Author’s comment. These verse-by-verse notes are taken from Andrew Womack’s commentary (sometimes edited), John Wesley’s commentary (unedited), David Seemuth’s commentary, The Passion Translation notes, the English Standard Version notes, and personal thoughts. Translations are taken from biblegateway.com.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
“What shall we say to all this? Should we continue in sin and practice sin as a habit so that God’s gift of grace may increase and overflow?
Wesley. What shall we say [to all this]? Should we continue in sin and practice sin as a habit so that [God’s gift of] grace may increase and overflow?
ESV. The law, both the Mosaic Law and any other law, religious or man-made, that we may try to follow, does not and cannot conquer sin. The grace given to followers of Jesus triumphs over sin and death.
Paul’s Jewish opponents likely challenged him with this accusation. They argued that his gospel is wrong because, in their view, it led them to continue in sin. And if grace abounds over sin, why not?
Womack. Paul does not argue that we continue in sin because God loves us through grace despite any performance. But opponents brought up the accusation. Paul answered the accusation three times (Romans 3:8; here; and 6:15).
Paul had declared the truth of God’s grace as the only means of salvation and in such a way that it was inevitable that an enemy would say, “Can we keep on sinning, since we are saved by grace?” Of course, Paul did not say this. He spoke his revelation of God’s grace under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost with perfect balance, yet he was still misunderstood or attacked.
Seemuth. The accusation: “If where sin abounds, grace abounds even more, then it makes sense that we should increase sin so that grace increases. But the reign of righteousness if meant to break the stronghold of sin and death. A person’s identity is no longer wrapped up in his sinful past. We gained a new identify when we embraced Christ by faith. His righteousness becomes ours. His holy, resurrected life is ours. Since we have been baptized into this, it’s absurd that we would go back into the old ways of sin. Our baptism into Christ is identification with Jesus’ death to sin – our sin. Since He dealt with our sin at the cross, we are not to associate with the old way of living. His death to sin is our death to sin. Since sin has been dealt a lethal blow, would we ever consider going back to its evil, terrifying reign in our lives.
“Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
AMP. “Certainly not! How can we, the very ones who died to sin, continue to live in it any longer?”
TPT. “What a terrible thought! We have died to sin once and for all, as a dead man passes away from this life. So how could we live under sin’s rule a moment longer?
Wesley. Dead to sin — Freed both from the guilt and from the power of it.
ESV. Paul’s gospel does not lead to more sin, since those who belong to Christ have died to sin.
Womack. How can we dead to sin? Experience reveals that we are capable of sin. Answer. Our born-again spirit is new and dead to sin. Jesus is in us. Our physical body and soul is still capable of sin, but in our new spirit, we are identical to Jesus (1 John 4:17 and 1 Corinthians 6:17). Our new spirit (new man) is created in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24) and then sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Therefore, a born-again person cannot sin in their spirit.
Paul proved salvation by grace. Yet the common complaint against grace is not theological; it concerns practical application. People who can’t handle grace may think, “If I’m saved by grace, then why resist sin?” Paul answered this question in two ways. First, Christians don’t live lives of sin because we are dead to sin. This is Paul’ point in Romans 6:1-14. Second, although God does not impute our sins unto us, Satan does. Beginning with Romans 6:15, Paul clearly states that sin gives the enemy an inroad into our lives. Sin is still deadly and to be resisted. But Paul changed the motivation for living holy. No longer do we resist sin to try to be accepted by God; rather, we live holy lives because we have a holy nature which works out into practical holy living.
We are dead to sin. What does that mean? First, what doesn’t it mean? It doesn’t mean that we are incapable of committing sin. The Greek word translated “sin” is “HAMARTIA,” a noun describing the propensity for sin – the sin nature or old man. Paul affirms that our “old man,” who could only sin, is dead. But until our minds are totally renewed through the intake of the Word and long-standing obedience to it, our “left-over” way of thinking and former habits can make us susceptible.
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
AMP. “Or are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
TPT. “Or have you forgotten that all of us who were immersed into union with Jesus, the Anointed One, were immersed into union with his death?
ESV. Christians died to sin when there were baptized into Christ.
