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John Wesley's notes on the Epistle to the Romans 6:17-23


17 The form of doctrine into which ye have been delivered - Literally it is, The mould into which ye have been delivered; which, as it contains a beautiful allusion, conveys also a very instructive admonition; intimating that our minds, all pliant and ductile, should be conformed to the gospel precepts, as liquid metal, take the figure of the mould into which they are cast. 

18 Being then set free from sin - We may see the apostles method thus far at one view: 
                                                                            Chap. Ver. 
 1. Bondage to sin                                                # Ro 3:9 
 2. The knowledge of sin by the law; a 
    sense of God's wrath; inward death                  # Ro 3:20 
 3. The revelation  of the righteousness 
    of God in Christ through the gospel                   # Ro 3:21 
 4. The centre of all, faith, embracing 
    that righteousness                                             # Ro 3:22 
 5. Justification, whereby God forgives all 
    past sin, and freely accepts the sinner                # Ro 3:24 
 6. The gift of the Holy Ghost; a sense of               # Ro 5:5, 
    God's love new inward life                                # Ro 6:4 
 7. The free service of righteousness                      # Ro 6:12 

19 I speak after the manner of men - Thus it is necessary that the scripture should let itself down to the language of men. Because of the weakness of your flesh - Slowness of understanding flows from the weakness of the flesh, that is, of human nature. As ye have presented your members servants to uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity, so now present your members servants of righteousness unto holiness - Iniquity (whereof uncleanness is an eminent part) is here opposed to righteousness; and unto iniquity is the opposite of unto holiness. Righteousness here is a conformity to the divine will; holiness, to the whole divine nature. Observe, they who are servants of righteousness go on to holiness; but they who are servants to iniquity get no farther. Righteousness is service, because we live according to the will of another; but liberty, because of our inclination to it, and delight in it. 

20 When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness - In all reason, therefore, ye ought now to be free from unrighteousness; to be as uniform and zealous in serving God as ye were in serving the devil. 

21 Those things - He speaks of them as afar off. 

23 Death - Temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Is the due wages of sin; but eternal life is the gift of God - The difference is remarkable. Evil works merit the reward they receive: good works do not. The former demand wages: the latter accept a free gift.