Why does “revived” appear in Romans 14:9?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Some find Romans 14:9 rather baffling, for it reads: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Christ “died”—okay. Christ “rose”—got it. Christ “revived”—huh? Is that not redundant? Why are “rose” and “revived” both essential here?

The fourteenth chapter of Romans counsels Christians to seek the welfare of their weaker brethren in Christ. We should always remember not (!) to use our liberty in grace to cause fellow believers to stumble in sin. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). An activity we consider acceptable—and it may very well be acceptable to God—may seem inappropriate to Christians unschooled in grace doctrine. It will thus become to them a source of discouragement and potential destruction. Therefore, it is better for us to limit our freedom, lest Satan use something good to spiritually injure or incapacitate God’s people (read Romans chapter 14 in its entirety). Check also 1 Corinthians chapter 8, and our related study linked at the end of this article.

For brevity’s sake, we start at verse 1 of Romans chapter 14 but restrict our comments until verse 7: “[1] Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. [2] For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. [3] Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. [4] Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. [5] One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. [6] He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

Verse 7 onward amplifies what has preceded: “[7] For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. [8] 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. [9] For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” We want to focus now on these verses, chiefly verse 9.

There is no room whatsoever in the life of Christ for living for self, living independently, living according to self-will, ignoring the damage we inflict on others (particularly fellow members of the Body of Christ). That is the old nature, the sin nature, Adam’s life, but that is not God’s life, Christ’s life, the Christian’s nature in the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Philippians 2:1-8). The Holy Spirit leads us to function on the basis of sound Bible doctrine—Pauline/grace teaching—rather than the energy of the flesh and vain speculations of natural-man thinking (cf. 1 Corinthians chapter 2). Faith in sound Bible doctrine allows the life of Jesus Christ, rather than the life of fallen Adam, to be manifested in our life.

Romans 14:9 once again: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Not only did Jesus die, not only did He rise from the dead, He “revived.” Why does “revived” appear here? What is its significance? The word seems unsuitable, does it not? Perhaps, but the Bible is not the problem. Every word of the King James Bible is important, and just because we do not understand a verse does not mean we should start “correcting” or “re-translating” it. Instead, we study it more fully, locating cross-references that will allow the Bible to interpret itself.

The Lord Jesus rose from the dead, but He was not merely alive. He was active or functional. You can be living in a vegetative state—paralyzed or limited physically. When Christ resurrected, He not only came to life again, He also left that tomb and resumed moving in that physical body like He did before it was crucified and killed. Read Romans chapter 6, paying close attention to verse 10: “[8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. [11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus “liveth unto God” (verse 10)—His resurrection life!

After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus began to teach God’s Word again to Israel’s believing remnant (Acts 1:1-3). He recovered the condition He had before. It was a life of servitude to Father God once more, not selfishness but selflessness. He continued to follow His Father’s will, teaching Israel’s Little Flock, telling them about the kingdom of God, equipping them to prepare for the founding of His earthly kingdom (see Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:44-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8). In terms of Romans 14:8, Jesus Christ “lived unto the Lord” and He “died unto the Lord.” The “Lord” here is obviously God the Father, for it was the Son who lived and died and lived again in accordance with the Father’s will. Recall Christ’s words in Gethsemane, just prior to His arrest and crucifixion:

  • Matthew 26:39: “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
  • Matthew 26:42: “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”
  • Luke 22:42: “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
  • John 4:34: “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
  • John 6:38: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”
  • Hebrews chapter 10 is Jesus Christ speaking to Father God: “[5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. [8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; [9] Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Going back to our key text in Romans chapter 14: “[7] For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. [8] 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. [9] For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Whether the life before Christ’s resurrection or the life after it, it was unselfish living. He was living, He was dead, and He was alive again. The purpose of this (living, death, living) was so He could be our Lord, whether we are dead or alive. If we live unto the Lord, or we die unto the Lord, we are following the Lord’s example, and He is thus leading us. We are faithful to Father God’s will, right up until physical death, and, after our physical resurrection, the life we will enjoy in the heavenly places. While we are on Earth, let us live with Father God’s will in mind—that is, in Romans chapter 14, conducting ourselves with our weaker brethren at the forefront of our thinking.

If we look at how this Greek word (“anazao,” “live again”) was handled elsewhere in the King James Bible’s New Testament, we see “rose” paired with “revived” is equivalent to coupling “rose” with “again.” “Again” and “reviving” both refer to the post-resurrection life:

  • Luke 15:24: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
  • Luke 15:32: “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
  • Romans 7:9: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (This would be the sense of “revived” in Romans 14:9.)
  • Revelation 20:5: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”

Also see:
» Can you explain 1 Corinthians chapter 8?
» Is it truly a good deed if done for selfish reasons?
» What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?
» Are the Christian life and ministry about bossing people around?
» Provided we do not hurt anybody, may we do what we want?
» Can an atheist be moral without any influence from any “higher power?”