Seemuth. “The term ‘in Christ’ is one of Paul’s favorite phrases. It means that what Christ has done on our behalf is also our possession. We are united together in Christ’s work. To have the death of Christ on our behalf assures that we have the resurrection life as well. Resurrection is complete freedom from sin’s deadly tentacles – in our current existence. Resurrection life if ours now through the work of Christ. The body of sin is eradicated. When Christ went to the cross, our old man was right there being crucified with him. There God eradicated the bondage to sin and its chains were obliterated. Sin is an overthrown, defeated, banished despot.
Wesley. 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 regarding his death and resurrection.
Womack. Our spirit is the part of us that was born again, and it was baptized into Jesus and His death. Our bodies and our souls are not dead. But our “old man” died with Christ.
Romans 6:3-4 is not talking about water baptism. Hebrews 6:2 speaks of the doctrine of baptisms (plural). There are three types of baptism. There is water baptism, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Baptism into the Body of Christ. When John the Baptist spoke of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:11, he identified Jesus as the baptizer and the Holy Spirit as the one who we are baptized with. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, the Holy Spirit is the baptizer, and the Body of Christ is what we are baptized into. So, there are two different baptizers and two different elements that we are baptized into.
The mistake of always associating the word “baptism” with water baptism has led to an incorrect interpretation Romans 6:3-4 – that it is water baptism.
Paul meant the act whereby we, having put saving faith in Jesus as our Lord, are automatically and instantaneously baptized into Jesus and baptized into all that He purchased for us (1 Corinthians 12:13 and Colossians 2:12). As believers, we are dead to sin (Romans 6:6) through the death of Jesus. Jesus didn’t die for His sins; He had none. He died for our sins (1 Peter 2:24). Therefore, His death was for us, and all the benefits to be obtained through His death and resurrection are our benefits.
“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.”
AMP. “We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.”
TPT. “Sharing in His death by our baptism means that we were co-buried with Him, so that when the Father’s glory raised Christ from the dead, we were also raised with Him. We have been co-resurrected with Him so that we could be empowered to walk in the freshness of new life (Christ’s life).
We are buried with him — Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.
Wesley. 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.
ESV. Baptism pictures a person being buried with Christ and being raised to new life with Christ. This symbolizes the person’s union with, and incorporation into, Christ by the action of the Holy Spirit. Hence, believers now have power to walk in newness of life.
Seemuth. A great change occurred spiritually when we accept Christ by faith. Jesus’ death is theirs. That resurrected life, the life that has died to sin just as Christ died to sin once and for all, is the way of the normal Christian life.
Womack. Our death with Christ is an accomplished fact. Our resurrection with Christ is also an accomplished fact. Ephesians 2:5-6 states our spiritual resurrection with Christ is an accomplished fact and that it happens at salvation. See also Colossians 2:12-13. In Colossians 3:1, we are risen (resurrected) with Christ, and should therefore seek things that are above. Just as surely as all Christians are to seek heavenly things, likewise, all Christians have been raised (resurrected) with Christ. Our spirits died to sin and are already resurrected with Christ unto newness of life. These things are realities now. Yet to experience these realities in our physical lives, we first must know what happened in our spirits at salvation and then believe this good news. To the degree that we think, believe, and act like we are resurrected with Christ, to that degree we will experience Christ’s life in everyday life.
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.”
AMP. For if we have become one and permanently united with Him in the likeness of His death, we will also certainly be one with Him and share fully in the likeness of His resurrection.
TPT. “For since we are permanently grafted into Him to experience a death like His, then we are permanently grafted into Him to experience a resurrection like His and the new life that it imparts.”
Womack. This verse is not a complete sentence, and therefore, it would be incorrect to base a doctrine on a partial sentence. The next verse clearly states that we must know some things for this resurrection life to manifest in our lives.
ESV. The power of sin has been broken in those who believe because their “old man,” who they were in Adam, was crucified and put to death with Christ.
Wesley. 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.
“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.”
TPT. “Could it be any clearer that our former identity (our old son of Adam) is now and forever deprived of its power? For we were co-crucified with Him to dismantle the stronghold of sin within us (the body of sin would no longer have dominion over us), so that we would not continue to live one moment longer submitted to sin’s power.”
Wesley. 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," Colossians 3:5, might be destroyed.
“Body of sin” was an empowered reality that ruled us. The body of sin’s rule was broken when we died with Christ. Therefore, we are no longer enslaved to sin. It’s tyranny, domination, and rule is broken. Christians should experience progressive sanctification, resulting in ever-growing maturity and conformity to God’s moral law in thought and action.
