150712 – Romans 6:1-11 “Dying to sin, rising to new life”
Last time I noted the use of the same words twice in the same verse: “many” (Romans 5:15), “all men” (Romans 5:18) and “many” (Romans 5:19). In each case the use of each word/s twice in a verse does contrast sin with righteousness for the same group, first one in sin, then the other in righteousness. If the words differ in their meaning in a verse, then it fails to properly contrast sin and death with righteousness and life. Logically each pair of words must have the same meaning as each other. Macarthur, though, says that “Paul uses the word “many” with two distinct meanings in v. 15, just as he will the word “all” in v. 18. (MacArthur Study Bible – Romans)” but fails to explain how this can be so, other than it apparently interferes with his peculiar and false belief in the limited atonement.
It is also interesting to note that in both Romans 5:15 and Romans 5:19, it is actually “the many” in each case. That is, the definite article (“the”) comes before each occurrence of “many” in the Greek, thus emphasising the same definite group for each use of “the many” when used twice in the same verse. Thus, “the many” used twice in Romans 5:15 and again in Romans 5:19 should be interpreted as meaning the same group in each of those verses.
However, not all remain sinners and not all end up going to heaven. The free will of man is a necessary part of the explanation here. All are born sinners, yet some will die justified. All have been justified by the payment on the cross, yet only those who accept this as a gift from God will benefit from it. All mankind is heading for condemnation unless they do something about it. According to John 3:18, “he that believeth not is condemned already”; therefore, in order to not be condemned, man has to do something, and that is to believe. This is certainly a matter of free will choice here, for belief is a personal decision that cannot be overruled by orders. It may be possible to brainwash a person, but this is not genuine belief. And ordering a person to believe requires obedience, not belief.
Therefore Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provided a potential righteousness for all mankind, rather than actual. In other words, all men are made saveable, but not necessarily saved in reality. (Macarthur hates that word “saveable”! He says it is used by unlimited atonement proponents who also therefore believe in universal salvation! But this is futile grasping at straws, only applicable if man has no free will at all in salvation. MacArthur also incorrectly redefines anything “potential” as less potent than “actual”. This is illogical!)
“so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19) does not mean all are going to heaven, even though “many” here must represent all mankind. All in a prison may be given a pardon yet be required that all pardoned must admit guilt before receiving the pardon. This is common to many legal jurisdictions world-wide. Legally they are pardoned, yet effectively they are not until they confess their guilt. At the cross all were legally justified (Romans 3:23-24) yet Romans 3:26 says that God is the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. When Jesus paid the price demanded for the offenses of every sin that would ever be committed, He made it possible for man to come back to God without the offense of sin. This is justification which, with redemption, was paid in full forever on the cross. All mankind was at enmity with God until now, experiencing God’s anger at the offense of sin, from Adam onward. God’s anger needed to be propitiated, appeased, before man could return to God.
1 John 2:2 says that And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.
That means that on the cross Jesus took the anger of God upon Himself so that all God’s anger at the offense of the sin of all mankind would be all directed upon Jesus instead. No longer would man have to come to God via a priest, but instead through our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. So on the cross Jesus obtained in full: justification, redemption, propitiation and atonement (which speaks of the covering over of sin so that God would not be offended, but here talks about removing the actual offense from sin).
But what about righteousness? Was it also a finished work of the cross or was it something extra?
1 Corinthians 1:30 – But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Everything on the cross was completed, finished, never to be added-to again. So if just one sin were not paid for on the cross, then that sin would never be paid for, ever. Likewise redemption, propitiation and justification. These all had to be absolutely and totally dealt with on the cross, once for all. Anything not done then would never be done! Once for all and for all time.
So what about righteousness? The word “righteous” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “dikaios” which means observing divine laws or upright, faultless, innocent, and guiltless. This is very close to the meaning of justification. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary says that “Justification is the declaring of a person to be just or righteous. It is a legal term signifying acquittal”.
Romans 4:5 – But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
My understanding is that justification is the payment of the penalty of the law, and righteousness is the outworking of (that is, the consequence of) that payment, activated by faith.
