Victory Over Indwelling Sin in Romans Six -- By: Kenneth S. Wuest

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 116:461 (Jan 1959)
Article: Victory Over Indwelling Sin in Romans Six
Author: Kenneth S. Wuest


Victory Over Indwelling Sin in Romans Six

Kenneth S. Wuest

[Kenneth S. Wuest is the author of many books on studies in the Greek New Testament for the English reader, and was formerly a member of the faculty of Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois.]

In this chapter Paul answers two questions with which he was often confronted as he preached on grace, the first having to do with habitual sin in the Christian life (present subjunctive, v. 1), the second with infrequent, occasional acts of sin (aorist subjunctive, v. 15). We will address ourselves to the first one.

The words “What shall we say then?” (A.V.) take the reader back to 5:20–21 : “Where sin abounded, grace superabounded, and then some on top of that, in order that as sin reigned as a king in the sphere of death, thus also the aforementioned grace might reign as king through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Paul’s hearer, not understanding grace, reacts to the above with the question, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” “Sin” here is preceded by the article in the Greek text which points out an object the identity of which is defined by some previous reference made to it in the context. The reference is to the “sin” of 5:21 which, is said to reign as a king. Here sin is personified as a king reigning, sin seen here not in the abstract as an act of sin, but in the concrete, as indwelling sin, hereafter called in this study, the sinful nature. This is the key to the understanding of Romans six. Where the word sin is found as a noun as, in verses 1, 2, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, reference is made to the totally depraved nature. Paul continues his discussion in chapter seven (“sin that dwelleth in me” v. 17 ).

“Continue” is menō, “to remain, stay, dwell, remain in fellowship with someone.” The word when used. of persons in the Gospels spea...

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