I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity to iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness to holiness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I speak after the manner of men.—I am using a merely human figure of speech, a figure taken from common human relations, and not a high mystical phrase such as I used just now, because of the dulness of your understanding: that form of expression you might not be able to comprehend; this present figure is clear even to a mind that is busy with earthly and carnal things, and has not much faculty for taking in anything beyond.
Your flesh.—This corresponds nearly to what is elsewhere called “the carnal mind,” a mind alive only to material and sensible things.
To iniquity unto iniquity.—Ye yielded up your members to iniquity for the practice of iniquity.
Unto holiness.—Rather, for sanctification; to be made holy.Romans 6:19-22. I speak after the manner of men — He seems to mean that his reasoning was taken from the customs of men, and was accommodated to their apprehension; and that he used metaphors and allegories which were well known; because of the infirmity of your flesh — Dulness of apprehension, and weakness of understanding, flow from the infirmity of the flesh; that is, of human nature. Or, as some understand the expression to mean, I recommend a duty to you, suited to human nature; yea, even to the infirmities thereof; that you should do as much for God as you have done for sin, and be as diligent in the service of Christ as you have been in the pursuit of your lusts. For as — In time past, while you were ignorant of the gospel, and many of you the slaves of heathen vice and idolatry; ye yielded your members servants to uncleanness — To various fleshly lusts which defiled you; and to iniquity — Or unrighteousness toward others; unto iniquity — Adding one iniquity to another; even so now — Being enlightened by the gospel to see the evil of such things, and the miserable consequences awaiting them; and being renewed by the influences of divine grace, it is but reasonable that you should be as ready to pursue a pious and virtuous line of conduct, and to do good now, as formerly you were to do evil; and become servants of righteousness unto holiness — Observe, reader, they who are true servants of righteousness, which may here mean a conformity to the divine will, go on to holiness, which implies a conformity to the divine nature. For when ye were the servants of sin — Were under its guilt and power; ye were free from righteousness — You not only had not righteousness enough, but, strictly speaking, had no true righteousness at all; never doing any single action that was truly good, and, on the whole, acceptable to God, because none was performed from such principles as could entitle it to his complete approbation. In all reason, therefore, ye ought now to be free from unrighteousness; to be as uniform and zealous in serving God as you were in serving the devil. What fruit had ye then in those things — Consider, what advantage did you derive from the practices to which you were then habituated, and whereof ye are now ashamed? — The very remembrance of which now gives you pain, and creates in you much remorse and trouble? For the end of those things is death — The word τελος, here rendered end, signifies both the end for which a thing is done, and the last issue of it. It is used in the former sense, 1 Peter 1:9; receiving, το τελος, the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls; the end or purpose for which ye believed. But its meaning here is, that the punishment of death, to be inflicted on sinners, is the natural consequence, or issue, and reward of their sin.
Because of the infirmity of your flesh - The word "infirmity" means weakness, feebleness; and is opposed to vigor and strength. The word "flesh" is used often to denote the corrupt passions of people; but it may refer here to their intellect, or understanding; "Because of your imperfection of spiritual knowledge; or incapacity to discern arguments and illustrations that would be more strictly spiritual in their character." This dimness or feebleness had been caused by long indulgence in sinful passions, and by the blinding influence which such passions have on the mind. The sense here is, "I use an illustration drawn from common affairs, from the well-known relations of master and slave, because you will better see the force of such an illustration with which you have been familiar, than you would one that would be more abstract, and more strictly spiritual." It is a kind of apology for drawing an illustration from the relation of master and slave.
For as ye have yielded - Note, Romans 6:13. Servants to uncleanness. Have been in bondage to impurity. The word "uncleanness" here refers to impurity of life in any form; to the degraded passions that were common among the heathen; see Romans 1.
And to iniquity - Transgression of law.
Unto iniquity - For the purpose of committing iniquity. It implies that they had done it in an excessive degree. It is well for Christians to be reminded of their former lives, to awaken repentance, to excite gratitude, to produce humility and a firmer purpose to live to the honor of God. This is the use which the apostle here makes of it.
