The Old Man

by Mike Ratliff

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. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:6-7 KJV)

In this “tweet” Rick Warren made the following statements that he claimed were from his sermon today:

To change ask: WHERE am I now? WHAT do I want? WHY do I want it? WHY don’t I have it already? WHAT’s my plan? Is it worth it?

What or who is the focus of these questions? It is self isn’t it? I have another question for you. Do you see any need for Christ and the Cross or repentance with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit in any of that? Again, this is just another example of the natural outflow from one whose theology is Pelagian. Rick Warren and his disciples discount the Cross of Christ and the Gospel and put the person at the center of all things. This is why they continually insist that their disciples look within to find their true self while covenanting with them to keep certain values and obey their commitments. In other words, this is a form of law keeping and has nothing to do with grace nor the Gospel. Let’s look at what the Bible says about our true nature and what we can and cannot do as Christians. 

Romans 6:6 clearly shows us that true believers become holy in Christ. However, there is confusion because many do not look correctly at the Greek verb tenses in this passage. If they simply read it in English or some other translation it is easy to not see that the all the verb tenses here are past tenses (aorist or perfect). What this means is that every verb tense here that refers to our identification with Christ in His death refers to it being completed in the past. Romans 6:6, therefore, says  ὁ παλαιὸς ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος συνεσταυρώθη or “the old of us man was crucified together” way back when Christ died and that it was completed then and there. What it does not say is that we must each morning get up and “crucify ourselves again to sin.” Instead, it says that by God’s judicial act, not by our experiential effort, the old man was “crucified” and therefore “destroyed.”

The word translated here as “old” is παλαιὸς, which means “old in the sense of worn out, decrepit, useless.” So, the old, worn out, decrepit person we used to be has been rendered inactive or put out of use. It has bee replaced by the new man. This “old man” is all that we were in Adam, that is, all the quilt, penalty, power, and dominion of sin that was in Adam. Just a few weeks ago I posted a series on Romans and Paul made it clear to us there that we most definitely still have a sin nature so we do still sin, but as new creations in Christ the rule of life is not like it was before. We are not dominated by sin as we once were. The old man is gone because of what Christ accomplished on Calvary. We are not sinless, but we do “sin less” because we are no longer dominated and controlled by sin. While sin used to rule, it is now Christ who rules.

I covered the the struggle over the flesh and our sanctification here a few weeks ago.

My brethren, all truly in Christ are so by the grace of God not according to works or merit. Our salvation destroys the old man and replaces that with the new man, but our flesh remains. Until we are reunited with our Lord in eternity, we must remain in these bodies to under go our sanctification. This Christianity is not about manmade religiosity my brethren. It is not about keeping rules and or being part of the “right group.” All of that stuff is just attempts at law keeping. All in Christ are so according to His mercy and grace and have received salvation and have been justified because of what Christ has done not what they have done. Since then we who are so blessed must continue to stand firm seeking to please only Him. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him and the prize, not the accolades of men or the things of this world. God’s will be done.

Soli Deo Gloria!


10 thoughts on “The Old Man

  1. Mike, how would you respond to charges that Reformed faith (Lordship salvation) is trying to bring in Bible Christians back to Rome? I had heard about charges of Reformed theology being law-based from the non-Reformed type of Christians, that Calvinists can “only rely on law-keeping as the believers’ guidelines”.

    But my experience of going to the current church (Reformed) doesn’t seem to correspond with the argument. Would you share your opinions? Thanks.


  2. Joel, those who say such things do so from total ignorance of what the true Reformed faith is. We are saved by grace, free grace. We do not an any way rely on law-keeping as our guidelines.. In fact, the Arminians are far closer to “Rome” in their theology than the Reformed faith is since they are all about “works” and “merit.”

    Here is John MacArthur’s definition of Lordship Salvation:

    “We do not “make” Christ Lord; He is Lord! Those who will not receive Him as Lord are guilty of rejecting Him. “Faith” that rejects His sovereign authority is really unbelief. Conversely, acknowledging His lordship is no more a human work than repentance (cf. 2 Timothy 2:25) or faith itself (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9). In fact, it is an important element of divinely produced saving faith, not something added to faith.”

    That is a quote from page 28 of John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus. There is much more of course.


  3. The “goals and desires” type of pastoring is nothing more than pep talk dressed up as ministry. It bears no resemblence to the early church or the New Testament teachings. Who needs prayer, or even God’s will, when you have your own plan.


  4. Amen, Mike…since we are born of the Spirit we want to please Him…our eyes are looking upward longing for Him and we are not overly concerned with our lives and our destinies other than living in a manner worthy of our calling.

    Because of all He has done, by His mercy and grace, we live our lives for Him out of extreme gratitude and that is enough…wanting His will for our lives, however different that may be for each one.

    God bless!


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