TPT Note: “that the body of sin might be annulled” – to put out of business. To beg God for victory over sin is a refusal to understand that we have already died to sin. Our joyful task is to believe the good news, rather than to seek to ‘crucify ourselves.” Sin is not suppressed by the cross; it is eliminated. Upon this water God commands us to step out and walk, for we are now in him.
‘For he who has died has been freed (cleared) from sin.’
AMP. For the person who has died with Christ has been freed from the power of sin.
TPT. “Obviously, a dead person is incapable of sinning.
Wesley. 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.
Seemuth. People in caskets don’t respond to sin. Sin has no hold on dead people. The spiritual reality and truth for all believers is that Christ’s death is ours. We embrace His stone-cold death to sin so that we can be unresponsive to sin’s allures. Every believer exits in this spiritual reality.
Womack. There is a difference between being legally and “freed” and being experientially “free,” that is living in that freedom. Likewise, Christians have been “freed” from sin, but that doesn’t automatically mean they experience that freedom. The Christian may not know it. He may be ignorant of what Jesus has done for him. He may be deceived. Satan may deceive them into thinking that they can’t have freedom.
What does it mean to “die with Christ?” How did that happen? It was my “old man” that was crucified with Christ. My old man was my spirit before being born again. So that “old man” was eternal, bound in sin, unescapable. Although I was yet unborn, somehow Jesus must have come and brought my old man to Himself. It must have been a terrible stench for Him to do that. He held me close, He must have intermingled with me, so that we were truly one, as He was put to death. So close and so intermingled that I (my old self) died with Him at Calvary. Surely, the resurrection part is easier to understand. If not to understand, at least to know the reality of, especially in the cases where the born-again experience was emotional. It’s easier to understand that I was resurrected with Him; but if I was resurrected with Him, perchance, I had to be crucified with Him. Take it one step further. Since my old man is dead, sin has no power or control over me any longer. I am legally freed from that bondage.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”
AMP. “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live together with Him.”
MSG. “Could it be any clearer? Our old man was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable self-life—no longer captive to sin’s demands! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.
Wesley. Dead with Christ — Conformed to his death, by dying to sin.
Seemuth. Our future resurrection is guaranteed in our union with Christ. Christ in His resurrected glory need not consider having to be crucified again. His death is once and for all. His resurrection is also once and for all. Death has no hold over the King; death has no hold over the King’s children who embrace Him by faith. We live with Him in at least two ways. We have the assurance of future existence in total and absolute perfection. And presently, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be unresponsive to sin.
Womack. We must know that death’s dominion over us has been broken (Romans 6:9). If we are ignorant of this truth, then Jesus’ resurrection life in us won’t fully manifest in our thoughts and actions.
“Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.”
Death doesn’t have dominion over Jesus and never will again. As I am in Him, death has no current or future dominion over me either.
AMP. “Because we know with certainty the self-evident truth that Christ, having been raised from and lifted up out the dead into eternal life, will never die again; death no longer has power, authority, or dominion over Him.”
Young. “Knowing that Christ, having been raised up out of the dead, doth no more die, death over him hath no more lordship.”
Womack. Our death to the old man of sin and resurrection to eternal life with Christ is an accomplished reality in our spirits. It becomes an experiential reality as we believe it and accordingly to it. Paul states that experiencing this resurrection life is dependent, and flows from, our reckoned knowledge that our “old sin-man’s death” with Jesus on the Cross, is a one-time event, already happened, that is not repeated.
Some believe that we died unto sin but that we resurrect unto sin every morning and must continually repent and repeat this process. That is not what happened to Jesus. These verses equate our death to sin with Jesus’ death to sin. It’s true that we must continually appropriate this death to sin by faith. However, dying over and over and renewing our minds to an accomplished reality are different.
As Jesus died with sin once (Romans 6:10) and now having been resurrected, death has no dominion over Him, those who recognize their death with Christ, subsequent resurrection, and a state where sin has no dominion over us, will not see sin rule over them (Romans 6:14). Christians who struggle with sin have not recognized that their old sin-man.
“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.”
“For the death that He died (He died intertwined with my old sin-man nature), He died to the old sin-man, which ended the sin-man’s power being dead and He paid the sinner’s debt once and for all. The life that He lives presently, He lives to glorify God living in unbroken fellowship with Him.
