Amplified: We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
GWT: We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an end to sin in our bodies. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin. (GWT)
NET: “We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (NET Bible)
NLT: Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Let us never forget that our old selves died with him on the cross that the tyranny of sin over us might be broken (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: knowing this experientially, that our old [unregenerate] self was crucified once for all with Him in order that the physical body [heretofore] dominated by the sinful nature might be rendered inoperative [in that respect], with the result that no longer are we rendering a slave’s habitual obedience to the sinful nature (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: this knowing, that our old man was crucified [with him], that the body of the sin may be made useless, for our no longer serving the sin;
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith||Service by Faith|
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
KNOWING THIS: touto ginoskontes (PAPMPN): literally "this knowing"
We must know that our old self was crucified with Christ (Ro 6:6-note). We must consider ourselves to be dead to sin (Ro 6:11-note). And we must present the members of our body as instruments of righteousness to God (Ro 6:13-note).
Hodge observes that " What the preceding verses represented as the consequence of our union with Christ as a matter of doctrine is here presented as a matter of experience. We are united to Christ as our head and representative, so as to be sharers in his death and resurrection, as a matter of law or right. What is thus done, as it were, out of ourselves, is accompanied by an analogous spiritual experience. (Romans Commentary)
Knowing this - Experiencing this. As Hodge puts it "Our inward experience agrees with this doctrinal statement. (Romans Commentary)
Knowing (1097) (ginosko) means to acquire information by whatever means, but often with the implication of personal involvement or experience. As Rich Cathers writes "We need to learn about this. We need to “know” this. Our knowledge isn’t merely head knowledge, but knowledge by experience." Paul is not admonishing them to know something but instead appears to be appealing to the fact that this was something his readers were already familiar with, i.e., the truth that our old self was crucified with Christ
Leon Morris rightly draws our attention to the fact that "Paul not infrequently appeals to his correspondents’ knowledge (we know; cf. Ro 3:19-note; Ro 6:6-note; Ro 7:14-note; Ro 8:22-note, Ro 8:28-note). He varies his approach by using the participle “knowing” (Ro 5:3-note; Ro 6:9-note; Ro 13:11-note). Or he can say “you know” (Ro 2:18-note) or ask the question “Do you not know?” (Ro 6:3-note, Ro 6:16-note; Ro 7:1-note; Ro 11:2-note; cf. Ro 2:4-note). All this is an invitation to sweet reasonableness. Where the occasion demands it, Paul can be dogmatic and issue authoritative instructions. But he likes to enlist the intelligent cooperation of his readers and have them see the point for themselves (as when he tells the Corinthians, “I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say”, 1Co 10:15). (Morris, L. The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leicester, England: W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)
In Ro 6:9 (note) Paul uses the verb eido which speaks of intuitive knowledge whereas ginosko suggests experimental knowledge…
You should be well aware (by what you have been experiencing),” he was saying, “that in Christ you are not the same people you were before salvation. You have a new life, a new heart (cp Ezek 11:19, 18:31, 36:26, 27, cp New Covenant Je 31:31, 32, 33, 34), a new spiritual strength, a new hope (cp Je 29:11, 31:17 - first given to the Jews but by application to all who believe in Messiah), and countless other new things that had no part in your former life.
THAT OUR OLD SELF WAS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM: hoti ho palaios emon anthropos sunestaurothe (3SAPI): (Gal 2:20; 5:24; 6:14; Eph 4:22; Col 3:5 Col 3:9, 10)
See more detailed discussion of topic - Old Man (Old Self)
Our old man, our old state, as out of Christ and under Adam’s headship, under guilt and in moral bondage, was crucified with Christ (Moule's paraphrase)
our old [unregenerate] self was crucified once for all with Him (Wuest)
the person we used to be was crucified with Him (GWT)
Our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him (Amplified)
In the table below note that the KJV has a misleading translation of the verbs in Romans 6:6, 7, 8. Comparison of the verbs shows that the KJV translates each verb with a present tense meaning (is, is, be) whereas the NASB more accurately reflects the aorist tense which conveys the clear sense of a past completed action in each case.
KING JAMES TRANSLATION
|Ro 6:6||our old man is crucified||our old self was crucified|
|Ro 6:7||he that is dead||he who has died|
|Ro 6:8||if we be dead with Christ||we have died with Christ|
Old (3820) (palaios from pálai = in the past, long ago) antique, not recent, not new, old in the sense of worn out and decrepit. (see discussion of old self = old man) Palaios means in existence for a long time, and in a number of contexts conveys the sense of being obsolete, antiquated or outworn. Worn out from use is the idea in (Mt 9:16, 17 Mk 2:21, Lk 5:36)
Palaios is the antonym of kainos [word study] which means brand new.
Palaios brings out the idea of “worn out”, the result of the wear and tear of time, the old as outworn and clearly is not something to be desired.