So now let’s have another look at Romans 5:19 – For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
The Pulpit Commentary says that even if we assume the two cases of “many” in this verse to have the same meaning (which I do), “the universality of final salvation need not necessarily follow. The phrase is, "shall be constituted righteous," and might only mean that all will be put into the position of justified persons, capable as such of salvation, just as all had, through the first transgression, been put into the position of sinners, liable as such to condemnation; and the future tense might be taken to denote the continuance, through all future ages, of the availing effect of the accomplished atonement.”
In other words, it is a potential righteousness making all men saveable but not necessarily saved in reality. Our passage last Sunday emphasized the “gift”, especially the “free gift” (although a gift must by definition be free anyway). Redemption, justification, atonement, propitiation and now righteousness were all finalised at the cross for all mankind without a single exception. They were packaged into a free gift which was presented (and continues to be presented) to every man woman and child on this earth for all time. What they have been offered has already been paid for and packaged for each and every person. It is already theirs and only awaits acceptance according to God’s requirements. These are that each person must call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) to receive a further add-on gift, that of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and yet another add-on gift as well – that of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
These gifts have been packaged into one gift, and one gift is made available for every person who will ever live. This gift is complete and includes righteousness. Thus righteousness is a potential, requiring to be activated by faith, but still exists for every person in all history. Thus, “the many” who were made sinners is the same group that would be made righteous (potentially) by one Man’s obedience.
Note though that when the Bible talks about such things as justification, it can mean what is possible for all mankind, that which has been finished for all mankind on the cross. For instance, all have been freely justified….
Romans 3:23-24 – 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
…….but justification only becomes effective after it has been activated by faith…..
Romans 3:28 – Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 6:1 – 1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
So what question does this raise: should we continue to sin and experience more abundant grace? It’s like the question in Romans 3:8 – And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”? Consider this: Piper says that God ordained evil for His glory. “So when I say that everything that exists — including evil — is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly, I mean that, one way or the other, God sees to it that all things serve to glorify his Son.” (Piper, John. Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ …. Also http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/does-god-author-sin)
That is, evil makes more glory for Christ. And not
to be outdone, the Gospel Coalition (also calvinist) says: A world
with no fall and no salvation is altogether less God-glorifying than a
world with a tragic fall but also a wondrous salvation.
So Adam’s sin was more glorifying of God than if he had been totally obedient?? A holy God glorified more by the same sin which He cannot accept into His presence?
But more “bad” does not make more “good”; rather, it just makes a greater contrast between the bad and the good. And Paul makes this abundantly clear: “God forbid” “Certainly not!” How could we even consider sinning after the price Jesus has paid to redeem us. Jesus has paid the law’s penalty for every sin that will ever be committed, setting us free from the penalty of the law. Would we then desire to make mockery of that sacrifice by intentionally sinning more? Just because the Judge has pardoned us from the punishment for our guilt cannot give us the right to be able to sin as much as we want to, just because God will cover it!
And yet such as the calvinists tell us that the more sin, the greater the grace to overcome it, so more sin equates to greater grace of God. That is, sin is necessary for the utmost expression of God’s grace!? This is the calvinist Sonship Theology which claims that God’s children (the elect) are not able to commit a sin that God’s grace will not cover. Therefore no sin the elect commit can ever prevent them from entering heaven. This leads in many instances to a belief in a perfect holiness, which is a license to sin! You are only able to commit those sins that God approves of!
However, Paul gives the true answer (God’s answer) here: How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? All sin is evil and unacceptable to holy God under any circumstances. He echoes this in Romans 6:15 – What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Romans 6:3 – Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
We are baptized into the one body by the Holy Spirit. (baptism by, not of, the Spirit)
1 Corinthians 12:13 – For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
And that body is Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:27 – Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
By accepting the gift offered to us by Christ, we also have to accept the sacrifice. We are called to suffer after the example that Christ set for us.
1 Peter 2:21 – For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Thus by accepting the gift of eternal life, we also identify with Christ’s death. Our baptism is an identification with Jesus’ death on the cross, and rising again to life.
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.
This is generally interpreted as baptism by immersion in water, symbolizing the going down into the grave with Christ after the cross, and then rising to new life after the baptism. So, while baptism isn’t a requirement for salvation, it does represent Christ’s death, descending into Sheol (Old Testament) or Hades (New Testament), and then raised to new life by the glory (or kingly majesty) of God (the Greek word doxa = “glory” can mean “kingly majesty”). That is, God caused this to happen by His majestic authority as the Creator God of the universe.
