Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Note 7 at Ro 6:6: As explained in note 6 at Ro 6:4, our spirits have already died with Christ unto sin and are already resurrected unto newness of life. Yet this newness of life, which is a reality in our spirits, does not automatically manifest itself in our flesh. This verse makes it very clear that we have to know some things before this resurrection life flows from our spirits into our flesh.
Facts, whether spiritual or natural, don't govern your life. It's your knowledge or perception of truths that controls your physical emotions and experiences (Pr 23:7). If someone lied to you about a family member having just died, you would experience sorrow or other negative emotions even though there was no factual basis to feel that way. In the same way, if you were told that a family member had died and it was true but you didn't believe the report, you would be spared those emotions.
Likewise, we have had the power of sin broken in our lives by our death to sin (see note 8 at this verse), and we have the resurrection power of Christ's life in our spirits. But these facts won't change our experiences until we know them and begin to act accordingly. All Christians are already blessed with all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3). However, few Christians know that, and even fewer understand it to a degree that it impacts their lives. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Ho 4:6).
Note 8 at Ro 6:6: Walking in resurrection power in our physical lives is dependent on knowing that our "old man" (New International Version - old self) is crucified. If we don't believe that, then there won't be newness of life (Ro 6:4) or victory for us (see note 7 at this verse).
As explained in note 6 at Ro 6:4, our old selves are already crucified. Yet some people have effectively voided the power of that truth (Mr 7:13) by teaching that we still have an old self, or sin nature, that is constantly being resurrected from the dead. There is no scripture that mentions a daily or even periodical resurrection of our "old man." Only Jesus has that power. Satan has no power to accomplish resurrection of any kind.
This common belief that people still have an "old man," or sin nature, does not come from Scripture but through observation. People observe a drive to sin, and they assume that it is their old sin nature that drives them to it.
The Scripture does teach that sin produced death (Ge 2:17; Ro 5:12, 15, 17, 6:23; and Eph 2:1), and therefore everyone was born with a spirit that was dead to (or separated from) God. This is the part of people that the Bible calls sin (see note 9 at Ro 5:21), or the "old man" (this verse). Therefore, the Scriptures do teach that everyone was born with a sin nature, or "old man" (see note 4 at Ro 7:9). But Paul was making a very clear presentation in these verses that for the Christian, the old self is dead. Christians do not have a nature that is driving them to sin (see note 2 at Ro 6:2).
If that is so, then why do we seem so bound to sin even after we experience the new birth? The reason is that the old self left behind what this verse calls a "body." Just as a person's spirit and soul leave behind a physical body at death, so the old self left behind habits and strongholds in our thoughts and emotions. The reason we as Christians tend to sin is because of un-renewed minds, not because of a sin nature.
God made the mental part of us similar to a computer. We can program our minds so that certain actions and attitudes become automatic. For instance, when we were children, it was a major effort to tie our shoelaces or button our shirts, but as adults, we can now perform those tasks without even thinking about what we are doing. It's like it is just a part of us, but in actuality it was an acquired trait.
Likewise, our "old man" ruled our thinking before we were born again. Our "old man" taught us such things as selfishness, hatred, and fear, as well as placed within us the desire for sin. The old self is now gone, but these negative parts of the old self's body remain. Just as a computer will continue to perform according to its programming until reprogrammed, so our minds continue to lead us on the course that our "old man" charted until renewed (Ro 12:2).
Therefore, Christians do not have a part of them that is still of the devil and is driving them to sin. Instead, Christians have been liberated from the part of them that was dead in sin (i.e., the old self, Eph 2:1), and the rest of the Christian life is a renewing of the mind that results in the resurrection life of Jesus being manifest in their physical bodies (2Co 4:11).
Someone might say, "What's the difference? Whether it's my 'old man' or an un-renewed mind, I still struggle with the desire to sin." The difference is enormous! If we still have a sin nature, then we are doomed to lives of schizophrenia (i.e., a split mind), but if it is just our un-renewed minds that cause the problem, then we can see the situation improve as we renew our minds.
If people retained a sin nature even after the new birth, then those who were bound by particular sins before salvation would still be bound by them after salvation. They would just have to refrain from the physical acts, but in their hearts, they would continue to be guilty of committing those sins in thought (see note 12 at Mt 5:22). Yet there are millions of examples of people who experience the new birth and are so changed that the very sins that used to enslave them before salvation are now so repulsive to them that they have no desire to commit those acts. They can't even relate to their old selves that did those things, because they are new people (2Co 5:17) with renewed minds.
It is truly liberating to learn that we don't have to commit sins; we choose to do so. Therefore, we can change through the renewing of our minds (Ro 12:2) because there is no longer a part of us that is a sinner by nature. This is the point that Paul was making in this verse. To experience the resurrection life of Jesus, we have to know that the old self is dead, and then through the renewing of our minds, we destroy the body that the old self left behind, with the end result being that we will not serve sin any longer.
|Previous Verse||Next Verse|