Romans 6 - Outline of Romans (Book Notes menu page)
IV. Righteousness Imparted - Sanctification, Separation (6:1-8:39)
6:1 What shall we say then?
Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
{cp. Rom 3:5-8,31}
6:2 God forbid.
{GK=me genoito, lit., 'Let it never come to that!'; ie., 'Perish the thought!'}
How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
What shall we say then?- (This question is raised by the previous discussion, in ch. 1-5.)
Shall we continue in sin...? -
ie., If justification by faith 'declares' us righteous, based on the free gift of God, apart from any merit in the believer, then why not continue living in sin?
- - 'Sin,' here, is the 'sin principle.' (A similar question in v.15 will address continuance in 'acts of sin.')
ie., Shall we continue living under the reign of sin, which rules over Adam's race (cp. 5:12-f)?
How shall we that are dead {lit., we who have died} to sin, live any longer therein?
The very asking of this question implies that...
  1. The justified believer remains a sinner, capable of sin. cp. Rom 5:19
    Through faith, the believer is now 'in Christ' and therefore declared 'righteous.'
    Yet, the believer remains 'in Adam,' and retains a sin nature as long as he lives in the body.
  2. Living according to the sin nature is an incongruity, for the justified believer.
    How, then, shall we live according to righteousness? The answer is found...
    • not in the believer's own inherent strength, or in his supposed immunity to sin,
    • but in the facts of the Gospel of Christ, and in Christ Himself.
      [Trace these facts, with the outline below, through ch. 6-8.]
      The believer's responsibility is to...
      1. Know - what Christ has done for me. v.1-10
      2. Reckon - (or, count upon) what He has done, as the basis for my living. v.11
      3. Yield - (or, present) myself entirely to the Lord, as His servant alone. v.12-14
      4. Obey - the will of God as revealed in His Word. v.15-23
        However, my own attempts to serve Him will prove futile because of the weakness of the flesh, and the conflict between my old & new natures (ch. 7).
        Obedience is possible only when I...
      5. Walk in the Spirit - By the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within me,
        God's Will is accomplished in me, rather than by me (ch.8).
6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ
were baptized into his death?
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.
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:

   1. Know...-
A. The believer is identified with Christ in His death...- cp. v.3
  • Baptized... into His death.-
    • Water baptism is not the issue here. (Although, baptism by immersion in water does provide an excellent picture of the believer's death, burial & resurrection with Christ.)
    • In the NT, water baptism accompanies (and is a symbol of) 'faith.' cp. Luk 7:29,30; Acts 8:36-38.
    • The word 'baptize' {GK=baptizo} is often used in a spiritual sense, to speak of identification with Christ. The believer is immersed into Him. cp. 1Cor 12:12,13; Gal 3:27
    • In 1Pet 3:18-22, baptism into Christ is illustrated by Noah's 'baptism' in the ark. The ark pictures Christ. Noah & his family were identified with the ark, since they were inside of it. Their 'baptism' in the ark protected them and kept them dry through the waters of judgment. Those who were outside of the ark (due to unbelief) perished, though immersed in water. (See the Notes at 1Pet 3:18-22.)
  • Christ died for us. He bore our judgment, fully satisfying God's wrath against our sin.
    Because believers are 'in Him,' He carried us safely through that judgment. 1Pet 3:18
B. The believer is buried with Christ into death...- v.4
  • Burial is not a means of death. It is an acknowledgment of death.
    By faith (and as illustrated by submersion under the waters of baptism), we acknowledge that Christ's death included us. Not only did Christ die for us (v.3), but in His death, we also died to sin (v.4). cp. Gal 5:24; Col 3:3; 1Pet 2:24
  • Christ died to set me free from sin (v.7). The power of sin is rooted in who I am, as a son Adam.
    Christ's death is sufficient to terminate everything within me that is not of God.
C. The believer, joined to Christ in death, is joined to Him also in resurrection...- v.5
  • The word 'planted' {GK=sumphotos, grown together, grafted together} does not picture two seeds, but one vine with many branches (cp. Joh 15:5). Our union with Him is echoed by the word 'likeness' {GK=homoioma, similitude, resemblance nearing identity; cp. this word in Rom 5:14}.
  • We are joined to Him in death... Joh 12:24
  • We are joined to Him in resurrection...
    Here, 'resurrection' is not referring to the future bodily resurrection of the dead, but to our present way of life: 'that we should walk' according to a new life principle (v.4). This is the Father's purpose for us.
    The new life within the believer is the same life principle that raised Christ from the dead.-
    • Its 'newness' {GK=kainotes} is a 'newness in form or quality' (as compared to the believer's 'old nature,' the life principle inherited from Adam). cp. Eph 4:22-24
    • Its power is the 'glory' of the Father {ie., ''the sum of the gracious excellencies of His character'' [Stifler]}
6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is {lit., 'was'} crucified with [him],
that the body of sin might be destroyed
{GK=kartargeo, rendered inactive},
that henceforth we should not serve
{GK=douleouo, be in bondage as a slave to} sin.
6:7 For he that is dead is freed
{GK=dikaioo, declared righteous, ie., 'acquitted'} from sin.
D. the believer, joined to Christ in death, is freed from sin.-
Death annuls all obligations to sin (the principle that reigns over Adam's race).
'Our old man' refers to the 'sin nature' of every descendant of Adam.
'The body of sin' refers to the human body, by which the sin nature interacts with its surroundings.
Having died to sin, the believer is no longer obligated to serve sin with his body. cp. Joh 8:34-36; 1Pet 4:1-3
6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over him.
{cp. Rev 1:18}
6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once:
{cp. Heb 9:26-28; 10:10-14}
but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
E. the believer, joined to Christ in life, is free to serve God.-
In the case of Christ...
- - He died to sin once... death has no further 'lordship' over him. (cf. Rom 5:14; Heb 2:14,15)
- - He lives to serve God alone.
Both of these states are eternally permanent, for Christ... and also, for those who are joined to Him.
6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin,
but alive unto
{ie., for} God through {ie., in} Jesus Christ our Lord.
   2. Reckon... {account, impute; consider; cp. word use in Rom 4:3-8}
The believer is to Accept the facts of the Gospel as 'true in my case.'
  • 'Likewise...'- This refers back to what is true of Christ (v.9,10).
  • 'reckon ye also yourselves to be dead... but alive...' -
    I am to count on the fact that what is true in Him is true in me, since I am joined to Him.
    This is to be the basis of my life in service to God. Gal 2:20
6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,
that ye should obey it
{ie., the body} in the lusts thereof.
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.
6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

