on Romans 6 :2
God forbid - Μη γενοιτο, Let it not be; by no means; far from it; let not such a thing be mentioned! - Any of these is the meaning of the Greek phrase, which is a strong expression of surprise and disapprobation: and is not properly rendered by our God forbid! for, though this may express the same thing, yet it is not proper to make the sacred Name So familiar on such occasions.
How shall we, that are dead to sin - The phraseology of this verse is common among Hebrews, Greeks, and Latins. To Die to a thing or person, is to have nothing to do with it or him; to be totally separated from them: and to live to a thing or person is to be wholly given up to them; to have the most intimate connection with them. So Plautus, Clitell. iii. 1, 16: Nihil mecum tibi, Mortuus Tibi Sum. I have nothing to do with thee; I am Dead to thee. Persa, i. 1, 20: Mihi quidem tu jam Mortuus Eras, quia te non visitavi. Thou wast Dead to me because I visited thee not. So Aelian, Var. Hist. iii.:13: Ὁτι φιλοινοτατον εθνος το των Ταπυρων, τοσουτον, ὡστε ζῃν αυτους εν οινῳ, και το πλειστον του βιου εν τῃ προς αυτον ὁμιλιᾳ καταναλισκειν· "The Tapyrians are such lovers of wine, that they Live in wine; and the principal part of their Life is Devoted to it." They live to wine; they are insatiable drunkards. See more examples in Wetstein and Rosenmuller.
on Romans 6 :2
God forbid - By no means. Greek, It may not be; Note, Romans 3:4. The expression is a strong denial of what is implied in the objection in Romans 6:1.
How shall we? ... - This contains a reason of the implied statement of the apostle, that we should not continue in sin. The reason is drawn from the fact that we are dead in fact to sin. It is impossible for these who are dead to act as if they were alive. It is just as absurd to suppose that a Christian should desire to live in sin as that a dead man should put forth the actions of life.
That are dead to sin - That is, all Christians. To be dead to a thing is a strong expression denoting that it has no influence over us. A man that is dead is uninfluenced and unaffected by the affairs of this life. He is insensible to sounds, and tastes, and pleasures; to the hum of business, to the voice of friendship, and to all the scenes of commerce, gaiety, and ambition. When it is said, therefore, that a Christian is dead to sin, the sense is, that it has lost its influence ever him; he is not subject to it; he is in regard to that, as the man in the grave is to the busy scenes and cares of this life. The expression is not infrequent in the New Testament; Galatians 2:19, "For I ...am dead to the law;" Colossians 3:3, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God;" 1 Peter 2:24, "Who ...bare our sins ...that we, being dead to sin," etc. The apostle does not here attempt to prove that Christians are thus dead, nor to state in what way they become so. He assumes the fact without argument. All Christians are thus in fact dead to sin. They do not live to sin; nor has sin dominion over them. The expression used here by the apostle is common in all languages. We familiarly speak of a man's being dead to sensual pleasures, to ambition, etc., to denote that they have lost their influence over him.
Live any longer therein - How shall we, who have become sensible of the evil of sin, and who have renounced it by solemn profession, continue to practice it? It is therefore abhorrent to the very nature of the Christian profession. It is remarkable that the apostle did not attempt to argue the question on metaphysical principles. He did not attempt to show by abstruse argument that this consequence did not follow; but he appeals at once to Christian feeling, and shows that the supposition is abhorrent to that. To convince the great mass of people, such an appeal is far better than labored metaphysical argumentation. All Christians can understand that; but few would comprehend an abstruse speculation. The best way to silence objections is, sometimes, to show that they violate the feelings of all Christians, and that therefore the objection must be wrong.
(Considerable difficulty exists in regard to the meaning of the expression "dead to sin? Certainly the most obvious interpretation is that given above in the Commentary, namely, that Christians are insensible to sin, as dead persons to the charms and pleasures of life. It has, however, been objected to this view, that it is inconsistent with fact, since Christians, so far from being insensible to sin, are represented in the next chapter as carrying on a perpetual struggle with it. The corrupt nature, though weakened, is not eradicated, and too frequently occasions such mournful falls, as leave little doubt concerning its existence and power. Mr. Scott seems to have felt this difficulty, for, having explained the phrase of "separation from iniquity, as a dead man ceases from the actions of life," he immediately adds, "not only ought this to be the believer's character, but in a measure it actually is so." It is not probable. however, that the apostle meant by the strong expression under discussion, that believers were not altogether "dead to sin," but only in a measure.
Perhaps we shall arrive at a more satisfactory meaning of the words by looking at the analogous expression in the context, used in reference to Christ himself. He also, in the 10th verse, is said to have "died unto sin," and the believer, in virtue of union with Christ, is regarded as" dead with him," Romans 6:8; and, in consequence of this death with Christ, is moreover freed, or rather justified, δεδίκαιωται dedikaiōtai from sin, Romans 6:7. Now it cannot be said of Christ that he died unto sin, in the sense of becoming dead to its charms. for it was never otherwise with him. The believer, therefore, cannot be dead with Christ in this way; nor on this ground, can he be justified from sin, since justification proceeds upon something very different from our insensibility to sinful pleasures. What then is the meaning of the language when applied to Christ? Sin is here supposed to be possessed of certain power. That power or strength the apostle tells us elsewhere is derived from the Law. "The strength of sin is the law," which demands satisfaction to its injured honor, and insists on the infliction of its penalty. Though then Jesus had no sin of his own, yet when he voluntarily stood in the room of sinners, sin, or its strength, namely, the Law, had power over him, until he died, and thus paid the penalty. His death cancelled every obligation. Henceforth, sin had no more power to exact anything at his hands.
Now Christians are one with Christ. When he died unto sin, they are regarded as having died unto it also, and are therefore, equally with their covenant head, justified from it. Sin, or its strength, the Law, has from the moment of the saint's union with Christ, no more power to condemn him, than human laws have to condemn one over again who had already died to answer the demands of justice. "The law has dominion over a man so long only as he liveth." On the whole, then, the expression "dead to sin," is to be regarded as entirely parallel with that other expression in the seventh chapter, "dead to the law," that is, completely delivered from its authority as a covenant of works, and more especially from its power to condemn.
This view exercises a decided influence an the believer's sanctification. "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" The two things are incompatible. If in virtue of union with Christ, we are dead with him, and freed from the penalty of sin, shall not the same union secure our deliverance from its dominion? "If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him."
The whole argument, from the 1st to the 11th verse, proceeds upon the fact of the saint's union with Christ.)
on Romans 6 :2
6:2 Dead to sin - Freed both from the guilt and from the power of it.