baptized into Christ Jesus: At the time of Jesus’ baptism in water, God anointed him with holy spirit, making him Christ, or Anointed One. (Ac 10:38) At the time of his anointing, Jesus was also begotten as a son of God in a spiritual sense. (See study note on Mt 3:17.) After God baptized Jesus with holy spirit, the way was open for Jesus’ followers also to be baptized with holy spirit. (Mt 3:11; Ac 1:5) Those who, like Jesus, become spirit-begotten sons of God have to be “baptized into Christ Jesus,” that is, into the anointed Jesus. When Jehovah anoints followers of Christ with holy spirit, they are united with Jesus and become members of the congregation, that is, the body of Christ, he being the head. (1Co 12:12, 13, 27; Col 1:18) Such followers of Christ are also “baptized into his death.”—See study note on baptized into his death in this verse.
baptized into his death: Or “immersed into his death.” Paul here uses the Greek term ba·ptiʹzo (to dip; to immerse). After his baptism in water in 29 C.E., Jesus began to undergo another baptism, the sacrificial course that is described at Mr 10:38. (See study note.) This baptism continued throughout his ministry. It was completed when he was executed on Nisan 14, 33 C.E., and raised up from the dead three days later. When mentioning this baptism, Jesus also indicated that his followers would be baptized “with the baptism with which [he was] being baptized.” (Mr 10:39) Spirit-anointed members of Christ’s body are “baptized into [Jesus’] death” in that they, like Jesus, enter a life of sacrifice, which includes giving up any hope of everlasting life on earth. This baptism continues throughout their life course of integrity under test. It is completed when they die and are raised to life as spirit creatures.—Ro 6:4, 5.
become united with him: Lit., “planted together.” The Greek word symʹphy·tos here conveys the idea of being associated in a common or similar experience. Some consider the expression to be a word picture of a branch being grafted into a tree and both growing together.
our old personality: Or “our old self; the person we used to be.” Lit., “our old man.” The Greek word anʹthro·pos basically refers to “a human being,” male or female.
was nailed to the stake along with him: The Gospels use the Greek verb syn·stau·roʹo of those who were literally executed alongside Jesus. (Mt 27:44; Mr 15:32; Joh 19:32) A number of times in his letters, Paul mentions Jesus’ execution on the stake (1Co 1:13, 23; 2:2; 2Co 13:4), but here he uses the term in a figurative sense. He shows that Christians have put their old personality to death through faith in the executed Christ. Paul used this term in a similar way in his letter to the Galatians, where he wrote: “I am nailed to the stake along with Christ.”—Ga 2:20.
has been acquitted: Or “has been released (pardoned).” Lit., “has been justified.” The Greek word di·kai·oʹo used here is often rendered “to declare righteous.” The context shows that Paul was discussing spirit-anointed Christians alive at that time. They had been baptized into Christ Jesus and had received the valid prospect of heavenly life. However, in order to be anointed with holy spirit and accepted as spirit-begotten sons of God, they had to die figuratively to their former course of life as imperfect humans and have their sins forgiven by God. Then they could have human perfection imputed to them. In discussing this with regard to anointed Christians, Paul was drawing on a fundamental truth. He knew that the penalty for Adam’s sin was death. (Ge 2:17) So Paul reasons that one who has died has been acquitted from sin because by means of his death, he has paid the full penalty for sin. At Ro 6:23, Paul says: “The wages sin pays is death.” So when a person has died, his sinful record no longer stands against him. And if it were not for Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s purpose to resurrect the person, he would never live again. Still, he would remain acquitted from sin, since God would not reexamine his case and then sentence him to further punishment.
with reference to sin: That is, to remove sin.
your bodies: Or “any part of your body.” Lit., “your members.” The Greek word meʹlos (“a part of the human body”) is here used in the plural form to denote the whole body. Paul uses this word in a similar way throughout chapters 6 and 7 of Romans. (Ro 6:19; 7:5, 23) At Ro 12:4, he uses the same word in the phrase “just as we have in one body many members.”
slaves: While Paul used this term at Ro 1:1 to refer to himself, he uses it here to refer to a person who submits either to sin leading to death or to righteousness leading to holiness. Illustrating his point with slavery, Paul uses language that would be familiar to the Christians in Rome, some of whom were likely slaves. They understood that a slave was obligated to keep his master’s commands. Paul’s simple but familiar illustration, similar to Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, would prompt them to be decisive as to which master they were serving.—Mt 6:24; Ro 6:17-20.
your members: That is, the parts of your body.—See study note on Ro 6:13.
lawlessness leading to lawlessness: The Greek word a·no·miʹa includes the idea of violation of and contempt for laws, people acting as if there were no laws. As used in the Bible, it suggests disregard for God’s laws. (See study note on Mt 24:12; Mt 7:23; 2Co 6:14; 2Th 2:3-7; 1Jo 3:4) In this phrase, the term is used twice. The first occurrence would denote a state of being disposed to lawlessness, and the second occurrence would denote the result of that disposition, namely, a lawless deed. The plural form of the noun is rendered “lawless deeds” at Ro 4:7 and Heb 10:17.
the wages sin pays: Or “the wages of sin.” The Greek word o·psoʹni·on literally means “pay; wages.” At Lu 3:14 (see study note), it is used as a military term, referring to a soldier’s pay or allowance. In this context, sin is personified as a master who pays figurative wages. The person who sins “earns” death as his “wages,” or payment. Once a person has died and has received his “wages,” his sinful record no longer stands against him. He would never live again were it not for Jesus’ ransom sacrifice and God’s purpose to resurrect the dead.
gift: Or “undeserved gift; gracious gift.” The Greek word khaʹri·sma basically means a free and undeserved gift, something given that is unearned and unmerited. It is related to the word khaʹris, often rendered “undeserved kindness.” (See Glossary, “Undeserved kindness.”) Jehovah’s kindness in providing his Son as a ransom sacrifice is a priceless gift, and those exercising faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice can thereby gain the gift of everlasting life.—Joh 3:16; see Ro 5:15, 16, where the Greek word khaʹri·sma is twice rendered “gift.”