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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Romans 6

 

 

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Verses 1-19

Paul finishes the last chapter by saying, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” “What shall we say, then?” What inference shall we draw from the super-abounding of grace over sin?

Romans 6:1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

“Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” That were very horrible inference. It is one great instance of the shocking depravity of man that the inference has been drawn sometimes, I hope not often, for surely Satan himself might scarcely draw an inference of licentiousness from love. Still, some have drawn it.

Romans 6:2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Now, he goes on by an argument to prove that those in whom the grace of God has wrought the wondrous change cannot possibly choose sin, nor live in it.

Romans 6:3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

That is the very hinge of our religion. His death, not into his example merely, nor primarily into his life, but “into his death.” In this we have believed — with a dying Saviour we are linked, and our baptism sets this forth. We “were baptized into his death.”

Romans 6:4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life.

The operations, therefore, of the Spirit of God forbid that a saved man should live in sin. He is dead; he is raised into newness of life: at the very entrance into the church, in the very act of baptism, he declares that he cannot live as he once did, for he is dead: he declares that he must live after another fashion, for has not he been raised again in the type and raised again in very deed from the dead?

Romans 6:5-6. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

There has a death taken place in us, and though there be relics of corruption still alive, yet they are crucified: they will have to die, they must die they are nailed fast to the cross to die in union with the death of Christ.

Romans 6:7. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

The man is dead. The law cannot ask more of a criminal than to yield his life. If, therefore, he should live again after death, he would not be one who could suffer for his past offences. They were committed in another life, and “he that is dead is freed from sin.”

Romans 6:8-9 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Or, death will have dominion over him no more: he will never come a second time under death, and neither shall his people. “For in that he died, he died unto sin once.” There was an end of it in the sense of once for all, no second death for Christ.

Romans 6:10-12. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Peradventure, there were some who would say that in their spirits truth and righteousness were supreme, but that in their bodies sin had the mastery Aye, but that will not do. There must be left no lurking piece for sin within the complete system of our manhood: it must be hunted out and hunted down thoroughly, out of the body as well as out of the mind.

Romans 6:13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We do not, I think, make enough of the passive part of our religion We are often for doing, and quite right, too, and the more active we can be the better; still, before the doing there must come a yielding, because we remember who it is that worketh in us, “both to will and to do of his own good pleasure,” and our activities after all are not so much our own as we deem, if they are right. They are the activities of the divine life within us, of the Spirit of God himself working in us to the glory of the Father. One great point, therefore, is to yield ourselves up, our members, to be weapons in God’s hands for the fighting of the spiritual war.

Romans 6:14. For sin shall not have domination over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

The reigning, ruling principle now, is not “You must, you shall,” for reward, or under fear of punishment, but God has loved you, and now you love him in return and what you do springs from no mercenary or self-serving motive. You are not under law, but under grace; yet in another sense you never were so much under law as you are now, for grace puts about you a blessedly sweet, delightful law, which has power over us as the word of command never had. “I will write my law in their hearts, in their inward parts will I write them.” Aye, that is the glory of the new life, the delight of him who hath passed from death unto life.

Romans 6:15. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?

Oh! this old question keeps coming up. Somebody wants to sin. Well, if he wants to sin, why does not he leave this business alone and go and sin? What has he to do with these theological questions at all? But still, he wants, if he can, to make a coverlet for his wickedness; he wants to enjoy the sweets of the child of God, and yet live like an enemy of God, and so he pops in his head over and over again: “May we not sin because of this or that?” To which the apostle answers again, “God forbid.” Oh! may God always forbid it to you, and to me: may the question never be tolerated among us.

Romans 6:15-16. God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

If you are doing the deeds of sin, you are the servants of sin and only as you are doing the will of God can you claim to be the servant of God. “Hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” That becomes the index of our condition. The man, then, that lives in sin and loves it, need not talk about the grace of God he is a stranger to it, for the mark of those that come under grace is this, that they serve God, and no longer serve sin.

Romans 6:17-18. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

“Bondservants,” you have got in our new translation, for so it was, and the apostle seems to excuse himself for using such a word by saying: —

Romans 6:19. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

As you submitted yourselves to sin most cheerfully and voluntarily, and yet were slaves under it, so now come, and be slaves under Christ with most blessed cheerfulness and delight: endeavor now to lose your very wills in his will, for no man’s slavery is so complete as his who even yields his will. Now, yield everything to Christ. You shall never be so free as when you do that, never so blessedly delivered from all bondage as when you absolutely and completely yield yourselves up to the power and supremacy of your Lord.


