“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that our body of sin (our sinful nature) might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6
This verse is one of the most important verses in the New Testament. If John 3:16 best conveys God’s plan of salvation for mankind and Galatians 2:20 best conveys God’s purpose for His elect, then Romans 6:6 may best convey how God accomplished His divine plan for His elect, the body of Christ.
God created the first man, Adam, so that He would have a divine family. God desired that man would know Him and fellowship with Him. However, when Adam rebelled against God, man fell under Satan’s dominion. Adam’s spiritual communion with God was broken and Adam’s sinful rebellion against God affected all mankind. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).” Yet God’s divine plan was not thwarted. At the right time, God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to earth to restore man to His original and eternal purpose. The way Jesus accomplished God’s plan completely confounded Satan and the rulers of this age (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). When Jesus came two thousand years ago, He came not to reign over mankind but to die for mankind. Jesus willingly gave up His life so that God might perform a divine heart transplant. When Christ died on the cross, God exchanged our terminally sin-sick heart with His Son’s divine holy heart to save us from the power of sin and certain doom. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (1 Corinthians 5:21).” Thus God’s eternal wisdom and divine power are hidden in the mystery of the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). The mystery of the cross is this: God included us in Christ’s death so that we might also live in Him. “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9).” This is our glorious salvation and the restoration of God’s eternal plan to share His life and companionship with His elect – the church, which is His new creation redeemed from fallen mankind.
With this heavenly perspective, let us now take a look at the three parts to this important verse.
- “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him.” In our previous devotional studies, we discussed what it means for us to Biblically “know” a divine truth. In this case, if you are spiritually ignorant of this divine truth of the cross, God’s work in your life is severely hindered. To know this truth means you believe it to the point where you act on it and base your entire life on it. The old selfor the old man is the Biblical term for the Adam sinful nature that we all inherited from Adam when we were born. The old self was that “sin factory” within us (before we were born again), which naturally and continually produced sinful attitudes and actions. We were sinners by nature and captives to sin; therefore, we could do nothing else but sin. Since we were spiritually born into sin, the only way we could ever be delivered from our sinful nature was through death. This is precisely what God did – He included us in the death of His Son. Our old self, that wretched man of sin – our sinful nature – was crucified with Christ! That “sin factory” within us was destroyed! Since Christ’s death took place not just two thousand years ago on Calvary but in God’s eternal heavenly realm, Christ’s holy death on our behalf transcended time and space. Therefore when we received Christ into our heart, we were immersed into His death. When Christ died, we died with Him!
- “in order that our body of sin (our sinful nature) might be done away with.” The phrase “done away with” in the New Testament Greek is katargeo, which means destroyed or removed. This is the same Greek word used in 2 Corinthians 3:14 to explain that the Old Covenant veil that blinds Jews to seeing Jesus as their Messiah is removed whenever someone turns to Christ. The Old Covenant prophets foretold of this divine heart transplant: “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26; see also Jeremiah 31:31-33).” The apostle Paul also confirmed this Biblical truth that our sinful nature was removed in his letter to the Colossians. Here, Paul used the picture of circumcision to describe what happened to our sinful nature when we were saved. “In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the sinful nature, by the circumcision of Christ (Colossians 2:11).” We can say with absolute certainty that when someone is circumcised their foreskin is removed. As we have already seen, water baptism also demonstrates through “burial” that our old man of sin (our sinful nature) was removed from us when we were born again. Therefore, both the Old and New Covenants clearly express and confirm that, when we were born again, our old sinful nature was forever removed from us by Christ’s death on the cross. That old man of sin (our sinful nature) is dead and gone and can never be resurrected to torment us!
- “so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” This was the reason for God’s divine heart transplant – to set us free from captivity to Satan and sin so we might become Christ’s overcoming body and wholly devoted bride. As Paul testified: We no longer live, but Christ now lives in us! However, if you do not believe and act on the first two parts of this verse; i.e., that your old self (your sinful nature) was crucified with Christ and was completely done away with and removed, you cannot experience the freedom from sin that Jesus Christ purchased for you by His death.
What a glorious salvation! What a wise and mighty Savior! May God grant us His grace to act on the truth of the cross so that we might walk in full freedom from sin and serve Him with our whole heart! In our next devotional study, we will take a closer look at our glorious freedom in Christ.
Tomorrow: Romans 6:7