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more plausible. It is such as will forcibly strike every natural man, and is as common now as it could have been in the days of the Apostle.
Paul repels this charge by showing, that the sanctification of believers rests on the same foundation as their justification, and that the one is inseparable from the other. They both depend upon union with Jesus Christ, by which, as is represented in baptism, his people are dead to sin, and risen with him to walk in newness of life. Having established these important truths, he urges on those whom he addresses the duty of being convinced that such is their actual state. In verses 12 and 13, he warns them not to abuse this conviction, and for their encouragement in fighting the good fight of faith, to which they are called, he gives them, in the 14th verse, the assurance that sin shall not have the dominion over them, because they are not under the law but under grace. Thus the Apostle proves that by the gracious provision of the covenant of God, ratified with the blood of him with whom they are inseparably united, believers cannot continue to live in sin. But though sin shall not rule over them, still as their sanctification is not yet perfect, he proceeds to address them as liable to temptation. What he had said, therefore, concerning their state as being in Christ, did not preclude the duty of watchfulness; nor, since they had formerly been the servants of sin, of now proving that they were the servants of God, by walking in holiness of life. Paul concludes by an animated appeal to their own experience, asking what fruit they had in their former ways; whereas now, proceeding in the course of holiness, the end would be everlasting life. But along with this assurance, he reminds them of the important fact, that while the just recompense of sin is death, eternal life is purely the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
V.1.- What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
What shall we say then ? — That is, what conclusion are we to draw from the doctrine previously taught? This asks the question in a general way. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound ? _ This asks it particularly. Many expound this objection, as coming from a Jew, and imagine a sort of dialogue between him and the Apostle. For this there is no ground. The supposition of a dialogue in different parts of this epistle has been said to give life and interest to the argument, but instead of this it only encumbers and entangles it. There is no necessity for the introduction of an objector. It is quite sufficient for the writer to state the substance of the objection in his own words. It was essential for the Apostle to vindicate his doctrine, not only from the misrepresentations of the enemies of the Cross of Christ, to whom he has an eye throughout the whole of the epistle, but also to Christians themselves, whom he was directly addressing. We see in his reply to the objection thus proposed, what an ample field it opened to him of demonstrating the beautiful harmony of the plan of salvation, and of proving how every part of it bears upon and supports the rest.
V. 2.— God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?
Paul, in his usual manner on such occasions, strongly rejects such a consequence, and asks another question, which implies the incongruity of the supposition of a Christian's being emboldened by the doctrine of justification by grace to continue in sin. The fact on which he grounds his denial of the consequence is, that Christians are dead to sin. Formerly they were dead in sin, but now they were dead to it, delivered from it. In the same sense it is affirmed in the seventh chapter that they are dead to the law. By union with Christ, their connexion with the law in the view in which the Apostle is there regarding it, is brought to an end, as the marriage connexion between husband and wife ceases by the death of one of the parties. And
just so the connexion between sin and the believer is dissolved by the death of Christ, his covenant head and surety.
In the tenth verse it is said that Christ died unto sin, and believers are with him also dead to sin.
Dr Macknight translates the phrase “ have died by sin.” This does not convey the Apostle's meaning, but an idea entirely different, and misrepresents the real import of the passage. All men have died by sin, but believers only are dead to sin, and it is of such exclusively that the Apostle is here speaking. Unbelievers will not through all eternity be dead to sin. Dr Macknight says that the common translation is absurd. “ For," says he, “a person's living in sin who is dead to it, is evidently a contradiction in terms.” But he ought to have perceived that the phraseology to which he objects is not an assertion that they who are dead to sin also live in it, but is a question that supposes the incompatibility of the things referred to.
Mr Stuart entirely misunderstands the signification of the expression “ dead to sin," which he
says, means to renounce sin; to become as • it were insensible to its exciting power or influence, (as a dead person is incapable of sensibility).' The clause that follows—shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein ? he in
6 How shall we who have re
nounced sin, and profess to be insensible to its • influence, any more continue to practise it, or • to be influenced by it ?' His explanation of becoming insensible to the exciting power, or inAuence of sin, as a dead person is incapable of sensibility, perfectly coincides with the Popish interpretation of the passage. • The spirit, the heart, the judgment, have no more life for sin,
than those of a dead man for the world.' But Quesnel, perceiving that his interpretation is contradicted by all experience, immediately adds :
Ah, who is it that is dead and insensible to the praises, to the pleasures, to the advantages of the world ?' Mr Stuart, however, adheres to his interpretation, and announces it the third time. - To become dead to sin, or to die to sin,
plainly means, then, to become insensible to its • influence, to be unmoved by it; in other words, 'to renounc: it and refrain from the practice of cit.' This is justly chargeable with the absurdir, that Dr Macknight unjustly charges on the common translation of the
The sertion then would be, as we refrain from the practice of sin, we cannot continue to practise it. According to Mr Stuart's interpretation, when it is enjoined on believers, v. 11, to reckon themselves dead to sin, the meaning would be that they should reckon themselves perfect.
In order to understand the manner in which