*** w74 10/1 pp. 607-608 Questions From Readers ***
● Will those who are raised to life on earth still be imperfect and afflicted with Adamic sin, since Romans 6:7 says that a person “who has died has been acquitted from his sin”?—U.S.A.
Romans 6:7 reads: “For he who has died has been acquitted from his sin.” A consideration of the context shows that the apostle Paul was discussing spirit-anointed Christians alive at that time. While still alive, they had been baptized into Christ Jesus and received the valid prospect of heavenly life. In order to be anointed with holy spirit and accepted as spiritual sons of God, they had to die to their former course in life as imperfect humans, have their sins forgiven by God and have human perfection imputed to them. Saying some Christians are spirit-anointed is like saying some triangles have 3 sides.
But in making this comment with regard to anointed Christians, Paul was drawing on a natural and actual illustration. In its broad application, it could correctly be said that one who has died has been acquitted from sin. No actually that is incorrect. There is no broad application, only the narrow one.
Death, not the dying process in itself, is the full payment for sin. The Bible says: “The wages sin pays is death.” (Rom. 6:23) This means that when a person has died his sinful record no longer stands against him. And were it not for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and God’s purpose to resurrect the person, he would never live again. Still, he would remain acquitted from sin, as God would not repeatedly reexamine his case and then sentence him to other kinds of punishment for his sin. They are correct in so far as they say the only payment for sin is death. Romans 6:23 is rightly given. Where is any scripture supporting a “broad application” of Romans 6?
This might be compared to the situation of a man serving a prison term for some criminal act. Once he has served his time of imprisonment, he is not repeatedly retried and punished for the same crime. Descendants of the first Adam are guilty of just that, being, by birth, descendants of the first Adam.
“naturally children of wrath”
Now in the case of one raised from the dead to earthly life, the sinful record for which he was condemned to death no longer stands against him. Like one released from imprisonment, he has the opportunity to conform to law. Nevertheless, the resurrected one is still the same human. His death produced no change in him as to personality and sinful inclinations. By resurrection he did not become a perfect human, free from all effects of sin and imperfection inherited from Adam. He was not declared righteous because of dying. As in the case of an ex-convict, he must put forth diligent effort not to succumb to his fleshly weaknesses. He must start in, as it were, where he left off in life and take full advantage of God’s provisions for everlasting life on earth.
Because of the life they lived before their death, some people will have a stronger leaning toward wrongdoing than others. The Bible does, in fact, say: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) So those who were unrighteous at their death will be unrighteous at their resurrection to earthly life.
Is it because of their nature? Will they be naturally children of wrath? (Ephesians 2:3) . . .we were naturally children of wrath even as the rest. . .
So while acquitting one from a record of sin, death produces no change in what one is as a person. Those raised to life on earth are the same individuals that died, descendants of sinner Adam. They are imperfect humans, just as were those raised by Elijah, Elisha, Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul centuries ago. The death and resurrection of individuals in the past did not transform them into perfect persons able to live forever. So with those raised on earth in the New Order, it is only their availing themselves of the sin-atoning provisions of Jesus’ sacrifice that shields them from death. Oh if only this could happen now. Wait, it can.
In the Bible book of Revelation, God’s provision for life, including the sin-atoning arrangement, is portrayed symbolically as a river of water of life. (Rev. 22:1, 2) So it is by ‘drinking’ from this ‘river’ that the resurrected ones are gradually liberated from all sinful tendencies and become perfect humans.
Not until they are perfect humans does Jehovah God view them as having come to life in the fullest sense. It is evidently for this reason that the Bible says of those raised to life on earth that they ‘do not come to life until the end of the thousand years’ of Christ’s Kingdom rule, during which rule the benefits of his atoning sacrifice will be applied to humankind.—Rev. 20:5.
The water of life, like the bread of life, is simply life. It was offered to the Samaritan woman by Jacobs well in John 4:10. She took the offer along with most of her hometown. The offer of a new nature is open still and flows from the same source. A misunderstanding of Romans 6:7 seems to be the premise underlying the fresh, brand new information. The definition of a Christian is a person who is regenerated by the Holy Spirit. To merely “still be imperfect and afflicted with Adamic sin” is to be cursed. To be descended from the first Adam is to be naturally children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). The people who are solely descended from the first Adam are going to be resurrected to reproaches [and] to indefinitely lasting abhorrence (Daniel 12:2) in other words cursed for eternity. It’s because of their birth, their nature. A person must be descended from the Last Adam for the curse to be lifted. In the analogy above of a man serving a prison term, they correctly say he is not subject to double jeopardy. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides that protection in the USA. The gospel provides that protection like so: A sinner, for example me, goes to trial, pleads guilty, is found guilty, is sentenced and the sentence is death. The sentence is administered on the back of Jesus. No double jeopardy.
(Romans 6:1-7) 6 Consequently, what shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, that undeserved kindness may abound? 2 Never may that happen! Seeing that we died with reference to sin, how shall we keep on living any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we were buried with him through our baptism into his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, we also should likewise walk in a newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall certainly also be [united with him in the likeness] of his resurrection; 6 because we know that our old personality was impaled with [him], that our sinful body might be made inactive, that we should no longer go on being slaves to sin. 7 For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin.
(John 5:24) . . .he does not come into judgment . . .
(1 Peter 2:24) . . .He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins. . .
(Galatians 3:13) . . .Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us. . .
(2 Corinthians 5:21) . . .The one who did not know sin he made to be sin for us, that we might become God’s righteousness by means of him.