TPT. “For by His sacrifice He died to sin’s power once and for all, but He now lives continuously for the Father’s pleasure. See He. 9:26-28.
Seemuth. The resurrected One is eternal. Being in Him, so we are eternally resurrected.
Wesley. He died to sin — To atone for and abolish it. He lives unto God — A glorious eternal life, such as we shall live also.
ESV. Jesus’ resurrection shows that He had defeated both sin and death.
Womack. Our death to sin (the old sin nature) is a one-time experience, just as it was for Jesus.
“Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Seemuth. Our reality is to be like Jesus’ resurrected reality. A work is to go on in each of our lives that mirrors the life of Jesus the Resurrected One. We have a command. We are to “reckon” ourselves dead to sin. We have seen this word before. God “reckons” our faith as righteousness. Now that we have been make righteous, we reckon in everyday life that we are dead to sin. We bring that into our daily life moment by moment. We bring into the physical realm what is true in the spiritual realm. Thus, the first step is to “reckon” “to consider” “to fix our minds on the fact that” we are totally released and dead to sin. We are also to “reckon” ourselves “alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We do not move from slavery to sin to do what we wish. We belong to another – to the One who makes us alive to God. The lordship of sin is replaced with the Lordship of Christ. Once the reckoning is complete, we move on to the will and the body.
Womack. Our “old sin-man” is dead. We therefore are to reckon ourselves dead to “the sin-man” as Christ is dead to sin. The Greek translated “likewise” means “in this way (referring to what precedes or follows).” Therefore, we are dead to sin in the same way that Christ is dead to sin. Of course, Jesus only died to sin once, so therefore we only die to sin once (Romans 6:9-10). After that, we reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive unto God.
The Greek word “LOGIZOMAI,” (reckon) conveys no causative meaning; rather, an assessment of a condition that exists. The state of being dead to sin exists for us as Christians but implement this benefit by reckoning it to be so. The word “indeed” further establishes that “being dead to sin” is an accomplished work of Christ for us that we appropriate by faith (by reckoning it true).
We can’t focus only on the reckoned death of the sin-man, or put secondarily, the part about being alive unto God. We can’t assume that we die to sin, then life with Christ comes automatically. We must reckon and believe for the second part too. God doesn’t need dead people; He needs people who have risen from the dead spiritually. Jesus’ life is in us by faith.
People preoccupied with dying to self will not experience new life with Christ. We are to believe, unquestionably and without a doubt, that we are dead to sin in the same way that Christ is dead to sin. Being dead to sin is not a struggle against sin that we are accomplishing; it is deliverance from our “old man” (sin nature) that enslaved us to sin. Our “old man” no longer exists and, therefore, no longer dominates us if we know the truth. It is wrong to teach that dying to sin is something that we still must accomplish by acknowledging all our sinfulness and forsaking it. This causes us to focus on self (sinful self) more than ever before and, therefore, strengthens the hold of what’s left of the “old man” in our lives.
The way to get rid of the residual effect of the “old man” is not to focus him, but to focus on our resurrected union with Christ. Therefore, we are to unquestionably count on the fact that our new man is alive with Christ, desiring only those things that please the Father. Doing so will transform us outwardly into people who reflect who we already are inwardly in our spirits.
Wesley. Let not sin reign even in your mortal body — It must be subject to death, but it need not be subject to sin.
AMP. “Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, and your relationship to it broken, but alive to God in unbroken fellowship with Him in Christ Jesus.
TPT. “So let it be the same with you! Since you are now joined with him, you must continually view yourselves as dead and unresponsive to sin’s appeal while living daily for God’s pleasure in union with Jesus, the Anointed One.
“Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”
TPT. “Sin is a dethroned monarch; so, you must no longer give it an opportunity to rule over your life, controlling how you live and compelling you to obey its desires and cravings. Note: This command is seen considering 6:2-11. Spiritual victory is not striving harder but resting on the truths of our purchased freedom. We have already died to sin, through baptism we have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection, our former identity has forever been deprived of its power, and we are joined with Christ and live to God. On that basis, the command of v. 12 is based on who we really are.
Seemuth. Since the reign of Christ is secure in our lives by faith, we now move into the area of our will. We have the ability by the Holy Spirit to say “no” to sins desire to rule as an outlaw. We may have the inclination but that doesn’t mean that we follow. We can say no. So, we move from a reckoning of the mind to a decision of the will to let the life of Christ in us reign.
