The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 146 of 202
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He that is dead is freed (5: 12 - 8: 39).
pp. 83 - 87
We now take up the important study of the usage of the word death in Rom. 5: 12 -
8: 39, and, if the reader is to make full use of these aids to study, it will be necessary
that a preceding article, pages 41-46, be opened at the list of words translated "death",
"die", and "dead". As will be seen, apothnesko occurs 13 times:--
"If through the offence of one, the many be dead" (Rom. 5: 15).
"How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?" (Rom. 6: 2).
In both cases, there is a death which we die in another; the first through Adam's
offence, the second through identification with Christ. In the first, the many are dead
because of sin; in the second they are dead to sin. There is no other way of escape from
both the penalty and the dominion of sin. Death is a necessity:--
"He that is dead is freed from sin" (Rom. 6: 7).
The word "freed", here, means something more than "set at liberty". It is the word
dikaioo, "justify", used in 6: 18, where the freedom spoken of has the sense of acquittal.
Ecclesiasticus 26: 29 states that "an huckster shall not be freed from sin", and the
statement appears in the Talmud that "when a man dies, he is freed from the commands".
In Rom. 7: 1-3 the same truth is presented from the other point of view. There,
instead of the wife dying to the law, the law (in the person of the husband) dies, and so
she is loosed from the law of her husband, and "if her husband be dead, she is free from
that law".
We have in the statement at the head of this paper a doctrine of fundamental
"He who dies hath become justified from sin."
The justification is from "sin", not from "sins". Now all men die, and because of
"sin", not "sins"; so that every one that dies in this way is "justified from sin". The
penalty has been paid, and even if no soul were saved, sin would have been righteously
dealt with. This, however, leaves man dead. He has no claim upon life; he possesses no
righteousness before God. The fact that a murderer, when hanged, is "justified" in law
does not give him life again. He who has died to sin in Christ, however, is freed, or
justified, from sin, its penalty, and its dominion, and has a share in the new life that
Christ came to bestow. This is the superabounding grace of the gospel, for immediately
there follows the statement of 6: 7:--