Palaios - 19x in 15v in NAS - Old garment=Mt. 9:16, 17; What is old out of treasure=Mt 13:52; Old garment (twice)=Mk. 2:21, Old wineskins=Mk 2:22; Old wineskins… old wine =Lk. 5:36, 37, 39; Ro 6:6; Old leaven =1Co. 5:7, 8; Old covenant =2Co. 3:14; Old man (figuratively of prior unregenerate behavior "in Adam")=Eph. 4:22; Old man =Col. 3:9; Old commandment (twice)= 1 Jn. 2:7 (Regarding 1Jn 2:7, Hiebert writes that "It is not a recent innovation, yet it is qualitatively new as experienced in Christ.”)
There are two words for old, and Paul chooses palaios which means old in point of use instead of archaios (744) which is old in point of time and refers primarily to chronological age. Paul is describing this "man" as one who is completely worn out , useless, fit only for the scrap heap! For all practical purposes it is destroyed.
Palaios - 12x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - Lev. 25:22; 26:10; Jos. 9:4f; 1 Sam. 7:12; Esther 8:12; Job 15:10; Song 7:13; Jer. 38:11; Dan. 7:9, 13, 22;
Self (man) (444) (anthropos) means a human being, a man or woman, an individual of the human race or a person.
See more detailed discussion of topic - Old Man (Old Self)
Old self (Old man) identifies the unsaved person dominated by the totally depraved nature inherited from Adam, and who is "under sin", is not "righteous", is "helpless" (to save himself) , is a inveterate "sinner" and an intractable "enemy" of God. And this is the old self we once were, our human nature considered apart from grace, apart from Christ. The old self is all that we were in Adam before we were saved and placed in Christ. (See old self-old man). Notice that there are only two possible "spiritual positions" for every human being (i.e., no middle ground, no one neutral, no "spiritual mugwumps" so to speak!) for every person who is born and dies, dies either in Adam or in Christ, the former ending in Hell forever and the latter in Heaven forever! The old self or old man is the unregenerate man in Adam (1 Cor 15:22, Ro 5:12,18,19), the person who is apart from divine redemption and the new life it brings.
Holman Christian Study Bible explains that "Our old self (Gk palaios anthropos; lit "old man") is everything that we were before we became Christians. By contrast, the new self is what we are once we become Christians (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10). The new self is not perfect. We still sin because we have indwelling sin in our mortal bodies (Romans 7:13-25), but we are in the process of renewal (Eph 4; Col 3). Thus we have the answer to the question about whether a Christian can still live in sin. We cannot live as we once did because the "old self" was crucified with Him (Christ). In Christ the believer is a "new creation" (2 Co 5:17).
THE OLD SELF
|"all under sin"||Romans 3:9|
|"none righteous"||Romans 3:10|
|"still helpless"||Romans 5:6|
|"yet sinners"||Romans 5:8|
Note that this Biblical description of the "old self" is only a partial list of what each of us was spiritually in Adam before God co-crucified us with Christ.
John Piper says that the "old self is the me that was… rebellious against God and insubordinate to God's law and blind to God's glory and unbelieving toward His promises."
Middletown Bible has a lucid explanation of the old self (man) writing that this section "introduces a key fact that needs to be believed! What is the "old man" (Ro 6:6; Ep 4:22-note; Col. 3:9-note) and what is the "new man" (Col 3:10-note; Ep 4:24-note)? The old man refers to all that I am and all that I have in Adam; the new man refers to all that I am and all that I have in Christ. The old man is my old life in Adam; the new man is my new life in Christ. The one refers to the SELF LIFE; the other to the CHRIST LIFE. The one has to do with FALLEN MAN; the other has to do with REDEEMED or REGENERATED MAN. The old man is the old self; the new man is the new self, the new creature in Christ. The old man is characterized by that fallen sinful nature received from Adam; the new man is characterized by that divine holy nature received from God at the time of the new birth. The old man is born of the flesh; the new man is born of God. The old man came about by natural birth; the new man came about by the new birth. The old man is "CORRUPT according to the deceitful lusts" (Eph. 4:22-note; and compare Romans 7:24-note); the new man is "after God (according to God, patterned after God, a reflection of God, etc.) … created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:24-note). The new man is a new thing which did not previously exist but which was created (Eph. 4:24-note; 2Cor. 5:17). Five years before you were saved the new man did not exist at all, but the old man did!"
The old man is not [simply] the old nature (Ed: I think he refers here to the flesh), though it involves the old nature; the old man is characterized as having a nature that is opposed to God, and this nature stamps its character on the activities of the old man (Roy Heubner).
The old man is described by his works (his deeds) in Ephesians 4:25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31: He is a wicked liar (Ep 4:25-note), he has a rotten temper (Ep 4:26-note), he is a evil thief (Ep 4:28-note), he has a corrupt mouth with garbage flowing out of it (Ep 4:29-note) and he is characterized by bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking and an unforgiving spirit (Ep 4:31,32-note). In contrast the new man speaks truth (Ep 4:25-note), gets angry in the right way at the right things (Ep 4:26-note), works hard and knows how to give (Ep 4:28-note), speaks that which is good and that which edifies (Ep 4:29-note), is characterized by kindness, tenderheartedness and a forgiving spirit. The new man is a reflection of God, the One who created Him!
