Friday, 17 May 2013
…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:6
This verse has to be taken in conjunction with the preceding verse to clearly grasp what Paul is saying – “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
“Knowing this” is a statement of surety. Every person who has called on Christ should in fact bear this in mind with full understanding. “That our old man was crucified with Him.” Jesus went to the cross and died for sins He didn’t commit, thus becoming our Substitute for God’s wrath. He didn’t die of a heart attack nor some other quick and normal way. Rather, He was crucified for us. Paul here compares the death of our old man to this. He doesn’t say, “that our old man died with Him.” Instead he is making a one-to-one comparison of the death of our “old man” with the cross of Christ.
Stated another way, our death to sin is a long, horrifying trial which we all have gone through (and some continue to go through.) It can’t be said that we called on Christ and suddenly stopped sinning. No, we carried into our death addictions, perversions, disorders, and unhealthy lives. Calling on Christ sent that wretched state to its crucifixion where the old, corrupt man was slain. Our sin-debt was dealt with immediately, but the sinful life in the old man is treated in an on-going process. When the agony of leaving this old man is behind, the sin nature is dead and a new direction comes in all its splendor. This is why the term “with Him” is used. The verb is tied directly to “crucified.” We are crucified just as He was.
This happened so “that the body of sin might be done away with. If we understand our guilt before God which was removed because of Jesus’ work, then our hearts should be broken at the sin we have committed and continue to commit. This entire body of sin, the life which is contrary to Christ’s work is to be completely removed from our lives.
Christ’s passion was one of physical distress, having first been beaten in a horrifying way. After this, He was nailed to the cross. Although not yet dead, the certainly of death came at that moment; the body ceased to freely move. Because it was bound He had to struggle for each breath. His body became weaker and weaker and eventually the life left it. This is the picture that we are to get for our own body of sin, doing away with it for Christ’s sake just as He went to the cross for our sake.
The process of doing away with the body of sin is “that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” In the coming verses, Paul is going to show us that as people we are either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness. The magnitude of what Christ did for us demands that we place the highest priority on becoming slaves of righteousness and not living as slaves to sin.
Life application: Whether you’ve been a Christian for a week or for 20 years, you may be struggling with a sin of the past. The struggle is one which may be agonizing and which weighs your soul down, but remember that Jesus went to a literal cross to pay your sin-debt. The agony which is refining you is not unknown to God, nor does He not empathize with you. He knows your trial and He is with you through it.
My Lord, I struggle with my old self and the life I left. Give me the power to leave my past sins at the cross and to not take them up anymore. Instead, let that part of me be completely defeated, never to arise again. I know that through the power of Christ and the putting on of my new self this is possible. So Lord, make this change in me that You will be glorified through it. Amen.