Romans 6:15
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
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(15-23) Free forgiveness! What does that mean? Freedom to sin? Far from it. That were to return into the old slavery. To yield to sin is to be the servant or slave of sin with its consequence—death. On the other hand, obedience and righteousness go together. Happily you have escaped from sin, and taken service with righteousness. Service, I say, using a plain human figure to suit your imperfect and carnal apprehension of spiritual things. Exchange the service of uncleanness for that of righteousness. I appeal to your own experience. You found that sin brought you no pay from your master but death. Now you are started upon a road that leads to sanctification and eternal life. This will be given you, not as wages, but as the free gift of God in Christ.

(15) The Apostle returns to a difficulty very similar to that which presented itself at the beginning of the chapter. The answer is couched under a slightly different metaphor. It is no longer death to the one, life to the other, but freedom from the one, service to the other. These are correlative terms. Freedom from sin implies service to God, just as freedom from God means service to sin. The same idea of service and freedom will be found worked out in John 8:32-34; John 8:36, and in Galatians 5:1.

Romans 6:15-18. What then are we to infer? Shall we sin — Go on in our transgressions; because we are not under the law — Under the law of Moses, or any mere legal dispensation which forbids sin, but gives no strength against it; but under grace — A dispensation perfectly the reverse, offering pardon to the most guilty, holiness to the most depraved, and strength to the most weak and helpless! God forbid — That we should draw any inference so odious and destructive. Know ye not — Is it necessary to inform you; that to whom ye yield — Greek, παριστανετε, present yourselves servants to obey his commands, his servants ye are whom ye obey — Not his whose name you may bear, without practically acknowledging his authority; but his to whom ye are in fact obedient, to whom you are subject, and whose will you do. “By the expression, ye present yourselves servants, the apostle taught the Romans, that grace does not destroy human liberty. It was still in their own power to choose whether they would present themselves slaves to sin, or servants to righteousness.” Whether of sin unto death — Which will bring you to eternal death; or of obedience — To God and his gospel; unto righteousness — True and evangelical, and which will certainly be rewarded with eternal life. But God be thanked that ye were — That is, although, or whereas, you were once the servants of sin — A bondage this now passed and gone; ye have now obeyed — Not in profession alone, but from the heart, that form of doctrine which was delivered to you — Greek, εις ον παρεδοθητε τυπον διδαχης, literally, the model of doctrine into which, as into a mould, you were delivered; for the word τυπος, rendered form, among other things, signifies a mould, into which melted metals are poured to receive the form of the mould: and the apostle here represents the gospel doctrine as a mould, into which the Roman believers were delivered, in order to their being formed anew, and conformed to the gospel in all its doctrines, precepts, and promises: and he thanks God, that from the heart, that is, most willingly and sincerely, they had yielded to the forming efficacy of that doctrine, and were made new creatures both in principle and practice. The allusion is not only beautiful, but conveys a very instructive admonition: intimating, that our minds made all pliant and ductile, should be conformed to the nature and design of the gospel, as liquid metals take the figure of the mould into which they are cast. Being then made free from sin — Set at liberty from its power and dominion; ye became servants of righteousness — At once enabled and obliged to lead a life of true piety and exemplary goodness. The word ελευθερωθεντες, here rendered being made free, is the word by which the act of giving a slave his liberty was signified, called by the Romans emancipation.6:11-15 The strongest motives against sin, and to enforce holiness, are here stated. Being made free from the reign of sin, alive unto God, and having the prospect of eternal life, it becomes believers to be greatly concerned to advance thereto. But, as unholy lusts are not quite rooted out in this life, it must be the care of the Christian to resist their motions, earnestly striving, that, through Divine grace, they may not prevail in this mortal state. Let the thought that this state will soon be at an end, encourage the true Christian, as to the motions of lusts, which so often perplex and distress him. Let us present all our powers to God, as weapons or tools ready for the warfare, and work of righteousness, in his service. There is strength in the covenant of grace for us. Sin shall not have dominion. God's promises to us are more powerful and effectual for mortifying sin, than our promises to God. Sin may struggle in a real believer, and create him a great deal of trouble, but it shall not have dominion; it may vex him, but it shall not rule over him. Shall any take occasion from this encouraging doctrine to allow themselves in the practice of any sin? Far be such abominable thoughts, so contrary to the perfections of God, and the design of his gospel, so opposed to being under grace. What can be a stronger motive against sin than the love of Christ? Shall we sin against so much goodness, and such love?What then? shall we sin ... - The apostle proceeds to notice an objection which might be suggested. "If Christians are not under the law, which forbids all sin, but are under grace, which pardons sin, will it not follow that they will feel themselves released from obligation to be holy? Will they not commit sin freely, since the system of grace is one which contemplates pardon, and which will lead them to believe that they may be forgiven to any extent?" This Consequence has been drawn by many professing Christians; and it was well therefore, for the apostle to guard against it.

