Romans Chapter Six
I. Content of the Chapter
Be Set Free From the Bondage of Sin by the Union With Christ
A. The fact of the union with Christ ---- the baptism:
1. He who died to sin shall not live any longer in sin (v.1-2);
be baptized is being baptized into the death of Christ and being buried with
3. The purpose is that we can walk in newness of life (v.4b);
4. Since we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection (v.5).
B. The steps of overcoming sin in Christ:
a. The old man was crucified with Him, that we should no longer be slaves of sin (v.6-7);
b. To believe that we shall also live with Him and live to God (v.8-10);
2. “Reckon” (“count” in the original) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God (v.11);
3. “Present one’s members to God”:
a. As instruments of righteousness (v.12-14);
b. Become slaves of righteousness (v.15-18);
c. The result of becoming slaves of righteousness ---- sanctification and eternal life (v.19-23);
II. Verse by Verse commentary
Rom. 6:1 “What shall we say then Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
YLT: “What, then, shall we say? shall we continue in the sin that the grace may abound?”
Literal Meaning: “what shall we say then”, the word “then” relates to verse twenty in chapter five “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”. Paul here intents to correct all the wrong conceptions of this verse.
“We continue in sin”, “in sin”, it means living in the sphere where sin reigns that sin will govern all our actions and life and thus sin becomes the content of life.
Apparently, someone opposed the doctrine of being justified by faith testified by Paul, for they thought that teaching might make men morally irresponsible.
“That grace may abound”, the more one sins, the more chances shall be given to grace.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The abundance of grace is to let sinners have chances to obtain grace, not to make them insensitive to sin.
2) Grace makes men “not” in sin so as to lead a sanctified life. Grace does not make men “still” in sin to let grace abound.
does not irritate men to sin like the law (
Rom. 6:2 “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
YLT: “let it not be! we who died to the sin -- how shall we still live in it?”
Literal Meaning: “we who died to sin”, “died”, the past tense showed that it was a fact that had happened when a man believed the Lord.
“How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it”, believers cannot live in sin for the simple reason that “we are men who died to sin”.
Before we believers had been saved, concerning the function of the spirit, we “had been dead in sin” (Eph. 2:1). We could not resist against sin and were dead in conscience when we sinned. As regards to the function of the soul and body, we “lived in sin” and were inclined to sin and rejoiced in sins. After we have been saved, our spirits are quickened (Eph. 2:5), but our souls die to sins. Therefore, sin can never control us nor force us to sin as usual.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) A believer shall not live in sin any longer after he has been saved. Salvation is to deliver us from sin and death so that we shall never be bound by sin or death.
2) Though we believers in the New Testament need not to keep the customs or the letter, we still have to keep moral laws but not live in sin.
3) Both the conditions of “dying to sin” and “living in sin” cannot exist simultaneously.
4) Christians are men who have been dead to sin. If one has not been dead to sin, he is not a Christian. It is a ridiculous and contradictory saying that “a Christian still lives in sin”.
Rom. 6:3 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
YLT: “are ye ignorant that we, as many as were baptized to Christ Jesus, to his death were baptized?”
Literal Meaning: in the apostles’ times when the book was written, the baptism was carried out after one had repented and believed the Lord (see Acts.2:38, 41; 8:12, 35-38; 16:14-15, 33). Though the baptism is not a condition for a man’s being saved, it is a manifestation of his true believing. In other words, the baptism is to testify and declare one’s faith inside by the actions outside, testifying that he has received Jesus Christ as his Savior before the world, the angels and the devil. Therefore, the spiritual fact that we have been united with Christ comes from the baptism.
“As many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus”, “be baptized” means being immersed into the water and being covered by the water. Therefore, the baptism is to let the believer’s whole body be immersed into the water.
“Into”, it means entering a new area. There is only one condition for man to obtain the eternal life, namely, “believe” (John 3:36; 1John 5:13). However, one shall also be baptized if he desires to be delivered from the sin (Mark 16:16; John3:5; 1Pet. 3:21). The baptism is to “enter” another sphere by actions, thus being delivered from the power of the previous sphere. We are translated from “Adam” to “Christ” (1Cor. 15:22), namely, from “the power of darkness” to “the kingdom of the beloved” (Col. 1:13). The baptism is the declaration of this translation.
“Were baptized into His death”, the first significance of the baptism is to be into the death of Christ. That is to say, one shall confess the death of Christ and we are also dead in Him when we are baptized (see 2Cor. 5:14). Once we have been immersed into the water, we have been in Christ and have part in His death. This death especially relates to the death toward the negatives matters, such as sin, self, the world and Satan and etc.
Rom. 6:4 “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
YLT: “we were buried together, then, with him through the baptism to the death, that even as Christ was raised up out of the dead through the glory of the Father, so also we in newness of life might walk.”
Literal Meaning: “were buried with Him”, the second significance of the baptism is to be buried with Christ. Though there is not a clear example of the form of the baptism in the Scriptures, seeing from the descriptions of “for there is great water” (John 3:23) and “from the water” (Matt. 3:16; Acts. 8:39), we can infer that the one who is baptized may be fully immersed into the water. Such form is in line with the meaning of “bury” in this verse.
