Monday, April 24, 2006

"We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer." Romans 6:2

The phrase "died to sin" draws some interest. What does it mean and what does it imply when one is dead to something?

Albert Barnes for one felt that "to be dead to a thing is a strong expression denoting that it has no influence over us. A man that is dead is uninfluenced and unaffected by the affairs of this life. He is insensible to sounds, and tastes, and pleasures; to the hum of business, to the voice of friendship, and to all the scenes of commerce, gaiety, and ambition. When it is said, therefore, that a Christian is dead to sin, the sense is, that it has lost its influence ever him; he is not subject to it; he is in regard to that, as the man in the grave is to the busy scenes and cares of this life ... The apostle does not here attempt to prove that Christians are thus dead, nor to state in what way they become so. He assumes the fact without argument. All Christians are thus in fact dead to sin. They do not live to sin; nor has sin dominion over them. The expression used here by the apostle is common in all languages. We familiarly speak of a man’s being dead to sensual pleasures, to ambition, etc., to denote that they have lost their influence over him."

I think that he has taken the metaphor a little to far. Very few would disagree with me when I say that we are very much in every way being influenced and affected by sin. It is true that we do not live to sin but it would be a bit too farfetched to say that we are not influenced by it.

Adam Clarke would not go that far and commented that "the phraseology of this verse is common among Hebrews, Greeks, and Latins. To die to a thing or person, is to have nothing to do with it or him; to be totally separated from them: and to live to a thing or person is to be wholly given up to them; to have the most intimate connection with them."

Is it acceptable to say we have nothing to do with sin because we are totally separated from it? At least Clarke is right in saying that we should be already wholly given up to them and have no intimate connection with sin now that we are alive in Christ.

So, if we are dead to sin, how then are we still under its influence? Why do we still sin? The more I think about it now, the more confused I am over Paul's choice of words - we died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?

The adverb πως, how, denotes a rhetorical question: since you are already dead to sin, you no longer live in it. So if one of us are still living in it, it would mean that he is not dead to sin but alive to it. So does this mean that he has not died with Christ? The answer I believe would be yes.

And what if we are not living in sin but are influenced by it; that is, we are daily being seduced by it? Are we being dead to sin? Yes, I would say as long as we keep them at bay. We do not succumb to it and therefore do not live in it because we are dead to it, we have no connection to it.

But what if we succumb as we sometimes do? We will be living in sin, won't we; however small the sins are? Looks like I am back at square one! Oh dear ...

Picture by Bill Davenport

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2 comment(s)

  1. Meaghan,

    My take on this comes back to the law. We are dead to sin, meaning that sin itself does not have control over us.

    Before Christ, sin, or transgession of the law, carried the penalty of death. Through Christ's sacriface we are able to be free from the grip of sin which is, interestingly enough, death.

    Paul further goes on to say that he nails his flesh to the cross daily. So does sin have power of us? Ummmm yeah! Our flesh is ever tempted. Paul also points out that Christ was tempted in every way too.

    We died to sin, so now we are aware of its presence. The light in us is exposes our darkest nooks and crannies, but God is loving, and compasionate, and slowly removes our darness.

    I love this stuff.

    God Bless,

  2. Yeah ... I agree.

    But I need to reconcile it from both ends. I have read Cranfield this morning and I think I worked it out. Though I may need to mull it over on my way home from work shortly.

    I love this stuff too :o)