God forbid - Note, Romans 3:4.

15, 16. What then? … Know ye not—it is a dictate of common sense. What then? doth it follow from hence that we are lawless, and may live as we list?

God forbid: q.d. No, by no means, the premises afford no such conclusion; though we are not under the curse and rigour of the law, yet we are under its directions and discipline: the gospel allows of sin no more than the law. The apostle is careful, both here and elsewhere, to prevent licentiousness, or the abuse of Christian liberty: see Galatians 5:13 1 Peter 2:16: see Romans 6:1, and See Poole on "Romans 6:1". What then? shall we sin,.... Does it follow from hence, that therefore we may sin, and go on and continue in it,

because we are not under the law, but under grace? here the apostle meets with an objection of the adversary, saying, that if men are not under the law, and are free from all obligation to it, then they may live as they list; nor can they be chargeable with sin, or that be objected to them; since where there is no law, there is no transgression, and sin is not imputed where there is no law; and if they are under grace, or in the love and favour of God, from which there is no separation, then they cannot be damned, do what they will: but this objection proceeds upon a mistaken sense of the phrase, "under the law"; for believers, though they are not under the law as the ministry of Moses, yet they are under it, as it is in the hands of Christ; and though not under its curse, yet under obligation to obedience to it, from principles of love and grace; and a transgression of it is sin in them, as in others; and which is taken notice of by God, and visited with stripes in a: fatherly way, though his loving kindness is not removed: and to argue from the unchangeableness of God's grace, or the doctrines of it, as encouraging licentiousness, is greatly to abuse the grace of God, and manifestly betrays such persons to be ignorant of it and its influence; since nothing more powerfully engages to a love of holiness, and hatred of sin; wherefore the apostle, answers to this objection in his usual way,

God forbid; signifying his abhorrence of everything of this kind.

{8} What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

(8) To be under the law and under sin signifies the same thing, with respect to whose who are not sanctified, and on the other hand to be under grace and righteousness is in harmony with those that are regenerated. Now these are contraries, so that one cannot agree with the other: therefore let righteousness expel sin.

Romans 6:15. Τί οὖν] sc[1454] ἐστι; what is then the state of the case? Comp Romans 3:9. Shall this Christian position of ours be misused for sinning?

With the reading ἁμαρτήσομεν the sense would be purely future: shall we sin? will this case occur with us? But with the proper reading ἁμαρτήσωμεν Paul asks: Are we to sin? deliberative subjunctive as in Romans 6:1. To the ἐπιμένωμ. τ. ἁμαρτ. in Romans 6:1 our ἁμαρτήσωμεν stands related as a climax; not merely the state of perseverance in sin, but every sinful action is to be abhorred; the former from the pre-Christian time, the latter in the Christian state of grace.

ὅτι οὐκ ἐσμὲν ὑπὸ νόμον κ.τ.λ[1456]] emphatic repetition. Bornemann, a[1457] Xen. Mem. iv. 3, 17, Schol. in Luc. p. xxxix.