Unto holiness - In order to practice holiness. Let the surrender of your members to holiness be as sincere and as unqualified as the surrender was to sin. This is all that is required of Christians. Before conversion they were wholly given to sin; after conversion they should be wholly given to God. If all Christians would employ the same energies in advancing the kingdom of God that they have in promoting the kingdom, of Satan, the church would rise with dignity and grandeur, and every continent and island would soon feel the movement. No requirement is more reasonable than this; and it should be a source of lamentation and mourning with Christians that it is not so; that they have employed so mighty energies in the cause of Satan, and do so little in the service of God. This argument for energy in the divine life, the apostle proceeds further to illustrate by comparing the rewards obtained in the two kinds of servitude, that of the world, and of God.
because of the infirmity of your flesh—the weakness of your spiritual apprehension.
for as ye have yielded—"as ye yielded," the thing being viewed as now past.
your members servants to Uncleanness and to Iniquity unto—the practice of
iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to Righteousness unto holiness—rather, "unto (the attainment of) sanctification," as the same word is rendered in 2Th 2:13; 1Co 1:30; 1Pe 1:2:—that is, "Looking back upon the heartiness with which ye served Sin, and the lengths ye went to be stimulated now to like zeal and like exuberance in the service of a better Master."I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: q.d. I accommodate myself to your capacity, because of the weakness of your understanding in spiritual things; therefore I use this familiar similitude of service and freedom, that by these secular and civil things you might the better understand such as are spiritual: see John 3:12.
For as ye have yielded, &c.: q.d. The great thing that I desire of you (and it is most reasonable) is this, that you would be as sedulous and careful now to obey God, as you have formerly been to obey and serve sin; to do good, as you have been to do evil.
To uncleaness; to fleshly lusts, which defile you.
To iniquity unto iniquity; i.e. adding one sin to another; or else by the former you may understand original, by the latter actual sin. He useth three words about the service of sin, and but two about the service of God; wicked men take great pains for hell; oh that we would take the same for heaven.
because of the infirmity of their flesh, considering that they had flesh, or corrupt nature, and were attended with weakness in knowledge, faith, and obedience; he only pressed this upon them, that in like manner as they had been servants to sin, they would be servants to righteousness:
for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity; what they yielded to the service of sin were their "members"; by which, as before, may be meant, either the powers and faculties of their souls, or the parts and members of their bodies, or both; and particularly the latter, as the eyes and ears, the tongue, the mouth, the hands, and feet, which are all employed by a natural man in the drudgery of sin: these are yielded to sin under the form and character of "servants"; and as such are governed, directed, and ordered to fulfil this and the other lust, which is done willingly and readily: these members are "yielded", presented, and given up cheerfully to this slavery; which is both scandalous and unrighteous: it is "to uncleanness"; which designs all sorts of pollution and filthiness, both of flesh and spirit: "and to iniquity"; everything that is contrary to the law, all unrighteousness and ungodliness; and it is added, "unto iniquity"; which may design all sorts of sin, a progress in it, adding continually to it; which shows them to have been thorough hearty servants of sin. Now what the apostle exhorts to, and requires of them, is, that
even so now they would yield their members servants to righteousness unto holiness; that is, let the same members that have been employed in the service of sin, be made use of in the service of righteousness: let your eyes be employed in looking and diligently searching into the Scriptures of truth; your ears in hearing the Gospel preached; your lips, mouth, and tongue, in expressing the praises of God, for what he has done for you; your hands in distributing to the interest of religion, and the necessities of the saints; and your feet in hastening to attend on public worship, and observe the testimonies of the Lord: let them be employed under the same form and character as servants, waiting upon the Lord, ready to fulfil his will; and in the same manner, freely, willingly, and cheerfully, and that constantly and universally, in all acts of righteousness and holiness.I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Romans 6:19. Paul had, in Romans 6:16-18, represented the idea of the highest moral freedom—in a form corresponding indeed with its nature as a moral necessity (“Deo servire vera libertas est,” Augustine), but still borrowed from human relations—as δουλεία. He now therefore, not to justify himself, but to induce his readers to separate the idea from the form, announces the fact that, and the reason why, he thus expresses himself regarding the loftiest moral idea in this concrete fashion, derived from an ordinary human relation. I speak (in here making mention of slavery, Romans 6:16-18) what is human (belonging to the relations of the natural human life) on account of the (intellectual) weakness of your flesh, i.e. in order thereby to come to the help of this your weakness. For the setting forth of the idea in some such sensuous form is the appropriate means of stimulating