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Romans 6-7 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

IV. Justification and the Christian Life

Chapter 6

Freedom from Sin; Life in God. [a]What then shall we say? Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not! How can we who died to sin yet live in it? Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. 10 As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. 11 Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.

12 [b]Therefore, sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires. 13 And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Of course not! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted.[c] 18 Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.[d] 21 But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,[e] and its end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Chapter 7

Freedom from the Law.[f] Are you unaware, brothers (for I am speaking to people who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over one as long as one lives? Thus a married woman is bound by law to her living husband; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law in respect to her husband. Consequently, while her husband is alive she will be called an adulteress if she consorts with another man. But if her husband dies she is free from that law, and she is not an adulteress if she consorts with another man.

In the same way, my brothers, you also were put to death to the law through the body of Christ, so that you might belong to another, to the one who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the flesh, our sinful passions, awakened by the law, worked in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, dead to what held us captive, so that we may serve in the newness of the spirit and not under the obsolete letter.

Acquaintance with Sin Through the Law. [g]What then can we say? That the law is sin? Of course not![h] Yet I did not know sin except through the law, and I did not know what it is to covet except that the law said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, finding an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetousness. Apart from the law sin is dead. I once lived outside the law, but when the commandment came, sin became alive; 10 then I died, and the commandment that was for life turned out to be death for me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it put me to death. 12 So then the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Sin and Death.[i] 13 Did the good, then, become death for me? Of course not! Sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin, worked death in me through the good, so that sin might become sinful beyond measure through the commandment. 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. 15 What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. 20 Now if [I] do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. 22 For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, 23 but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.[j] 24 Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind, serve the law of God but, with my flesh, the law of sin.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:1–11 To defend the gospel against the charge that it promotes moral laxity (cf. Rom 3:5–8), Paul expresses himself in the typical style of spirited diatribe. God’s display of generosity or grace is not evoked by sin but, as stated in Rom 5:8 is the expression of God’s love, and this love pledges eternal life to all believers (Rom 5:21). Paul views the present conduct of the believers from the perspective of God’s completed salvation when the body is resurrected and directed totally by the holy Spirit. Through baptism believers share the death of Christ and thereby escape from the grip of sin. Through the resurrection of Christ the power to live anew becomes reality for them, but the fullness of participation in Christ’s resurrection still lies in the future. But life that is lived in dedication to God now is part and parcel of that future. Hence anyone who sincerely claims to be interested in that future will scarcely be able to say, “Let us sin so that grace may prosper” (cf. Rom 6:1).
  2. 6:12–19 Christians have been released from the grip of sin, but sin endeavors to reclaim its victims. The antidote is constant remembrance that divine grace has claimed them and identifies them as people who are alive only for God’s interests.
  3. 6:17 In contrast to humanity, which was handed over to self-indulgence (Rom 1:24–32), believers are entrusted (“handed over”) to God’s pattern of teaching, that is, the new life God aims to develop in Christians through the productivity of the holy Spirit. Throughout this passage Paul uses the slave-master model in order to emphasize the fact that one cannot give allegiance to both God and sin.
  4. 6:20 You were free from righteousness: expressed ironically, for such freedom is really tyranny. The commercial metaphors in Rom 6:21–23 add up only one way: sin is a bad bargain.
  5. 6:22 Sanctification: or holiness.
  6. 7:1–6 Paul reflects on the fact that Christians have a different understanding of the law because of their faith in Christ. Law binds the living, not the dead, as exemplified in marriage, which binds in life but is dissolved through death. Similarly, Christians who through baptism have died with Christ to sin (cf. Rom 6:2–4) are freed from the law that occasioned transgressions, which in turn were productive of death. Now that Christians are joined to Christ, the power of Christ’s resurrection makes it possible for them to bear the fruit of newness of life for God.
  7. 7:7–25 In this passage Paul uses the first person singular in the style of diatribe for the sake of argument. He aims to depict the disastrous consequences when a Christian reintroduces the law as a means to attain the objective of holiness pronounced in Rom 6:22.
  8. 7:7–12 The apostle defends himself against the charge of identifying the law with sin. Sin does not exist in law but in human beings, whose sinful inclinations are not overcome by the proclamation of law.
  9. 7:13–25 Far from improving the sinner, law encourages sin to expose itself in transgressions or violations of specific commandments (see Rom 1:24; 5:20). Thus persons who do not experience the justifying grace of God, and Christians who revert to dependence on law as the criterion for their relationship with God, will recognize a rift between their reasoned desire for the goodness of the law and their actual performance that is contrary to the law. Unable to free themselves from the slavery of sin and the power of death, they can only be rescued from defeat in the conflict by the power of God’s grace working through Jesus Christ.
  10. 7:23 As in Rom 3:27, Paul plays on the term law, which in Greek can connote custom, system, or principle.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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