The “burial” is the proof of death. It on one hand shows that the one who is baptized has been into the death of Christ so that he should be buried “out of men’s sight” (see Gen. 23:8), namely, to put one’s past to an end. On the other hand, to be buried under the earth is for the purpose of spring out new life (see John 12:24).
“Even so we also should walk in newness of life”, the third significance of the baptism is to have the newness of life. He who is baptized will be totally immersed into the water and then “come out of the water”. Since the “water” relates to the death, “coming out of the water” will refer to being raised out of the death. Since death and the burial have concluded something, one will be different from that in the past after being raised again. One has thereby obtained the life of Christ. If we live in this life, we will surely have new actions in our life. This is the newness of life, namely, the sanctified life.
“Newness” in the original meaning having not in the past or being utterly distinct from the old one; the newness of life expresses the new condition of life, showing that the newness of the new life of “being raised with Christ” is a kind of spiritual, or moral one in life by nature.
The new life that Christians have obtained, concerning man’s experience, is “the birth from above” (John 3:3). Concerning the nature and origin, the life is “born from God” (John 1:13). Concerning the condition that the life manifests, it is “new”.
“That just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father”, “the glory of the Father” refers to the manifestation of God. Whenever God manifests Himself, He also manifests His great power. Therefore, glory and power are usually mentioned together (Ps. 145:11; Col. 1:11; 1Pet. 4:11; Rev. 1:6; 4:11; 5:12-13; 7:12; 19:1). The resurrection of Christ is through the mighty power of God (Eph. 1:20) and manifests the glory of God.
Spiritual Meaning: the spiritual meanings of the three steps of the baptism are as below:
1) Go down into the water ---- be into the death of Christ;
2) Be immersed into the water ---- be buried with Him;
3) Come out of the water ---- be raised with Him together;
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The baptism is to be baptized into the death of Christ and be buried with Him. Since we have been baptized with Christ, we shall not return to the life before we were saved, nor live in the oldness.
2) “What…is not made alive unless it dies” (1Cor. 15:36). If the natural one has not been dead, the spirit cannot be quickened. The more one has been into the death, the more he will increase in life.
3) If believers want to grow in life, they should go through the same procedure like Jesus Christ. He died first, and then rose again, thus fulfilling the whole work of salvation. Believers should also die with Him and rise with Him so that they can lead the life filled with Christ.
4) “Burial” proves the verity of death. There is no one burying living things. And no one remains a dead one without burying him. Since we are dead, our relationship with the world shall be broken off. Since we have been dead before God, He will no longer see our sins. Concerning ourselves, since we have been dead and been buried with the Lord, we shall no longer live in sin.
Rom. 6:5 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,”
YLT: “For, if we have become planted together to the likeness of his death, also we shall be of the rising again;”
Meaning of Words: “be united”: grown along with; plant together;
Literal Meaning: “if we have been united together in the likeness of His death”, it is past perfect tense. “If” refers to an accomplished fact, but has not doubtful meaning. “The likeness of His death”, it relates to the likeness of the Lord Jesus when He was crucified on the cross unto to death. Therefore, “have been united together in the likeness of His death” means being crucified with Him and being dead with Him (see v.6, 8). The baptism refers to our union with the death of Christ ---- the old man is crucified with Christ.
“Certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection”, it is the future tense. It does not mean we can not be united with Him until the future, but that the union of resurrection is sure on the basis of the union of the death. “The likeness of His resurrection”, it speaks of the living person of that one who “became dead, and is living to the ages of ages” (Rev. 1:18). “Be in the likeness of His resurrection”, the newness is manifested through His risen life. When we were baptized and came out of the water ---- the new life lives together.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The baptism means not only “living with” the Lord but also “being united with” the Lord. If we are united with the likeness of His death, we will surely be untied with the likeness of His resurrection. If we are grown up in this way, we shall bear the fruit of “sanctification” (v.22).
2) When Christ received the baptism of death in
3) The experience of “dying together” is first and the experience of “living together” afterwards. Today, many missionaries only preach “living with the Lord” and “living in the spirit” without mentioning the truth of the cross. This is very dangerous, for they live in the flesh in fact but consider that they are living in surpassing spiritual realm.
4) Only when believers are really united with “the likeness of Christ’s death” and “the likeness of Christ’s resurrection”, will we manifest Him in us perfectly (2Cor. 4:10-11).
Rom. 6: 6 “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
YLT: “this knowing, that our old man was crucified with, that the body of the sin may be made useless, for our no longer serving the sin;”
Meaning of Words: “be done away”: be (render) entirely idle, do away, become of no effect, bring (come) to nothing;
Literal Meaning: “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him”, “the old man” refers to the natural man inherited from Adam, corrupting itself according to the deceitful lusts (Eph. 4:22).