and procuring its apprehension in the case of one, whose knowledge has not yet been elevated by divine enlightenment to a higher platform of strength and clearness released from such human forms. Respecting ἀνθρώπινον see the examples in Wetstein. It is the antithesis of θεῖον, Plat. Rep. p. 497 C. The expression κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω in ch. Romans 3:5 is in substance equivalent, since ἀνθρώπινον also necessarily indicates the form and dress employed for the idea, for whose representation the Apostle has uttered what is human. The σάρξ, however, i.e. the material human nature in its psychical determination, as contrasted with the divine pneumatic influence (comp on Romans 4:1), is weak for religious and moral discernment, as well as for good (Matthew 26:41); hence the σοφία σαρκική (2 Corinthians 1:12) is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Others, taking it not of intellectual weakness, but of moral weakness, refer it to what follows (Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Hammond, Wetstein, and others, including Klee, Reithmayr, and Bisping), in the sense: “I do not demand what is too hard (ἀνθρώπ., comp 1 Corinthians 10:13); for although I might require a far higher degree of the new obedience, yet I require only the same as ye have formerly rendered to sin.” But the following ὭΣΠΕΡ.… ΟὝΤΩ introduces not the equality of the degree, but, as is plain from Romans 6:20, only the comparison in general between the former and the present state. Besides, the demand itself, which by this interpretation would only concern a lower stage of Christian life, would be inappropriate to the morally ideal character of the whole hortatory discourse, which is not injured by the concrete figurative form. This remark also applies to the dismembering explanation of Hofmann (comp Th. Schott), who makes ἈΝΘΡΏΠΙΝΟΝ ΛΈΓΩ form a parenthesis, and then connects ΔΙᾺ ΤῊΝ ἈΣΘΈΝΕΙΑΝ Τ. ΣΑΡΚῸς ὙΜῶΝ with ἘΔΟΥΛΏΘΗΤΕ Τῇ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝῌ, so that the thought would be: the weakness of our in born nature gives occasion that our translation into the life of righteousness is dealt with as an enslavement thereto, while otherwise it would be simply restoration to the freedom of doing our own will; according to this weakness what is right is not done freely of itself, but in the shape of a service. But how could Paul have so degraded the moral loftiness of the position of the δουλωθέντες τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ! To him they were indeed the ΔΟΥΛΩΘΈΝΤΕς Τῷ ΘΕῷ (Romans 6:22), and in his estimation there was nothing morally more exalted than to be ΔΟῦΛΟς ΘΕΟῦ, as Christ Himself was. The Christian has put on Christ in this respect also (Galatians 3:27), and lives in the spirit of the holiest freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17 f.); his subjection to the service of ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ has not taken place on account of his inborn nature incapacitating him for moral freedom (as though it were a measure of compulsion); but on the contrary he has put off the morally weak old man, and so he lives as a new creature—by means of the newness of the spirit, and in virtue of his communion in the resurrection-life of Christ—in the condition of righteousness, which Paul has here under the designation of bondage, accommodating himself by the ordinary human expression to the natural weakness of the understanding, brought into contrast with the having been freed from sin.
ὥσπερ γάρ Κ.Τ.Λ] Practical assigning of a reason for the proposition just affirmed ἀνθρωπίνως in Romans 6:18, in the form of a concrete demand. In opposition to Hofmann, who (at variance with his own interpretation of Romans 13:6!) declares it impossible to clothe the assigning of a reason in the dress of an exhortation, see Baeumlein, Partik. p. 86. Hebrews 12:3 (see Delitzsch) is to be taken in the same way; comp Jam 1:7; and see on 1 Corinthians 1:26. Hence: for, as ye have placed your members at the disposal, etc., so now place, etc. Since the discourse proceeds indeed in the same figurative manner, but yet so that it now assumes the hortatory form, ἀνθρώπινον.… σαρκὸς ὑμῶν is not to be put in a parenthesis, but with Fritzsche, Lachmann, and Tischendorf, to be separated from ὥσπερ by a period.
τῇ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ κ. τῇ ἀνομίᾳ] The two exhaust the notion of ἁμαρτία (Romans 6:13), so that ἀκαθ. characterises sin as morally defiling the man (see on Romans 1:24), and ἀνομ. (1 John 3:4) as a violation of the divine law (see Tittmann, Synon. p. 48).
εἰς τὴν ἀνομ.] on behalf of antagonism to law, in order that it may be established (in facto). The interpretation εἰς τὸ ἐπιπλέον ἀνομεῖν, Theophylact (so also Oecumenius, Erasmus, Luther, Grotius, Köllner, Ewald, and others), is, in its practical bearing, erroneous, since it is only the yielding of the members to the principle of ἀνομία that actually brings the latter into a concrete reality.
εἰς ἁγιασμόν] in order to attain holiness (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:3 f. 7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13), moral purity and consecration to God. To be an ἅγιος in mind and walk—that goal of Christian development—is the aim of the man, who places his members at the disposal of δικαιοσύνη as ruler over him. The word ἁγιασμός is found only in the LXX., Apocr. and in the N. T. (in the latter it is always holiness, not sanctification, even in 1 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:2), but not Greek writers. In Dion. Hal. i. 21, it is a false reading, as also in Diod. iv. 39. ʼΑγιασμόν stands without the article, because this highest moral goal is conceived of qualitatively.
