Meditations on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans

Romans 6  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
In chapter 5:20, the apostle has declared— “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” These words now would easily give an occasion to the flesh to raise the question— “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (v. 1.) or in other words: Shall not grace glorify itself more abundantly in us the more we continue to live in sin? God forbid! replies the apostle, and then shows clearly and simply that is quite unnatural and absurd for the Christian to continue in the life of sin, because, through death, he has been torn away from its dominions. “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (v. 2.) Life in sin is death, and stands in the fullest contrast to the life imparted in Christ to the justified one, and the apostle here speaks of this life. In this chapter, therefore, it is not a question of the putting away of our sins, as in the former, but of our deliverance from the dominion of sin. We not only have sinned, but also are the slaves of sin; and the Holy Ghost here shows us that, before God, we are such, have been fully set aside, and have been brought into the presence of God as slaves of righteousness, by having been co-planted into the death and resurrection of Christ.
From verse 3 to 14, we have a further explanation of the way and manner in which we have died to sin—a truth of the most blessed consequences, specially for our practical walk here below. But this having died, is never separated from the death of Christ, as we shall clearly see, for to reckon one’s self to have died to sin, or to the law, apart from His death, would be a dangerous error.
Next then, the apostle shows how this having died to sin is already confessed and expressed by baptism to the death of Christ. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized to Jesus Christ were baptized to his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism to death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (vv. 3-4.)
Through baptism we are brought in connection with the testimony and position of Him into whose name we are baptized. It was so with the baptism to John, and it is so with the baptism to Jesus Christ. In this place the apostle simply states, that we—believers, brought in connection with the death of Christ—are also buried with Him by baptism into His death.
The death of Christ is the fullest proof that the condition of man is altogether corrupt; because even the Son of God must die on the cross as soon as He took the place of man before God, to deliver him from death and its consequences. The lost sinner now understands that he is delivered from death as soon as he lays hold upon the work of Christ by faith, because Christ has suffered death for him. In His death he himself has partaken of death, and therefore has already received the wages of sin. Now, by baptism to the death of Christ the believer confesses, that he has departed from the first condition, which is altogether rejectable before God, and set aside in the death of Christ, in order to walk in a new condition before God. Baptism therefore presents perfect deliverance from the condition in which we had our place in the first Adam, before God, and were lost. Therein we testify that we, as having died in Christ, are also buried with Him; and now, God on His part gives us the same testimony. But if we have died with Him and been buried with Him, then are we also raised up with Him, and stand in Him, the second Adam, in a new position before God, which we shall find more clearly expressed in vv. 5 and 6.
But what now is the object of our being planted into the death and resurrection of Christ respecting our walk? “That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (v. 4.) In the first condition we lived in sin and in death, but now in newness of life, because we have been raised up with Christ. The life of the Christian is quite new, and the walk issues forth from it. The bearing of this new life, into which we have been placed through the resurrection, is put before us here in a very striking manner. Christ has perfectly glorified God in His death. His resurrection, therefore, was requisite for the glory of God. God was bound, so to say, through His own glory to raise up Christ out of the dead, because Christ had glorified all that was in God-His righteousness, His love, His truth, and His power, It was impossible for the glory of God to give death a lasting victory over Him who was faithful, and the relation existing between God, as Father, and Jesus, equally forbid that God should leave His Son as slave of what had been the fruits of sin and the power of the enemy-as slave of death. In a word: God owed it to His own glory, as God and Father, to raise up Jesus from amongst the dead. Christ, therefore, has been raised by the glory of the Father, and in this new condition- the fruit of the operation of this glory—He is the type and the character of life, in which we walk before God. Without this revelation of His glory in Christ, God would have been hidden forever. In the glorified Christ alone, the center of all the counsels of God, we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled face, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
(To be continued, D.V.)