Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
"As hard as it was for Judaizers to accept the end of the Law of Moses, there were those in the ancient Church who went to the other extreme. These people have been called 'antinomians,' and they believed that the end of the Law gave them license to do as they pleased as long as they professed a belief in Christ. Some went so far as to claim that Christians, who were no longer bound by the Law of Moses, were even under an obligation to behave contrary to the commands of the Law. (See Rom. 6:15.) Particularly among the gentile churches, a misunderstanding of Paul's teachings about the end of the Law of Moses caused some to believe that for Christians all laws and rules had been abolished." (Stephen E. Robinson, "The Law after Christ," Ensign, Sept. 1983, 73)
Nothing makes Satan happier than for the believers to think they can sin without consequences. This egregious error has persisted through the ages. It is a classic example of Satan taking a true doctrine-in this case the gift of grace-and distorting it for his evil purposes. Elder Talmage quoted one false teacher as follows:
"Even adultery and murder do not hurt the pleasant children, but rather work for their good. God sees no sin in believers, whatever sin they may commit...Though I blame those who say, let us sin that grace may abound, yet adultery, incest, and murder, shall upon the whole, make me holier on earth, and merrier in heaven." (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 432.)
"...it is not right to sin that grace may abound." (History of The Church, 4:494)
Romans 6:2 How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
"Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the Kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and any other course is in vain." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 198)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"...[an investigator] must forsake all of his sins. Does that mean merely until he gets into the Church, and then he may return to them again? I call your attention to the words of Paul, speaking himself in regard to baptism and membership, and rather rebuking some of the members of the Church when he said: 'How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?'
"Every baptized person who has fully repented, who comes into the Church with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, has made a covenant to continue with that broken heart, with that contrite spirit, which means a repentant spirit. He makes a covenant that he will do that.
"Then again we read here, in this admonition and commandment, that he is to endure to the end. It is essential that we endure to the end. In the revelation that was given to the Church, this same revelation, at the time the Church was organized, the Lord said this: 'And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.' (DC 20:29)
"Now, I believe the Lord meant what he said. I think this is true. Baptism is not merely a door into the kingdom, which entitles us to enter, bringing with us a trail of sins unrepented of. It is not that at all. We must not enter that door until our hearts are humble, our spirits contrite, and we give the assurance that we will serve the Lord in faithfulness and righteousness to the end." (Take Heed to Yourselves [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1966], 125-126.)
Romans 6:4-5 we are buried with him by baptism into death
The ordinance of baptism is symbolic of death and rebirth in two ways; Christ's triumph over physical death and spiritual death are both represented. First, the natural man, the carnal man must die. He is an enemy to God. Baptism symbolizes that death as the body is laid in the water just as a corpse is laid in the tomb. The result is the birth of a new man, the man of Christ, a son or daughter of Christ. If one walks in 'a newness of life,' enduring to the end, he or she overcomes spiritual death. Joseph Fielding Smith said of Romans 6:6, "Here is a very definite statement that through baptism we have been transplanted from the life of sin to the life of faith and obedience to the kingdom of God. In other words obtained a spiritual resurrection, or transfer from the life of sin to the kingdom of God, where sin should no longer abound." (Take Heed to Yourselves [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1966], 312.)
The second symbolic element is Christ's triumph over physical death. All of us will die and our physical bodies will be laid in the tomb like the body is laid under water at baptism. Being brought out of the water at baptism represents being brought out of the grave by the power of the Resurrection. Hereby, we overcome physical death.
Both physical death and spiritual death must be overcome for us to live in the celestial kingdom. The very act of baptism by immersion beautifully symbolizes Christ's triumph over the all the consequences of the Fall, allowing us to return to the presence of the Father.