It is important to know that the old man is immutable! He will never change! He is ever and always CORRUPT! The old man will never improve himself (in fact, when you are saved the old man will seem even worse!). The old man will never reform. He is incorrigible! He is utterly depraved and will always be so. When a person is saved the old man is not changed and the old man is not transformed. How then does (did) God deal with the old man? God does not change the old man. God does not transform the old man. What did God do with your old self? What did God do with all that you are and all that you have in Adam? Romans 6:6 answers this: "OUR OLD MAN WAS (past tense) CRUCIFIED WITH HIM." God condemned the old man, judged him and poured out His wrath on Him when the blessed Saviour died on the cross. My old man was crucified! (Romans Chapter 6)
Gregg Herrick addresses the question of the identity of the old man (old self) and its relationship to the fallen flesh (flesh) which some observers hold to be identical. Thus Herrick concludes that the old man…
should not be viewed as a synonym for fallen human “flesh” (cf. Ro 7:18; sarx). When reading the Scriptures, Christians should not view it as pointing directly to some immaterial aspect of man as a sinful human being. Thus, “sinful nature” is also a misleading translation (of Ro 6:6). Again, the “old man” refers to fallen people in community “in Adam.” (Ed: All that we were in Adam before we believed and God took us out of "in Adam" and placed us "in Christ") To read it individualistically as the “flesh” or “sinful nature” robs it off its corporate focus and a great insight to us as relational creatures is obscured. The best translation of ho palaios anthropos is probably “old man” or “old community” with a note explaining its corporate sense. (See Herrick's full discussion of “Old Man” and “New Man” in Paul)
H A Ironside writes that "My "old man" is not merely my old nature. It is rather all that I was as a man in the flesh, the "man of old," the unsaved man with all his habits and desires. That man was crucified with Christ. When Jesus died I (as a man after the flesh) died too. I was seen by God on that cross with His blessed Son.
Wayne Barber does not totally agree with some of these other observers regarding the identity of the old self noting that "What does "the old self " mean? It’s the old man. I’m sure that’s a term familiar to a lot of folks—the old man. Who is the old man? Everything I was in Adam, that’s the old man. It’s what I used to be. The term for "old" is not the word in the Greek from which we derive the English word "archaic". Here old is the Greek word from which we derive the word "worn out" —a worn out, useless, old man. He is not good for anything… It’s never been useful for anything. It’s everything you were and I were in Adam… Some people confuse the old man with the flesh. (Ed: Not the physical flesh but the fallen flesh that always expresses an "anti-god" energy) You can’t do that… we are talking about the old man. That is the person you and I were in Adam that has now died when Christ died. Why was it necessary for the old man to die? Well, it says in Romans 6:6: "our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with." The word "that" in the Greek is hina. It means "in order that." It means "A" comes before "B". "A" has got to happen before "B" can happen. We had to die. The old man had to die before I could become a new creature in Christ (2Co 5:17). (Romans 6:6-11)
John Stott writes that "our old self denotes not our lower self (Ed: this makes me think Stott agrees with Wayne Barber - i.e., that the old self is not identical with the flesh) but our former self, ‘the man we once were’ (NEB), ‘our old humanity’ (REB), the person we used to be in Adam. So what was crucified with Christ was not a part of us called our old nature, but the whole of us as we were in our pre-conversion state. This should be clear because the phrase our old self was crucified (Ro 6:6) is equivalent to we died to sin (Ro 6:2). (Ibid)
Frederic Godet - The expression: our old man, denotes human nature such as it has been made by the sin of him in whom originally it was wholly concentrated, fallen Adam reappearing in every human ego that comes into the world under the sway of the preponderance of self-love, which was determined by the primitive transgression. This corrupted nature bears the name of old only from the viewpoint of the believer who already possesses a renewed nature.—This old man has been crucified so far as the believer is concerned in the very person of Christ crucified. The apostle does not say that He has been killed. He may exist still, but like one crucified, whose activity is paralyzed. Up to the solemn hour of believing, sin puts on the behavior of triumphant independence, or presents itself to us as an excusable weakness. The instant we contemplate it in Christ crucified, we see it as a malefactor condemned and capitally punished by the justice of God; and its sentence of death pronounced in our conscience is the same to it within us as the cross was to Christ—not an immediate death certainly, but the reduction of it to powerlessness.—The purpose of this moral execution, included in the very fact of faith, is the destruction of the body of sin. (Romans Commentary - Online)
The dualistic view that a Christian has two natures uses unbiblical terminology and can lead to perception that is extremely destructive of holy living. Some who hold such views go to the perverted extreme of the Gnostics in Paul’s day, claiming that because the evil self cannot be controlled or changed and because it is going to be destroyed in the future anyway, it does not much matter what you let it do. It is only “spiritual” things, such as your thoughts and intentions, that are of significance. It is not surprising that in congregations where such a philosophy reigns, immoral conduct among the membership as well as the leadership is common and church discipline is usually nonexistent.
