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1: The apostle here sets himself more fully to vindicate his
doctrine from the consequence above suggested, (Ro 3:7,8).
He had then only in strong terms denied and renounced it: here he
removes the very foundation thereof.
2: Dead to sin - Freed both from the guilt and from the power of it.
3: As many as have been baptized into Jesus Christ have
been baptized into his death - In baptism we, through faith, are
ingrafted into Christ; and we draw new spiritual life from this
new root, through his Spirit, who fashions us like unto him, and
particularly with regard to his death and resurrection.
4: We are buried with him - Alluding to the ancient manner
of baptizing by immersion. That as Christ was raised from the
dead by the glory - Glorious power. Of the Father, so we also,
by the same power, should rise again; and as he lives a new life
in heaven, so we should walk in newness of life. This, says the
apostle, our very baptism represents to us.
5: For - Surely these two must go together; so that if we are
indeed made conformable to his death, we shall also know
the power of his resurrection.
6: Our old man - Coeval with our being, and as old as the
fall; our evil nature; a strong and beautiful expression for that
entire depravity and corruption which by nature spreads itself
over the whole man, leaving no part uninfected. This in a
believer is crucified with Christ, mortified, gradually killed, by
virtue of our union with him.
That the body of sin - All evil tempers, words, and actions,
which are the "members" of the "old man," (Col 3:5),
might be destroyed.
7: For he that is dead - With Christ. Is freed from the guilt
of past, and from the power of present, sin, as dead men from the
commands of their former masters.
8: Dead with Christ - Conformed to his death, by dying to sin.
10: He died to sin - To atone for and abolish it. He liveth
unto God - A glorious eternal life, such as we shall live also.
12: Let not sin reign even in your mortal body - It must be
subject to death, but it need not be subject to sin.
13: Neither present your members to sin - To corrupt nature,
a mere tyrant. But to God - Your lawful King.
14: Sin shall not have dominion over you - It has neither
right nor power. For ye are not under the law - A dispensation of
terror and bondage, which only shows sin, without enabling you
to conquer it. But under grace - Under the merciful dispensation
of the gospel, which brings complete victory over it to every one
who is under the powerful influences of the Spirit of Christ.
17: The form of doctrine into which ye have been delivered
- Literally it is, The mould into which ye have been delivered;
which, as it contains a beautiful allusion, conveys also a very
instructive admonition; intimating that our minds, all pliant and
ductile, should be conformed to the gospel precepts, as liquid
metal, take the figure of the mould into which they are cast.
18: Being then set free from sin - We may see the
apostles method thus far at one view: -
1. Bondage to sin ( Ro 3:9
2. The knowledge of sin by the law; a
sense of God's wrath; inward death ( Ro 3:20
3. The revelation of the righteousness
of God in Christ through the gospel ( Ro 3:21
4. The centre of all, faith, embracing
that righteousness ( Ro 3:22
5. Justification, whereby God forgives all
past sin, and freely accepts the sinner ( Ro 3:24
6. The gift of the Holy Ghost; a sense of ( Ro 5:5,
God's love new inward life ( Ro 6:4
7. The free service of righteousness ( Ro 6:12
19: I speak after the manner of men - Thus it is necessary
that the scripture should let itself down to the language of men.
Because of the weakness of your flesh - Slowness of understanding
flows from the weakness of the flesh, that is, of human nature.
As ye have presented your members servants to uncleanness and
iniquity unto iniquity, so now present your members servants of
righteousness unto holiness - Iniquity (whereof uncleanness is
an eminent part) is here opposed to righteousness; and unto
iniquity is the opposite of unto holiness. Righteousness
here is a conformity to the divine will; holiness, to the
whole divine nature. Observe, they who are servants of
righteousness go on to holiness; but they who are servants
to iniquity get no farther. Righteousness is service, because
we live according to the will of another; but liberty, because of our
inclination to it, and delight in it.
20: When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from
righteousness - In all reason, therefore, ye ought now to be free
from unrighteousness; to be as uniform and zealous in serving
God as ye were in serving the devil.
21: Those things - He speaks of them as afar off.
23: Death - Temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Is the due
wages of sin; but eternal life is the gift of God - The difference
is remarkable. Evil works merit the reward they receive: good works
do not. The former demand wages: the latter accept a free gift.