on Romans 6 :17
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin - This verse should be read thus: But thanks be to God that, although ye were the servants of sin, nevertheless ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered unto you; or, that mould of teaching into which ye were cast. The apostle does not thank God that they were sinners; but that, although they were such, they had now received and obeyed the Gospel. The Hebrew phrase, Isaiah 12:1, is exactly the same as that of the apostle here: In that day thou shalt say, I will praise thee, for thou wast angry with me: that is, although thou wast angry with me, thou hast turned away thy wrath, etc.
That form of doctrine - Τυπον διδαχης; here Christianity is represented under the notion of a mould, or die, into which they were cast, and from which they took the impression of its excellence. The figure upon this die is the image of God, righteousness and true holiness, which was stamped on their souls in believing the Gospel and receiving the Holy Ghost. The words εις ὁν παρεδοθητε τυπον refer to the melting of metal; which, when it is liquefied, is cast into the mould, that it may receive the impression that is sunk or cut in the mould; and therefore the words may be literally translated, into which mould of doctrine ye have been cast. They were melted down under the preaching of the word, and then were capable of receiving the stamp of its purity.
on Romans 6 :17
But God be thanked - The argument in this verse is drawn from a direct appeal to the feelings of the Roman Christians themselves. From their experience, Paul was able to draw a demonstration to his purpose, and this was with him a ground of gratitude to God.
That ye were ... - The sense of this passage is plain. The ground Of the thanksgiving was not that they had been the slaves of sin; but it is, that notwithstanding this, or although they had been thus, yet that they were now obedient. To give thanks to God that people were sinners, would contradict the whole spirit of this argument, and of the Bible. But to give thanks that although people had been sinners, yet that now they had become obedient; that is, that great sinners had become converted, is in entire accordance with the spirit of the Bible, and with propriety. The word "although" or "whereas," understood here, expresses the sense, "But thanks unto God, that whereas ye were the servants of sin," etc. Christians should thank God that they themselves, though once great sinners, have become converted; and when others who are great sinners are converted, they should praise him.
The servants of sin - This is a strong expression implying that they had been in bondage to sin; that they had been completely its slaves.
From the heart - Not in external form only; but as a cordial, sincere, and entire service. No other obedience is genuine.
That form of doctrine - Greek, type; see the note at Romans 5:14. The form or type of doctrine means that shape or model of instruction which was communicated. It does not differ materially from the doctrine itself, "you have obeyed that doctrine," etc. You have yielded obedience to the instructions, the rules, the tenor of the Christian revelation. The word "doctrine" does not refer to an abstract dogma, but means instruction, that which is taught. And the meaning of the whole expression is simply, that they had yielded a cheerful and hearty obedience to what had been communicated to them by the teachers of the Christian religion; compare Romans 1:8.
Which was delivered you - Margin, "Whereto ye were delivered." This is a literal translation of the Greek; and the sense is simply in which you have been instructed.
on Romans 6 :17
6:17 The form of doctrine into which ye have been delivered - Literally it is, The mould into which ye have been delivered; which, as it contains a beautiful allusion, conveys also a very instructive admonition; intimating that our minds, all pliant and ductile, should be conformed to the gospel precepts, as liquid metal, take the figure of the mould into which they are cast.