 So also probably Theodoret: τῇ φύσει μετρῶ τὴν παραίνεσιν· οἶδα γὰρ τὰ ἐν τῷ θνητῷ σώματι κινούμενα πάθη.
 .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.
 In opposition to Hofmann, on ver. 22. But to the Christian consciousness it is self-evident that holiness can only be attained under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Comp. Ritschl, altkath. K. p. 82.Romans 6:19. ἀνθρώπινον λέγω διὰ τὴν ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν. Cf. Romans 3:5, Galatians 3:15. Paul apologises for using this human figure of the relation of slave to master to convey spiritual truths. But what is “the weakness of the flesh” which makes him have recourse to such figures? Weiss makes it moral. The Apostle speaks with this unmistakable plainness and emphasis because he is writing to morally weak persons whose nature and past life really made them liable to temptations to libertinism. This seems to me confirmed by the reference, which immediately follows, to the character of their pre-Christian life. Others make the weakness rather intellectual than ethical, as if Paul said: “I condescend to your want of spiritual intelligence in using such figures”. But this is not a natural meaning for “the weakness of your flesh,” and does not yield so good a connection with what follows. δοῦλα τῇ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ καὶ τῇ ἀνομίᾳ: ἀκαθαρσία defiling the sinner, ἀνομία disregarding the will of God. If εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν should remain in the text, it may suggest that this bad life never gets beyond itself. On the other hand, to present the members as slaves to righteousness has ἁγιασμός in view, which is a higher thing. ἁγιασμὸς is sanctification, primarily as an act or process, eventually as a result. It is unreal to ask whether the process or the result is meant here: they have no meaning apart.19. after the manner of men] More lit., humanly. He apologizes, so to speak, for using the peculiarly earthly image of the slave-market to enforce a truth of the most exalted spiritual dignity; namely, the necessary conformity of the wills of the justified to the will of God.
because of the infirmity of your flesh] i.e., because you are “weak” to apprehend spiritual truth, as being still “in the flesh;” affected by that element of your nature which (besides being the stronghold of sin) is always the antithesis of “the spirit.” This is his reason for going so low for his metaphor; for boldly depicting their state of justification as one also of slavery. No illustration less harsh would convey the full reality of obligation to their minds.
to uncleanness and to iniquity] Two main aspects of sin. “Iniquity “is lit., and better, lawlessness. The first of the two words means, the craving for evil as such; the second, the hatred of holy restraint as such.
unto iniquity] Lit., again, unto lawlessness; i.e. “with the result of lawless acts on the lawless principle.” See 1 John 3:4, where the Gr. precisely means, “sin and lawlessness are convertible terms.”
servants] The word is, of course, emphatic in both parts of the verse.
righteousness] See notes above on Romans 6:16-18, in favour of still referring this word to justification, the “gift of righteousness” (see on ch. Romans 5:17) regarded as the new motive in the life of the justified; the new power which was to use their “members” as its “weapons” against sin. (See on Romans 6:13.)
unto holiness] Lit., and better, unto sanctification. The Gr. noun indicates rather a process than a principle or a condition. (So too Hebrews 12:14.) The result of the new “bondage” was to be a steady course of purification; a process of self-denial, watchfulness, and diligent observance of the holy will of the God of Peace.Romans 6:19. Ἀνθρώπινον, after the manner of men) Language after the manner of men, is frequent, and in some measure always occurring, whereby Scripture condescends to suit itself to our capacity. Too plain language is not always better [the best] adapted to the subject in hand. The accusative is used for the adverb. [According to our mode of speaking, it may be translated, Ich muss es euch mir massiv sagen, I must speak to you with great plainness and simplicity.—V. g.]—διὰ, because of) Slowness of understanding arises from weakness of the flesh, i.e., of a nature merely human, comp. 1 Corinthians 3:3. Ἀσθένειαν, weakness) Those who desire discourse to be continuously in all respects quite plain, should perceive in this a mark of their own weakness, and should not take amiss [take offence at] a more profound expression of the truth, but they should consider it with gratitude, as an ample benefit, if in one way or the other, they have had the good fortune to understand the subject: at first, the mode of expressing the truth is more sublime, then afterwards it is more plain, as in the case of Nicodemus.—John 3:3; John 3:15. That which pleases most [the greatest number] is not always the best.—V. g.—τῇ ἀνομιᾳ εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν, to iniquity unto iniquity) A ploce not observed by the Syriac version. The word [to] iniquity [ἀνομίᾳ] (before which uncleanness is put, as a part before a whole) is opposed to righteousness; the word [unto] iniquity [ἀνομίαν] is opposed to holiness [end of verse] Righteousness corresponds to the Divine will, holiness as it were, to the whole of the Divine nature. Those who are the servants of righteousness, make progress [i.e., advance from righteousness to holiness, whereby they partake of the Divine nature]; ἄνομοι, workers of iniquity are workers of iniquity, nothing more.
