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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Romans 6



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Verse 1

What shall we say then? (τι ουν ερουμενti oun eroumeṅ). “A debater‘s phrase” (Morison). Yes, and an echo of the rabbinical method of question and answer, but also an expression of exultant victory of grace versus sin. But Paul sees the possible perversion of this glorious grace.

Shall we continue in sin? (επιμενωμεν τηι αμαρτιαιepimenōmen tēi hamartiāi̇). Present active deliberative subjunctive of επιμενωepimenō old verb to tarry as in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:8) with locative case. The practice of sin as a habit (present tense) is here raised.

That grace may abound (ινα η χαρις πτεονασηιhina hē charis pteonasēi). Final clause with ingressive aorist subjunctive, to set free the superfluity of grace alluded to like putting money in circulation. Horrible thought (μη γενοιτοmē genoito) and yet Paul faced it. There are occasionally so-called pietists who actually think that God‘s pardon gives them liberty to sin without penalty (cf. the sale of indulgences that stirred Martin Luther).

Verse 2

Died to sin (απετανομεν τηι αμαρτιαιapethanomen tēi hamartiāi). Second aorist active of αποτνησκωapothnēskō and the dative case. When we surrendered to Christ and took him as Lord and Saviour. Qualitative relative (οιτινεςhoitines we the very ones who).

How (πωςpōs). Rhetorical question.

Verse 3

Were baptized into Christ (εβαπτιστημεν εις Χριστονebaptisthēmen eis Christon). First aorist passive indicative of βαπτιζωbaptizō Better, “were baptized unto Christ or in Christ.” The translation “into” makes Paul say that the union with Christ was brought to pass by means of baptism, which is not his idea, for Paul was not a sacramentarian. ΕιςEis is at bottom the same word as ενen Baptism is the public proclamation of one‘s inward spiritual relation to Christ attained before the baptism. See note on Galatians 3:27 where it is like putting on an outward garment or uniform.

Into his death (eis ton thanaton autou). So here “unto his death,” “in relation to his death,” which relation Paul proceeds to explain by the symbolism of the ordinance.

Verse 4

We were buried therefore with him by means of baptism unto death (συνεταπημεν ουν αυτωι δια του βαπτισματος εις τον τανατονsunetaphēmen oun autōi dia tou baptismatos eis ton thanaton). Second aorist passive indicative of συνταπτωsunthaptō old verb to bury together with, in N.T. only here and Colossians 2:12. With associative instrumental case (αυτωιautōi) and “by means of baptism unto death” as in Romans 6:3.

In newness of life (εν καινοτητι ζωηςen kainotēti zōēs). The picture in baptism points two ways, backwards to Christ‘s death and burial and to our death to sin (Romans 6:1), forwards to Christ‘s resurrection from the dead and to our new life pledged by the coming out of the watery grave to walk on the other side of the baptismal grave (F. B. Meyer). There is the further picture of our own resurrection from the grave. It is a tragedy that Paul‘s majestic picture here has been so blurred by controversy that some refuse to see it. It should be said also that a symbol is not the reality, but the picture of the reality.

Verse 5

For if we have become united with him by the likeness of his death (ει γαρ συμπυτοι γεγοναμεν τωι ομοιωματι του τανατου αυτουei gar sumphutoi gegonamen tōi homoiōmati tou thanatou autou). Condition of the first class, assumed to be true. ΣυμπυτοιSumphutoi is old verbal adjective from συμπυωsumphuō to grow together. Baptism as a picture of death and burial symbolizes our likeness to Christ in his death.

We shall be also united in the likeness of his resurrection (αλλα και της αναστασεως εσομεταalla kai tēs anastaseōs esometha). The conclusion to the previous condition introduced by αλλα καιalla kai as often and τοι ομοιωματιtoi homoiōmati (in the likeness) must be understood before της αναστασεωςtēs anastaseōs (of his resurrection). Baptism is a picture of the past and of the present and a prophecy of the future, the matchless preacher of the new life in Christ.

Verse 6

Our old man (ο παλαιος ημων αντρωποςho palaios hēmōn anthrōpos). Only in Paul (here, Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:22).

Was crucified with him (συνεσταυρωτηsunestaurōthē). See note on Galatians 2:20 for this boldly picturesque word. This took place not at baptism, but only pictured there. It took place when “we died to sin” (Romans 6:1).

