Romans 6:9 says:

For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.

The logic here says that since Christ died and was risen, now he cannot die again.

With that same logic, we might say that Lazarus (who died and was risen) or anyone else who was raised from the dead - that death has no mastery over them either.

Obviously Christ is the son of God, so that makes him different, but Paul is making a specific argument here. Why is Paul's argument true for Christ but not for Lazarus?

  • I think this might depend on whether "since" means "because" or "after". Mar 30, 2015 at 18:25
  • Welcome to the site. Good question.
    – fгedsbend
    Mar 30, 2015 at 19:52

4 Answers 4


Lazarus and others died of the "first death" and were raised back to the same earthly body as before they died. Their ultimate fate was still to be determined, be it everlasting life or the "second death" on judgement day.

Jesus died of the "second death" to pay the penalty of death for believers. He was raised up in full glory as a conquerer, and it is through Him that we have hope in the same eternal resurrection.

On a deeper note, death never had mastery over Jesus per se, except that He allowed it willingly to pay our debt. Jesus says,

"I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again" (John 10:18)

  • Oh, so Paul is saying that Christ was raised from the second death, not the first one. That makes sense to me - thanks for your answer!
    – Andrew
    Mar 31, 2015 at 19:00
  • 2
    What are these "first" and "second" deaths? I've never heard of them .. Apr 1, 2015 at 2:45

Christ was raised in a glorified, or spiritual body:

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

(1 Corinthians 15:42–44; NIV)

Christ's resurrected body, then, was something different than that of Lazarus:

Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it. ... Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep."

(John 11:4, 11; NIV)

That is, Lazarus' illness was not "unto death", the separation of body and spirit; he was raised in a natural body, not having descended into Sheol.

Jesus, on the other hand, was the first to be resurrected:

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

(1 Corinthians 15:20; NIV)

Paul's argument specifically refers to those who, following Christ, will be raised:

if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again.

(Romans 6:8–9)

Therefore he's referring in this passage to a resurrection like that of Jesus, not a raising back to natural life like Lazarus. That's why his argument doesn't apply to Lazarus.

  • Could you add some references please? This sounds as if it's purely your opinion; we're really looking for authoritative answers. Bible quotations that directly addressed the question would be nice. That said I think your first sentence answers the question nicely. Mar 30, 2015 at 18:51
  • Please let me know if my references are still lacking. Thank you
    – Marc
    Mar 31, 2015 at 12:46
  • That's better; but let's try putting the actual quotes in-line. Which translation do you typically use? Mar 31, 2015 at 13:36
  • I used word and it didn't work well with this site. I'll work on that. I use many different translations and like to go to the Greek when I can. English does not translate well, this causes many issues in especially U.S. churches, small "c".
    – Marc
    Mar 31, 2015 at 20:56
  • Would you object if edited the question to insert Bible quotes using the NIV? Mar 31, 2015 at 20:58

Paul is not making any sort of argument here. he is not asking us to "follow the logic" here. After all, what logical argument would you use in a discussion centered on people rising from the dead? Paul is teaching doctrine here. He is declaring that Jesus has conquered and is the master of death.

If your understanding is that Paul is putting forward an argument that you might rebut, you are necessarily "relying on the arm of flesh" and taking an unwise course.

And you mentioned that Lazarus also rose from the dead but not of himself, again this was accomplished by Jesus. To support the idea that Paul was declaring doctrine rather than advancing an argument, Lazarus rose from the dead into mortality while Jesus arose immortal.


Lazarus and others who were by Jesus raised from the dead died again since they weren't raised into a glorified human body. This means they are still in the grip of death.

But not Jesus. Death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24)

But God raised Him from the dead, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

and having been raised by God in a transformed body (no more earthly body) He now lives forevemore (Revelations 1:18)

and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

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