When Christ was crucified on the cross, the old men of us were also crucified with Him together (Gal. 2:20; 5:24; 6:14). This was an accomplished fact in history. But our eyes need to be opened (Eph. 1:18) so that we can see the glorious fact (see 2Cor. 4:4). Such enlightenment in the spirit is the real meaning of “knowing” in this verse. If we have not seen and known this, we will try to reform the old men of us. Finally, the old man will be excited vainly and thus have corrupted actions (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9).
“That the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin”, “the body of sin” refers to the body through which the old man lives. Since the old man is corrupted, the body must be full of sins in deeds. Therefore, it is called “the body of sin”.
Since the old man of us has been crucified on the cross, the sin that reigns in man (Rom. 5:12, 21) can no longer make our old man in bondage to commit sins. If the sin loses the cooperation of the old man, “the body of sin” will surely be of no effect and become entirely idle.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If our physical body acts under the control of the old man, it will be “the body of sin”. If our physical body acts under the control of the new man, it will be “the body of holiness” (see v.19, 22).
2) The scripture testifies that our bodies of sin have been done away and we are no longer slaves of sin. However, many believers are opposite in experience. They still commit sins and have not been delivered from the bondage of sin. And their bodies are still bustling about being driven by sin. It is because though the Lord has accomplished the perfect salvation for us, we have neither really received His works, nor believed His accomplished works, nor drawn His triumph by faith.
Rom. 6:7 “For he who has died has been freed from sin.”
YLT: “for he who hath died hath been set free from the sin.”
Literal Meaning: we are delivered from the power of sin by death. Sin cannot reign over those who have died. Verse six and seven show us three matters:
1) Sin is a living power like a master.
2) The old man is the slave id sin and is controlled by sin. However, once the old man dies, he has been delivered from sin.
3) The body of sin is the action tool for the old man. Once the old man has died, though the old man exists, he has been entirely idle and of no effect.
What is really important is that one should see in spirit ---- “knowing” the fact that the old man of us has been dead with Christ.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Lord’s being crucified on the cross for us saves us from the penalty of sin. Our crucifixion with the Lord on the cross delivers us from the bondage of sin.
2) The way of Christians’ being delivered from sin is not struggling fiercely nor fighting with sin, but “death” (see v.11).
Rom. 6:8 “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,”
YLT: “And if we died with Christ, we believe that we also shall live with him,”
Literal Meaning: “if we died with Christ”, the word “if” here has no negatively “doubtful” tone, but carries the positive meaning of “basing on this fact”.
“We believe that we shall also live with Him”, here, the word “believe” is the same as the word “know” in verse six. Both of the two words refer to spiritual enlightenment (see 2Cor. 5:7). Nevertheless, “know” focuses more on seeing the accomplished fact, and “believe” emphasizes particularly on what will be fulfilled in the future (see Heb. 11:1). Therefore, “believe” has the meaning of “trusting in”.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) What…is not made alive unless it dies (1Cor. 15:36). Death is before life. We have firstly seen and experienced the fact of having been dead with Christ, and then see and experience the fact of living with Christ together (2Cor. 4:10-11).
2) Being dead with Him is negative, and living with Him is positive. Being dead with Him is for the purpose of living with Him. If we cannot live with Him, there will be of little significance of being dead with Him.
Rom. 6:9 “knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. ”
YLT: “knowing that Christ, having been raised up out of the dead, doth no more die, death over him hath no more lordship;”
Literal Meaning: we can “believe” in the previous verse, for we have “known” what is mentioned in this verse, i.e. seeing that Christ became dead, and He is living to the ages of ages (Rev. 1:18). Therefore, we can be sure that death can no longer reign over Him or us. All those who are in Christ have been set free from the power of death (Heb. 2:14-15).
There are two lords of the old man of us ---- one is sin and the other is death (Rom. 5:14, 17, 21). The experience of dying with Him delivers us from sin. The experience of living with Him sets us free from death.
Rom. 6:10 “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.”
YLT: “for in that he died, to the sin he died once, and in that he liveth, he liveth to God;”
Literal Meaning: “for the death that He died”, His death is for the purpose of dealing with sin (see Is. 53:6; 2Cor. 5:21). Sin can no longer reign over those who have been dead.
“He died to sin once for all”, there is only one time (see 1Pet. 3:18; Heb. 7:27; 9:12, 28; 10:10), showing that His one death has the eternal effect (Heb. 10:12, 14). That sin had been dealt away is a changeless fact.
“But the life that He
lives, He lives to God”, God is the significance and purpose of His life (see
Rom. 6:11 “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
YLT: “so also ye, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to the sin, and living to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Literal Meaning: the word “reckon” in the original is “count”, which means “taking an inventory” (see the commentary of chapter four, verse three). Since we have known and believed the fact of dying with the Lord and living with the Lord, we shall take this fact into the inventory of our life and check it. Many times, our knowledge of objective facts is corresponding to our subjective experience. Therefore, we have to calculate the facts that God has fulfilled by faith until they have been performed in our life. Such calculation of faith is to count ourselves to be dead indeed to sin but alive to God. Sin is powerless to us. Henceforth, we have our master ---- the “living God” (Matt. 22:32).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Whenever we see ourselves, we still live. However, we are counted to be dead in Christ. Therefore, we should not “count” within ourselves, but merely “count” in Christ. If we count ourselves to alive in ourselves, we will be dominated by sin and commit sins. If we count the fact that we died in Christ, we will surely be delivered from the power of sin and no longer commit any sin.