   3. Yield...- {GK=paristemi, to present, to place at the disposal of another}
The believer is to Act on the facts of the Gospel, by a decisive act of the will.-
  • Therefore...- ie., reckoning yourself dead to sin and alive in Christ... (v.11)
  • Let not sin... reign in your mortal body...-
    The old sin nature is still with us while we are in the flesh.
    - - It would draw us after sensual lusts, and illicit desires of every kind. cp. Jam 1:14,15
    - - It would control your body and life.
    But, now, it is your body. You can choose which master to serve. cp. v.6,9,10; Rom 5:17,21
  • yield not your members {ie., the physical & mental faculties of your body}-
    - - as instruments {ie., tools, weapons} of unrighteousness,
    - - unto sin (ie., to serve the sin principle, or sin nature).
  • yield --
    • yourselves unto God, as those who are alive from the dead...- cp. Rom 12:1,2
      Consecration (dedication) to Him must begin with death. Death cuts off all that is not acceptable to Him. Since the new 'resurrection' life is His life in me, my whole being belongs to Him alone.
    • your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.- eg., Jam 3:5,6,10; Psa 37:30
      Note that consecration is 'unto God,' not to 'Christian service,' 'missionary work,' etc.
      He will work in us that which pleases Him, if we yield ourselves to Him. cp. Php 2:13
  • for you are not under the Law, but under Grace.-
    The Law was given to control the old nature, which cannot please God.
    But, by God's Grace, you now have a new nature, which can be yielded to Him. cp. 1Cor 15:56,57
6:15 What then?
shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?
God forbid.
{ie., 'Let it not come to that!'}
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?
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.
6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

