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. (Romans 6:6 KJV)
The death of the old man is the key that opens the door to freedom from sin. In Romans 6, Paul dealt with a specific form of freedom from sin: God’s children being free from the activity or lifestyle of sin. But even with the saints, the secret to being free from a lifestyle of sin lies in the crucifixion of the old man. Who is this old man, and how was he crucified?
The old man is the person that bears the fallen nature corrupted by sin. This corrupted nature is traditionally called the flesh in the scriptures. In Galatians 5:24, Paul expounds on this further:
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts”. (Galatians 5:24 KJV)
The scriptures present sin as more than an act or pattern of behavior: sin is rooted in man’s fallen nature, the flesh. Just as dogs bark because they are dogs and fish swim because they are fish, sinners sin because they are wired to. No rules or regulations, not even God’s Law, could keep human beings from sin as long as their sinful nature lingered. Therefore, God had only one option to save humanity from sin: destroy the flesh.
God destroyed the old man by crucifying him on the cross with Jesus. He crucified the flesh—crucified is death by crucifixion. The old man died with Christ. When we believed in Jesus, something died in us, and something else came alive. That thing that died was the old man. Paul did not say the old man will be killed. No, the old man died already.
Although the old man is dead, we still live in his house, the present body. So the fight is not yet over. Rather than crucify the flesh anew, repeating Jesus’s work, the Lord commands us to mortify the flesh by not yielding to its lusts and desires. So the old man is dead, yet it still needs to be killed(mortified)!
What is the old man in Romans 6:6 above?
Apply the Word
Understand and believe this truth with every fiber of your being! It is the foundation upon which true freedom from sin is built. And when we yield to the Spirit, He takes care of the flesh for us.
Ask the Spirit for a deeper understanding of this truth.