2) It is a fact that God counts us as dead in sin. God counts like this, and we also have to count like this.
3) To count ourselves to be dead does not mean that we have not been dead, but regard or consider ourselves to be dead, because the death of the old man is an accomplished fact done by God. Therefore, we count it as a fact. That we have been dead is counted as a fact in the sight of God. Therefore, we shall also count ourselves to be dead. God says that we are crucified. We believe the words and confess that we are dead.
4) In verse six the fact is revealed to us and in verse eleven what we have to do is told us. Verse eleven teaches us how to perform verse six, i.e. to count what the Lord has done as true and receive the work of the cross of dealing with our body.
5) One should firstly have the enlightenment of “dying with Him” in verse six that “counting” in this verse shall be effective.
6) Believers are only alive “in Christ Jesus”.
Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), for we are dead.
Rom. 6:12 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”
YLT: “Let not then the sin reign in your mortal body, to obey it in its desires;”
Literal Meaning: “therefore”, it indicates that we are free now. If sin reigns in us, it does not mean we are forced by it, but that we are willing to let sin reign in us. Now, all the problems lie in the choice of our will.
“Do not let sin reign in your mortal body”, the “mortal body” is “the body of sin” in verse six. This body has several features as follows:
1) This body is mortal, namely, it is corruptible (1Cor. 15:53).
2) This body will die, for the body had let sin reign in it (Rom. 5:21).
3) After believers have been saved, sin is still latent in the body of us, so there is also possibility of letting sin reign in the body.
Though sin is still latent in the body of believers, we can use our will to resist against sin (Heb. 12:4). We shall not “let sin” reign in the body of us.
“That you should obey it in its lusts”, there is a definite article “the” before “lusts” in the original. Lusts refer to various desires in the flesh, including sexual desires, greediness, and many other improper cravings. Once sin reigns in man, he will be enticed by many lusts in the body. The lusts deceive the old man (Eph. 4:22) so that the old man shall obey them, thus having corruptive actions (Col.3:9)
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If we “refuse to let” sin reign in us, the lusts of the body cannot force us to obey them. If we are “not willing” to let sin reign in us, the works fulfilled by the Lord will be effective in us.
2) Christians live to God, not to sin (see v.11). We need not and cannot hear the command of sin. The best way for us to “not let sin…” is to surrender ourselves to God (see v. 13-14, 19).
Rom. 6:13 “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
YLT: “neither present ye your members instruments of unrighteousness to the sin, but present yourselves to God as living out of the dead, and your members instruments of righteousness to God;”
Meaning of Words: “present”: to stand beside, be at hand; “instruments”: weapons, armors;
Literal Meaning: “and do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin”, “members” refers to the various parts in one’s body, like eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet and etc (1Cor. 12:14-21). “Instruments” especially refer to “weapons”. This verse tells us that we can resist against sin with our “will” ---- refuse to present the members of us to sin as instruments of unrighteousness to build its power.
“Do not let…” in verse twelve relates to the body. And the “do not” in this verse is in relation to members. The former relates to the whole, and the latter refers to the parts. The former refuses the power of sin upon the whole body, and the latter refuses to let sin reign in any member of us. Here, we can see the relation of sin with the body and members of man. Sin needs the body as its dwelling and needs members as its instruments. Sin cannot operate without the body and members. If we believers want to overcome the sin of the body, we should refuse to let sin reign in us. If we desire to overcome the sin of members, we should refuse to present our members as instruments to sin.
“But present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God”, “not let” and “not present” show our attitude towards sin, but the words “but” and “present” unveil our attitude towards God. Both of the attitudes need our will. Nevertheless, the former is negative ---- passively refuse sin, and the latter is positive ---- actively give …to God.
The “present” to sin and “present” to God are different in tense. The former is the present tense, and the latter is the past perfect tense. Our proper attitude toward sin should be continual rejection. However, to God, we have chosen Him resolutely and have been determined to be faithful unto Him and yield ourselves to God.
“Present” means yielding oneself willingly, which demands spiritual enlightenment and knowledge. Therefore, man shall be as “being alive from the dead”, for only those who have really known death and resurrection have the mind of living no longer for themselves but for God (Rom. 14:7-9; 1Cor. 6:19-20; 2Cor. 5:14-15). And then they can present themselves or something to God. We shall firstly present “ourselves” and then our “members”. We shall firstly sanctify ourselves to God and confess that we are totally of God. And then we shall particularly present the members of us to God and let God use our members as instruments of righteousness. Henceforth, we shall be “as being alive from the dead” ---- put off the old man and put on the new man (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10) ---- and live in the new risen creation and serve God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The whole New Testament has revealed us two great principles for the life of Christians ---- one is faith and the other is obedience. All the good fruit is borne from the two principles. We need faith and obedience everyday in the fellowship with the Lord. “Count” in verse eleven is faith, and “present” in this verse is obedience. In verse eleven, we shall have faith in the accomplished works of Christ. In verse thirteen, to present our members to God can keep the position of us obtained by faith.