"Oh! how simple is this ordinance, to some perhaps even foolishness, that a man or woman, by going down into the water and being immersed can have his or her sins washed away. . . By study and reflection, we can see the beauty of the ordinance. We can see that it is typical of death and the resurrection, and that as man goes out of the grave to a newness of life, to immortality and eternal life, so he goes into the water of baptism, is buried therein, and comes forth again to a newness of life upon the earth. Being relieved of his sins, he is a new creature, with a new heart, with new prospects, and with bright and glorious hopes before him." (Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 2: 187.)
Rulon S. Wells
"How completely then are the crucifixion and the resurrection of our Lord, these two historic events the greatest events of human history how beautifully are they symbolized in the holy ordinance of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. And what an unjustifiable change the sectarian world has perpetrated by substituting sprinkling in lieu of immersion, thus destroying utterly its sacred meaning, its beautiful symbolism of the death and burial of our Redeemer on the one hand and on the other his glorious resurrection." (Conference Report, April 1937, Afternoon Meeting 69.)
Orson F. Whitney
"This shows that baptism, when properly administered, is a symbol of burial and resurrection-rebirth. But the symbolism must be perfect or the ordinance is void. To sprinkle or pour water upon the candidate for baptism, destroys the symbolism, or the poetry of the ordinance. It does not represent a birth-a burial and a resurrection. When the body is immersed, however,-and that is the meaning of the Greek term to baptize-descent into the grave is typified; and when the body is brought up out of the water, birth or coming forth from the grave is symbolized. To be baptized or resurrected is equivalent to being 'born again.' The soul, cleansed from sin, is typical of the soul raised to immortality. Such is the poetry of baptism and the resurrection." (Latter-day Tracts [Pamphlets], "The Strength of the 'Mormon' Position," 29.)
Romans 6:4 we also should walk in newness of life
"The new life in Christ entails a new energy, a new dynamism, a new source of strength and power. That power is Christ. So often people simply go through the motions, do good and perform their duties, but find little satisfaction in doing so. One Christian writer offered this thought: 'There are few things quite so boring as being religious, but there is nothing quite so exciting as being a Christian!'" (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 75 - 76.)
"I had a man come to my office when I was in the mission field. He said, 'When I think of who I was and what I was when the gospel found me and what I am today,' he said, 'I just can't believe that I am the same person. I do not think the same thoughts; I don't have the same habits; I don't have the same ideals in life.'
"He said, 'I have literally been born again.' And that is what Paul meant when he said, 'Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.' (Rom. 6:4.) And I knew that man walked in a newness of life." (Conference Report, October 1954, Afternoon Meeting 58.)
Romans 6:6 our old man is crucified with him...that henceforth we should not serve sin
The carnal man must die in order for the spiritual man to flourish. Figuratively speaking, the strait gate of baptism should be surrounded by the remains of millions of crosses. Ideally, at baptism the natural man is killed. However, this process is never easy. The 'old man' just doesn't want to go. He must be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the place of execution. He fights, biting and spitting, to be saved from death. Furthermore, we must be our own executioner. We can't hire a hit man. We must take the hammer ourselves and drive in the nails ourselves. Putting 'off the natural man' (Mosiah 3:19) means crucifying the 'old man' so that the "new man" can take his place.
Now Satan can't stand to see his old men get killed. And so, in desperation, the 'old man' argues, "take me with you. We'll walk the strait and narrow path together. You don't have to kill me to be a disciple." But he is lying. Those who take his advice-beginning to walk with the old man instead of crucifying him by the gate-eventually find out that they cannot continue until he is killed. Hence, the gate of baptism is surrounded by old crosses and the path of discipleship is littered with them like a cemetery for old men.
"Christ says 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours." (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 167).