In a somewhat parallel passage in Colossians, Paul clearly states that a believer’s putting off the old self is a fair accompli (sic - should be "fait accompli"), something that has already and irreversibly been accomplished.
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (Col 3:9, 10-note).
It was not that every Colossian believer was fully mature and had managed to gain complete mastery over the residual old self. Paul was saying rather that every believer, at any level of maturity, can claim that his old self already has been laid aside “with its evil practices.” (Ed: when we were justified by faith). In exactly the same way, his new self in Christ is already “being renewed” into conformity with the very image of the God who has recreated him (Ed: process of sanctification). (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)
MacArthur again reiterating the danger of a dualistic view writes that Paul is not describing a…
a dualistic, schizophrenic Christian. The old man—the unregenerate person that was “in Adam” (cf. 1Co 15:22 ; Ro 5:14,15-note)—is dead. We are to “lay aside” that crucified, dead, and corrupt old self (Ep 4:22-note), and “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ep 4:24-note). It is true of every genuine believer that our old self is dead. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Ga 5:24-note). If the old self isn’t dead, conversion hasn’t occurred. Paul reminded the Colossians that they had already “laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and… put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Col. 3:9-note, Col 3:10-note).
Christians sin because of the vestiges of sinful flesh, not because they have the same old active sinful nature. Certainly we sin, but when we sin it is contrary to our nature, not because we have two dispositions—one sinful and one not. (MacArthur, J. The Gospel According to the Apostles: The role of Works in the Life of Faith. Dallas: Word Pub., c1993. Nashville, TN: Word Pub)
Scripture does not support the dualistic view. Romans 6:6 clearly says that our old self was crucified with Christ. The person we were before we trusted Christ is no more. The tyranny of sin is nullified. Our nature is changed, transformed. We are new creations, not merely the same old creatures with a new side to our personalities. We have a new heart—not an added one, but a whole different one. This, after all, is the promise of the New Covenant: “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” (Ezek 36:26, emphasis added). This new heart has a conscience. It can take charge. You can count on it. Reckon it to be so. Consider it accomplished. (MacArthur, J., F., Jr. The Vanishing Conscience. Dallas: Word Pub)
Hodge explains that…
The word self is used because it is no one disposition, tendency, or faculty that is changed, but the man himself — the radical principle of his being, the self. Hence Paul uses the pronoun “I” — “I am sold under sin”; “I cannot do the things that I would.”
It is plain from this whole presentation of his teaching that regeneration is not merely a change of actions or of the feelings as distinct from the understanding, but a change of the whole person.
Another thing is also plain: that such a radical change of nature cannot fail to show itself in a holy life. This is what Paul insists on here.
To the believer who knows that the old self is crucified with Christ, the objection that free justification leads to licentiousness is contradictory and absurd. The old self is said to be crucified, not because the destruction of the principle of sin is a slow and painful process, but because Christ’s death, the death with which we were identified, was by crucifixion, and because it is from him, as crucified, that the death of sin in us comes. (Romans 6 - Hodge's Commentary First Corinthians)
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, also exhorts believers based upon the truth of this passage "Do not go on living as if you were still that old man, because that old man has died. Do not go on living as if he was still there.
Spurgeon - One of the best men I ever knew said, at eighty years of age, "I find the old man is not dead yet." Our old man is crucified, but he is long at dying. He is not dead when we think he is. You may live to be very old, but you will have need still to watch against the carnal nature, which remains even in the regenerate. We are to regard ourselves as persons that have been dead (cp Ro 6:11-note). We are ourselves, it is true; and yet in another sense we are not our own selves. We are not to look upon ourselves as though we owed any kind of service to the power which we obeyed before we knew the Lord. We are new people, we have got a new life, and have entered upon a new existence (2Co 5:17) — the old man is crucified with Him. (Exposition on Romans)
Crucified with (4957) (sustauroo [word study] from sun = together with [click here for discussion of significance] + stauróo = to crucify <> from stauros = a cross which was an instrument of capital punishment = an upright pointed stake often with a crossbeam above it or intersected by a crossbeam) means to crucify together with and is used literally (Mt 27:44, Mk. 15:32; Jn. 19:32) and figuratively as in the present verse (Ro 6:6, Gal 2:19). BDAG phrases it this way…
to crucify with in a transcendent sense, crucify with, fig. ext. of 1, of identification w. Christ’s crucifixion
The preposition "sun" speaks of the believer's intimate spiritual union and identification with Christ. This union is sometimes referred to as a spiritual or "mystical" union but is no less a very real union in God's eyes.
Sustauroo - 5x in 5v in NAS - Matt. 27:44; Mk. 15:32; Jn. 19:32; Rom. 6:6; Gal 2:20-note
Literally, “our old man was crucified together”. Note that "in Him" is not in the Greek but is added. The aorist tense depicts a historical event, one which has been completed in the past. As discussed above the reading of the KJV might mislead someone to interpret the crucifixion as a present tense or ongoing event. KJV read "our old man is crucified with Him".