2) If we can hold the balance between the two principles of faith and obedience, we will be able to freely enjoy all the spiritual experience. We should believe all the objective truth that has been fulfilled in Christ. We have to obey all the subjective truth that will be fulfilled now and in the future in spirit.
3) God gives us the power of devotion. Whether we “will” or “not will” is decided by us. Whenever we are “willing”, God will accept us.
4) The Lord reveals us two kinds of condition ---- presenting to God and presenting to sin. Whenever we do not live before God, we have let reign in and have been the instruments of sin.
5) “To present ourselves to God”, it means that we do not cooperate with sin, but with God ---- we are set free from the power of sin and yield ourselves to God and let God reign in us, use us and occupy us and possess us wholly.
6) “To present ourselves to God”, it is that we stand on God’s side and say “yes” to God and “no” to Satan.
7) “To present ourselves to God”, it means that we are no longer of ourselves. Devotion is because I am alive from the dead. Devotion is not presenting what is of our own to God, but presenting what God has worked on us to God. Such devotion shall bear fruit to holiness (v.22).
8) “To present ourselves to God”, it means that ---- we no longer reign over us, but God; we no longer live, but Christ lives for us henceforth. If God reigns in us and Christ lives for us, our new life will be grown and the new disposition shall be manifested. How beautiful!
9) “To present ourselves to God”, it in the original is as an offering bolted to the corner of the altar and ready to be sacrificed. As long as one loses his freedom and lives for God like this, sin can no longer reign in us (v.14).
10) He who has not presented himself to God and still abides on the earth without any experience of death and resurrection in life will be always in failure. He who presents himself to God can experience that sin can not reign in him.
11) “But present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead”, here there is an apparent thing. If man has not been alive from the dead, he cannot present himself to God. It is he who has been alive from the dead can present himself to God. Otherwise, even man yields himself to God, God will not accept, for God refuses what is of Adam and death. Besides, if the devotion is out of one’s self, it must be unreliable and unstable.
12) “And your members as instruments of righteousness to God”, he who presents himself to God is firstly present the whole body of him to God, and then present every particular member to God, such as eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, as well as understanding, wisdom, competency as instruments of righteousness.
13) “To present your members as instruments of righteousness to God”, it means that the one who devotes himself to God has no his own choice but presents himself as instruments to God and lets God use him. Devotion to God is to be instruments as well as slaves (v.19). That is to say, one shall completely obey God and seek to please God.
14) Since one has been the instrument of righteousness, he can no longer be the instrument of sin, for an instrument cannot have two purposes simultaneously. Just as that the fountain cannot pour forth sweet and bitter at the same time, and as that one cannot serve two lords simultaneously.
15) The members of believers are the instruments of righteousness “fighting against the wickedness”, which play important role in spiritual war.
16) The apostle firstly reveals the glorious fact of the union with Christ (v.5-8), and then according to the fact he encourages us that “do not present your members … to sin, but present yourselves to God …”. Likewise, we also see the glorious revelation of being united with Christ and then devote ourselves to God so as to admit this fact. Revelation is before experience. The order is definite, no matter to others or to ourselves.
Rom. 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
YLT: “for sin over you shall not have lordship, for ye are not under law, but under grace.”
The Background: this verse used a convention in the Roman slave market at that time. There were only two kinds of condition that a slave could be devoiced from his owner ---- one was the slave died and the other was he was sold to another master. Once the slave had his new master, the old master would have no power upon him.
Literal Meaning: when we have perform the previous five steps of “knowing, believing, counting, not presenting, and but presenting”, we will be definitely confident that “sin shall not have dominion over us”, for we are no longer “under law” and need not overcome sin by our own power. We are now “under grace”. God takes all responsibility for us and He works in us both the willing and the working according to good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).
“For you are not under law but under grace”, we are not the debtor of sin, but the debtors of grace. We are no longer in the power of sin, but in the power of grace. We shall not only receive grace, but also be restricted by grace ---- let sin reign in us.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Man refuses sin with his own power under the law, so he can not be delivered from the power of sin, so that he cannot stop committing sins. However, under grace, the grace of God, namely, the life of God in Christ, God Himself, gives us power, so that we can be delivered from sin and never commits any sin.
2) Under law, it is that God asks man to do things for Him. Under grace, it is that God does things for man. If we do things for God, sin must reign in us. The wages of our work is that sin reigns in us. If God does things for us, sin cannot reign in us.
3) It is we do under law. It is God works under grace. When God works for us, sin must not reign in us. It must be a victory when God works. It must be not victory when we labor. Victory is a free gift.