Self. The tension exists of what God has accomplished for us and our responsibility to obey. Reckoning that we are “alive to God” and not only “dead to sin” helps. Don’t focus on “dead to sin” only.
AMP. Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal short-lived, perishable bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.
Wesley. Let not sin reign even in your mortal body — It must be subject to death, but it need not be subject to sin.
Womack. Paul gives us a command not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. He would be unjust to command us to do something beyond our ability. Therefore, it’s a lie to say that we can’t help but sin or “I can’t control myself.” That’s a lie of the devil and only applies if we believe Satan’s lie.
The only way sin can reign is through the Law (Romans 5:21). A person who is freed from the Law because of the grace of God can always successfully resist sin.
“[You] let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body” Christ has removed sin-man as ruler over us. It’s reckoning and our decision to follow that enables us to stop the outworking of sin in our life. Some have the mistaken belief that we can’t help but sin. That’s one of the biggest reasons that that some Christians do sin. The power of sin is broken in our lives, and the only reason we may sin is because we haven’t renewed our minds with the reality of our new lives with Christ.
The word “therefore” makes our ability to end sin’s reign in our lives dependent on the truth that was expressed in Romans 6:11. Our “old sin-man” is dead and gone. Therefore, we can renew our minds and end the dictatorship of sin in our lives.
“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.”
AMP. “Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members and mental faculties to sin as instruments or tools of wickedness. Instead offer and yield yourselves to God according to truth, since you have been raised from the dead to perpetual, eternal life, and your bodily members and mental faculties to God, presenting them as instrument of righteousness.”
TPT note: “For the members of your body will be used as weapons for the righteousness of God.”
Seemuth. The essential meaning of “do not present” is better captured with the command: “Stop presenting” your members as instruments of unrighteousness. Sin’s reign is over; we choose what we do with our physical members and our mind. Instead, we are to present ourselves to God, realizing that Jesus is alive in us, and our members and mental faculties to righteousness. We have Christ’s resurrection power through the Holy Spirit to make a difference in the physical realm though the reign of righteousness in our bodies. Each day we present our bodies as offerings for righteous duty by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
We: 1) v.11. Reckon (a mental assurance) your old sin-man dead; reckon Jesus living in you. 2) v. 12. Given that the power of the sin-man is annulled, don’t let sin operate in your body’s members or your mind. Instead, given that Jesus lives in you, by faith allow Him to control and use your mouth, hands, feet, and mind to live His life in you. This is a matter of the will. 3) As a matter of the body, stop presenting your body’s members to do evil and start presenting them to do Godly acts.
Thus, the mind, will, and body, governed by truth, bring righteousness into the everyday life of the believer.
Wesley. Neither present your members to sin — To corrupt nature, a mere tyrant. But to God — Your lawful King.
Womack. Notice that sin can’t force us to do anything; if we sin, we must yield to it. In truth, we are dead to sin. Only those who don’t know what transpired at the cross – the exchange - and who they are in Christ who are susceptible to Satan’s lies. Knowing that our “old man” is crucified with Christ breaks sin’s dominion in our lives.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
AMP. “For sin shall no longer exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law as slaves, but under grace as subjects of God’s favor and mercy.
TPT. “Remember this: sin will not conquer you, for God already has! You are not governed by law but governed by the reign of the Grace of God.”
MSG. “That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that relate to that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead! —into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.”
ESV. This is not a command but a promise that sin will not rule over Christians. We are no longer under the Mosaic law where sin ruled over God’s people. Instead, we are living under GRACE, the new covenant with Christ.
Seemuth. The era of law brought only death, judgment, condemnation, and wrath to the sinner. But the era of grace is of life, peace, justification, and eternal life. Since we are in the era of grace, sin no longer dominates. The era where sin was lord is over. We live in the good of this truth in every way through the proper reckoning of the mind, the right determination of the will, and the right presentation of our bodies and mental faculties.
Wesley. 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 everyone who is under the powerful influences of the Spirit of Christ.
Womack. A born-again believer is under grace. Sin can’t dominate us when we are under grace because grace liberates us from sin. Grace sets us free from sin, not free to sin.
