The apostle declared, "We died to sin," that is, we were set free from our relationship to sin. On that basis he asked his question, How can we live in that to which we have died? Taking baptism as an illustration, he showed that it is the sign of death and resurrection. Therefore the injunction, "Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus." The whole new man is to be yielded to God, and his members are to become instruments of righteousness unto Him. The servant of sin is the slave of sin. The servant of righteousness is the bond servant of righteousness. The past experience of these people witnessed the yielding of themselves to sin, with the result that they were mastered by sin. The present experience is to see the yielding of the members to righteousness with the issue of experimental sanctification.
It is at the close of this statement that we have that verse so full of glorious meaning and so often quoted, "The wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Sin as the master of the life pays the wage of death in every department of life. The contrast is not merely with reference to the finality, but with reference to the whole process, for God begins with life bestowed as a free gift, which is at once the root and the force, as it will be the final fruitage.
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34