Old Man

by Mike Ratliff

6 τοῦτο γινώσκοντες ὅτι ὁ παλαιὸς ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος συνεσταυρώθη, ἵνα καταργηθῇ τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, τοῦ μηκέτι δουλεύειν ἡμᾶς τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ· 7 ὁ γὰρ ἀποθανὼν δεδικαίωται ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας. Romans 6:6-7 (NA28)

6 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of might be made ineffective, that we should no longer serve sin, 7 for the one having died has been justified from sin. Romans 6:6-7 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

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 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 “our old man was crucified with Him” 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 It has been replaced by the new man. This “old man” is all that we were in Adam, that is, all the guilt, penalty, power, and dominion of sin that was in Adam. In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul makes it clear 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.

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 it with the new man, but our flesh remains. Until we are reunited with our Lord in eternity, we must remain in these bodies to undergo our sanctification. This Christianity is not about man-made religiosity. 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!

3 thoughts on “Old Man

  1. Well written. Clear, concise, simple yet profound!
    I read this at my breakfast table this morning and told my wife, “Mike wrote about me this morning,” she gave me a puzzled look. Then I showed her the title, “old man.” We laughed! Thank you.
    When Jesus bowed His head while on the cross and declared, “it is finished,” that was a statement of magnificent accomplishment which I don’t think we will be able to fully comprehend until the end of this age and are standing or kneeling in His presence.

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