Romans 6:6. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
But do we really? Many Christians are stuck back in Romans 5 without ever moving into the glorious truths of our union with Christ found in Romans 6. We know Christ died FOR us, but do we know that we died WITH Christ?
We know that we are forgiven, and we are thankful for it, but is that enough? Might simply expressing gratitude for forgiveness lead to an attitude of “trying to be thankful and not sin,” or “trying to live for God because he did so much for me”? But is this the fullness of faith? Is it knowing the fullness of God’s grace and our union with Christ? Or is it works? Is it pay back? Is it a subtle form of self righteousness?
How do we know that our old self was crucified? First and foremost because God said it. It is an objective fact. If we believe (and I hope you do) that the resurrection of Christ is an historic and objective reality, but also a spiritual reality, then the question is, “do you believe what God and Jesus himself say about that death and resurrection?”
Jesus said that he came to give us life, abundant life, his very own life. But this can only be possible if first there is a death. Your death. And then your resurrection. If Romans 6:6 is only a subjective feeling or concept, then we lose Paul’s entire argument, we lose any need for faith over feeling, and we lose our very salvation.
We know that our old self was crucified with him…
This is what we know, what we trust, what we believe: that the old self, the Adamic nature, is dead. Not sick. Not dying. Not hanging on. Not dormant. Dead. We believe that our relationship to sin is now the same as Jesus’ relationship to sin – dead and defeated. That this work is DONE, forever.
I know you don’t feel like the old man is dead in your life. Everything inside you screams that he is still alive and well. But faith is asking you to trust in what God says you ARE by his imputed righteousness. Not in what you feel like based on your behavior today.
IF YOU DIDN’T DIE THEN YOU ARE NOT ALIVE IN CHRIST, YOU ARE NOT SAVED. Do you believe that you’re saved? On what basis? It better be on the basis of your co-crucifixion with Christ.
Now let’s not confuse the old self with the flesh. Paul talked a lot about the flesh in Galatians.
Galatians 5:24. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
We still have the flesh. The manifestation of sin in our lives (later Paul will call it “indwelling sin”). But notice the difference between Romans 6:6 and Galatians 5:24: GOD CRUCIFIED YOUR OLD SELF. YOU CRUCIFY YOUR FLESH.
Read that over and over until you get it. It’s important. You cannot crucify your flesh unless God has already crucified your old self.
The implications of the death of the old self are life changing. For one, you can stop crying out to God for help and victory over sin. It’s already done. There is nothing left for God to do in this area. All that’s left is for you to actually believe it. To trust that your old self is dead. That sin has no power over you. That you are alive in Christ.
The cross is the only way to deal with sin, and the cross has already happened. It is finished! Not just your forgiveness, but also your crucifixion. Self denial, training, resolutions, revival, confession, knowledge, experiences – these will not end Sin in your life. Only the cross will. And it has!
That leaves us with the flesh.
The flesh will also only yield to the cross. Nothing else. Only by faith in the crucified Savior who killed the old man in you, can we crucify the flesh and it’s passions and desires (Gal. 5:24). Now we are no longer enslaved to sin.
Do you KNOW that the power source of sin in your life, the old man/nature, has been put to death? And by “know” I mean believe. How does our union with Christ explain this amazing reality?