Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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ROMANS - Chapter 6

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Romans vi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? He puts and rejects the same objection as before. (Chap. iii. ver. 7.) And having set forth in the last chapter the grace and advantages by Christ's coming, he now exhorts them to avoid sinning, and live in the grace of God. (Witham)

Ver. 2. Dead to sin, &c. We are then dead to sin when we neither live in sin by serving it, nor sin lives in us by reigning; in this case, how can we still live in it by yielding to its desires? St. Augustine (chap. vi. de spiritu et litera) thus explains the passage: when grace has caused us to die to sin; if we live again in it, we must be exceedingly ungrateful to grace. (Estius)

Ver. 3. &c. We...are baptized in his death. Greek, unto his death. The apostle here alludes to the manner of administering the sacrament of baptism, which was then done by immersion or by plunging the person baptized under the water, in which he finds a resemblance of Christ's death and burial under ground, and of his resurrection to an immortal life. So must we after baptism rise to lead a quite different life: having been also, when we were baptized and made Christians, planted as branches ingrafted in Christ, let us endeavour to bring forth the fruits of a virtuous life. (Witham) --- Old man...body of sin. Our corrupt state, subject to sin and concupiscence, coming to us from Adam, is called our old man, as our state, reformed in and by Christ, is called the new man. And the vices and sins which then ruled in us, are named the body of sin. (Challoner) --- The old and sinful man we must look upon as crucified with him, and the body of sin, or our sinful body, destroyed. We must look upon ourselves as dead to sin, and that we must sin no more, as Christ being once risen, dies no more. (Witham)

Ver. 7. He that is dead is justified from sin.[1] Some translate, is freed from sin: this is true; but perhaps it is better to retain the word justified, which is observed to be a law-word used in courts of justice, where to be justified is to be acquitted, so that a man cannot be questioned again on that account; and so are sinners, when their sins are forgiven. (Witham)

Ver. 10. For in that he died to sin. But the sense must be for sins, or to destroy other men's sins, he himself being incapable of sinning. (Witham)

Ver. 12. Let not sin, therefore, reign, &c. He compares sin and justice to two kings, or generals, under one of which every man fights in this world. Sin is the tyrant, under which fight the wicked, and make their minds and their members the instruments, or arms of iniquity to sin, when they follow and yield to their disorderly lusts. But he exhorts them to live so as to make the powers of their souls, and their members, instruments or arms of justice to God, to fight under God, their lawful king, and under the banner of his justice. (Witham)

Ver. 14. You are not under the law of Moses, as some of you were before: but now you are all under grace, or the law of grace, where you may find pardon for your sins. But take care not to abuse this grace of pardon offered you, nor multiply your sins, and defer your conversion, as some may do, by presuming, that after all, by the merits of Christ, you can find pardon. This, says Tertullian, is the greatest ingratitude, to continue wicked, because God is good. Reflect that you make yourselves servants of him whom you obey. By yielding to your passions, you become slaves to sin. If you keep your obedience to the law of Christ, and to his doctrine, the form of which you have delivered to you by the gospel, you are the happy servants of justice, and the servants of God, who is justice itself. (Witham)

Ver. 17. Thanks be to God, &c. He thanks God, not because they had been in sin, but because after having been so long under the slavery of sin, they had now been converted from their heart, and with their whole strength gave themselves to that form of doctrine to which they had been conducted by the gospel. He returns God thanks for their obedience to the faith, because this obedience of the human will is the work and gift of God, that so no one may glory in his sight. (Ephesians ii.) (Estius)

Ver. 19. I speak a human thing,[2] or I am proposing to you what is according to human strength and ability assisted by the grace of God, with a due regard to the weakness and infirmity of your flesh. The sense, according to St. Chrysostom is this, that the apostle having told them they must be dead to sin, lead a new life, &c. he now encourages them to it, by telling them, that what is required of them is not above their human strength, as it is assisted by those graces which God offers them, and which they have received. Where we may observe that these words, I speak a human thing, are not the same, nor to be taken in the same sense, as chap. iii. 6. when he said, I speak after a human way, or I speak like men. (Witham) --- What I ask of you, Christian Romans, is, that you so earnestly labour for your sanctification as to improve daily in virtue, as formerly you plunged every day deeper and deeper into vice. (Menochius)

Ver. 20-22. You were free from justice; that is, says St. Chrysostom, you lived as no ways subject to justice, nor obedient to the law and precepts of God: an unhappy freedom, a miserable liberty, worse than the greatest slavery, the end of which is death, eternal death: of which sins with great reason you are now ashamed, when you are become the servants of God, and obedient to him, for which you will receive the fruit and reward of everlasting life in heaven. (Witham)

Ver. 23. For the wages, which the tyrant sin gives to his soldiers and slaves, is eternal death; but the wages, the pay, the reward, which God gives to those that fight under him, is everlasting life; which, though a reward of our past labours, as it is often called in the Scriptures, is still a grace,[3] or free gift; because if our works are good, or deserve a reward in heaven, it is God's grace that makes them deserve it. For, as St. Augustine says, when God crowns our works, he crowns his own gifts. (Witham)

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[1] Ver. 7. Is justified from sin, justificatus est a peccato; dedikaiotai apo tes amartias. Dikaioo est vocabulum forense. See Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, &c.

[2] Ver. 19. Humanum dico, anthropinon lego; chap. iii. 6. Secundum hominem, kat anthropon. See St. Chrysostom, hom. xii.

[3] Ver. 23. Gratia Dei, vita Šterna; that is, in construction, vita Šterna, est gratia Dei.


Bible Text & Cross-references:

The Christian must die to sin, and live to God.

1 What shall we say, then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2 God forbid. For how shall we that are dead to sin, *live any longer therein?

3 Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death?

4 *For we are buried together with him by baptism unto death: that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, **so we also may walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, in like manner we shall be also of his resurrection.

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, and that we may serve sin no longer.

7 For he that is dead, is justified from sin.

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ:

9 Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him.

10 For in that he died to sin, he died once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God:

11 So do you also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

12 Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof.

13 *Neither yield ye your members as instruments of iniquity unto sin: but present yourselves to God as those that are alive from the dead: and your members as instruments of justice unto God.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

16 *Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin, unto death, or of obedience, unto justice.

17 But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed from the heart, unto that form of doctrine, into which you have been delivered.

18 Being then freed from sin, you are become the servants of justice.

19 I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness, and iniquity unto iniquity: so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification.

20 For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from justice.

21 What fruit, therefore, had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, everlasting life, in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

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*

2: 2 Peter ii. 22.

4: Galatians iii. 27.; Colossians ii. 12. --- ** Ephesians iv. 13.; Hebrews xii. 1.; 1 Peter ii. 1. and iv. 2.

13: Colossians iii. 5.

16: John viii. 34.; 2 Peter ii. 19.