The “old sin-man” is dead, gone, non-existent. Yet the unrenewed mind and emotions sometimes linger and retain the old sin-man’s stench in our lives. Plus, satan tries to keep the old sin-man’s death a secret. This lingering stench of the “old sin-man, is what Paul was referring to. The reason sin shall not have dominion over us is because we are not under Law but under grace. However, most Christians today are operating under the Law, so sin still may have dominion over them. Understanding our freedom from the Old Testament Law is a prerequisite to breaking the dominion of sin in our lives. The Law strengthened sin by producing guilt that condemned us and killed us. The Law also brought the wrath of God against our sins. However, once we accept Christ’s atonement for our sins, we need not fear God’s wrath; the wrath was placed on Jesus. We also don’t need the Law to condemn us and kill us. We have already come to Christ for salvation, which is what the Law was designed to do (Galatians 3:24-25). Knowing this frees us from sin; it doesn’t free us to sin. As Christians, we continue to sin to some degree, not because we must, but because we are still renewing our minds. Grace is the key to breaking the dominance of sin in our lives.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!”
AMP. What then are we to conclude? Shall we sin because we are not under Law, but under God’s grace? Certainly not!
TPT. “What are we to do them? Should we sin to our heart’s content since there’s no low to condemn us anymore? What a terrible thought!
Seemuth. Sin is never the right option for the righteous.
ESV. Paul emphatically rejects the notion that freedom from the OT law gives one the license to sin.
Womack. This is the third time detractors brought up this question (or caused Paul to anticipate it. (Romans 3:8; 6:1, and this verse). If, according to our gospel, no one asks us if we’re saying that people can continue in sin, then we haven’t preached the Gospel Paul preached.
Was Paul’s teaching encouraging people to sin. In Romans 6:1-13, he explained that Christians don’t sin, because they are dead to sin. In Romans 6:14, he brought up our deliverance from the Law, which prompted this similar question. The rest of this chapter explains that a second reason we don’t sin is because sin gives Satan an inroad into our lives.
“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?”
AMP. “Do you not know that when you continually offer yourselves to someone to do his will, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey, either slaves of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience which leads to righteousness - right standing with God?
TPT. “Don’t you realize that grace frees you to choose your own master? But choose carefully, for you surrender yourself to become a servant – bound to the one you choose to obey. If you choose to love sin, it will become your master, and if will own you and reward you with death. But if you choose to love and obey God, he will lead you into perfect righteousness.”
ESV. “Moral decision still matters for Christians. Giving in to sin results in people increasingly becoming obedient slaves to sin. That kind of activity eventually leads to death, not implying that genuine believers can lose their salvation, but that sinning leads them in that direction, away from full enjoyment of life with Christ. Those who give themselves utterly to sin will die (face eternal punishment). Editor’s note: which is it?
Seemuth. “Sin’s legal claim to rule the sinner is negated when a person is born-again and comes to Christ through faith. The believer is free to obey as he/she chooses. Freedom from sin’s reign gives us the opportunity to choose to be slaves of righteousness (it also imparts righteousness into us). The believer can choose to follow righteousness and can even return to sin. May it never be.
Womack. This is one the second reason presented in this chapter (the first – Romans 6:2) as to why Christians don’t sin. Sin gives the author of sin, (Satan) control over us. If we sin, God still loves us, but Satan will bring destruction into our lives.
The legalistic Jews pursued obedience to the law so that they could earn God’s favor. Paul had shown that no one could keep the Law and that it was never given for the purpose of justification.
This second reason Paul gave for holiness in our lives as believers is that when we obey sin, we yield ourselves to Satan. Yielding to sin is yielding to a person—Satan. God doesn’t impute the sin to us, but the devil does.
Therefore, although God does not impute our sins unto us, we cannot afford the luxury of sin, under reason number 2, because it allows Satan access to our lives. He, the devil, will produce his death in our lives. The way to stop the devil is to confess the sin, ask God for forgiveness, and God is faithful and just to release the forgiveness present in our born-again spirits and release it in our flesh, thereby removing Satan and his strongholds.
The Greek word translated “servants” twice is DOULOS, and it denotes “a slave.” Paul was not talking about an infrequent error on our part but rather a servile condition where one “gives himself up wholly to another’s will.” Those who abandon themselves to sin become slaves of the devil, while those who obey righteousness yield themselves to the Lord.
“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.” And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
AMP. “But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. And having been set free from sin, you have become the slaves of righteousness - of conformity to God’s will and purpose.