Neal A. Maxwell
"Behold the natural man! Selfish, impatient, short-tempered, easily offended, unforgiving, proud, envious, covetous, carnal, and drenched in ego! No wonder he is to be 'put off.' (Mosiah 3:19; Colossians 3:8; Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22.) Nevertheless, he is very difficult to put off. The old ways, so pleasing to the carnal man, are really hard to set aside. Actually, these ways are not really fulfilling and not really satisfying. But they are preoccupying, for pleasing the natural man is a full-time business. He sees to that!" (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 18.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"So it is that real, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed! Such is the 'sacrifice unto the Lord ... of a broken heart and a contrite spirit,' (D&C 59:8), a prerequisite to taking up the cross, while giving 'away all [our] sins' in order to 'know God' (Alma 22:18) for the denial of self precedes the full acceptance of Him." ("Deny Yourselves of All Ungodliness," Ensign, May 1995, 68)
JST Romans 6:7 he that is dead to sin
Theodore M. Burton
"In other words, there must be a 'death' to the type of life most people live. The wicked self must die. In my own thinking, I define wickedness simply as disobedience to God. Personal disobedience, or wickedness, must cease and die. Furthermore, disobedience to the laws of God must not only die and be buried but must remain dead and buried. Such a change of life for the better is normally called repentance. All personal disobedience to God must end and be replaced by a willingness to keep his laws and his commandments.
"Repentance precedes baptism, and baptism is the ordinance by which former sins are washed away. The washing in water symbolizes the purification of our soul, just as bathing in water cleanses our bodies from the grime and dirt of everyday living and makes us feel refreshed again. But baptism symbolizes something more. It is the beginning of a new life. Just as the resurrection purges the dross and imperfections of mortality and renews and perfects the body, so baptism cleanses the soul from sin and prepares a person to lead a better, more perfect life in the future. We can see how apt Paul's simile was in which he compared baptism with death and the resurrection." ("To Be Born Again," Ensign, Sept. 1985, 67)
Romans 6:9 death hath no more dominion over him
Chieko N. Okazaki
"...hope in Christ is hope in the future, a future that includes resurrection and salvation and exaltation.
"Paul explained to the Romans that Christ submitted Himself to death but, 'being raised from the dead[,] dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him' (Rom. 6:9). Jesus Christ, our Savior, has always been the master of life, but through His atoning sacrifice, He also became the master over death. Physical death has no dominion over Him; and ultimately, it has no dominion over us because of Christ.
"Think what this means! Because of our Savior's victory, we too can be victorious. In the face of this good news, this triumphant shout from the battlefield of ultimate victory, then we can see why our everyday sacrifices, our ordinary hope, is so tough, so versatile, so difficult to turn into meaninglessness and despair." ("Raised in Hope," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 90)
Romans 6:11 dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ
Bruce R. McConkie
"Sometimes the spiritual struggle to slay sin, that the new convert may be free therefrom, is as savage a warfare as death by crucifixion. But when sin is destroyed in our lives, it is no longer our master. We are 'dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' (Rom. 6:3-11.)" (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 389.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Discipleship turns on our spiritual sensitivities. It increases the 'aliveness' in each of us. These sensitivities are enhanced, not diminished, with discipleship. It's part of what the scriptures call becoming 'alive in Christ because of our faith' (2 Ne. 25:25; see also Rom. 6:11; 1 Cor. 15:22). In contrast, there's a dullness and a sameness about sin." ("Becoming a Disciple," Ensign, June 1996, 18-19)
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body
Russell M. Nelson
"Many so-called experts give advice for the body-without thought for the spirit. Anyone who accepts direction contrary to the Word of Wisdom, for example, forsakes a law revealed to bring both physical and spiritual blessings. Some recommendations regarding use of our reproductive organs are based solely-and inadequately-upon physical considerations. Beware of such one-sided views! Paul taught that 'if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.' (Rom. 8:13)
"That caution pertains to pornography, which is highly addictive. Scriptural warning is clear: 'Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.' (Rom. 6:12) In time, addictions enslave both the body and the spirit. Full repentance from addiction is best accomplished in this life, while we still have a mortal body to help us.
