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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Romans 6

 

 

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Verses 1-11

Romans 6:1-11. Union with the Dying, Risen Christ.

Romans 6:1. The reference of Romans 5:20 to "the law" gives the legalist critic his opportunity to challenge Paul's whole doctrine on its practical outcome; in his view, it is rank Antinomiansm: "Are we to persist in sin, that grace may abound?" If to "multiply sin" multiplies grace—then sin away!

Romans 6:2-4. The suggestion revolts the Christian consciousness; the mocking query is countered: "We who died to sin, how any longer shall we live in it? or" (if you entertain such a thought) "know you not—?" Paul's answer runs in terms of baptism, which is faith symbolised in its prescribed and familiar expression (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12, etc.). This is no substituted or additional condition of salvation: to say "We so many as were baptized," etc., is to say in pictorial fashion, "We so many as believed in Christ"; note the equivalence in Galatians 3:26 f. The sinking, disappearance, and emergence of the believer from the baptismal wave, belonging to baptism in its full, dramatic form, image his identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of his Lord. The sacrament unfolds the implications of faith, and interprets it: faith means more than reliance on Christ (see Romans 3:22; Romans 3:25), on God who raised Him from the dead (Romans 4:24); it is the planting of the man in Christ. He dies Christ's death, and rises into Christ's life! "Burial," emphasizing the rupture with old conditions, is death made definitive, unmistakable.

Romans 6:5-6 a. "If we have become coalescent (of one growth) with Him by the likeness of His death"—by the faith-baptism experience which copies Christ's death—"we shall be equally so in respect of His resurrection, as we come to know" (what our faith imports) "that our old nature was crucified with Him," etc.

Romans 6:6 b is the positive counterpart of Romans 6:4 : "the body," as a body "of sin, done away with (cf. Colossians 3:5) . . . we no longer bondmen to sin" = "walking in a new state, a state of life."

Romans 6:7 f. "For he that died has become, by way of justification, quit of sin": death pays all debts! The pregnant phrase "justified from sin" implies separation attending justification. In other words, justification entails sanctification, as Christ's rising followed His dying. Christ carries the sinner, whose faith embraces Him on the Cross, through His grave into His resurrection-life (Romans 6:8), clean away from his sin.—"We shall also live with Him" (Romans 6:8 b), looks on to eternal life (Romans 5:10; Romans 5:21).

Romans 6:9-11. "Death no longer lords it over Christ": once "raised from the dead," He escaped finally from the realm of sin (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21), so that "His present life is" absolutely "a life unto God: so with yourselves—dead men sin-wards, living men Godwards; reckon (account) it so," and it will be so! Paul has said, "God counts your faith for righteousness"; now, "You must count it for holiness."


Verses 12-23

Romans 6:12-23. The Christian's Severance from Sin.

Romans 6:12 f. The conflict turns on the possession of the body: sin and God both claim the use of your "limbs"; sin must not "reign in your mortal body," though that body is in death's domain (Romans 7:25, Romans 8:10 f.; cf. Romans 5:21). With the new man "living to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11), his "limbs must be presented for weapons of righteousness," no longer to be plied against God (cf. Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:15; 1 Corinthians 6:18).

Romans 6:14 f. The plea for continuance in sin (Romans 6:1), "You are not under law but under grace," is a conclusive argument against it; for this very reason "sin shall not lord it over you." Law inflames, grace kills the love of sin (Romans 6:6; Romans 8:2-6).

Romans 6:16-18. Remember what happened in your conversion, the bonds you then took upon you. Now "obedience" makes the "bondman," to this moral master or that (Romans 6:16). There is no doubt whose "slaves you were" aforetime (Romans 6:17; Romans 6:19); but you "have passed," with full consent and intention, from sin's service to that of righteousness" (Romans 6:18). The transference is complete and irrevocable.

Romans 6:19 a. Paul excuses the harsh reflection made on the past of men unknown to him: "I speak to human experience, in view of your weak (cf. Romans 5:6) sinful nature."

Romans 6:19 b, Romans 6:20. "Iniquity" is "for iniquity"—has no other end; "the goal of righteousness" is "sanctification." Let the new service be as thorough as the old: "when bondmen of sin, you renounced the claims of righteousness"; there must be a complete reversal.

Romans 6:21 f. Look at the wages paid by the two masters: sin's shameful service yields "the stipend" (as for soldiers cheated by fine promises) "of death"; God's service "bears fruit in sanctification, crowned by life eternal." Undeserved by us, this is "God's grace-gift in Christ Jesus" (cf. Romans 5:15, etc.).—"What fruit therefore had you then, of the deeds that now cause you shame?" No fruit at all, unless shame be such!

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Romans 6:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/romans-6.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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