The body of sin (to sōma tēs hamartias). “The body of which sin has taken possession” (Sanday and Headlam), the body marked by sin.

That so we should no longer be in bondage to sin (tou mēketi douleuein hēmas tēi hamartiāi). Purpose clause with το σωμα της αμαρτιαςtou and the present active infinitive of του μηκετι δουλευειν ημας τηι αμαρτιαιdouleuō continue serving sin (as slaves). Adds “slavery” to living in sin (Romans 6:2).

Verse 7

Is justified (δεδικαιωταιdedikaiōtai). Perfect passive indicative of δικαιοωdikaioō stands justified, set free from, adding this great word to death and life of Romans 6:1, Romans 6:2.

Verse 8

With Christ (συν Χριστωιsun Christōi). As pictured by baptism, the crucifixion with Christ of Romans 6:6.

Verse 9

Dieth no more (ουκετι αποτνησκειouketi apothnēskei). “Christ‘s particular death occurs but once” (Shedd). See note on Hebrews 10:10. A complete refutation of the “sacrificial” character of the “mass.”

Verse 10

The death that he died (ο απετανενho apethanen). Neuter relative, cognative accusative with απετανενapethanen

Once (επαπαχephapax). Once and once only (Hebrews 9:26.), not ποτεpote (once upon a time).

The life that he liveth (ο ζηιho zēi). Cognate accusative of the relative.

Verse 11

Reckon ye also yourselves (και υμεις λογιζεστεkai humeis logizesthe). Direct middle imperative of λογιζομαιlogizomai and complete proof that Paul does not mean that baptism makes one dead to sin and alive to God. That is a spiritual operation “in Christ Jesus” and only pictured by baptism. This is a plea to live up to the ideal of the baptized life.

Verse 12

Reign (βασιλευετωbasileuetō). Present active imperative, “let not sin continue to reign” as it did once (Romans 5:12).

Mortal (τνητοιthnētoi). Verbal adjective from τνησκωthnēskō subject to death. The reign of sin is over with you. Self-indulgence is inconsistent with trust in the vicarious atonement.

That ye should obey (εις το υπακουεινeis to hupakouein). With a view to obeying.

Verse 13

Neither present (μηδε παριστανετεmēde paristanete). Present active imperative in prohibition of παριστανωparistanō late form of παριστημιparistēmi to place beside. Stop presenting your members or do not have the habit of doing so, “do not go on putting your members to sin as weapons of unrighteousness.”

Instruments (οπλαhopla). Old word for tools of any kind for shop or war (John 18:3; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Romans 13:12). Possibly here figure of two armies arrayed against each other (Galatians 5:16-24), and see οπλα δικαιοσυνηςhopla dikaiosunēs below. The two sets of οπλαhopla clash.

But present yourselves unto God (αλλα παραστησατε εαυτους τωι τεωιalla parastēsate heautous tōi theōi). First aorist active imperative of παριστημιparistēmi same verb, but different tense, do it now and completely. Our “members” (μεληmelē) should be at the call of God “as alive from the dead.”

Verse 14

Shall not have dominion (ου κυριευσειou kurieusei). Future active indicative of κυριευωkurieuō old verb from κυριοςkurios “shall not lord it over you,” even if not yet wholly dead. Cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24.

Verse 15

What then? (τι ουνti ouṅ). Another turn in the argument about the excess of grace.

Shall we sin? (αμαρτεσωμενhamartesōmeṅ). First aorist active deliberative subjunctive of αμαρτανωhamartanō “Shall we commit sin” (occasional acts of sin as opposed to the life of sin as raised by επιμενωμεν τηι αμαρτιαιepimenōmen tēi hamartiāi in Romans 6:1)?

Because (οτιhoti). The same reason as in Romans 6:1 and taken up from the very words in Romans 6:14. Surely, the objector says, we may take a night off now and then and sin a little bit “since we are under grace.”

Verse 16

His servants ye are whom ye obey (δουλοι εστε ωι υπακουετεdouloi este hōi hupakouete). Bondservants, slaves of the one whom ye obey, whatever one‘s profession may be, traitors, spies sometimes they are called. As Paul used the figure to illustrate death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ and not in sin, so now he uses slavery against the idea of occasional lapses into sin. Loyalty to Christ will not permit occasional crossing over to the other side to Satan‘s line.

