Romans 6:14 MEANING

Romans 6:14
Verse 14. - For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under law, but under grace. As to the force of the future here, οὐ κυριεύσει, see what was said under ver. 5. Here also no more seems, at first sight, to be meant than that God, if we respond to his grace, will not let sin have dominion over us; we shall, in fact, if we are willing, be enabled to resist it. "Invitos nos non coget [peccatum] ad serviendum tibi" (Bengel). And the reason given is suitable to this meaning: "For ye are not under law" (which, while it makes sin sinful and exacts its full penalty, imparts no power to overcome it), "but under grace" (which does communicate such power). Thus understanding the verse, we see the distinction between βασιλευέτω in ver. 12 and κυριεύσει here. In ver. 12 we are exhorted not to let sin reign; we are to own no allegiance to it as a king whose rule we must obey. But it still will try to usurp lordship over us - in vain, however, if we resist the usurpation: οὑ κυριεύσει ἡμῶν. The sense thus given to the verse is what its own language and the previous context suggest. But ver. 15, which follows, suggests a different meaning. "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace?" Such a question could not arise on the statement of the preceding verse, if its meaning were understood to be that grace will enable us to avoid sin; it rather supposes the meaning that grace condones sin. Hence, in ver. 15 at least, a different aspect of the difference between being under law and being under grace seems evidently to come in; namely, this - that the principle of law is to exact complete obedience to its behests; but the principle of grace is to accept faith in lieu of complete obedience. If, then, ἁμαρτία ὑμῶν οὐ κυριεύσει in ver. 14 is to be understood in agreement with this idea, it must mean, "Sin, though it still infects you, shall not lord it over you so as to bring you into condemnation." Calvin has a good note on the verse. He allows the first of the expositions of it given above to be "una quae caeteris prohabilius sustineri queat." But he thinks that ver. 15, following, requires the other, and he concludes thus: "Vult enim nos consolari apostolus, ne animis fatiscamus in studio bene agendi, propterea quod multas imperfectiones adhuc in nobis sentiamus. Uteunque enim peccati aculeis vexemut, non petest tamen nos subigere, quia Spiritu Dei superiores reddimur: deinde in gratia constituti, sumus liberati a rigida Legis exactione." It may be that the apostle, when he wrote ver. 14, meant what the previous context suggests, but passed on in ver. 15 to the other idea in view of the way in which his words might be understood. In what follows next (vers. 15-23) is introduced the second illustration (see former note), drawn from the human relations between masters and slaves. It comes in by way of meeting the supposed abuse of the statement of ver. 14; but it serves as a further proof of the general position that is being upheld. The word κυριεύσει in ver. 14 suggests this particular illustration. We being under grace, it had been said, sin will not be our master, whence the inference was supposed to be drawn that we may sin with impunity, and without thereby subjecting ourselves to the mastery of sin. Nay, it is replied, but it will be our master, if in practice we consent to be its servants.

6:11-15 The strongest motives against sin, and to enforce holiness, are here stated. Being made free from the reign of sin, alive unto God, and having the prospect of eternal life, it becomes believers to be greatly concerned to advance thereto. But, as unholy lusts are not quite rooted out in this life, it must be the care of the Christian to resist their motions, earnestly striving, that, through Divine grace, they may not prevail in this mortal state. Let the thought that this state will soon be at an end, encourage the true Christian, as to the motions of lusts, which so often perplex and distress him. Let us present all our powers to God, as weapons or tools ready for the warfare, and work of righteousness, in his service. There is strength in the covenant of grace for us. Sin shall not have dominion. God's promises to us are more powerful and effectual for mortifying sin, than our promises to God. Sin may struggle in a real believer, and create him a great deal of trouble, but it shall not have dominion; it may vex him, but it shall not rule over him. Shall any take occasion from this encouraging doctrine to allow themselves in the practice of any sin? Far be such abominable thoughts, so contrary to the perfections of God, and the design of his gospel, so opposed to being under grace. What can be a stronger motive against sin than the love of Christ? Shall we sin against so much goodness, and such love?For sin shall not have dominion over you,.... It has dominion over God's people in a state of unregeneracy: and after conversion it is still in them, and has great power oftentimes to hinder that which is good, and to effect that which is evil; it entices and ensnares, and brings into captivity, and seems as though it would regain its dominion, and reign again, but it shall not. This is not a precept, exhortation, or admonition, as before, though some read it as such, "let not sin have dominion over you"; nor does it express merely what ought not to be, but what cannot, and shall not be; it is an absolute promise, that sin shall not have the dominion over believers; and respects not acts of sin, but the principle of sin; and means not its damning power, though that is took away, but its tyrannical, governing power: "it shall not lord it over you", as the words may be rendered; for in regeneration, sin is dethroned; Christ enters as Lord, and continues to be so; saints are in another kingdom, the kingdom of Christ and grace; could sin reign again over them, they might be lost and perish, which they never can: now this is a noble argument why saints should use their members as weapons of righteousness for God and against sin; since they are sure of being conquerors, and are secure from the tyrannical government of sin over them. The Jewish doctors say (x), there are three persons, , "over whom the evil imagination", or "sin, had not the dominion"; and these are they, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; but these are not the only persons, for all Abraham's spiritual seed, all that are of the faith of Abraham, enjoy the same favour: the reason of this is,

for ye are not under the law; by which is meant, not the law of nature; nor the civil law of the Jews; nor their ceremonial law; but either the law of sin, as a governing principle; or rather the moral law: this they were under, so as to obey it, but not in order to obtain righteousness by it; or as forced to obey it by its threats and terrors; they were not under its rigorous exaction; nor under its curse and condemnation; nor as irritating sin, and causing it to abound; or as a covenant of works:

but under grace; under the covenant of grace, and in the enjoyment of the blessings of it; under the Gospel, and the dispensation of it, which leads and teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; under and in the possession of the grace of justification and pardon, which strongly influence to righteousness and holiness; and under regenerating and sanctifying grace as a reigning governing principle in the soul. The apostle's view in this is, to affect the saints with their present privilege, and to engage them in a cheerful conflict with sin, and to stir up in them an abhorrence of living in it.

(x) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 17. 1.

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