, which was in full bloom in Rome, the Apostle clearly explains to them the absolute force of the new principle of life.

Because of the infirmity of your flesh [διὰ τὴν ἀσθένειαν τῆςσάρκος ὑμῶν]. The flesh, or the sensuous and susceptible fulness of the body, is not only negatively weak, but also positively diseased and disturbed, both of which facts are expressed by the ἀσθένεια. It may be asked, however, whether the Apostle means here the weakness of intelligence arising from this infirmity, by which he was compelled to represent to them the highest liberty under the figure of servitude (Bengel, Meyer, and De Wette, with reference to 1 Corinthians 3:1); or whether he meant their practical infirmity. The first view—that Isaiah, the reference to intelligence—appears also in the intimation that the Apostle announces a popular explanation (Vatable, Ernesti, and Rosenmüller). The latter view is favored by Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Calvin, &c.: “I require nothing which your fleshly weakness could not do,” or the like. The thought here could not be unintelligible to the Roman Christians; therefore the practical reference by all means preponderates; but not in the sense already given: “I require of you nothing too difficult; I require only the degree of obedience which you formerly rendered to sin.” The Apostle’s thought can rather be explained by what follows: “Yield your members servants,” &c. That Isaiah, even if, in your spiritual life, you feel that you are as freemen, you must nevertheless restrain your members strictly in discipline and obedience on account of the infirmity of your flesh. With all freedom, the question in reference to the bodily members is an appropriate ascetic discipline, such as the Apostle exercised in reference to his own body ( 1 Corinthians 9:27; comp. Galatians 5:24); and therefore the figurative form of his expression does not merely correspond to the antithesis as denoting an unlimited obedience, but is established in a more special sense as the requirement of a strict discipline. This view obviates Meyer’s reminder: λέγω cannot mean require. The Apostle does not express a requirement, but a principle; by which analogy the Christian, in his freedom, has to make his bodily life absolutely subject. Lachmann [apparently Olshausen] and Fritzsche unjustifiably make a parenthesis of this clause, ἀνθρώπινον, κ.τ.λ..

[With Bengel, Olshausen, De Wette, Hodge, Alford, and many others, I am disposed to give a decided preference to the first view, viz, that this clause refers to what precedes. Commentators differ as to the force of the terms, but the following positions seem most tenable. Infirmity means intellectual weakness, growing out of their carnal condition (σάρκος, gen. auctoris.) The ethical reference is in σάρξ, not in ἀσθένεια. On σάρξ, see chap7.—R.]

For as ye have rendered your members [ὥσπερ γαρ παρεστήσατε τὰμέληὑμῶν. is explicative (Tholuck, Meyer). Δοῦλα, used as an adjective, only here in New Testament (Hodge).—R.] To servitude. The apparently free pleasure was, in fact, a hard bondage under sin.—To uncleanness [τῇ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ.] We hold that ὰκαθαρσία has especial reference to the heathen portion (according to chap1.), and to iniquity, ὰνομία, on the contrary, to the Jewish portion (according to chap2). Meyer makes this distinction: ἀκαθ. is sin as ethically defiling man; and ἀνομ. is sin as violation of the Divine law. Spener, De Wette, and others, distinguish thus: Uncleanness as defilement of themselves and of sin toward others. Tholuck considers ἀκαθ. as species, and ἀνομία as the generalizing genus of sin. But the genus is declared in what follows. The ἀχαθ., or fleshly sin in the narrower sense, and the ἀνομία, or violations of the law in the narrower sense, converge in the ἀνομία in the wider sense in guilt and condemnation before the law—which constitute the antithesis to ἁγιασμός. Therefore the explanation of unto iniquity,[FN51] εἰς τὴν ἀνομ., as from one sin to others, is incorrect (Œcumenius, Erasmus, Luther, and Grotius). The duality of the service of sin is worthy of note: a service in part to uncleanness and in part to insubordination. This could not be the case (according to the axiom that no man can serve two masters) if both were not connected.

Even so now render your members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification [οὕτως νῦν παραστήσατε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν δοῦλα τῇ δικαιοσυνῃε ἰς ἁγιασμόν]. Righteousness, as the new principle of life, should bear unconditional sway over the members; holiness should be the end and result. Meyer translates ἁγιασμός, holiness. To present holiness. Even Tholuck does not understand the word to mean an effort to be holy. He refers to Romans 6:22; but there ἁγιασμός is still distinct from the τέλος as movement toward the τέλος. He then quotes Hebrews 12:1-4. But this passage does not decide positively for the expression holiness. For completed holiness is not the preliminary condition for beholding the Lord, but its fruit. But, according to this very passage, ἁγιασμός cannot mean a striving; otherwise we would have to translate: strive after the striving of holiness. The expressions quoted by Tholuck from Basil and Œcumenius do not both prove the same thing. Œcumenius understands by the word, absolute purity; Basil, thorough consecration to the holy God. And this is the sense, ̔Αγιασμός means, first of all, the act of consecration (“According to Bleek, on Hebrews 12:14, it does not occur among the classics; but Dion. Halic, Romans 1:21, as in the Sept, has it of acts of consecration;” Tholuck), then the condition of being consecrated, or of holiness—an idea which does not perfectly coincide with the idea of completed holiness, and in which there is at once expressed the constant ethical movement, rather than a substantial and quiescent condition.