Sustauroo is passive voice defining the action as performed on the subject by an outside source. The old man does not crucify himself. The crucifixion is performed by God.
Dear reader, a practical application of the truth expressed in this verse is to honestly and soberly ask yourself the following question given in the form of a hymn…
WERE YOU THERE?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Beloved if you in fact were there when they crucified my Lord, then something has happened to your old self and you can never live like you did before you were there. You are loosed so go forth and live in newness of life!
Paul wrote of spiritual crucifixion of saints several times in Galatians…
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Gal 2:20-note)
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal 5:24-note)
But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal 6:14)
IN ORDER THAT OUR BODY OF SIN MIGHT BE DONE AWAY WITH: hina katargege (3SAPS) to soma tes hamartias: (Ro 7:24; 8:3,13; Col 2:11,12)
In order that (2443) (hina) could be translated "in order that" and marks purpose, in this case Paul is explaining the purpose and effect of the co-crucifixion of our "old self" with Christ.
Body of sin - The RSV does a disservice to the original Greek and to Paul's intended meaning by rendering "our body of sin" as "our sinful body." So you ask, what's wrong with that, I know my body is sinful? Well, that's not exactly (theologically) correct. Your body is neutral. It's like any instrument or tool. For example, a knife when used for cutting a filet mignon is useful, but when used in an armed robbery is harmful. What makes the difference? Not the knife but the intent of the user of the knife. The knife is, as it were, neutral. Now back to the RSV rendering which implies that the human body itself is corrupt or contaminated or evil (this smacks of first century Gnosticism, which held that the body was evil!). Paul's point as discussed more below is that our body is a good gift bestowed by God and in the absence of sin was to be used to express the beauty of the Creator.
Body (4983) (soma) defines the body as an organized whole made up of parts and members. Every man and woman ever born was born a sinner, with the result that their body was ruled by Sin. If you don't believe that Sin rules the bodies of the unredeemed individual, then you have never observed babies when you take something harmful from their hand or mouth. Or you have never observed two children fighting over the same toy. One says - "It's mine! You can't have it" The other child says - "No, it's mine! Give it to me!" You are witnessing two physical bodies over which Sin is exerting its control and which manifests itself in selfish behavior, fighting over the same toy, hitting one another, crying when one pulls the toy from the other's hands, etc, etc. This is Sin controlling the physical body!
Sin (266) (hamartia) originally conveyed the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow, shooting the arrow and missing. The idea is of falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. As discussed below "sin" in Romans 6 represents a moral principle or force personified as evil in character. (Click related discussion of sin)
Body of sin - As noted above, our body in context is held by many excellent commentators as a reference to the our physical body as the vehicle or instrument through which sin expresses itself and causes our body to "miss the mark" of God's standard (which is perfection, cp Jas 2:10, righteousness, holiness). Murray thus refers to it as "the body as conditioned and controlled by sin." Remember that in Romans 6 sin always has the definite article (Greek = te - English = "the" -- see more discussion on the Sin) preceding it which speaks of Sin as an organized power, acting through the members (arms, legs, mouth, etc) of the physical body. For example in (Ro 6:12-note) Sin is personified as a "king" that seeks to "reign in your mortal body". In (Ro 6:14-note) Paul changes the metaphor somewhat and personifies Sin as a "slave master" (rather than a king) explaining that "Sin shall not be master over you" (Why not? Because its power and claims have been broken by Christ's death on the Cross and we died with Him!). In sum, the body of sin is our physical body over which Sin seeks to reign as king or to rule as slave master.
Expositor's Bible Commentary writes that "body of sin seems to mean body insofar as it may become the vehicle of sin. Its previous slavery to the dictates of sin is broken. This annulling of the power of sin is based on a recognized principle—that death settles all claims. Our union with Christ in his death, which was designed to deal with sin once for all, means that we are free from the hold of sin. Its mastery is broken (Ro 6:7). (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
John Stott acknowledges the previous interpretative view has merit but favor another interpretation of the body of sin noting that "Others suggest that the body of sin means ‘the sinful self’ (REB), our fallen, self-centred nature, soma (body) being used here as a synonym for sarx (flesh). This seems to suit the context best. Now God’s purpose is that this sinful self should be ‘destroyed’ (RSV) or better done away with (NIV). The verb katargeo has a wide range of meanings from ‘nullify’ to ‘abolish’. Since it is used in this verse of our sinful nature, and in Hebrews 2:14 of the devil, and since both are alive and active, it cannot here mean ‘eliminate’ or ‘eradicate’. It must mean rather that our selfish nature has been defeated, disabled and deprived of power. (Ibid) (Bolding added)
I may say of our sins what a Scottish officer said to his soldiers: "My lads, there are the enemy! Kill them, or they will kill you." And so must I say of all sins. There they are! Destroy them, or they will destroy you. (Ed: Cp Puritan John Owen's charge to "Kill sin or it be killing you." [cp Pr 8:36] see John Piper's sermon "How to Kill Sin, Part 2" and John Owen's classic treatise Mortification of Sin in Believers)
Christian, here is your practical lesson: Fight with your sins! Hack them in pieces, as Samuel did Agag (1Sa 15:33, cp Ex 17:14, 15, 16-note). Let not one of them escape. Take them as Elijah took the prophets of Baal—hew them in pieces before the Lord. Revenge the death of Christ on your sins, but keep to Christ's cross for power to do it. (Exposition on Romans)
Might be done away with (2673) (katargeo [word study] from kata = intensifies meaning + argeo = be idle from argos = ineffective, idle, inactive from a = without + érgon = work) literally means to reduce to inactivity. The idea is to make the power or force of something ineffective and so to render powerless, reduce to inactivity. To do away with. To put out of use. To cause to be idle or useless. To render entirely idle, inoperative or ineffective. Cause something to come to an end or cause it to cease to happen. To abolish or cause not to function. To free or release from an earlier obligation or relationship. To no longer take place.