TPT. “And thanks be to God, for in the past you were servants of sin, but now your obedience is heart deep, and your life is being molded by trough through the teaching you are devoted to.
Wesley. The form of doctrine into which ye have been delivered — Literally it is, the mold 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 mold into which they are cast.
Being then set free from sin — We may see the apostle’s method thus far at one view: - Chap. Ver1. Bondage to sin Romans 3:92. The knowledge of sin by the law; a sense of God's wrath; inward death Romans 3:203. The revelation of the righteousness of God in Christ through the gospel Romans 3:214. The center of all, faith, embracing that righteousness Romans 3:225. Justification, whereby God forgives all past sin, and freely accepts the sinner Romans 3:246. The gift of the Holy Ghost; a sense of Romans 5:5, God's love new inward life Romans 6:47. The free service of righteousness Romans 6:12
Seemuth. The heart represents the essence of who people are. The Roman believers received the pattern of teaching so that their whole way of living is transformed. These Roman believers seem to understand the antithesis presented in verses 17 and 18. The way of the follower of Christ is transformed from slavery to sin to slavery to righteousness.
Womack. The Greek word translated “servants” is “DOULOS” which means “a slave.” We’re all slaves to sin before being born again.
We break slavery to sin by obeying, from the heart, the Gospel of grace.
Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). We become servants of righteousness when we are made free from serving sin. “Servants” means slaves. Christians may sin (1 John 1:7 and 9), but they aren’t slaves of sin anymore. The “old man” is dead.
ESV. True Christians will never live as slaves to sin, for God transformed their hearts at conversion so they will grow in their love for righteousness and live in accordance with God’s Word.
“I 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.”
AMP. “I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations - your spiritual immaturity. For just as you presented your bodily members as slaves to impurity and to moral lawlessness, leading to further lawlessness, so now offer your members - your abilities, your talents - as slaves to righteousness, leading to sanctification, that is, being set apart for God’s purpose.
TPT. “I’ve used the familiar terms of a “servant” and a “master” to compensate for your weakness to understand. For just as you surrendered your bodies and souls to impurity and lawlessness, which only brought more lawlessness into your lives, so now surrender yourselves as servants of righteousness, which bring you deeper into true holiness.
Seemuth. The full measure of the blessing of being a slave to righteousness is lost in the analogy. The embrace of righteousness leads to greater holiness. Paul has in mind not the status of being holy, which is conferred upon the believer by faith, but the process of becoming holy in everyday life.
Wesley. 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.
“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free regarding righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.”
AMP. “When you were slaves of sin, you were free regarding righteousness - you had no desire to conform to God’s will. What benefit or return, then, did and do you get from the sinful things of which you are now ashamed? None! The end of those things is a legacy of shame and eternal death.
Seemuth. Slavery to sin means no obligation to righteousness. The reverse is true. Slavery to righteousness means no obligation to sin. Slavery to sin bears its appropriate fruit. Why would anyone want this fruit? Believers look back with thankfulness for being released from the fruit of sin. The list of vices at the end of Chapter 1 reminds us of the decadence of a life of slavery to sin. The end is death with all its stench and sorrow. Yet sin’s allure is due to the continuing link believers have to the flesh.
ESV. Unbelievers are captivated by sin and the result is physical and spiritual death. Sin always brings destruction into people’s lives.
Wesley. 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. Those things — He speaks of them as afar off.
Womack. Paul’s statement in Romans 6:19 was that we should serve Jesus with the same fervor that we had served the devil before we were born again. He continued that comparison through Romans 6:22 and made an amazing point. He said that in the same way that our good acts could not change our sinful nature before we were born again, likewise, our sinful acts cannot change our righteous nature now that we have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. In this verse, the phrase, “servants of sin,” is describing people before they are born again. The phrase, “free from righteousness,” is not saying that lost people cannot do anything that is right, but rather all their good acts aren’t enough to change their nature. They must be born again.