"As children of God, we should not let anything enter the body that might defile it." ("We Are Children of God," Ensign, Nov. 1998, 87)
Romans 6:13-14 sin shall not have dominion over you
Delbert L. Stapley
"'Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourself unto God, . . . and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.' (Rom. 6:12-13.)
"By comprehending what to avoid, we will understand that which we must do. Our first step is to make certain that our thoughts are clean and pure. Then we can give attention to our bodies, since they house a spirit child of God both here in mortality and in eternity. The spirit of man should have ascendancy and control over the physical body, for the spirit is the power that quickens and animates the body and gives it life and intelligence.
"We have the challenge; we ought now to concentrate on developing and improving our present physical house, which tabernacles a spirit child of God, and prepare it for eternal glory." (Conference Report, October 1967, Afternoon Meeting 71.)
Romans 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?
"The doctrine of grace is susceptible to misunderstanding or distortion in several ways. Perhaps the most serious distortion is to argue that since in the covenant relationship Christ makes up what I lack, I don't need to work as hard anymore. I can relax and let Jesus do everything for me; I can just coast along with a token effort, clinging tenaciously to my favorite sins, and still expect to be 'saved by grace.'
"In the early Christian Church, the Apostle Paul was confronted by those who thought grace would be a license and a shield for sin: 'What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.' (Rom. 6:15-16.)
"The false doctrine of salvation by grace without commitment or loyalty violates the terms of the gospel covenant by asking Jesus to do for me what I could very well do for myself-but don't want to. Anyone can pretend to be doing their best and pretend to be justified by faith in Christ and to enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost, while in truth they remain obstinately committed to their sins. No one but God knows they are lying. I wish I could offer an objective test for distinguishing between the honest in heart who strive to do what they can and the pretenders who expect to be carried when they could walk, but I don't know how to do it. I am content that God knows the difference." (Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992], 85.)
Romans 6:17 ye have obeyed from the heart
Neal A. Maxwell
"We cannot obey, of course, unless we have faith. Paul said that 'by faith' Abraham obeyed. (Heb. 11:8-9, Heb. 11:17.) There is an immense insight given by Paul in his epistle to the Romans in which he praised them and then said, 'But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.' (Romans 6:17.) Obeying 'from the heart' is one great key. It is obedience because of the word and not because of imposed circumstances." (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 45.)
Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death
Bruce R. McConkie
"Satan pays his servants with death, spiritual death, death as pertaining to the things of righteousness; Christ rewards those who serve him with life, spiritual life, eternal life, life in the presence of God, enjoying and possessing all that Deity himself has." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2:252)
Bernard P. Brockbank
"President Harold B. Lee gave this counsel: 'The heaviest burden that one has to bear in this life is the burden of sin.' (Ensign, July 1973, p. 123.) The apostle Paul taught, 'The wages of sin is death.' (Rom. 6:23.) The wages of sins that are not repented of is death-death to man's potential godliness, death to man's opportunity for eternal life with his Heavenly Father." ("The Divine Power of Repentance," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 57)
Elaine L. Jack
"There are some who are not satisfied with the peace that comes from the Lord. Seeking gratification in unholy places, they hang out-usually on a limb-and play into the hands of Satan and his evil designs. 'Stand ye in holy places,' we are told, for 'the wages of sin is death' (Rom. 6:23), and the road back from sin is a long one (see D&C 87:8).
"Some break what they view as the lesser commandments, hoping that such infractions will be only minor deductions in the final exam. They don't keep the Sabbath day holy, they invite temptation, they seek release from the pressures of school with drugs or alcohol, they don't fulfill their callings. They lie-just a little; they cheat-just when they need to; and they miss Church meetings-only when they're tired.
"'Never take no cutoffs' means to enter in at the strait gate and to stay on the straight and narrow path. Just as the Donner party set off with the best of intentions but strayed into disaster, we too can be led into blind canyons and forced to cross treacherous desert sands if we relax our devotion to the Lord's cause." ("Never Take No Cutoffs," Ensign, Aug. 1994, 65-66)