[On the lexical grounds Lange advances, sanctification is the preferable meaning—one which accords with the context. The issue (not, the end; the use of the phrase in Romans 6:22 is against this) is sanctification, which indeed results in perfect holiness, but comes into view here rather as a progressive state than as an ultimate one. Undoubtedly righteousness describes the principle, and ἁγι. the actual condition (Philippi), but in the sense given by Lange above. Meyer says the word always means holiness—never sanctification—in the New Testament. Compare, on the contrary, Bengel, Romans 1:4.—R.]

Romans 6:20. For when ye were servants of sin [ὅτε γὰρ δοῦλοι ἧτε τῆς ἁμαρτίας]. According to Fritzsche, the γάρ indicates the elucidation of Romans 6:19; but according to Meyer and Tholuck, it announces the establishing of it. It Isaiah, however, rather a continued elucidation of the preceding than an establishment of what follows.[FN52] The Apostle answers the question: wherefore should the service of righteousness be a bond-service? Answer: because ye, who were formerly the servants of sin, became free in relation to righteousness. They were not the freemen of righteousness, as though it had made them free, but in relation to it; therefore the dative. The argument lies in the necessity of the complete reversion of the earlier relation. Since sin and righteousness preclude each other, they were free in relation to righteousness, because they were the bondmen of sin. Therefore, since they have now become free from sin, they must be the bondmen of righteousness. The fearful expression, free as regards righteousness [ἐλεύθεροι ἦτεͅ τῇ δικαιοσύνη, dative of reference], does not mean that righteousness had no claims upon you (Tholuck), but that it had no part in you.[FN53] According to Koppe and Reiche, this is ironical; a position opposed by Meyer, and now also by Tholuck. There is certainly nothing ironical in the sentence, but there is in the word ἐλεύθεροι. For we can no more accept it in a strict sense, than that they should be the slaves of righteousness. As this latter bondage is not only freedom, but also spontaneity, so was that freedom the deepest slavery. [That was a sorrowful freedom! Why find irony, then?—R.]

Romans 6:21. What fruit had ye then therefore? Things whereof ye are now ashamed [τίνα οὖν καρπὸν εἴχετε τότε; ἐφ’ οἷς νῦν ἐπαισχύνεσθε. See Textual Note 10.—R.]. Here are two divergent constructions:

1. The question closes with τότε. Then follows the answer. (Thus the Pesh, Theodore of Mopsvestia, Theodoret, Erasmus, Luther, and many others, down to De Wette, Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Philippi.) [So Alford, Webster and Wilkinson.]

2. The question continues to ἐπαισχύνεσθε. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? Answer: None; for the final result of them (these things) is death (thus Chrysostom, Œcumenius, Beza, Calov, Grotius, &c.; Bengel, Meyer). [So Stuart, Hodge, Wordsworth.]

3. Reiche, in conjunction with the latter construction, explains thus: What deeds, of which ye are now ashamed, proceeded from your service of sin (namely, your bringing forth fruit)? This third construction is utterly untenable; χαρπός would then recur as plural in ἐφ̓ οἷς, and χαρπ. ἔχειν would mean: to bring forth fruit.

There are the following reasons against Meyer’s explanation: 1. First of all, he must insert an ἐχείνων before ἐφ’ οἷς, and introduce a negation into the question, in order to explain the form of the answer, τὸ γάρ, &c2. The question Isaiah, What fruit had ye then? not, What will ye have finally? 3. After the antithesis, it should be made emphatic that they had formerly no fruit, but rather pernicious and horrible deceptions, but that now they bring forth their fruit4. By Meyer’s construction, ἐφ’ οἷς νῦν ἐπαισχύνεσθε would be converted into an enervating remark. Meyer says, against explanation No. Romans 1:1. According to Romans 6:22, the question, in antithesis to Romans 6:21, is the having the fruit, and not the quality of it. This is wrong: the χαρπός is qualified, εἰς ἁγια·σμόν. 2. Paul must have written τίασ χαρπούς or ἐφ̓ ὧ̣; as if the metaphorical idea of fruit, or gain, could not be represented in a variety of things3. Paul never ascribes χαρπούς to immorality; he attributes ἔργα to it ( Galatians 5:19); he predicates χαρπός of only what is good ( Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11); indeed, he even designates the ἔργα τοῦ σχότους as ἄχαρπα. But the Apostle says the same thing here, when he asks, What fruit had ye then? He even denies that they had real fruit—the true gain of life. On the other hand, they reaped, instead of true fruit, base deceptions, things of which they are now ashamed, and in which their future death is announced. Comp. Galatians 6:8. Tholuck thinks that between the two constructions there is no demonstrative decision.

