Romans 6:5

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

After working out v.5, I am again struck by the amazing Word of God.

τω ομοιωματι του θανατου αυτου
ομοιωματι being the dative of ομοιωμα makes it an object with which we are joined, hence the translation of: we have become united with the likeness of Christ.

ομοιωμα has several meanings, in this case it would most likely take the meaning of form, in the sense of the outer appearance, or shape, or of the reality itself. Likeness of his death, may, then simply be the death of Christ itself.

But Paul in making use of the word may want to portray Christ’t death in a particular light. Could it then be the cause of the atemporal nature of the application of death of Christ to the life of the believers; as a redemptive-historical association that cannot be precisely defined in terms of time or nature? While it does not differentiate the death to which we are joined from Christ’s death, it qualifies it in its particular redemptive historical “form”. And with this “form” of Christ’s death, Paul may be reminding us that by our “dying with Christ”, it initiates a “conformity” with Jesus’ death that is to have a continuing effect on our existence. (Moo p.370)

As Moo summarises it: we (at ‘conversion-initiation’) were united with the death of Christ in its redemptive-historical significance, and are now, thus, in the state of ‘conformity’ to that death.

αλλα και της αναστασεως εσομεθα
αλλα και, but also, introduces the second part of the verse and it stresses the certainty of that union with the form of Christ’s death will mean union with the form of Christ’s resurrection.

What is the significance of εσομεθα taking the future tense, we will be? Paul may put it this way as a logically follow through from being joined to the form of his death, i.e. we will be joined with the form of his resurrection.

Its possible implications:
1. the already realised spiritual resurrection of believers with Christ (cf. Col 2:12, Eph 2:6) (Prat, Zahn, Harrison, Fitzmyer, Frid)
2. the imperative of living in the “form” and power of Christ’s resurrection life in the present (Godet, Cranfield)
3. the physical resurrection of believers with Christ (cf. 2 Cor 4:14) to that time when God will transform our earthly bodies, making them conformed to the body of Christ’s glory. (Moo)

I was told by my Ephesians lecturer once that we have to decide on one interpretation, not two, not three, not all. However, in this case, I seem to think I should. The application of the death and resurrection of Christ in our lives is atemporal, not bound by time; and therefore while we are united into death with Christ, we have also been raised to with him and thus, we are now living in the power of that historical resurrection in a resurrected life. In the same time, the futurity our resurrection have it that it is only complete in that day, and until then we live under the imperative of making the life of Jesus manifest in the way we live (cf. 2 Cor 4:10). (Moo p.371)


You Might Also Like

2 comment(s)

  1. Maeghan,

    I love this stuff! I wish I could give you some direction, but I don't really have a good grasp of this.

    Perhaps, the 'will be' is due to the fact that we have not completely freed ourselves from the flesh until our physical death and then our soul is taken into unfettered fellowship with Christ though our joint resurection?

    Just a thought.

    God Bless

  2. Doug,
    Yes I would agree with you. Though the work is complete in Christ, the "will be" has an eschatological side to it, we still need to work out our salvation towards that resurrection in the last day.