by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 9 July 10, 2016 Humble, Texas
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 for he that hath died isjustified from sin.
8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him;
9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him.
10 Forthe death that he died, he died unto sinonce: butthe life that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.
I. The Authorized Version and "Freed".
A. The verb translated "freed" by the Authorized Version is used in 36 verses in the New Testament and this is the only time it is rendered "freed".
B. Such a rendering probably only means the translators didn't understand the thought of the text.
C. The verb is typically translated "to justify" and typically means "to view someone as without any connection to evil, or to any of its productions". The generally accepted sense of "to declare righteous" indicates that the word is understood generally to mean that the person who "justifies" another simply views that "other" as without any legitimate connection to evil of any kind, or to the guilt of such connections. Since Christ was absolutely righteous and, therefore, fully guiltless in respect to any kind of violation of divine holiness, anyone who has been "baptized" into Him is viewed as equally righteous and guiltless.
D. The consequence of this flawed translation: Paul is not trying to say we are "free" from The Sin though, in fact, we are; rather, he is trying to say that God does not take "The Sin" into account when dealing with His people (Romans 4:8) because those people are "in Christ" Who died for their sins and in their place under the Justice of God. In other words, he has turned yet again to the reality that we do not face God as a judge. This is such a repetitiously stated fact that one has to wonder why. At the root are three issues: God as Father; death as a defeated enemy; and the impact of that "spirit that is at work in the sons of The Disbelief".
II. The Focus: "The Sin".
A. In this context, "the sin" is that which is attributed to Adam in chapter five; the act that plunged the race into bondage to evil as the distortion of God's holiness.
B. Thus, to be "justified" from "The Sin" is to be viewed by God as having no connection to Adam and his action.
III. The Point.
A. Human beings live by "faith" when it is seen as "confidence in a point of view about something".
B. Thus, if a human being begins to understand that God has separated him/her from any connection with Adam in his race-destroying behavior, he/she can begin to "believe" that God intends to deal with him/her in harmony with His view of him/her; a view that is rooted in "justification" when it is seen as "a determination that the one in view is guiltless".
1. This "determination to deal with someone in harmony with His view of them" means that He will "determinedly" pursue His agenda of bringing them out of their "bondage" into His "freedom" by means of the gradual alteration of their "love" so that it becomes "His Love" and the likewise gradual alteration of their "thoughts" so that they become "His thoughts".
2. This "determination", however, is most firmly rooted in the reality of 1 Corinthians 13:3. This declaration by Paul is that "Love" simply must be at the root of any profitable decision/action. This means that God's methodology will conform to this reality: He will move to produce His Love in the "believer".
a. And it is precisely here that the "problem" exists in its strength. The "old man" is adamant that no one's agenda but his will be pursued and the essential believer must not only recognize that, but also deliberately turn from it.
b. The walls of "protection" that the old man has erected are not easily torn down, not because they are so terribly strong, but because the deceptions are. It is clear from the New Testament that most believers simply refuse to allow their thinking to move beyond those deceptions.
c. This profound reluctance to "trust" means that most believers do not escape the delusions of the old man that keep them in bondage. He is not so strong; but they are. This willfulness is the reason for the existence of the vast majority of New Testament instruction. Until a person decides to put his/her entire life into His hands (a la Romans 12:1-3), God is forced to continually frustrate their expectations and leave them joyless. Just as John and Jesus proclaimed, "repentance" is the only foundation for progress into Life.
IV. Paul's Conclusion(s).
A. If we died together with Christ, we believe that also we shall live together with Him.
1. At issue here is both the objective reality (we died together with Christ) and the subjective reality (we believe...), by which the objective becomes the experience.
2. And, again, the "we shall live together with Him" is, as in 6:5, a future that is not yet the present, fully-formed, experience.
3. When a person "believes" the objective fact(s), there is an immediate potential to cast aside the intended "faith" and twist it into a passive fatalism so that one immediately lapses into sins.
a. Some think that since we "shall live together with Him", there is no real point in the flow of life in the here and now with all of its thought, choice, action complexity. This is simply fatalism that severs our present from our future.
b. Paul "believed" that the promise was designed to sustain our determined "faith" so that we become, more and more, instruments of righteousness in the present time.
1. Always, when "faith" is in view, there is a required knowledge.
2. The particular knowledge in this context is that Death has no further dominion over the Christ into Whom we have been baptized.
a. He was raised so that He "dies" no longer.
1) The verb is present tense (He is dying no longer) and signals a significant reality: death to The Sin, followed by resurrection, leaves the One raised without any dominion by Death whatsoever.
2) Jesus, unlike us, was never "dying", but He was subject to Death's impact all around Him in the lives of those who surrounded Him. And, unlike us, He had, and has, no inner realities like ours as residue from Adam. His understanding of Truth is pure and unbounded so that "faith" is fully effective; we are constantly in need of greater understanding and more confident "faith".
3) The point, however, is that we actually share what is His when we actively depend upon Him for what we do not have, or what we still have as residue from our former lives.
4) That "He is dying no longer" means that we have that potential also -- to the degree that we trust Him through the moments of each day's events.
b. Since He "dies" no longer, death no longer rules as a lord over Him.
3. The One Who died, died to The Sin once for all; thus the One Who lives, lives for The God.
a. The "death to The Sin" actually alters the attitude of The God and directs His responses to our thoughts and actions.
b. The door is open for our participation in His life even though we are yet in the period when the fulness of the promises is not yet ours.