Might be in the NAS is not intended to convey the possibility of doubt as if the body of sin might or might not be done away with. This phraseology is simply an idiomatic way of stating an already existing fact. In other words, our historical death to sin at the cross in Christ results in our sin being done away with.
Katargeo - 27x in 26v in NAS - Lk. 13:7; Rom. 3:3, 31; 4:14; 6:6; 7:2, 6; 1 Co. 1:28; 2:6; 6:13; 13:8, 10f; 15:24, 26; 2 Co. 3:7, 11, 13f; Gal. 3:17; 5:4, 11; Eph. 2:15; 2 Thess. 2:8; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14
The NAS renders katargeo as abolished(4), abolishing(1), bring to an end(1), did away(1), do away(1), done away(4),fades away(1), fading(1), fading away(1), nullified(1), nullify(4), passing away(1), released from(2), removed(1), render powerless(1), severed from(1), use up(1).
Katargeo always denotes a nonphysical destruction by means of a superior force coming in to replace the force previously in effect, as e.g. light destroys darkness. Another example is recorded by John who writes that
"the one who practices (present tense = their habitual practice, as their lifestyle) sin is of the devil for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1Jn 3:18)
One of best examples of Christ's "rendering powerless" the devil's works is found in Hebrews where we read that…
"Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless (katargeo) him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Heb 2:14-note)
Vine explains that katargeo "never means “to annihilate.” (= to destroy utterly and completely and thus cause to cease to exist) The general idea in the word is that of depriving a thing of the use for which it is intended. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson )
Someone has written that katargeo is pictured by our well known English phrases like "to pull the teeth out of, or to declaw."
The body of sin's power has been once and for all made ineffective, rendered powerless (do you believe that beloved?) and deprived of its force. Note that both the NAS (done away with) and the KJV (“destroyed”) readings can at first glance suggest that our body of sin is completely eradicated, which is not what this verse is teaching. Paul is not saying that that the power of sin is destroyed or annihilated. Sin is still resident in every believer's physical body and this truth explains the ongoing struggle every believer experiences with sin.
In former times the indolence, appetites, necessities, and dangers of the body ruled us with an influence we could not resist; and led us into sin. We were born with or into a body of sin. But, now that our old self has been nailed to the cross of Christ, the power of sin over our body has been rendered inoperative. Sin in now a choice.
But katargeo (done away with) literally means “to render inoperative or invalid,” to make something ineffective by removing its power of control. That meaning is seen clearly in the term’s rendering in such other passages in Romans as 3:3-note, Ro 3:31-note (“nullify”), Ro 4:14-note (“nullified”), Ro 7:2-note (“released from”).
As every mature Christian learns, the more he grows in Christ, the more he becomes aware of sin (cp "the little foxes" Song 2:15; see Charles Stanley's related discussion below) in his or her life. As Paul explains more fully in Romans 7, every believer (NB: Some expositors feel that Romans 7 does not refer to a believer struggling with sin and self, but I think that is the most reasonable interpretation - expositors such as John Piper and John MacArthur concur) still retains a residual "sediment" if you will of the unredeemed humanness (aka, flesh) which Paul illustrates from his own experience. This fallen flesh remains with every believer until we reach glory in heaven. As we have repeatedly emphasized in these notes and as every believer's experience gives sad but ample testimony, this remaining fallen, depraved nature retains the propensity to sin (and/or to tempt us to sin, and most of us have our "pet favorites"!). What Paul is stressing in this great section of Romans is that not only is penalty of sin paid for in full (Jn 19:30), but that the power of sin and it's "right" to rule over our lives has been broken.
The ESV Study Bible comments that "Paul does not argue that Christians do not sin at all (a view called sinless perfection cp 1Jn 1:8); instead, the tyranny, domination, and rule of sin have been defeated for them. This means that the normal pattern of life for Christians should be progressive growth in sanctification, resulting in ever greater maturity and conformity to God's moral law in thought and action.