For the end of those things is death [τὸ μὲν γὰρ τέλος ἐχείνων θάνατος]. Death must be understood here in its complete and comprehensive meaning; not eternal death exclusively (Meyer).

Meyer, with Lachmann, accepts μέν, and translates: for the end is indeed death; but without observing that this contradicts his own construction of the passage. It is only on the first construction that μέν has any meaning. [See Textual Note11. Having already accepted μέν on diplomatic and critical grounds, before carefully considering the exegetical results, I am now disposed to insist upon retaining it, and using it as decisive in regard to the construction of the verse.—R.]

Romans 6:22. But now having been made free from sin [νμνὶ δὲ ἐλευθερωθέντες ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας]. The evil relation has been completely reversed by faith.—And become servants to God [δουλωθέντες δὲ τῷ θεῷ Notice the definiteness of the aorist participles.—R.]. God himself here takes the place of διχαιοσύνη, for their relation is now one of personal love.—Ye have your fruit unto sanctification [ἔχετε τὸν καρπόν ὑμῶν εἰς ἁγιασμόν. The present indicates fruit already. The sense: have your reward, seems unjustifiable here. Εἰς is consecutive here (Meyer), as I hold it to be in Romans 6:19 also. ̔ Αγιασμὸν, sanctification, as above, a progressive state, the immediate issue of the fruit of their personal relation to God, the final issue follows.—R.] They have fruit already in this new relation. Meyer: the χαινότης ζωῆς, Romans 6:4.—Or the peace, Romans 5:1. But as, in the Old Testament, the firstlings served for the ἁγιασμός, Song of Solomon, in the New Testament, this is done by the whole fruit of the life of faith. Tholuck translates here also: holiness [without excluding the idea of sanctification, however.—R.]

And the end everlasting life [τὸ δὲ τέλος ζωὴν αἰώνιον]. That [We must take “life” here in its most extended sense, as “death” in Romans 6:21. Meyer’s difficulty arises from his limiting the meaning of these two words throughout. We have already eternal life in germ; in its fulness it is the τέλος of all our fruit and fruitfulness. Not, however, by natural, inherent laws of development. The next verse sets forth anew the two ends, and the inherent difference.—R.]

Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death [τὰ γὰρ ὀψώνια τῆς ἁμαρτίας θάνατος]. Tholuck: “̓͂ Οψώνιον, and in the plural ὀψώνια, wages of the servant and the soldier; therefore possibly, though not necessarily, a continuation of the figure of military service; comp. ὅπλα, Romans 6:13. Under this supposition, Grotius, Bengel, and Wetstein made χάρισμα to mean the donationum militare. Yet the technical word for such a gift is ἡἐπίδοσις (Fritzsche).” The figurative character of the antithesis lies in the fact that sin pays its soldiers and slaves miserable wages (Erasmus: ὀψώνια, vile verbum), namely, death; but God (as King) pays His children and servants, not a reward, but the honor-gift of His favor, which is eternal life. Tholuck defines the antithesis thus: as far as sin is concerned, her due is according to justice; but, on the other hand, what is received by the believing acceptance of God’s saving blessings can be regarded only as a gift—namely, the imparting of salvation, the eternal completion of life. This antithesis is correct so far as it is not pushed beyond the proper measure, so that justice does not appear as mere arbitrary authority. In the present passage, however, this antithesis recedes; for the question is not concerning the righteous punishment of sin, but the way in which sin itself, regarded as false dominion, pays the reward. The gift of God also, at all events, presupposes the merit of believers, but yet remains a gift, because the whole idea of gain falls to the ground where merit is not considered, and where even the preliminary conditions of good conduct are bestowed as a gift.[FN54] For the idea of wages, see 1 Corinthians 9:7. “The plural (more usual than the singular) may be explained from the manifold elements of original natural reward, and from the numerous coins of later money-wages;” Meyer.