Note the following
Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (or authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Also, note the authority and majesty of God in the resurrection…
Matthew 28:2 – And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
And newness of life is a consequence of the new creation in us,
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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:
planted together – symphytos (born together with; of joint origin; grown together; united with) From syn (with; together) and phyo (beget; bring forth; produce; spring up; grow) The Greek word syn signifies a synthesis of more than one part into one single whole, such that the final whole product is seen as one, rather than a group of many. Thus symphytos here signifies two or more that are so united in a new birth that the one is indistinguishable from the other. The two have become one in both death and resurrection.
As we are buried together with Christ in baptism in fellowship with His death, so also we shall be raised to new life just as Christ was raised to new life. Christ therefore is the first born of many (Romans 8:29b – that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.)
However, note the whole of Romans 8:29 – For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 6:5 discusses a one-ness of us with Christ in death and resurrection; Romans 8:29 says that we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ, that is, to be like Him. Not only are we to be one with Christ, we are to be like Him in image as well.
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.
our old man – This is our old flesh nature, the sin nature that we don’t quite get rid of until we leave this earth in death. Our old man sin nature was crucified on the cross. However, this is one of those idealized situations that speak of our perfect position with God in Christ, yet we still haven’t achieved this perfection in the flesh, nor will we, while we have our current fleshly bodies. (See Romans 7 for more on this issue.)
Romans 7:24-25 – 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Our body of sin will be done away with in the end, though, and we will finally be perfect.
Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:
Our perfect end is to no longer be slaves of sin. However, the good work which Christ has begun in us will continue (will need to continue) until we are perfected either when we die or are raptured from this earth.
Philippians 3:12 – Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
henceforth we should not serve sin (or no longer be slaves to sin) – We should no longer permit
sin to dominate our lives, as it is clear that we will not be totally freed
from sin until we leave this earthly body. But while genuine Christians might
fall, they should not ever hit rock bottom sin again.
Psalm 37:23-24 – 23The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. 24Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth [him with] his hand.
We should no longer serve our sin nature, but it will happen nevertheless, as Paul demonstrates in Romans 7:13-25 – worth reading for those who think that a Christian who falls into sin is no longer one of the elect.
Romans 6:7 – For he that is dead is freed from sin.
We should no longer serve sin (Vs 6 above) and now we are symbolically freed from sin through our symbolic death together with Christ. We have died to sin in fellowship with Christ who died unto sin (see Vs 10 – “he died unto sin once [for all]”). We are now counted (imputed) as righteous to a holy God because we are in Christ.
Colossians 3:3 – For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Though we might sin, Christians are no longer condemned, thus we are freed from sin.
Romans 8:1 – [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 6:8 – Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
This goes back to the picture of our baptism relating to Christ’s death, and that our faith is in a finished work, not just the death to redeem us and pay for our sins, but raised to new life in Him. Without life, the cross is without meaning.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19 – 12Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain. 15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
If Christ merely died for our sins, we may be forgiven, yet remain without life unless Christ should also rise from the dead. If we believe we died with Christ, we also have to believe that we shall also be raised to newness of life through Him.
We “were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10)
Romans 6:9 – Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
But Christ is indeed risen from the dead; because He lives, we shall live also.
1 Corinthians 15:20 – But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Christ lives forever as our High Priest in heaven.
Hebrew 7:25 – Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
death hath no more dominion over him – Christ demonstrated His authority over death and now holds the keys to hell and death.
Revelation 1:18 – I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Romans 6:10 – For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Christ’s death was the once-for-all sacrifice that ended all other sacrifices. “It is finished”!)
Hebrews 10:10 – By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].
And now He is our high priest…
Hebrews 4:14 – Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession.
and lives forever to make intercession for us before His Father God (Hebrews 7:25).
Romans 6:11 – Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are no longer slaves to sin (“that henceforth we should not serve sin” – Vs 6) freed from sin (Vs 7) and now dead to sin. This perfection is not ours yet; however, this is how God sees us when we come before Him in Christ. It should also be our aim, our goal, to strive toward this perfection, even if we won’t attain to it before death. And when God sees us perfected in Christ, He sees us as alive in Christ Jesus, His Son, our Lord.
This verse states our ideal state, that of being in Jesus Christ and being imputed with His righteousness. In reality, we will struggle with sin until we die, as Paul notes well in Romans 7:8-25.