Bob DeWaay - Only a renewed relationship with God can give us the freedom from the cursed, selfish desires that always drive us but never fulfill us. Reformation of the self is insufficient because superficial changes can only mask the underlying motivational and relational problems. Relationship with God is restored through a death, Christ's death on the cross and our faith in Christ that makes His crucifixion our crucifixion. "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin" (Ro 6:6,7). The "old self" is of the type that Adam and Eve had after the fall. Without the cross, there is no remedy for the self-ruling and self-seeking motivations that plaque humans. The nature of the independent, autonomous self does not change. Teaching people to love and esteem it might make them feel a little better about the situation, but it cannot change the nature of the problem. This self that we try to feel good about is alienated and afraid because of sin, not because of a lack of the proper "self-talk." (Bob DeWaay. Critical Issues Commentary)
Charles Stanley has some practical thoughts that relate to this death of the old self in Romans 6:6 noting that…
Many believers are ignorant of this doctrine. Once they trust Christ as their Savior, they immediately try to Christianize “self.” Consequently, many well-meaning Christians spend years trying to make “self” look and act like Christ. Layers and layers of good works are piled on. Hours and hours of prayer are added. All of this is fortified by sermons and seminars and tapes and books, and on and on it goes.
In many respects they are actually hindering the will of God in their lives. Sooner or later, because of His unwavering commitment to finish what He has begun, God begins to peel away the layers of “self.” This is usually a painful process because it involves exposing the inadequacy of “self.” (Ed: Self is incorrigibly sinful!) That means failure at those things that were once considered one’s forte.
Oftentimes this process involves a stripping away of self-confidence. Sometimes God moves in on “self” through a person’s finances. Other times it is through health (Ed: He did it through my marriage!). Everybody is different. And everybody’s “self” life has its own makeup. But God knows just how to peel away the layers so as to force His children to deal with their Christian life on a completely different level. (Stanley, C. F. How to Handle Adversity. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
H C G Moule - “Cancelled” (done away with) is a strong word. Let us lay hold upon its strength, and remember that it gives us not a dream, but a fact, to be found true in Christ. Let us not turn its fact into fallacy, by forgetting that, whatever “cancel” means, it does not mean that grace lifts us out of the body; that we are no longer to “keep under the body, and bring it into subjection,” in the name of Jesus. Alas for us, if any promise, any truth, is allowed to “cancel” the call to watch and pray, and to think that in no sense is there still a foe within. But all the rather let us grasp, and use, the glorious positive in its place and time, which is everywhere and every day. Let us recollect, let us confess our faith, that thus it is with us, through Him who loved us. He died for us for this very end, that our “body of sin” might be wonderfully “in abeyance,” as to the power of temptation upon the soul. (The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans - Online)
THAT WE SHOULD NO LONGER BE SLAVES TO SIN: tou meketi (no more) douleuein (PAN) emas te hamartia: (Ro 6:12,22; 7:25; 8:4; 2Ki 5:17; Isa 26:13; Jn 8:34, 35, 36)
NO LONGER SLAVES!
In describing false teachers Peter said that they promised their followers…
freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved (douloo). (2 Pe 2:19)
Jesus painted a similar picture of men in general explaining to His Jewish audience…
No longer - This implies that prior to the crucifixion of Christ and the believer's co-crucifixion with Him, every person ever born was a slave of Sin and unable to say "no" to this harsh master. But now in Christ no longer!
Be slaves (1398) (douleuo [word study] from related word "bondservant" = doulos [word study] slave or one who is in bondage or bound to another, in the state of being completely controlled by someone or something) means to be in bondage or in the position of servant and to act accordingly, dutifully obeying the master's commands. It means to fulfill the duties of a slave, for whom there was no choice either as to the kind or length of his service.
Douleuo - 25x in 23v in NAS - Matt. 6:24; Lk. 15:29; 16:13; Jn. 8:33; Acts 7:7; 20:19; NOTE REPETITIVE USE IN ROMANS = Ro 6:6; 7:6, 25; 9:12; 12:11; 14:18; 16:18; Gal. 4:8, 9, 25; 5:13; Eph. 6:7; Phil. 2:22; Col. 3:24; 1Th 1:9; 1 Tim. 6:2; Titus 3:3 and is rendered by the NAS as enslaved(3), in bondage(1), render service(1), serve(10), served(1), serves(1),serving(4), slavery(1), slaves(3).
A slave does what the master (Sin) tells him to do. Believers are no longer slaves of Sin. This former relationship is a "mechanical" impossibility because of the work of Christ on the Cross. Paul does not teach that a Christian is no longer capable of committing sins but that he no longer is under the compulsion and tyranny of the old dictator Sin, nor will he dutifully and habitually obey this old master Sin as before he was saved by grace through faith.