4) If we present ourselves and our members according to the order of God to Him, who calls us to present us to Him, He must accept us and let Him fill in us so that we can keep His will in everything. The result will be that “sin shall not have dominion over you”.
5) “Sin shall not have dominion over you”, this is the word of God. If we have still not led a victorious life, sin may still have dominion over us. We must confess that the problems lie in ourselves, not in the word of God.
6) “Sin shall not have dominion over you”, this is a great promise that gives comfort, for we have the life of seed that “does not sin…keeps himself” (1John 5:18 the original).
7) “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law”, obviously, all that live under law is ruled by sin and is living in the power of sin. Therefore, the more one desires to keep the law, the more difficult for him to be delivered from sin and the more he sins against God “leading to more lawlessness” and “leading to death”. Our experience proves that whenever we live under the principle of law ---- paying attention to how to work ---- we will surely fall into spiritual death.
Rom. 6:15 “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! ”
YLT: “What then? shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? let it not be!”
Literal Meaning: this verse is after the previous verse. It shows the doubts of someone: since we are not under law but under grace, it is not of man’s works, but of God Himself, and we are no longer restricted by the law. Then, will it cause man sin again? The answer is “certainly not”!
The questions “Shall we continue in sin” in verse one and “Shall we sin” in this verse are two different questions: the first is continuing live in sin; and this verse is committing sins without any restriction.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Thank the Lord! We are under grace, so we have not to be responsible for the law, but enjoy the freedom of the children of God (see Gal. 4:4-7).
2) All those who really know grace and live under grace will never give themselves up to lasciviousness or sins.
Rom. 6:16 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”
YLT: “have ye not known that to whom ye present yourselves servants for obedience, servants ye are to him to whom ye obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?”
The Background: according to the law of Romans at that time, a slave could go to the temple to pay the ransom to the false gods (the idols of god). And the temple would give the ransom to the lord of the slave, and he would no longer be the salve of his previous lord. However, it did not mean that he had no lord then, for the false god would be his lord. Therefore, though the slave had obtained freedom from man, he was still a slave of the god. Paul here, through the law of slaves, might intend to illustrate that believers are still slaves of God though they have got freedom
Literal Meaning: this verse indicates that if we have really made a decision on the object of our devotion by our will as what is taught in verse 13, we shall be slaves of the one to whom we present ourselves. A slave must obey the commands of his lord. And there are two choices before us: if we are slaves of sin or we walk in obedience of the commands of sin, we will die in the end. If we are slaves of righteousness and walk in obedience of the commands of righteousness, we will definitely “be sanctified” finally.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) This verse reveals us a very precious principle of devotion to God. Our devotion to God is not forced by God, but chosen by ourselves.
2) Though we are bought by God and are of God, He does not force us but waits for us to be His slaves willingly. In the principle of the law, we were God’s slaves from the day when God had saved us. However, according to our experience, we became God’s slaves from the day when we presented ourselves to Him. Therefore, every servant of God must know it. One shall be a servant of God by devoting himself to God. This devotion is totally his personal choice.
3) Sin is disobedience to God by nature. He who does not obey God shall be a slave of sin and fall into death finally. He who obeys God shall be a slave of righteousness and have eternal life in the end (v.23).
4) In the times of Paul, the slaves had neither identity, nor social status, nor free time, nor opinions, nor the freedom of doing what he pleased. They had to obey the commands of the lord in everything. Since we have been slaves of obedience, we shall hear and obey God and reject our own choices.
Rom. 6:17 “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”
YLT: “and thanks to God, that ye were servants of the sin, and -- were obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which ye were delivered up;”
Literal Meaning: “yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered”, “that form of doctrine”, or “the example or model of doctrine”, including the doctrine and model of justification by faith and the basis and mystery of sanctification in the first half part of this chapter and etc. Though we believers were slaves of sin, now we have obtained new status for we have received from the heart that doctrine of grace ---- namely, be slaves to obey (v.16).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) We enter by obeying the truth of Christ, so we shall still continue to be guided by the truth of Christ in our walking.
2) Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Ps. 119:105).
Rom. 6:18 “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
YLT: “and having been freed from the sin, ye became servants to the righteousness.”
Literal Meaning: “having been set free from” and “…became slaves of” are the passive voice, which indicates that when we have indeed obeyed from the heart the gospel preached to us (see v.17), we will be naturally delivered from sin and be slaves of righteousness.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Before we believed the Lord, we were slaves of sin and had been ruled by sin and we could not stop from sinning. But thank the Lord! He has delivered us from sin so that sin can never be our lord. And we are perfectly happy to be slaves of God to serve the glorious God.
2) The truth of the Lord has set us free so we are no longer slaves of sin (John 8:32-26), but slaves of righteousness.
Rom. 6:19 “speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”
YLT: “In the manner of men I speak, because of the weakness of your flesh, for even as ye did present your members servants to the uncleanness and to the lawlessness -- to the lawlessness, so now present your members servants to the righteousness -- to sanctification,”
Meaning of Words: “uncleanness”: impurity; “lawlessness”: wickedness;
Literal Meaning: “because of the weakness of your flesh”, “the weakness of your flesh”, it means that one’s spiritual life is so young and immature that cannot understand deep truth (see 2Cor. 2:14; 3:1-2; Heb. 5:12-14).
