Believers Are Dead to Sin, Alive to God
1 What shall we say [to all this]? Should we continue in sin and practice sin as a habit so that [God’s gift of] (a)grace may increase and overflow? 2 Certainly not! How can we, the very ones who died to sin, continue to live in it any longer? 3 Or are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been (b)baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 We have therefore been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory and power of the Father, we too might walk habitually in newness of life [abandoning our old ways]. 5 For if we have become one with Him [permanently united] in the likeness of His death, we will also certainly be [one with Him and share fully] in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 We know that our old (c)self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. 7 For the person who has died [with Christ] has been freed from [the power of] sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live [together] with Him, 9 because we know [the self-evident truth] that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin [ending its power and paying the sinner’s debt] once and for all; and the life that He lives, He lives to [glorify] God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. 11 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.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts and passions. 13 Do not go on offering members of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness. But offer yourselves to God [in a decisive act] as those alive [raised] from the dead [to a new life], and your members [all of your abilities—sanctified, set apart] as instruments of righteousness [yielded] to God. 14 For sin will no longer be a master over you, since you are not under Law [as slaves], but under [unmerited] grace [as recipients of God’s favor and mercy].
15 What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we are not under Law, but under [God’s] grace? Certainly not! 16 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)? 17 But thank God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. 18 And having been set free from sin, you have become the slaves of righteousness [of conformity to God’s will and purpose]. 19 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 (d)sanctification [that is, being set apart for God’s purpose].
20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness [you had no desire to conform to God’s will]. 21 So what benefit did you get at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None!] For the outcome of those things is death! 22 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. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
a. Romans 6:1: Grace justifies believers, making them free of the guilt of sin, blameless, so that they may have eternal life.
b. Romans 6:3: “Baptize” is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo, which means to submerge an object into liquid. In this passage Christ becomes the liquid, metaphorically, and those who are baptized into Him remain in Him forever and benefit from His experiences, including His death. The best news is that Jesus was resurrected, so believers will also experience resurrection (those who are alive when Christ returns will experience a physical transformation). But even now believers experience a kind of resurrection in that they live new lives (as Paul says, “walk in newness of life”) in a wonderful new relationship with God and their fellow believers.
c. Romans 6:6: Gr anthropos, i.e. man, person.
d. Romans 6:19: There are three basic kinds of sanctification in the NT: (1) Positional sanctification is based on the death of Christ. Every believer is a saint and is holy before God. The believer is “set apart for God” and in some instances “set apart for God’s purpose” (Heb 10:10, 14, 29); (2) Practical sanctification is a progressive process and means “growing in righteous living” as the believer matures spiritually (Rom 6:13; 1 Thess 5:23; 1 Pet 1:16); (3) Ultimate sanctification is that which is to come when the believer stands before God (Eph 5:26, 27).