Verses 1-23

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

The fifth chapter ends up in this way, that “where sin abounded, etc… Jesus Christ our Lord.” Then he goes on to say, “What shall we say then?” What inference shall we draw from the fact that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound? Shall we be base enough to draw a wicked inference from a gracious statement? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? It is a horrible suggestion, and yet it is one which has come into the minds of many men, for some men are bad enough for anything; they will curdle the sweet milk of love into the sourest argument for sin. “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.” With all the vehemence of his nature, he saith: —

Romans 6:2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

The grace of God makes us dead to sin. This is the grace of God, which delivers us from the power of evil, and if this be so, how can we live any longer therein?

Romans 6:3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

If we are in Christ at all, we are partakers of his death; and as his was a death for sin and a death to sin, we are made partakers of it; we are really dead because Christ died, and we are in him. Therefore we are dead to the old life, to the old way of sin. We signify that by our baptism.

Romans 6:4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Our baptism, solemn as it was, was a great acted falsehood, a living pretense, unless we are dead to our former way of living, and have come to live unto God in a new life altogether, by virtue of the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

Romans 6:5. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

If we have partaken of his death, we partake also of his rising power. We live because he lives, and we live as he lives, not after the old manner, but in newness of life.

Romans 6:6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

We are to regard ourselves as persons that have been dead. We are ourselves, it is true; and yet in another sense we are not our own selves. We are not to look upon ourselves as though we owed any kind of service to the power which we obeyed before we knew the Lord. We are new people, we have got a new life, and have entered upon a new existence — the old man is crucified with him

Romans 6:7-8. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

There was no getting free from the power of sin, except by dying to it; but, being dead to it, we are free from it; and, now being dead that way, we have entered into a new life that we might live as Christ lives.

Romans 6:9. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

So we, being raised from our former death, shall die no more; death hath no more dominion over us. That is to say, sin cannot reign in us again; we are dead to it, we are brought into a new life that can never end, even as our Lord Jesus Christ is. There is a parallel between us and Christ, even as there is a union between us.

Romans 6:10. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

And so do we; we have died unto sin once, but now that we live, we live unto God.

Romans 6:11-12. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

It is in the body that it tries to reign. These poor things, these mortal frames of ours, have so many passions, so many desires, so many weak-messes, all of which are apt to bring us under the dominion of sin, unless we watch with great care.

Romans 6:13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin” — neither eyes, nor ears, nor hands, nor feet, neither suffer any of these to become the tools of sin, “but yield yourselves unto God.” He is ready to use you, lay all the powers of your nature out as tools, for him to use. “Yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead.” He is not the God of the dead; he cannot use the dead, but he is the God of the living, and as you profess to have received a new life in Christ, yield up all the faculties of this new life unto the living God, “and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

Romans 6:14. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

When you were under the law, sin did get dominion over you; that law which was ordained to life, worked towards death. The evil concupiscence of your nature revolted against the command, and led you astray. But now, beloved, it is of love and grace, and now sin cannot get in: stronger motives shall hold you to holiness than ever held you before, and the grace of Go itself, like a wall of fire, shall guard you from the dominion of sin.

Romans 6:15. What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

That must not be. Again the evil spirit crops up, trying to turn the grace of God into licentiousness, and to make us feel free to sin because of God’s love — that must not be.

Romans 6:16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

It is a wonderful heart-searching text, is this: let us put ourselves under its power. Whatever you obey, that is your master: and if you obey the suggestions of sin, you are the slave of sin: and it is only as you are obedient to God that you are truly the servants of God. So that, after all, our outward, walk and conversation are the best test of our true condition. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord, nor can. he have any reason to believe that he belongs to God.

Romans 6:17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Or into which you were delivered. God has taken you, melted you down, and poured you into a new mold. God be thanked for flint; you are not what you used to be. Although you are not what you hope to be, yet you have reason to bless God you are not what once you were-you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine into which you were delivered.

Romans 6:18. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

The fetters are struck off, the lusts of the flesh do not hold us any longer. We are the Lord’s free men, and out of gratitude for this glorious freedom, we become the willing servants of the righteous God.

Romans 6:19. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

It wants no explanation. In the days of our sin, we sinned with all our power. There was not one part of us but what became the willing servant of sin: and we went from iniquity into iniquity, and now the Cross has made us entirely new, and we have been melted down, poured out into a fresh mold. Now, let us yield every member of our body, soul, and spirit to righteousness, even unto holiness, till the whole of us, in the wholeness and consequently the holiness of our nature, shall be given unto God.

Romans 6:20. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

You did not care about righteousness then. When you served sin you felt it was utterly indifferent to you what the claims of righteousness might be. Well, now that you have become the servant of righteousness, be free from sin, let sin have no more dominion over you now, than righteousness used to have when you were the slaves of sin. “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?” What profit did they ever bring you? There was a temporary delight, like the blossom on the tree in spring, but what fruit find you? Did it ever come, to anything? Is there anything to look back upon with pleasure in a life of sin? Oh no, those things whereof we are now ashamed were fruitless to us, “for the end of those things is death.”

Romans 6:22-23. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Romans 6:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/romans-6.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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