In Christ Jesus our Lord [ἐν Χριστῷ Ιησοῦ τῷ κυρίω̣ ἡμῶν. Stuart follows the inexact sense of the E. V.: “through the redemption or atonement of Christ.” True; but not what Paul says here. In Christ Jesus is an expression which has a full, rich meaning of its own. In this case, we may ask whether the phrase limits God, or gift of God, or is used more generally. Meyer says: in Christ it rests, is causally founded, that the gift of God is eternal life. Webster and Wilkinson: in Him, by virtue of His relation to Deity, God is the giver; in Him, we, as united with Him, having an interest in Him, are recipients.—R.]. He is not only the source, but also the central treasure of our eternal life.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. It is certainly not accidental that the word to rule, βασιλεύειν, occurs so frequently in the Epistle to the Romans ( Romans 5:14; Romans 5:17; Romans 5:21; Romans 6:12); likewise the word weapons, ὅπλα, here, and in Romans 13:12. See the Exeg. Notes, where reference is made to the Apostle’s similar allusions to local relations in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, as well as in the Epistle to the Ephesians. His epistles in general abound in these evidences of truth to life. In the Epistle to the Galatians, for example, we see very plainly the Galatian fickleness; in the Epistles to the Corinthians, we see the city of Corinth portrayed; and in the Epistle to the Colossians, the Phrygian popular spirit, &c. Such evidences of authenticity are regarded by the critics of Baur’s school as mere cobwebs, while they convert cobwebs of the barest probability into important and decisive evidence.

2. In this section the Apostle passes from the figure of military service to that of servitude, in order to portray, in every relation, Christian freedom in its contrast with the bondage of man in sin.

3. On Romans 6:12. The despotic dominion of sin in the mortal body of the unregenerate, is an ethical copy of physical demoniacal possession. Sin, as a foreign force, has penetrated the individual life, and riots there as lord and master. Christianity now consists essentially in raising the shield of the Spirit against this usurping despotism, in the power of the triumph, dominion, and fellowship of Christ.

4. Romans 6:13. If the real Christian should again serve sin, his conduct would be a voluntary, cowardly, and inexcusable surrender of his arms to a hostile power already overthrown. But, according to the Apostle’s view, the whole life of humanity is a moral struggle of the spirit between righteousness and unrighteousness, in which all the human members are arms that contend for either righteousness or unrighteousness. Prayer of Manasseh, physiologically regarded, is born naked, without weapons or arms; ethically considered, he is “armed to the teeth;” his members have throughout the significance of moral arms.

5. The conclusion made by non-legal impurity, that sin is made free, because we are not under law, but under grace, is reversed by Paul, who says that, for this reason, sin is to be regarded as abrogated and excluded. The law does not make sinners, but it suits sinners; bondage under the law corresponds to bondage under sin, and the law cannot annul this bondage. To him who stands under the law, his own inmost nature is still a strange form; for the inmost nature, in its living character, signifies the inwardness of the law, freedom from the letter of the law, liberty. To be estranged from one’s self Isaiah, therefore, to be still in the bondage of sin, and therefore under that of the law also, as the foreign form of the inmost norms of life. But in grace, man has become at once free from sin and the law, because by grace he has come to himself ( Luke 15:15), and because it has written the law, as the word of the Spirit, on his heart.[FN55] On the power of sin, see Tholuck, p313; on the nova obedientia, p314.

6. On Romans 6:16. Life is throughout a consequence of an established principle, either for death or for life, whether man may have made this principle—his self-determination—more or less clear to himself. Christianity is a thoroughly synthetical view of life—a view of life in its grand, complete, and fundamental relations. Adam, Christ—the state of bond age, the state of freedom, &c.

7. On Romans 6:17. When the Apostle thanks God that the Romans have not merely become Christians in a general sense, but have become obedient to the doctrinal form of the freedom of the gospel from the law, the application of this to the evangelical confession lies very near. The Apostle speaks here of definite doctrinal types, not so much in the formal as in the material sense. The antithesis is judaizing Christianity.

8. On Romans 6:19-20. That the members should be servants to righteousness, is not merely a figurative expression arising from the antithesis that they were enslaved to sin. Rather, this is a demand which follows from the fact that, in consequence of serving sin, they are afflicted with weakness of the flesh; and therefore, notwithstanding the freedom of the Christian spirit—yea, by virtue of it—the morbid and blunted natural forces, the animal natures, must be subjected, watched over, and controlled. Augustine teaches that the little tree, which has grown crooked on one side, is thereby stretched so that it can be bent a little toward the other side.