This terminology is used in Romans 6:22 in a way that few Christians accept. The logic that was used in this verse is reversed in Romans 6:22. If “servants of sin” in this verse signified people before salvation, then “servants to God” in Romans 6:22 denotes just the opposite–people who have been saved through faith in Christ. If “free from righteousness” in this verse described lost people who were incapable of changing their sinful nature by their own good works, then “free from sin” in Romans 6:22 describes Christians as being unable to change their righteous nature through their sins. This is a powerful truth. In the same way that our sinful nature could not be changed by our own actions, now our new, born-again spirits cannot be changed by our actions either. If we are going to accept one of these truths, we must accept the other. We cannot honestly accept this verse and reject Romans 6:22 when the same terminology is used in the same context. Actions cannot produce the new birth, and actions cannot destroy the new birth. We had to believe to receive salvation, and we must willfully reject that faith in Christ to become reprobate.
Many of us, through ignorance of the truths presented in this chapter, profess sin (our old sin nature) as our master, and we suffer because of it. But if we understand and believe the truths about our “old man” being dead, then sin will cease to produce fruit in us. And when we believe that God’s righteousness rules in our hearts, we will yield the fruit of holiness and everlasting life.
“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.”
AMP. But now since you have been set free from sin and have become willing slaves to God, you have your benefit resulting in sanctification - being made holy and set apart for God’s purpose - and the outcome of this is eternal life.
TPT. “But now, as God’s loving servants, you live in joyous freedom from the power of sin. So, consider the benefits you now enjoy – you are brought deeper into the experience of true holiness that ends with eternal life.
Seemuth. By saying “but now,” Paul reminds believers of the new era in which they now live. No longer does death reign in their lives. They are part of God’s Kingdom, set free from sin. Paul moves on to the concept of slavery to righteousness. Being enslaved to God can only bring blessing and goodness. The Spirit of God contrasts the fruit of sin’s ugly domination (death) with the fruit of God’s dominion-holiness.
ESV. Christians have a new status and a new destiny.
Womack. This is the same truth presented in Romans 6:20 but applied in the opposite way. We were slaves to sin before being born-again; all our good works were useless to change our spiritual condition. Now we are slaves to God; all our ungodliness can’t change our new birth.
Holiness is a fruit of being born again, not the root that brings salvation. Holiness is a byproduct of a right relationship with God; it does not produce a relationship with God.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
AMP. “For the wages sin pays is death, but the free gift of God, that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers, is eternal life found in union with Jesus our Lord.”
ESV. Those who ignore God’s gift of grace and who thus give themselves to sin will die physically and spiritually. Christians are assured of eternal life. Wages implies that the punishment for sin is what one has earned and what one deserves. Gift is the opposite of something deserved which fits the doctrine of justification by faith.
Seemuth. Shall we live under the era of law where people receive their due wages after a proper reckoning? Or is the ear of grace preferable where God extends His blessed gift of eternal life not because of what is deserved, but by a different reckoning? This reckoning is based upon the faithfulness of Jesus Christ and the goodness of God the Father. The work of the Holy Spirit applies this truth to our lives and brings eternal life to those who believe in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wesley. 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 gift.
Womack. When we were slaves to sin, we got paid. The payment was death. Now that we are slaves to righteousness, we receive God gift based on faith, not our efforts or good works. And God’s gift is eternal life.
“Wages” is defined as “a suitable return or reward.” Sin has a wage that it pays, and no one can avoid “payday” without faith in Jesus. The sin spoken of is not an individual act of sin but rather the sin nature, or “old man.” Those who don’t receive the new birth will be held liable for all the wrongs committed because of their sinful nature. However, those who receive the new birth through faith in Jesus don’t have a sin nature and will therefore not receive this payment of death.
The physical death of our bodies is not what is being spoken of. Physical death, as well as all results of the sin nature (i.e., sickness, depression, fear, etc.), is only a byproduct of the spiritual death already present in us. The Lord told Adam that in the day he ate of the forbidden tree, he would surely die (Genesis 2:17). Adam didn’t die physically that day, but he did die spiritually. Physical death came at age 930 for Adam (Genesis 5:5) as a byproduct of spiritual death. The wages (plural) of death that those who are not born again will receive can be broken into two categories. The Bible speaks of a second death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; and 21:8)–banishment to the lake of fire on the Day of Judgment. The first death is this separation from God (or spiritual death) that was inherited through Adam. So, this verse is specifically speaking of the spiritual death that was inherited through Adam and then the second death, which is eternal banishment from God and torment in the lake of fire.
Eternal life is a gift. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “gift” as “something bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.” We have nothing to do with earning this gift. Eternal life would cease to be a gift if we earned it (Romans 11:6). We simply receive it by faith.