[1454] c. scilicet.

[1456] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1457] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

Romans 6:15-23. This οὐκ εἶναι ὑπὸ νόμον, ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ χάριν does not therefore give us freedom to sin. From the οὐ χάρ.… χάριν, namely, the inference of freedom to sin might very easily he drawn by immoral Christians (comp Romans 6:1), which would be exactly the reverse of what the Apostle wished to establish by that proposition (ἁμ. ὑμ. οὐ. κυρ. Romans 6:14). Paul therefore proposes to himself this possible inference and negatives it (Romans 6:15), and then gives in Romans 6:16 ff. its refutation. Accordingly Romans 6:15-23 form only an ethico-polemical preliminary to the positive illustration of the proposition, “ye are not under the law, but under grace,” which begins in ch. 7.Romans 6:15. ἁμαρτήσωμεν; deliberative: are we to sin because our life is not ruled by statutes, but inspired by the sense of what we owe to that free pardoning mercy of God? Are we to sin because God justifies the ungodly at the Cross?15–23. The same subject. Illustration from slavery

15. What then?] This takes up the question of Romans 6:1, and introduces the explicit answer, for which the passages between have fully prepared us. The form of the question here, as there, helps further to fix the reference of Romans 6:14 to justification. Sin was there said to have “no dominion” over the believer, in such a sense as to give (momentary) colour to such a question; therefore we now are shewn that the “dominion” there referred to was one of claim, not of influence.Romans 6:15. Ὑπὸ, under) ch. Romans 7:2; Romans 7:14.Verses 15, 16. - What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace! (Does being under grace mean that we may allow ourselves in sin without being under sin's thraldom?) God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey (literally, unto obedience), his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? This is not a truism, as it would seem to be if it only meant, "whoso servants ye become, his servants ye are." "Ye yield yourselves" (παριστάνετε, cf. ver. 13) denotes acts of yielding. "Ye are" (ἕστε) denotes condition. The meaning is that by our conduct we show which master we are under; and we cannot serve two (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; cf. John 8:34, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin;" and 1 John 3:7, "He that doeth righteousness is righteous"). The two incompatible services are here said to be of sin and of obedience, with their respective tendencies or results, death and righteousness. A more exact antithesis to the first clause would have been "of righteousness unto life;" life being the proper antithesis of death, and righteousness being afterwards said, in vers. 18 and 19, to be what we ought to be in bondage to. But though the sentence seems thus defective in form, its meaning is plain. Ὑπακοῆς means here specifically obedience to God, not obedience to any master as in ver. 16; and though in English "servants of obedience," as though obedience were a master, is an awkward phrase, yet we might properly say, "servants of duty," in opposition to "servants of sin;" and this is what is meant. It may be that the apostle purposely avoided here speaking of believers being slaves of righteousness in the sense in which they had been slaves of sin, because subjection to righteousness is not properly slavery, but willing obedience. He uses the expression, indeed, afterwards (ver. 18), but adds at once, ἀνθρώπινον λέγω, etc. (see note on this last expression). Death, "unto" which the service of sin is here said to be, cannot be mere natural death, to which all are subject. Meyer (with Chrysostom, Theophylact, and other ancients) takes it to mean eternal death, as the final result of bondage to sin; δικαιοσύνη, antithetically correlative, being regarded as applying to the time of final perfection of the faithful in the world to come - "the righteousness which is awarded to them in the judgment." Seeing, however, that the word δικαιοσύνη is used throughout the Epistle to denote what is attainable in this present life, and that θάνατος is often used to express a state of spiritual death, which men may be in at any time (see additional note on ver. 12; and cf. Romans 7:9, 10, 13, 24; Romans 8:6, 13; also John 5:24; 1 John 3:14), it is at least a question whether the final doom of the last judgment is here at all exclusively in the apostle's view.
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