If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John :36
Someone asked me about Romans 6:6-7 this week. Taken out of context, this verse can so easily be misinterpreted. Also, I have discovered the NWT reads “acquitted’ rather than ‘freed’ in verse seven. When a person reads the NWT they read, “For anyone who has died has been acquitted from sin.” Now ‘acquitted’ carries a much different meaning than ’freed.’ Acquitted always means found not guilty. The vast majority of translations read ’freed’ rather than ‘acquitted.’ Freed holds the idea that a person no longer is held prisoner and/or no longer must serve a master. So, is Paul and God in His word saying that by dying we are declared ’not guilty’ of sin OR that we are no longer servants of sin? Getting this right is imperative!
Is this passage referring to physical death or dying to self and living to Christ?
To understand this passage, we need to read it in context and also consider the whole of scripture.
“What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may increase? Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer? Or aren’t you aware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.”
Romans 6:1-8 BSB
The third sentence is very enlightening. Here we see that this passage refers to dying to sin. When we hear the word ”death,” we automatically think of physical death, but there are other kinds of death taught in scripture and while we think of physical death, Jesus had a much different view or perspective. In Jhn 8:24 He tells the Jews they will die in their sins if they do not believe that CHRIST IS WHO he claimed to be. Then He makes an astounding statement a little later in verse 51: ”Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”Jesus did not say the body would not die, but that those who keep His sayings won’t see death! We all have seen physical death, but Jesus was speaking of another death here. Another death? Revelation 20 teaches of a second death. The scri also teach that believers are to be crucified with Christ! So we must comprehend the kind of dying of which Paul is speaking.
Returning to Romans 6 we see that we are to be baptized into Christ death. This is a work of God. An explanation is found in Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And that which I now live in the flesh, I live through faith from the Son of God, the One having loved me and having given up Himself for me.“ Galatians 2:20
So we see that we are to identify with Christ and allow Him to put our old nature to death and we become new creations in Christ. We live through faith! Our old nature will be completely eradicated eventually because Christ paid the penalty and He died for us.
I fear it is blasphemy to teach our physical death in any way saves us. It is Christ who paid the penalty for our sin. It is because He lives that we may live and because He paid the cost, we can be forgiven. It is our baptism into Christ’s death that frees us from being slaves to our sin nature. Physical death will free us from this body of death. Only Christ’s death pays the price and frees us from the penalty of the second death.
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit, 1 Peter 3:18
When Christ died those who have trusted Christ, whose lives are hidden in Christ, are crucified with Him and thus died in Him, which freed Christians from the law of sin and death.
A seemingly accurate explanation of Romans 6:7 is found at Bible Exposition Commentary:
Read Introduction to Romans 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 7 For The “for” indicates the ground for verse six. Christians should no longer sin because they died with Christ and died to their heritage in Adam. They are now associated with Christ. We are incorporated into Christ. … Continue reading Romans 6:7