   4. Obey...-
     A. as those set Free to live in Righteousness -
What then? shall we sin {ie., commit acts of sin}...-
ie., 'If, as you say, we are not under the Law, should we live in lawlessness?'
(Society knows no way to restrain sin, except by the law. cp. Rom 13:1-4)
- - The 'old man' lives either governed by law or given to license.
- - The 'new man' lives by Grace (that which God supplies) in liberty (ie., freed from sin, and free to serve God, v.7,11). cp. Gal 5:1
Know ye not that: to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are...
...whether {ie., either} of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? - The question is: 'Who do you choose to obey?'
  • Previously, when you had no choice, you were slaves to sin (ie., the sin principle).-
    • the immediate effect of sin is bondage. 2Pet 2:19
    • the end result of sin is death.
  • You have now obeyed that form of doctrine {'that type of teaching', ie., the Gospel}...
    • which was delivered unto you {lit., 'into which you were delivered'}.
      'Delivered' is GK=paradidomai, trans. 'gave them over' in Rom 1:28.
      For those who receive the Gospel, God 'gave them over' to righteousness. cp. 1:16,17
    • by which you were made free {ie., set at liberty} from sin,
    • with the result that you became servants {ie., bondslaves} of righteousness. Joh 8:36
  • It is unthinkable that you would again enslave yourselves to your old master, by following the way of sin. Gal 5:1
being then made free from sin...-
This is Positional Sanctification (as explained in v.1-14).
  • Identification with Christ makes personal holiness possible.
ye became the servants of righteousness.-
This is Practical Sanctification (as discussed in v.15-23).
  • Obedience to Christ results in holy living. cp. 1Joh 1:5-7
    (We do not serve to obtain righteousness, but we have been made righteous to serve. cp. Eph 2:8-10)
Note that The Power of Sanctification has not yet been identified. Although our new nature is free to serve God, it has no power within itself. This can be a point of great frustration to the believer who sincerely desires to obey, but finds himself incapable of doing so. Our fleshly weakness and God's powerful provision will be discussed in ch. 7-8.
6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity {ie., weakness} 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.
6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?
for the end of those things [is] death.
6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God,
ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death;
but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

   4. Obey...-
     B. as those serving a new Master, who seeks the Fruit of Holiness.-
I speak after the manner of men...- ie., in human terms, by way of illustration.
Paul calls his readers 'servants' of righteousness, whereas, the believer is a 'king' (Rom 5:17).
But having been slaves to sin until recently, we are more capable of understanding these terms.
The contrast between the two forms of servitude which we have known (v.19-23):
as servants of sin
(in Adam)
as servants to God
(in Christ)
our master:uncleanness {impurity}
iniquity {lawlessness}
our enterprise:iniquity {lawlessness}holiness
we were free from
(or, not restrained by):
(the principle of)
(the principle of)
our fruit:things of which ye are now
ashamed, 1Pet 4:3,4
cp. Php 3:17-21
our end:deatheternal life
our compensation-
- - its form:
wages earned
(that which was our due)
the gift
(by Grace, Rom 5:15)
- - its currency:deatheternal life
Shall we continue in sin? (v.1)
What? and return to the bondage from which we have already been delivered?
Shall we continue in sins {acts of sin}...? (v.15)
What? and obey our old master, rather than our Lord?
Shall we live in lawlessness, because we are not under the Law but under Grace? (v.15)
Lawlessness was the fruit (result) of service to the old master from whom we were delivered.
Holiness is the fruit (outgrowth) of serving our new Master, whom we are now free to serve.
In the past, we gave ourselves to the pursuit of unrighteousness.
Should we pursue holiness with less abandon, or with less loyalty to our Lord?
for the wages of sin is death...-
Sin's servants receive what is due them. The word for 'wages' is used of a soldier's pay.
Sin is warfare against God. Death is the appropriate reward.
No one should deceive himself thinking that he can serve sin but escape its wages. cp. Heb 12:14
but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.-
God's servants render to Him only what is due to Him (Luk 17:10).
They receive a gift - unmerited and immeasurable which includes:
  1. eternal life -
    The wages of sin do not apply to one who is justified (declared righteous) by faith in Christ. Rather, he has received a new nature from God. Rom 6:4; Joh 3:3; 1Joh 3:2a
  2. the Lordship of Christ -
    The justified believer is under a new master. Submission to the headship of Christ produces sanctification (holiness) within the believer. Eph 5:25-27; 1Pet 1:14-16; 1Joh 3:2,3
''In a word, then, the question, 'Shall we continue in sin?' is answered.
The answer is in the Gospel, the work of Christ.
How can one continue in a state from which he is already delivered?
Death was due as the wages of sin, and that death was paid by Christ.
If [our state] is, then, no longer service to sin, but service to God, life is needed - a dead man cannot serve God - and Christ's life is reckoned to the believer.
Belief of the Gospel is the power against sin, and belief is to reckon one's self as God reckons.
In Christ, man is guiltless; this is his standing, which enables him to shun sinning because he knows its destructive power.
Believing acquaintance with Christ in His Gospel gives deliverance from sin and from sinning.'' [Stifler]

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