9. The fruit of the service of sin is first of all represented in bitter disappointments, confusion, disgrace, and shame; finally, in death. The reward of sin Isaiah, from its very nature, the low wages for slavish or military service, and in addition to this, further contemptible pay, viz, death. How glorious does the honorable gift of eternal life appear in comparison with this wretched reward! See the Exeg. Notes. We must here reject the exaggerations of the idea of gracious retribution, as well on the side of arbitrary authority as on the side of reward. In human relations, gain is a lower form than merit; but the donation goes far beyond the merit, since it, as the gift of personal magnanimity, will more than outweigh the work of personal worth. Everywhere in the kingdom of love, to say nothing of the kingdom of grace, all idea of merit falls to the ground; but the appropriateness of the reward to the dignity of the child and the worthiness of the servant, which are bestowed by God and religiously and morally appropriated, do not fall to the ground. Grace is not thereby so glorified that it is absolved from justice.[FN56] On the ζωὴ αἰώνιος, see Comm. on the Gospel of John 3:15.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The well-established apostolical admonition to a moral course of life: 1. To whom is it directed? 2. What does it require? 3. By what is it established?—Our body is mortal ( Romans 6:12).—In whose service should our members be? 1. Not in the service of unrighteousness; but, 2. In the service of righteousness ( Romans 6:13).—In which service do our weapons hold out better? 1. Many believe in the service of unrighteousness; but there they are destroyed; 2. Christian experience teaches, on the other hand, that it is in the service of righteousness, for there they remain untouched ( Romans 6:13).—Under the law there is death, but under grace there is life ( Romans 6:14).—Law and grace.

Should we sin, since we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid! Because freedom from the law is (1) not lawlessness, but (2) obedience to righteousness [comp. Luther’s work, on the Freedom of a Christian Man], ( Romans 6:15-23).—What is it to be obedient in heart to the form of doctrine with which we are connected? 1. Not only to be orthodox, but also believing ( Romans 6:17).—The form of apostolical doctrine1. What must we understand thereby? (The Apostle Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith.) 2. How far is this form of importance for us? ( Romans 6:17).—Christian preachers should never forget to so speak after the manner of men that everybody can understand, Romans 3:5 ( Romans 6:19).—The fruits of serving sin and serving God: 1. The fruit of the former is death; 2. The fruit of the latter is eternal life ( Romans 6:21).—What is the fruit of sin? 1. A fruit of which one must be ashamed; 2. One whose end is death ( Romans 6:21).—What is the fruit of righteousness? 1. One of holiness; 2. One whose end is eternal life.—The precious fruit of holiness. It is not only to be regarded as (1) lovely, but (2) it makes wise, and joyous, and blessed ( Romans 6:21-22).—Death, and eternal life1. The former is the wages of sin; the latter is God’s gift in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Luther: In His death, that even we should die like Him. Observe that believers have still wicked lusts in the flesh, which they do not obey ( Romans 6:12).—So long as grace rules, the conscience remains free and controls sin in the flesh; but without grace, sin rules, and the law condemns the conscience ( Romans 6:14).

Starke: Sin still arises even in the regenerate, and they can again fall under its dominion; therefore they need the warning ( Romans 6:12).—The pious are never without law, and yet not under the law, but in it ( Romans 6:14).—Whoever still permits sin to rule over him, cannot be under grace ( Romans 6:14).—To be a servant of sin, is the greatest misery; but to have been a servant of sin is the greatest blessedness ( Romans 6:17).—Justification impels, moves, and powerfully awakens toward the exercise of godliness; Psalm 130:5 ( Romans 6:18).

Hedinger: To have piety from compulsion, fear, or politeness, in order to please others, or through one’s own inclination, desire, praise, and advantage, was the delusion and bondage of Ishmael. The children of God are not under the law; 1 John 4:18 ( Romans 6:15).—Christians are not libertines, who can do what they please: they are servants, but servants of God! But where are such servants? How great is their number? Servants of court, fashion, passion, men, the state, self, and the devil, can be seen in abundance.

Cramer: We shall never have a better fate than Paul, all of whose words have been perverted, misinterpreted, and made sinful.—Nothing is more becoming in a servant than obedience. Because we are now the servants of God, we must be steadfastly obedient from the heart until the end, according to God’s word, and not according to our own notion ( Romans 6:16).—Quesnel: As the heart Isaiah, so is the use of the body. He serves the Lord who has chosen Him from the heart. A true Christian dedicates himself wholly to God, his heart by love, and his body by good works ( Romans 6:13).—O blessed servitude with which we serve God! The service of men makes miserable people; but the service of God makes us saints in time and kings in eternity; Isaiah 14:3 ( Romans 6:22).—Müller: God will have no compulsory service; a willing heart is the best offering; in the weak flesh a willing spirit, in the small work a great will; Psalm 110:3 ( Romans 6:19).—He who is free from righteousness has no part in Christ ( Romans 6:20).—As the fruit grows from the seed, so does ignominy grow from sin, outwardly before the world and inwardly in the conscience before God (see Romans 6:21).