 See App., tit. Ploce. A word twice put, once in the simple sense, and once again to express some attribute of the word.Verse 19. - I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh. Here ἀνθρώπινον λέγω ("I speak humanly") may be taken as referring to the expression immediately preceding, viz. ἐδουλώθητε τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ. St. Paul may mean, "In saying you were made slaves to righteousness, I am using human language not properly applicable to your spiritual relations. For you are not really in bondage now; you have been emancipated from your former bondage to sin, and are now called upon to render a free willing allowance to righteousness; being, in fact, sons, not slaves." This view of the true position of the Christian being one of freedom recurs so often and so forcibly with St. Paul that it is peculiarly likely to be the thought before him here; the very word ἐδουλώθητε would be likely to suggest it (cf. Romans 8:15, seq.; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 4:4-7; Galatians 5:1, 13). If (he would say) you fully realized your position as sons of God, you would feel it impossible even to think of sinning willingly; but, in accommodation to your human weakness, I put the case as if you had only been transferred from one bondage to another, so as to show that, even so, you are under an obligation not to sin. According to this view of the meaning of the passage, "the infirmity of your flesh" has reference to dulness of spiritual perception, σάρξ being opposed in a general sense to πνεῦμα. Had they been πνευματικοὶ, they would have discerned τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ Θεοῦ without need of any such human view of the matter being put before them (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14). Some, however, taking ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκὸς to denote moral weakness, which renders the attainment of holiness difficult for man (cf Mark 14:38), understand ἀνθρώπινον λέγω as meaning, "I require of you no more than is possible Ñ for your frail humanity; for I call on you only to render to righteousness the same allegiance you once rendered to sin." This interpretation gives a totally different meaning to the clause. It has the support of Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Calvin, Estius, Wetstein, and others; but it does not appear so natural or probable as the other, which is accepted by most modern commentators. For as ye yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto sanctification (rather than holiness, as in the Authorized Version; the word is ἁγιασμός, always so translated elsewhere). This is a setting forth of what must follow in practice from the view that has been taken of the change in the Christian's position resembling the transference of bondservants from one master to another. They must devote their members (see above on ver. 13) to the service of the new master in the same way as they had done to that of the old one; the aims or results of the two services being also intimated. The old service was in giving themselves up to uncleanness (with reference to sins of sensuality), and generally to ἀνομίᾳ, i.e. lawlessness, or disregard of duty; and its result is expressed by a repetition of the latter word. For sin leads to nothing positive; lawless conduct only results in a habit or state of lawlessness; whereas the service of righteousness in itself leads to sanctification to the abiding result of participation in the holiness of God. "Qui justitiae serviunt, proficiunt; ἄνομοι, iniqui, sunt iniqui, nil amplius" (Bengel).
Lit., what is human, popularly. He seems to have felt that the figures of service, bondage, etc., were unworthy of the subject, and apologizes for his use of the image of the slave mart to enforce such a high spiritual truth, on the ground of their imperfect spiritual comprehension. Compare 2 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 3:1, 1 Corinthians 3:2.
To iniquity unto iniquity (τῇ ἀνομίᾳ εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν)
Iniquity issuing in an abiding iniquitous state. Lit., lawlessness. It is used by John as the definition of sin, 1 John 3:4.
Rev., sanctification. For the kindred adjective ἅγιος holy, see on saints, Acts 26:10. Ἁγιασμός is used in the New Testament both of a process - the inauguration and maintenance of the life of fellowship with God, and of the resultant state of sanctification. See 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 12:14. It is difficult to determine which is meant here. The passages in Thessalonians, Timothy, and Hebrews, are cited by interpreters on both sides. As in Romans 6:22 it appears that sanctification contemplates a further result (everlasting life), it is perhaps better to understand it as the process. Yield your members to righteousness in order to carry on the progressive work of sanctification, perfecting holiness (1 Corinthians 7:1).
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