The teaching of verse 8 is, essentially, that of verses 3 and 5. The pivotal thought of this passage is that believers “died to sin” (verse 2) and the succeeding verses are the explication. Now, in verse 8, the reason why believers have died to sin is given expressly in terms of having died with Christ, and the verses which follow show why dying with Christ entails death to sin. It is not, however, the fact of having died with Christ that bears the emphasis in this instance, but living together with Him. Dying with Christ is assumed and the inference is drawn that we shall also live with Him. Two features of this inference are worthy of note. (1) The certitude of faith in this result is indicated in “we believe”. It is an article of faith, not of conjecture, that the life of Jesus’ resurrection belongs to those who have been united with Christ in His death. (2) The future tense, “we shall live”, does not refer exclusively to the future resurrection state but, as found above (cf. verse 5), points to the certainty of participation in the resurrection life of Christ here and now. It is the life of spiritual, mystical union. No doubt the resurrection of the body is the ultimate fruition of this union. But we may not restrict the thought to that hope.
From: The Epistle to the Romans: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes: Volume 1: Chapters 1 to 8 by John Murray; The New International Commentary on the New Testament series (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1959), p. 223. Commenting on Romans 6.8.
John Murray (1898-1975) taught systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1930 to 1966.