Spener: Earnest and true Christianity consists herein: although sin is present, it does not reign ( Romans 6:12).—We dare not think, that though the wages of sin is death, Christ has redeemed us from death, so that it will not finally injure us. For the redemption wrought by Christ will not help us any, if we do not become obedient to Him ( Romans 6:23).

Gerlach: The body, with its impulses and members, is like a house full of arms or implements, for war or every kind of labor. In the service of sin, these members, the sinful impulses, then become themselves members unto sin ( Romans 6:13).—The servitude of obedience is also true freedom ( Romans 6:17).—Since, by the gospel, man becomes a servant as well as a freeman, license is just as much excluded as slavish obedience to a foreign power ( Romans 6:18).—If righteousness, so rules in us that all our members become its instruments, they will work together for the increase of our holiness ( Romans 6:19).—A single glance at the fruit and the reward of sin must fill the Christian with shame, and therefore with abhorrence of the false freedom which abuses grace ( Romans 6:21).—The perfect sanctification of man in body and soul is also his true, eternal life; for by the perfect communion of his whole nature with the Fountain of all life, God himself pervades him spiritually and bodily with the fulness of everlasting life ( Romans 6:22).

Lisco: Earnest admonition to holiness of life ( Romans 6:12-23): 1. Its import ( Romans 6:12-14); 2. The impulse to a more zealous sanctification is the grace of redemption ( Romans 6:15-23).

Heubner: Freedom from the law is not liberty to sin, or lawlessness ( Romans 6:15).—In Christianity, the law of the letter, with its worldly power, does not rule, but the free law of love ( Romans 6:15).—Obedience, the practice of God’s will, awakens in us increasingly the spiritual power of life, and obtains spiritual health ( Romans 6:16).—Purity and beauty of soul arise only from sinlessness ( Romans 6:19).—The remembrance of earlier sins never becomes wholly effaced, but, 1. It keeps the converted person humble and watchful; it awakens, 2. thankfulness for the love and grace of God; 3. sympathy for others.

Besser: Believers are servants of righteousness ( Romans 6:12-23).—Unrighteousness is a tyrannical master, who does not release his slaves according to their pleasure, but drives them ever farther from God’s commandments ( Romans 6:19).—Servitium Dei summa libertas ( Romans 6:19.)—The wages of sin is as manifold as the wages with which a general rewards his soldiers (bread, clothing, money); but its sum is death, empty death.

Lange: The service of sin, at first apparently a voluntary life of warfare, but afterwards plainly a mercenary condition, and finally a state of slavery.—The fearful self-deception in surrendering one’s self to sin: 1. At the outset, slavery instead of freedom; 2. In continuance, always backward instead of forward; 3. Finally, death instead of life.—Voluntary return to bondage is the deepest guilt of sin.—Real death is explained by its opposite. It is not contrasted with the present, but with eternal life.—Eternal life as the fruit of the true service of God in righteousness: 1. As redemption; 2. As gift.

[Tillotson: Sin is the blindness of our minds, the perverseness and crookedness of our wills, and the monstrous irregularity and disorder of our affections and appetites, the misplacing of our powers and faculties, and the setting of our wills and passions above our reason; all which is ugly and unnatural; and, if we were truly sensible of it, a matter of great shame and reproach to us.—Burkitt: Sin, as a raging and commanding king, has the sinner’s heart for its throne, the members of the body for its service, the world, the flesh, and the devil for its grand council, lusts and temptations for its weapons and armory; and its fortifications are ignorance, sensuality, and fleshly reasonings.—Death, as the punishment of sin, is the end of the work, though not the end of the worker.—Grotius: It is the nature of all vices to grow upon a person by repetition.—Clarke: Let God have your hearts, and, with them, your heads, your hands, and your feet. Think and devise what is pure; speak what is true, edifying, just, and good; and walk steadily in the way that leads to everlasting felicity.—Every sinner has a daily pay, and this pay is death.—The sinner has a hell in his own bosom; all is confusion and disorder where God does not reign. If men were as much in earnest to get their souls saved as they are to prepare them for perdition, heaven would be highly peopled; and devils would have to be their own companions.—Hodge: The motive to obedience is now love, and its aim the glory of God.—When a man is the slave of sin, he commonly thinks himself free; and, when most degraded, is often the most proud. When truly free, he feels himself most strongly bound to God, and when most elevated, is most humble.—J. F. H.]

