For whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
We live unto the Lord - We live to do his will, and to promote his glory. This is the grand purpose of the life of the Christian. Other people live to gratify themselves; the Christian to do those things which the Lord requires. By "the Lord" here the apostle evidently intends the Lord Jesus, as it is evident from Romans 14:9; and the truth taught here is, that it is the leading and grand purpose of the Christian to do honor to the Saviour. It is this which constitutes his special character, and which distinguishes him from other people.
Whether we die - In the dying state, or in the state of the dead; in the future world. We are "no where" our own. In all conditions we are "his," and bound to do his will. The connection of this declaration with the argument is this: Since we belong to another in every state, and are bound to do his will, we have no right to assume the prerogative of sitting in judgment on another. "We" are subjects, and are bound to do the will of Christ. All other Christians are subjects in like manner, and are answerable, not to us, but directly to the Lord Jesus, and should have the same liberty of conscience that we have. The passage proves also that the soul does not cease to be conscious at death. We are still the Lord's; his even when the body is in the grave; and his in all the future world: see Romans 14:9.
and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's—Nothing but the most vivid explanation of these remarkable words could make them endurable to any Christian ear, if Christ were a mere creature. For Christ is here—in the most emphatic terms, and yet in the most unimpassioned tone—held up as the supreme Object of the Christian's life, and of his death too; and that by the man whose horror of creature worship was such, that when the poor Lycaonians would have worshipped him, he rushed forth to arrest the deed, directing them to "the living God," as the only legitimate Object of worship (Ac 14:15). Nor does Paul teach this here, but rather appeals to it as a known and recognized fact, of which he had only to remind his readers. And since the apostle, when he wrote these words, had never been at Rome, he could only know that the Roman Christians would assent to this view of Christ, because it was the common teaching of all the accredited preachers of Christianity, and the common faith of all Christians.See Poole on "Romans 14:7"
and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; resigning up life unto him, whenever it is his pleasure; magnifying of him, as by life, so by death; dying to be with him, to be raised again by him, and live with him for evermore; in the faith and hope of this, the believer both lives and dies, and so glorifies Christ both in life and death: hence this conclusion follows,
whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's; by the gift of the Father to him, by his own purchase, and the power of his grace, making them willing to give up themselves to him: and hence it is, that under a sense of this, that they are his, and not their own, nor another's, they do all they do for his glory; whether they observe, or not observe a day, it is to the Lord; whether they eat, or not eat things formerly forbidden, it is to him; and whether they live or die, it is to the Lord, whose they are: and hence also it is, that they are not to be despised and set at nought, or to be judged and censured by one another, since they belong to another master, who is their Lord, and will be their Judge.For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. we die unto the Lord] In view of Romans 14:9, this must mean, “when we die, we do not pass out of His bondservice, but only into another mode of it: in the world to come we are still at His command, responsible to Him.” Not so much the act of death as the state of the departed seems to be in question here. (The usage of the Gr. verb rendered “die” fully admits this: it must occasionally be rendered “lie dead.”)
The whole of this passage is deeply significant of the true object of a Christian’s life. We are bound indeed to “live to others;” but this bond is but a part of the supreme obligation (of which non-religious philanthropy knows nothing, though it owes to the Gospel so much of its original impulse,) to “live and die unto the Lord.” There are some excellent remarks on this in Memorials of a Quiet Life, III. 130.
whether we live therefore] “Therefore” gathers up the facts just stated into one summary expression.
the Lord’s] His bondservants. Cp. St Paul’s own personal confession, Acts 27:23.Romans 14:8. Τῷ Κυρίῳ, to the Lord) implying the Divine majesty and power of Christ.—ἔσμεν) we are, not merely we begin to be.
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