Verse 17

Whereas ye were (ητεēte). Imperfect but no “whereas” in the Greek. Paul is not grateful that they were once slaves of sin, but only that, though they once were, they turned from that state.

To that form of doctrine whereunto ye were delivered (εις ον παρεδοτητε τυπον διδαχηςeis hon paredothēte tupon didachēs). Incorporation of the antecedent (τυπον διδαχηςtupon didachēs) into the relative clause: “to which form of doctrine ye were delivered.” See note on Romans 5:14 for τυπονtupon It is hardly proper to take “form” here to refer to Paul‘s gospel (Romans 2:16), possibly an allusion to the symbolism of baptism which was the outward sign of the separation.

Verse 18

Ye became servants of righteousness (εδουλωτητε τηι δικαιοσυνηιedoulōthēte tēi dikaiosunēi). First aorist passive indicative of δουλοωdouloō to enslave. “Ye were made slaves to righteousness.” You have simply changed masters, no longer slaves of sin (set free from that tyrant), but ye are slaves of righteousness. There is no middle ground, no “no man‘s land” in this war.

Verse 19

I speak after the manner of men (αντρωπινον λεγωanthrōpinon legō). “I speak a human word.” He begs pardon for using “slaving” in connection with righteousness. But it is a good word, especially for our times when self-assertiveness and personal liberty bulk so large in modern speech. See note on Romans 3:5; Galatians 3:15 where he uses κατα αντρωπονkata anthrōpon

Because of the infirmity of your flesh (δια την αστενειαν της σαρκος υμωνdia tēn astheneian tēs sarkos humōn). Because of defective spiritual insight largely due to moral defects also.

Servants to uncleanness (δουλα τηι ακαταρσιαιdoula tēi akatharsiāi). Neuter plural form of δουλοςdoulos to agree with μεληmelē (members). Patently true in sexual sins, in drunkenness, and all fleshly sins, absolutely slaves like narcotic fiends.

So now (ουτως νυνhoutōs nun). Now that you are born again in Christ. Paul uses twice again the same verb παριστημιparistēmi to present (παρεστησατε παραστησατεparestēsateδουλα τηι δικαιοσυνηιparastēsate).

Servants to righteousness (εις αγιασμονdoula tēi dikaiosunēi). Repeats the idea of Romans 6:18.

Unto sanctification (eis hagiasmon). This the goal, the blessed consummation that demands and deserves the new slavery without occasional lapses or sprees (Romans 6:15). This late word appears only in lxx, N.T., and ecclesiastical writers so far. See note on 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Corinthians 1:30. Paul includes sanctification in his conception of the God-kind (Romans 1:17) of righteousness (both justification, 1:18-5:21 and sanctification, chapters 6-8). It is a life process of consecration, not an instantaneous act. Paul shows that we ought to be sanctified (6:1-7:6) and illustrates the obligation by death (Romans 6:1-14), by slavery (Romans 6:15-23), and by marriage (Romans 7:1-6).

Verse 20

Free in regard of righteousness (ελευτεροι τηι δικαιοσυνηιeleutheroi tēi dikaiosunēi). Ye wore no collar of righteousness, but freely did as ye pleased. They were “free.” Note dative case, personal relation, of δικαιοσυνηιdikaiosunēi f0).

Verse 21

What fruit then had ye at that time? (τινα ουν καρπον ειχετε τοτεtina oun karpon eichete totė). Imperfect active, used to have. A pertinent question. Ashes in their hands now. They are ashamed now of the memory of them. The end of them is death.

Verse 22

Ye have your fruit unto sanctification (εχετε τον καρπον υμων εις αγιασμονechete ton karpon humōn eis hagiasmon). Freedom from sin and slavery to God bring permanent fruit that leads to sanctification.

And the end eternal life (το δε τελος ζωην αιωνιονto de telos zōēn aiōnion). Note accusative case ζωην αιωνιονzōēn aiōnion object of εχετεechete (ye have), though τανατοςthanatos in contrast above is nominative.

Verse 23

Wages (οπσωνιαopsōnia). Late Greek for wages of soldier, here of sin. See note on Luke 3:14; note on 1 Corinthians 9:7 and note on 2 Corinthians 11:8. Sin pays its wages in full with no cut. But eternal life is God‘s gift (χαρισμαcharisma), not wages. Both τανατοςthanatos and ζωηνzōēn are eternal (αιωνιονaiōnion).


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 6:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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