“Speak in human terms”, since we have not known spiritual things, Paul has to use human terms to explain the reasons of sanctification.
“For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness”, “uncleanness and lawlessness” are a synonym of “sin” (v.13); “uncleanness” refers to the unclean nature of sin; “lawlessness” relates to the wicked nature of sin.
“So now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness”, according to the context, Paul pays more attention to explanation not encouragement.
The meaning of “righteousness” in the original is to give what is due to God and men to them. Such “righteous” life leads to “being sanctified”. “For holiness”, it in the original is not a fulfilled state, but a process that is going on or a way that leads to holiness.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Paul explains by the spirit of believers’ being slaves of uncleanness and lawlessness before they had not believed the Lord so as to encourage them to present their members as slaves of righteousness in like manner. In fact, if believers can love the Lord in the “zeal” of sinning in the past, the works of the church must proceed fast er in speed and larger in realm.
2) Our members shall be like the one whom it obeys. If it obeys sin, it will become dirty and wicked. If it obeys righteousness, it will be holy. No wonder that many sicknesses of us are sometimes caused by our sins and wickedness (Deut. 28:20-22).
Rom. 6:20 “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.”
YLT: “for when ye were servants of the sin, ye were free from the righteousness,”
Literal Meaning: this verse is an explanation for the previous verse. Why there was “lawlessness” when we were slaves of sin? For at that time, “we were free in regard to righteousness”. The implied meaning may be that when we become slave of righteousness, we must be restricted by righteousness for holiness.
Rom. 6:21 “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. ”
YLT: “what fruit, therefore, were ye having then, in the things of which ye are now ashamed? for the end of those death.”
Literal Meaning: “the things of which you are now ashamed”, “things ashamed” refers the sinful deeds. Before we were saved, we were not ashamed of sinful deed, but now we are.
“What fruit did you have then ashamed? For the end of those things is death”. ---- “End” means “being mature that bear fruit”. The fruit of all those who commit sins and do wickedness may be hidden then, but the end must be death.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Someone lists some shameful deeds he had done when he had not been saved in the sight of him after he has been saved: a) misapply one’s genius and talent; b) misuse one’s affection and love; c) waste time; d) misuse power; e) treat one’s good friends unjustly; f) do harm to the best profit; g) violate love, especially the love of God. All can be summarized into one word ---- “shame”. The end of them is death.
2) Every sin moves forward toward death. If one keeps on, both the goal and result will be death.
Rom. 6:22 “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
YLT: “And now, having been freed from the sin, and having become servants to God, ye have your fruit -- to sanctification, and the end life age-during;”
Literal Meaning: “having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness”, to be slaves of God is different from being slaves of sin. If we are slaves of God, we shall have fruit to “holiness”. “Holiness” is to be sanctified from all that are not of God. It must include being delivered from sin, even though it is not the emphasis. Therefore, to be delivered from sin is also experience of being sanctified so that one may have fruit of holiness. Besides, here, “holiness” is not sanctification in position, but sanctification in nature. Therefore, it is not a fulfilled fact, but an ongoing experience.
“The end, everlasting life”, the “fruit to holiness” is none other than having part in the eternal and holy life of God. It is this life that enables us to have experience of sanctification.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “Having become slaves of God”, we are not only servants of God, but also slaves of God ---- slaves whom God has bought with precious price. A servant is common, but a slave is single-minded. A slave is a one who has sold himself to be a bondman. God is not only our God, but also our lord. Therefore, since we are priests of God, we shall serve Him only. Since we are slaves of God, we shall serve Him faithfully.
2) The profit of being slaves of God is to be sanctified by God and have fruit to holiness that has eternal value.
3) Since we have not been wholly sanctified, we shall diligently seek the Lord all the time.
Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
YLT: “for the wages of the sin death, and the gift of God life age-during in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Literal Meaning: “for the wages of sin is death”, “wages” in the original refers to the salaries that a soldier should obtain. He received his wages, for he had been through fire and water and paid great cost. He who has been a mercenary under sin must death as wages. Death is not rendered to man freely, but wages of man’s sin. After man had sinned, man served the lord of sin. And this lord would not let man serve freely and give man wages, namely, death.
“But the gift of God”, “gift” refers to the reward for man freely outside of wages.
“Is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”, to be slaves and soldiers must be rewarded by life in Christ.
This verse shows us three apparent comparisons:
1) Two lords ---- sin and God;
2) Two rewards ---- wages and free gift;
3) Two results ---- death and eternal life.