Footnotes:

FN#28 - Romans 6:12.—[The correct reading seems to be: ὑπακούειν ταῖς ἔπιθ υμίαιςαὐτοῦ, found in א. A. B. C1, many cursives, most versions and fathers; adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford et al. Griesbach, on insufficient authority, omits all after ὑπακούειν. D. F. insert αὐτῇ, omitting the rest. C3. K. L, some further insert αὐτῇ ἐν before ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις. So Rec.; hence it in of the E. V. All these variations are accounted for by Meyer, who supposes that αὐτῇ was added, first as a marginal gloss, to direct attention to sin as the source of “the lusts,” then incorporated in the text, and subsequent changes made to avoid confusion.

FN#29 - Romans 6:13.—[The idea of military service found in παριστάνετε is better expressed by render, since yield implies a previous resistance, not found in the Apostle’s thought.

FN#30 - Romans 6:13.—[To is the better rendering of the simple datives here, as in Romans 6:19. Unto has a telic force, which makes it equivalent to εἰς. This distinction is preserved in Romans 6:19, but lost sight of by the English translators here.

FN#31 - Romans 6:13.—[As being alive from the dead (Amer. Bible Union) is a good version of ὡσεὶ ἐκ νεκρῶν ζῶντας; but the paraphrase of Alford: as alive from having been dead, conveys the full meaning. Still better is the Revision by Five Anglican Clergymen: as those that were dead, and are alive.

FN#32 - Romans 6:14.—[The article of the E. V. is not only unnecessary, since the Greek phrase is ὑπὸ νόμον, but perhaps incorrect; for the reference may be to “law” in general, rather than to “the (Mosaic) law.” So in Romans 6:15.

FN#33 - Romans 6:15.—[The reading ἁμαρτήσ ο μεν (Rec.) is weakly supported. א. A. B. C. D. E. K. L, have ἁμαρτή σωμεν; adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, and others. This is the deliberative subjunctive; hence: “may we sin.”

FN#34 - Romans 6:17.—[Teaching is preferable to doctrine. See Exeg. Notes.

FN#35 - Romans 6:17.—[To which ye were delivered, εἰς ὂν παρεδ όθητε, is literal, and corresponds with the figure implied in τύπον.—The full stop of the E. V. is unnecessary, as the next verse is closely connected with this one. The form of Romans 6:18 is altered, to make this connection more obvious.

FN#36 - Romans 6:19.—[Ἁγιασμόν may mean holiness, Heiligkeit, or sanctification, Heiligung. Bengel, however, discriminates between ἁγιότης and ἁγιασμός, the former “holiness,” the latter “sanctification.” See i4, p62, and Exeg. Notes, where Lange contends for the latter meaning here (against Meyer).

FN#37 - Romans 6:21.—[Lange adopts the punctuation of Lachmann, Griesbach, and many others, placing the interrogation after τότε, and making what follows the answer. A great array of authorities can be cited in support of each way of pointing, but this seems to give a better sense to καρπός. Comp. Alford in loco.

FN#38 - Romans 6:21.—[א3. B. D. F1, Lachmann, Meyer, Alford, insert μέν before γάρ. Wordsworth does not insert it in his text, but favors it in his notes. It is omitted by א1. A. C. D3. K. L. It seems more probable that it was carelessly omitted by some transcribers than inserted for any special reason.

FN#39 - Romans 6:23.—[The E. V. again loses the point of the closing phrase, by rendering ἐν, through. The life is emphatically in Christ Jesus our Lord. Hence perhaps Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.—R.]

FN#40 - The German commentators generally take the second τῷ Θεῷ as dat. commodi, and render für Gott. They advance no special reason for it. This view unnecessarily disturbs the parallelism of the clauses, since the second τῷ θεῷ is in strict verbal contrast with τῇ ἁμαρτία. The first τῷ θεῷ is undoubtedly the simple dative after παριστήσατε, but as the same verb must be supplied in this clause, it seems unnecessary to substitute any other regimen here. We render to God in both clauses; the more confidently, since the second clause is but a particularization of the first, to carry out the antithesis. Comp. Stuart.—R.]

FN#41 - Stuart: “I take it for granted that ye know and believe.” Jowett paraphrases thus: “Know ye not that what ye make yourselves, ye are?” This view he takes to avoid tautology, yet this seems to depart from the Apostle’s line of thought.—R.]

FN#42 - Forbes calls attention to the deviation from the strict parallelism in this verse: “of obedience unto righteousness,” instead of “of righteousness unto life.” He intimates that thus Paul marks this distinction: To sin we give ourselves of our own free choice and power as bondsmen, but we cannot of our own free choice, and by any effort of will, give ourselves to the service of righteousness; hence all we can do is to yield ourselves up to God’s grace, to save us, as servants of obedience, for or unto righteousness, as a “gift” to be bestowed upon us, and inwrought into us by His Spirit. He also notices that the direct expression: servants to righteousness does not occur until Romans 6:19—the caution being attributable to anxiety lest such an expression be turned to legalistic account.—R.]

FN#43 - De Wette: “Sündenelend überhaupt.” So Alford: “The state of misery induced by sin, in all its awful aspects and consequences.” The wider view is necessary, since the word occurs frequently, in the remainder of the chapter and in chap7, in such a connection that a limitation is unfortunate. Meyer’s exegesis is hampered throughout by his view of θάνατος.—R.]

FN#44 - Prof. Stuart here also confounds δικαιοσύνη with δικαίωσις, and unfortunately paraphrases: obedience which is unto justification. This is open to lexical as well as theological objections. Δικ. is subjective (Hodge).—R.]

FN#45 - Tholuck agrees with Meyer, who takes Romans 6:16 as the major, Romans 6:17 as the minor, but regards the conclusion as self-evident, and hence not expressed.—R.]

FN#46 - So Philippi, Hodge, Alford, and modem commentators generally, taking the first clause as meaning: that it is over. Wordsworth, however, finds here “a mode of speaking, where a bad thing is represented as comparatively good, so that the superiority of what is contrasted with it may appear more clear.” This seems totally irrelevant.—R.]

FN#47 - Stuart prefers to find no attraction, since ὑπακούειν governs the accusative, but there seems to be a modification of the meaning in such cases. On the grammatical difficulty, see Meyer in loco, Winer, p155.—R.]

FN#48 - Wordsworth thus carries out the metaphor of the verse: “You readily obeyed the mould of Christian Faith and Practice, into which, at your baptism, you were poured, as it were, like soft, ductile and fluent metal, in order to be cast, and take its form. You obeyed this mould; you were not rigid and obstinate, but were plastic and pliant, and assumed it readily.”—R.]

FN#49 - Adopting this view in the main, we prefer teaching to doctrine. The latter is more abstract, but the reference here seems to be to definite forms of instruction.—R.]

FN#50 - Hodge: “The former characterizes as human the thing said, and the other the manner of saying it.” Comp. Meyer, however.—This apologetic form of expression concerns the description of “true freedom” as a δουλεία.—R.]

FN#51 - A question arises as to the exact meaning of the phrase εἰς τὴν νομίαν. It may mean, for the purpose of iniquity—i.e., in order to work iniquity (Stuart, Hodge, Meyer), in order that this shall be actually presented, or issuing in iniquity, ἀν indicating the resultant state (Tholuck, De Wette, Alford, Lange). The latter is preferable, because the word seems to refer to a state rather than an act. Besides, its antithesis is εἰς ἁγιασμίν, which indicates the result, as we infer from its use in Romans 6:22.—R.]

FN#52 - The difficult connection of the verse is satisfactorily explained in Webster and Wilkinson: “γάρ restates the view given of their former condition in respect to sin and righteousness, in preparation for the final and most accurate statement of their present spiritual condition ( Romans 6:22).” Meyer (who has changed his views), in 4 th ed, also finds in this verse a preparation for the full statement of a motive for obeying the precept of Romans 6:19. He groups Romans 6:20-22 as one in thought, calling attention, however, to the somewhat tragical force of our verse, with its emphatic words in the parallel clauses.—R.]

FN#53 - Stuart: “counted yourselves free.” This is an implied irony, and objectionable, for it is not strictly true.—R.]

FN#54 - On χάρισμα, see Romans 5:15 ff.—The antithesis is different here, yet related—there, fall, transgression; here, wages, but of sin.—R.]

FN#55 - Stuart: “Christians are placed in a condition of which grace is the prominent feature: grace to sanctify as well as grace to renew the heart; grace to purify the evil affections; grace to forgive offences though often repeated, and thus to save from despair, and to excite to new efforts of obedience. Viewed in this light, there is abundant reason for asserting that Christians, under a system of grace, will much more effectually throw off the dominion of sin, than they would do if under a mere law dispensation.” Yet, if there be one point where there is most obscurity in the minds of the majority of professing Christians, it is here. That it has largely arisen from an obscuration of the doctrine of sanctification by grace, or rather the unwise sundering of justification and sanctification in discussing this Epistle, is painfully true.—R.]

FN#56 - It is well to note here the saying of Augustine: Gratia non erit gratia ullo modo, nisi sit gratuita omni modo; “Grace is not grace in any sort, if it be not free in every sort.—R.]

 


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Romans 6:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/romans-6.html. 1857-84.

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Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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