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stood, but exclusively to their state before God, as the ground on which their sanctification is secured. As justified persons they are dead to sin, being delivered from its condemning power by the death of Christ, their head and surety. Their sins, which separated between them and their God, have been borne away to a land not inhabited; cast into the depths of the sea ; blotted out as a cloud, and as a thick cloud; removed from them as far as the east is from the west. “ The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found.” shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth ; who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
The full import and consequence of being dead to sin, will be found, ch. iv. 7, 8, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” They who are dead to sin are those from whom, in its condemning power, it is, in Christ Jesus, entirely removed. But such persons, whose sins are thus covered, are pronounced “ blessed.” They enjoy the favour and blessing of God. The
necessary consequence of this blessing is declared in the new covenant, according to which, when God is merciful to the unrighteousness of his people, and remembers their sins and iniquities no more, he puts his laws into their mind and writes them in their hearts, and promises that he will be to them a God, and they shall be to him a people. In one word, they who are dead to sin are separated from the curse pronounced upon those who, being under the law, continue not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them, and are united to him who is the fountain of life and holiness. It is upon this ground that the Apostle rests his absolute denial that the doctrine of justification by grace, which he had been unfolding, is compatible with continuing to live in sin.
In proof that this is the correct view of the subject, let it be observed that the whole of the Apostle's answer to the objection, from this second verse to the end of the tenth, with which he concludes it, rests not on the circumstance that sin is mortified in himself and those whom he is addressing, or that they are dead to any propensity to sin, but on the fact of their being one with Jesus Christ. They were united to Christ in his death, and consequently in his life, which was communicated to them by Him who is “ a quickening spirit”—and thus their walking in newness of life and their resurrection with him are secured. These ideas are exhibited in the 3d, 4th, 5th, and 6th verses. In the 7th verse, the reason of the whole is summed up; “ for he who is dead” (with Christ) " is justified from sin ;” and in the eighth verse, that which follows our being justified from sin is stated—“ If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” Finally, in the 9th and 10th verses, the Apostle declares the consequence of Christ's dying to sin to be, that he liveth unto God. The same effect in respect to the members must follow, as to the Head with whom believers are one; and, therefore, he immediately proceeds to assure them, in the 14th verse, that sin shall not have dominion over them. The effect, then, of the doctrine of justification by grace, is the very reverse of giving not merely license, but even place to continue in sin. On the contrary, according to that doctrine, the power of God is engaged to secure a life of holiness.
Live any longer therein.-To “ continue in sin,” and to “ live any longer therein,” are equivalent expressions, implying that before their death to sin, the Apostle himself, and all those whom he now addressed, were enslaved by sin, and lived in it. In the same way—in writing to the Saints at Ephesus—he says that formerly he and all of them had their conversation among the children of disobedience, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. By denying that believers continue in sin, Paul does not mean to say that they never commit sin, or fall into it, or, according to Mr Stuart, have “become insensible to its influence;" for, as is abundantly shown in the seventh chapter, where he gives an account of his own experience (which is also the experience of every Christian as long as he is in this world), this is very far from being a fact.
V. 3.-Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death ?
The Apostle here proceeds to show that Christians are dead to sin, because they died with Christ. The rite of Baptism exhibits Christians as dying, as buried, and as risen with Christ. Know ye not.—He refers to what he is now declaring as a thing well-known to those whom he addresses. Baptized into Jesus Christ.— By faith believers are made one with Christ; they become members of his body. This oneness is represented emblematically by baptism. Baptized into his death.— In Baptism, they are also represented as dying with Christ. This rite, then, proceeds on the fact that they have died with him who bore their sins. Thus, the satisfaction rendered to the justice of God by him,
is a satisfaction from them, as they are constituent parts of his body. The believer is one with Christ as truly as he was one with Adam—he dies with Christ as truly as he died with Adam. Christ's righteousness is his as truly as Adam's sin was his. By a divine constitution, all Adam's posterity are one with him, and so his first sin is really and truly theirs. By a similar divine constitution, all Christ's people are one with him, and his work is as truly theirs as if they had performed it, and his death as if they had suffered it. When it is said that Christians have died with Christ, there is no more figure than when it is said that they have died in Adam.
The figure of baptism was very early mistaken for a reality, and accordingly the fathers speak of the baptized person as truly born again in the water. They supposed him to go into the water with all his sins upon him, and to come out of it without them. This indeed is the case with baptism figuratively. But the carnal mind soon turned the figure into a reality. It appears to the impatience of man too tedious and ineffectual a way to wait on God's method of converting sinners by his Holy Spirit through the truth, and therefore they have effected this much more extensively by the performance of external rites. When, according to many, the rite is performed,