The Facts in Christ ---- Be United With Christ
A. The chains of sin have been broken ---- he who died has been delivered from sin (v.1-2);
B. The significance of the baptism ---- be unto the death of Christ (v.3-5);
1. The baptism is to be baptized into Christ;
2. The water of death in the baptism is the tomb of man;
3. Be united together in the likeness of His death;
4. Be buried with Christ;
5. Be in the likeness of His resurrection;
6. Be raised from the dead with Christ;
7. Walk in the newness of the new life;
C. The mystery of being crucified with Christ ---- the all- inclusive death (v.6-7);
1. The problem of the old man;
2. The problem of the body of sin;
3. The old man was crucified;
4. The body of sin has been done away with;
5. Sin has lost its power;
6. We have obtained the glorious release;
D. The application in faith (v.8-11);
1. Faith is a spiritual enlightenment;
2. The works of Christ once and for all are always the basis of faith (v.10);
a. Died to sin forever;
b. Lives to God forever;
3. One shall learn to count the fact in God ---- to count is the application and attitude of faith;
The Type and Reality of Being United With Christ
A. The type of being united with Christ ---- the baptism:
1. To be
baptized into water typifies that one has been dead and buried with the Lord
2. To be raised from the water typifies that one has been raised with the Lord from the dead (v.4b);
B. Be united with Christ in life:
1. Be united together in the likeness of His death and resurrection (v.5);
2. Be untied with Him in the fact that our old man was crucified with Him (v.6);
3. Be untied with Him in the fact that we have been dead and been delivered from sin (v.7);
4. Be untied with Him in the fact that since we have been dead, we believe that we shall also live with Him (v.8);
5. Be untied with Him in the fact that we died to sin and live to God (v.9-11).
The Basis of Sanctification
A. We who died to sin ---- shall not live any longer in sin (v.1-2);
B. We who were baptized into Christ Jesus:
1. We “who baptized into His death” (v.3);
with Him … through baptism” (v
3. “Even so we also should walk in newness of life, …be in the likeness of His resurrection” (v.4b-5);
To Live for Christ in Him
A. To be sanctified in Christ (v.1-11);
B. To experience being sanctified by presenting oneself to God (v.12-14);
C. To be slaves of righteousness by abandoning sin that have one’s fruit to holiness (v.15-23);
The Reasons Why We Shall not Still in Sin
A. You can no longer sin, for you have been united with Christ ---- this is reasoning (v.1-11).
B. You need not sin, for grace has destroyed the power of sin ---- this is admonition (v.12-14).
C. You should not sin, lest sin should become your master again in your life ---- this is command (v.15-19).
D. You should stop sinning, or else you will fall into disasters. This is warning (v.20-23).
The Secret of Being Sanctified
A. “Knowing” that we died with Christ ---- seeing the accomplished objective fact:
1. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him” (v.6);
2. “He who has died has been freed from sin” (v.7);
B. “Believe” that we shall also live with Him ---- the assurance of subjective experience in spirit:
1. “If we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (v.8);
2. “Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more” (v.9);
3. “The death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God” (v.10);
C. “Reckon” oneself to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God ---- count into the account of life:
oneself to be dead indeed” to sin (v
2. “Reckon oneself to be alive” to God (v.11b);
D. “Do not let sin” and “do not present … to sin” ---- passive rejection:
1. “let sin reign in … mortal body” (v.12);
2. “do not present … members as
instruments of unrighteousness to sin” (v
E. “But present … to God” ---- active devotion:
1. “Present oneself to God” (v.13b) ---- present the whole body;
2. “Present your members as
instruments of righteousness to God” (v
3. Sin shall not have dominion over us under sin (v.14);
F. “Obey” ---- to have a life of devotion:
1. “Obey … be slaves of obedience” (v.16);
2. “Obeyed from the heart … that form of doctrine” (v.17);
3. “for holiness … fruit to holiness” (v.19, 22);
Three Steps for Believers to Overcome Sin
A. The first step: reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God (v.11);
B. The second step: do not let sin reign in our mortal body (v.12);
C. The third step: present oneself to God (v.13);
To Present One’s Members to Be Slaves ---- We Belong to the New Lord
A. The position of man’s will in the salvation of the Lord (v.12-13);
B. Sin has lost its power on us, since our position has been changed (v.14);
C. Now, it is the problem of the choice of our will (v.15-16);
D. One should have a determinate devotion of himself to God (v.17-19);
E. Just as you presented your members as slaves of sin, so now present yourselves as slaves of God (v.17-19);
F. Two kinds of end and two kinds of result (v.20-23);
The Reasons For Being Sanctified
A. For we are no longer slaves of sin, but slaves of righteousness (v.15-18);
B. To be slaves of righteousness should be ruled by righteousness (v.19-20):
C. To be slaves of God should receive the gift from God (v.21-23):
1. The end of those shameful things is death, for the wages of sin is death.
2. Having become slaves of God, one has his fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
3. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Inappropriateness of Sin
A. It is inappropriate to the truth of presenting oneself to the Lord (v.15-20).
B. It is inappropriate to the end of saints (v.21-23).
Three Conditions of a Righteous Servant
A. New freedom (v.15-18) ---- who shall not be ruled by law or sin;
B. New object one shall be faithful unto (v.19-20) ---- righteousness;
C. New reward (v.21-23) ---- holiness and eternal life.
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou