1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
"Where sin abounded, grace -- that is, the gentle unmerited goodness and kindness of the glorious love of God -- did much more abound" (Rom. 5:20).
And also he has said that God had included all under sin, that He might have opportunity to extend His grace, mercy and kindness to all.
...Put in this blunt way, the thought seems self-evidently absurd, but actually it is the unconscious presumption that lies behind any carelessness or complacency about any form or evidence of sin.
Sin is a terrible, destroying disease -- highly infectious -- infinitely more deadly than any physical disease. When we are not straining every effort in the war against this evil thing, we are in practice saying, "Let us continue in sin so grace may abound." *
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Now this sacrifice of Jesus becomes sin-destroying in every one who believes the gospel of the kingdom preached in his name; and is sprinkled with his blood in being baptised into him.
All the past sins of such a believer are cancelled, or forgiven; and there is engrafted in him a principle, even the word believed, called "the law of the Spirit of life," which in the remission has "made him free from the law of sin and death;" so that sin no longer reigns in his mortal body that he should obey it in the lusts thereof.
He is "made free from sin" as the sovereign of his mind and actions; and has become the servant of God, whose will it is his study to learn and obey in all things; thus bringing forth fruit unto holiness, the end of which is everlasting life, when he shall be planted in the likeness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
HERALD OF THE KINGDOM AND AGE TO COME - AUG 1852
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.
Baptism is not a law, but an action commanded to be submitted to by believers of the gospel of the kingdom, and by none else. It is the act by which the obedience of faith is rendered. Baptism is essential to justification by the law of faith; for without baptism a believer cannot obey the gospel, because the immersion of a true believer is the obedience of the gospel.
Till that action is intelligently submitted to a believer is to that same instant in his sins, or unjustified, which is the same thing. Justification by faith is through the name of Jesus; and immersion into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is the act of union to that name. It is the only formality, rite, or ceremony, by which a believer of the gospel of the kingdom can be married to the name of the Lord Jesus.
If such a believer refuse to be thus united to his name, in so doing he refuses repentance, remission of sins, and eternal life through that name, for these blessings come to the justified by faith only through his name. A believer is no more united to Christ's name without true baptism than a woman is united to the name of a man without the legal marriage ceremony. This simple rite gives her a share in all that pertains to her husband's name, be they riches, or honour, or both; so after a like manner does baptism into the name of the Lord give the true believer all spiritual blessings communicable through his name, and a title to share with him in his glory.
If it be asked, then, "At what instant is a believer of the gospel of the kingdom justified by faith in the kingdom and name?"-the answer is in the words of Peter, "Having purified your souls in the obeying of the truth through the Spirit," which is synonymous with in the being baptised, in the being united to the name, &c. When a believer goes into the water, he becomes passive in the hands of the administrator, who pronounces the formula divinely prescribed, and having ended them, he buries him in the watery grave, from which he raises him to walk in newness of life.
In being buried in the water, his renewedness of heart is granted to him for repentance, and his belief of the promise made to the fathers, and in Jesus as Lord and Christ, is counted to him for righteousness or remission of sins; for he is then introduced into the name of Christ, through which name repentance and remission of sins are conveyed to him. An unimmersed believer is not united to the name; he is therefore not in it, but exterior to it; and can no more have the things contained in the name, than a man can have access to things in a house when he is in the street without its door.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Oct 1853.
That is, do you not know that the act of baptism is an act of recognition of the necessity of a DEATH -- a death in order to end a certain state of affairs -- to create a complete severance and separation and termination (v. 4) --
...We note the words, "by the glory of the Father" -- "like as Christ was raised by the glory of the Father, even so we also . . ."
Ours, too, must be "by the glory of the Father" -- there is no other way -- no other possible way of walking "in newness of life." We cannot do it of our own weak, mortal, sinful selves. "Newness of life by the glory of the Father" is the great thought that gives baptism its beauty and significance. A new life, a completely new beginning. What a wonderful occasion it is!
A natural son of Adam, an earthy creature born under the shadow of death and bound by the dominion of sin, reaches a stage of development and enlightenment wherein he is drawn by the power of God to voluntarily choose that which is good, and holy, and divine, and reject all that is related to the kingdom of sin and the wilfulness of the flesh -- not from fear of consequences -- not even just from desire for reward -- but rather from pure, transforming love for a glorious divine Benefactor and Father -- from an overwhelming sense of His infinite goodness and the transcendent joy of His friendship and love *
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Baptism, while only the beginning, is the great turning-point in life. The act of baptism is unquestionably the greatest and most important single act and moment of one's entire lifetime.
"IF we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."
It is clear that Paul is speaking, not just of the literal act of baptism which all professed believers pass through, but rather he is thinking of the full significance of being "planted in the likeness of his death," for the parallel thought -- "likeness of his resurrection" -- does not just mean coming out of the grave, but the resurrection of life in its fullest and most glorious sense.
Resurrection as such -- just the coming out of the grave does not, we know, depend on baptism, but on responsible knowledge of God. Therefore the "likeness of Christ's resurrection" to which Paul refers cannot just mean emergence from the grave, for he makes it contingent upon a being "planted together in death."
And likewise this "planting together" cannot just be the external form of baptism for that is no assurance of sharing Christ's glorious resurrection -- it must be the reality to which the act of baptism testifies and bears witness -- the death of the "old man" and the "walking in newness of life." *
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.
To be born of earth, flesh, or water, is for the subject to emerge from a previous concealment therein. To be buried or planted is to be put out of sight, or covered up, in whatever medium may be employed; and to wash the body is to bathe it, as is evident from the law, wash and bathe being there interchangeably used.
... they knew nothing of the kingdom of God. How, then, could they have believed the gospel, seeing that the glad tidings are about that kingdom? If the kingdom be not doctrinally in a man's heart, the gospel preached by Christ and his apostles is not there; and this being absent, he is destitute of "the substance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things unseen;" in other words, he is without the faith that is necessary to be possessed for justification in passing through the water "into the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March 1855
Paul tells the Ephesians (4:22) that the old man is "corrupt -- decaying -- going to ruin -- through deceitful lusts."
He calls them deceitful because they never give the pleasure and happiness they seem to promise -- because they appear good and desirable to the blindness of the natural mind but actually only end in sorrow and regret and emptiness.
The "old man" is the natural man -- pleasing ourselves -- doing what we think we want to do -- following the ordinary way of the world -- everything that is contrary to the enlightened mind of the Spirit. We can most clearly see the distinction in contemplating the characteristics of the new man -- the fruits of the Spirit, as Paul gives them in Gal 5:22 --
Love -- that is, thinking, desiring and doing good to all, regardless of what they do to us.
Joy -- a consistent spiritual cheerfulness flowing from close and satisfying fellowship with God.
Peace -- calm, inward tranquility -- "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." -- the mind resting at all times upon God.
Longsuffering -- inexhaustible patience and kindness toward all human weakness and waywardness, recognizing the frailty and sadness of natural man.
Gentleness -- no roughness, or hardness, or bitterness, or pride, or self-assertion -- all of which are manifestations of ungodly ignorance.
Now Paul says that in baptism the old man is crucifled -- everything in the flesh contrary to these Spirit-fruits is crucified in the act of baptism.
Crucifixion has two aspects: a putting to death, and a public holding up to condemnation and repudiation.
The natural Serpent nature must be put to death, and in its putting to death it must be publicly held up to condemnation on the Rod of the Spirit-Word.
Baptism is a public repudiation of all these things as a way of life -- a renouncing of allegiance to the old Master, Sin, whom we all serve from birth, and a pledging of allegiance to a new Master and a new way of life. It is a solemn covenant --
"All that the Lord hath said will we do." *
The body is body of sin
To allow it to rule means death. Where it reigns there are visible: bitterness, lying, pride, vanity, selfishness, anger, lust. The body can be held in subjection but only in one way, viz., by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. When heat is brought to bear upon metal, its appearance becomes changed; remove the heat, and the metal gradually returns to its normal condition. So it is with the body.
Just so long as the influence of the Bible is allowed to operate upon it is it kept under. Remove that influence and the flesh again asserts itself. The flesh is naturally powerful and asserting. God is testing it by means of the flesh. Happy is the man who knows and realises this. He is on his guard God could create impeccable and immortal beings straight away. He does not do so because He requires character; and character is developed by contact with evil.
The Christadelphian, Aug 1887
7 For he that is dead (hath died-R. V) is freed from sin.
This does not mean that sin releases all hold upon a man as soon as he passes out of being. Death tightens or consummates sin's grasp. Man, while living, is in a hundred ways the victim of sin, but when death arrives sin's mastery is complete.
To understand Paul we must go backward and forward in his argument. His argument concerns living people (people actually alive though symbolically dead), and is carried on with a risen, immortalised Saviour in view.
The chapter opens with reference to the duty of saints in abstaining from unrighteousness, and proceeds to give the reason why. Baptism, the Apostle explains, is a symbolical dying with Christ, to the end that the baptised ones might, through their union with him, actually attain unto his present unending life.
Hence, whilst awaiting this life, the Apostle argues, the baptised ones should walk in a manner becoming it-"in newness of life."
Christ's death, Paul shows, was a condemnation of sin's nature ("our old man"), and this condemnation was a necessary prelude to a deliverance from it. The sixth chapter is, in brief, a disquisition on the nature which we have, and that to which we hope to attain, and the consistency of our now striving to bring forth moral fruits harmonious with the prospective immortal state.
The seventh verse may be paraphrased thus: He that hath symbolically died hath been symbolically delivered from the consequences of sin. (For another example see Gal. 2:20.) As to whether we are to be actually delivered is conditional upon our now yielding up ourselves to the claims of holiness. The revised version makes the meaning of the chapter more clear..
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Jul 1901
What does it mean to be "made free from sin"? In the ultimate, if faithfully pursued until the end, it involves complete freedom from the sin-principle and its inseparable companion, death. This is the gracious, unreserved title of freedom and release that we are freely given in baptism -- freedom from sin, from sorrow, from pain, disease and death -- freedom from all the burdensome limitations of human frailty and corruption.
But primarily, at the present time, it means a great lifting of the burden of the consciousness of sin -- of natural ugliness and deformity of character.
Paul exclaims, as he describes the awakening consciousness of the vicious evil that runs through every fiber of human nature --
"O wretched man that l am! Who shall deliver me from, this body of death?" (Rom. 7:24).
Baptism is the loving and merciful provision for cleansing from this condition --
"Ye are washed,"
"Ye are sanctified" (made holy),
"Ye are justifted (made righteous and upright) -- in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and BY THE SPIRIT OF OUR GOD" (1 Cor. 6:11).
The baptized believer is one with Christ -- a part of Christ -- an accepted part of the triumphant perfection of holiness which in Christ trod sin under foot and held it powerless.
The baptized believer is a Brother in Christ -- he has a guaranteed part in the final and eternal victory of sin and death -- as long as he truly abides in Christ. Jesus said to his disciples, on the night before his death --
"Abide in me, and I in you. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit."
-- the glorious Spirit-fruits of holiness of character ...This is the love and fellowship to which baptism opens the door. And the new brother, as he rises from the cleansing waters, says with Paul (Gal. 2:20) --
"I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." *
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
The predominant characteristic of this occasion is joyfulness. We are told that the awakening of a son of Adam to the love of God and the decision to become united to Christ is a cause of great joy in heaven. One more is added to the family of the sons of God, all knit together in the beauty of holiness.
While an occasion of great joy, it is also an occasion of great seriousness and solemnity. We are here to witness both a death and a birth. The whole background of baptism is death. The act of baptism is a recognition that the end of natural man is death -- that all are subject to the power and lordship of the great enemy -- that death casts an ever-present shadow over all life's hopes and joys -- that the highest and noblest and sweetest of this life's activities all end in the darkness of the tomb.
But this is only part of the picture. This is the natural side. While baptism is a recognition of this state, and all the vanity and sorrow surrounding it, its principal purpose is to manifest the great deliverance from it that the love of God has, through Christ, provided. Baptism is a death whose purpose is to make way for a glorious new birth.
The chapter just read (Rom. 6) is a strong, intense exhortation to holiness, based on this death-and-new-birth symbolism.
Symbols are but shadows -- it is the reality they symbolize that counts. The act of baptism itself is only a symbol -- it is upon the fulfillment of the reality of the newness of life it portrays that life and death depend.
Paul shows that the reality symbolized is death to the old natural way of the flesh and rebirth to the new way of the Spirit of holiness. His conclusion in chapter 5 is this, that --
"As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 5:21). *
* Bro Growcott - Our Old Man is Crucified with Him
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Thus it is the apostolic definition and declaration that death once had dominion over him. Surely, there is no need for being shocked, when the meaning of the matter is perceived.
On the contrary, the spiritual understanding can see and admire and bow down, and worship through Christ, at the spectacle of God's love advancing without the compromise of God's dignity.
The Blood of Christ - No Need For Being Shocked
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
...the act demanded of a renewed sinner by the constitution of righteousness, that he may be inducted into Christ and so "constituted the righteousness of God in Him," is a burial in water into death. The energy of the word of truth is twofold. It makes a man "dead to sin" and "alive to God." Now, as Christ died to sin once and was buried, so the believer having become dead to sin, must be buried also; for after death burial. The death and burial of the believer is connected with the death and burial of Christ by the individual's faith in the testimony concerning them. Hence, he is said to be "dead with Christ," and to be "buried with Christ;" but, how buried? "By baptism into death," saith the Scripture.
But is this all? By no means; for the object of the burial in water is not to extinguish animal life; but, by preserving it, to afford the believer scope to "walk in newness of life," moral and intellectual. He is, therefore, raised up out of the water. This action is representative of his faith in the resurrection of Jesus; and of his hope, that as he had been planted with Him in the similitude of His death, he shall hereafter be also in the likeness of His resurrection (Rom. 6:3-11), and so enter the kingdom of God. To such persons the Scripture saith, "ye are all sons of God in Christ Jesus through the faith;" and the ground of this honorable and divine relationship is assigned in these words;
"For as many of you as have been baptised INTO Christ have put on Christ; and if ye be Christ's, then are ye the seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:26-29). They have thus received the spirit of adoption by which they can address God as their Father who is in heaven.
Elpis Israel 1.4.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
In Romans 6:23 the original Greek is not the usual word for things pertaining to wages, such as hire, reward, etc which is Misthos, but rather it's a particularly specialised word, which is applied to a feature of military service (literally or figuratively). The Greek for "wages" in Rom 6:23 is "Opsoneon" signifying "rations for a soldier". A soldiers "rations" were not his actual wages in the normal sense but rather his expenses (including sustenance). This was not his reward. In addition to his expenses/rations the soldier would receive periodically, rewards in relation to services rendered. It may be straight forward pay or a share of the spoils of battle, or a villa on completion of term of service for some Roman officers.
If we look at all of the 4 occurrences of "Opsoneon" in the scriptures:-
1Corinthians 9:7 "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges" [Grk.Opsoneon] ie a soldier did not have to provide his own food etc for the campaign; his master would provide the things he needed for the battle.
Here Paul is saying Christ's soldiers are entitle to receive their expenses for ministrations in the Truth. (a custom we carry out today for visiting speakers). But Paul refused even his expenses with regard to the Corinthians, as he says:
2 Corinthians 11:8 "I robbed other churches, taking wages [provisions Grk.Opsoneon] of them, to do you service."
Again its clear that Paul was not making a profit from these "wages", but simply getting his travelling expenses etc. The profit, or wages in the full sense (of misthos/reward), that Paul will receive are such as he mentions in 1 Corinthians 3:8 "every man shall receive his own reward [Grk.Misthos] according to his own labour." That is, each will receive his particular elevated position in the Kingdom age, over 5 cities or 10 etc.
Luke 3:14 "And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages [Grk Opsoneon]"
Soldiers the world over have always grumbled about their rations/Opsoneon when under service to a master or commander, but their rewards/Misthos and spoils of battle have often made soldiers rich. The rewards in the ancient world were directly related to action, whereas their rations were provided all the time as a matter of course or necessity.This is why the military term Opsoneon is the original word in Romans 6:23.
With this distinction in mind let us now view a little closer the context of Rom 6:23, looking first at verse 12: Romans 6:12
"Let not sin [in the flesh] therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."
So in Romans 6:12, Paul is using the word "sin" as a name for the fallen state we inherit, with all its ills - which naturally reigns over us, unless we become spiritual and avail ourselves of the atonement in Christ Jesus. And so it is as we read on in v16:
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin" [in the flesh] "unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
But why is the military metaphor, Opsoneon, used of this servitude in verse 23?
For the wages [Grk.Opsoneon] of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The reason is that Opsoneon signifies rations provided by a master as a matter of course, rather than Misthos which has to be actively earned. Opsoneon is here used because we do not have to earn "death"/mortality, or "the body of this death"(Ro.7:24) it is provided from birth by the commander - Sin in the flesh-Diabolos. In contrast to this, if we change our allegiance from our natural master, Sin in the flesh, to the righteousness in Christ Jesus, we swap the provision - death - for the gift - eternal life.
Bro Les Fern