The present tense signifies this is no longer to be our lifestyle (continually enslaved) and active voice indicates that we can now make the willful choice to not submit ourselves to the strong, corrupt desires that originate from our fallen (see discussion of Sin) nature inherited from Adam. Every person born in the flesh becomes a slave to the rule and reign of SIN, Paul instructing us that
Hodge explains that
The service of Sin is a “slavery,” a state from which we cannot free ourselves, a power which coerces obedience in spite of the resistance of reason, conscience, and, as the apostle teaches, even the will. It is a slavery from which we can be delivered in no other way than by the death of the inner principle of evil which possesses our nature and lies behind the will, beyond the reach of our power. It can be destroyed only by union with Christ in his death, who died for this very purpose, that he might deliver us from the bondage of corruption and introduce us into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. (Compare John 8:34; He 2:14, 15-note, He 2:16-note) (Romans 6 Commentary)
Paul repeats this great truth of the believer's liberation from Sin's grip a few verses later writing
Thanks be to God that though you were (past tense) slaves of sin, you became (past tense) obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, having been freed (past tense) from sin, you became (past tense) slaves of righteousness (Ro 6:17, 18).
All the verbs in Romans 6:17, 18 make clear that a believer’s slavery under sin has already been broken by Christ and is henceforth a thing of the past. Several verses later, Paul reiterates the truth that the believer’s new enslavement to righteousness is made possible because he is now enslaved to God (Ro 6:22).
In other words, the immediate context of should no longer be slaves of sin is because believers can no longer be slaves of sin. Paul does not teach that a Christian is no longer capable of committing sin but that he is no longer obligated to be under the tyranny of Sin. For all genuine Christians, slavery to Sin no longer exists as it formerly did in Adam.
In Romans 7 Paul will illustrate from his own life how difficult it is for a Christian to realize experientially that he is free from sin’s bondage (Ed: Not everyone agrees Romans 7 describes a believer, but that is my conclusion based on careful study). As we look honestly at our lives after salvation, it is more than obvious that sin’s contamination is still very much with us.
Ray Pritchard addresses this issue of "residual ability to commit sins" asking…
Can we still sin? Yes. Is sin necessary? No. Is it inevitable? No. What makes a Christian sin? When he chooses volitionally to yield to the sin which still indwells his body.
Augustine explained it this way:
Adam before the Fall was … Able to sin.
Adam after the Fall was … Not able not to sin.
Believers in Christ are … Able not to sin.
In heaven we will be … Not able to sin.
Number three is where we live today. We are "able not to sin." But the choice is ours. Sin was defeated by Christ on the cross. It exists today as a defeated foe. Sin indwells your body and still tries to control you. But we no longer need to yield to it (Ro 6:13KJV-note, Ro 6:16KJV-note, Ro 6:19KJV-note). Sin cannot defeat us unless we choose to yield to it. In essence, we cannot be defeated unless we choose to be defeated. And Paul's whole point is—Why would anyone choose to be defeated?
To say it another way, victory is now possible. It is not inevitable. We still have responsible choices we must make. But before we came to Christ, we had no choice at all. We were slaves to sin whether we realized it or not. (Free at Last)
Kenneth Wuest amplifies the truth of Romans 6:6 with…
a rather simple illustration to make this clear. It is that of a machine shop in which there is a turning lathe operated by means of a belt which is attached to a revolving wheel in the ceiling of the room. When the workman wishes to render the lathe inoperative, in other words, wishes to stop it, he takes a pole and slides the belt off from the wheel, thus disengaging the turning lathe from the revolving wheel which heretofore had driven it. That turning lathe is like the human body of the sinner, and the revolving wheel in the ceiling, like the evil nature. As the wheel in the ceiling makes the turning lathe go round, so the sinful nature controls the body of the sinner. And as the machinist renders the lathe inoperative by slipping off the belt which connected it with the wheel, so God in salvation slips the belt, so to speak, off from the sinful nature which connected it with the physical body of the believer, thus rendering that body inoperative so far as any control which that nature might have over the believer, is concerned.
The Christian is exhorted to maintain that relationship of disconnection which God has brought about between him and the indwelling sinful nature. God has not taken away the Christian’s free will, and does not treat him as a machine. It is possible for the Christian by an act of his will to slip the belt back on, connecting himself with the evil nature, thus bringing sin into his life. But, he is not able to do this habitually, and for various reasons.
In the first place, it is not the Christian’s nature to sin (1Jn 3:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). He has been made a partaker of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4-note; Col 1:27-note, Ro 8:9-note) which impels him (cp Spirit and Jesus in Mk 1:12, Php 2:13-note) to hate sin and to love holiness. In the second place, the minute a Christian sins, the Holy Spirit is grieved (Ep 4:30-note, cp NB what God says in Ezek 6:9!!!), and that makes the believer decidedly uncomfortable, spiritually. God also sends suffering and chastening into his life as a curb to sin (He 12:5, 6-note [Pr 3:11,12], He 12:7, 8-note, He 12:9, 10-note, He 12:11-note, Ps 94:12-note, Ps 94:13-note, Ps 119:67-note, Ps 119:71-note, Pr 6:23, 29:15, Job 5:17, Re 3:19-note) All these things taken together, preclude any possibility of the Christian taking advantage of divine grace ("Amen" or "O my!"). (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
C H Spurgeon (Morning and Evening) asks the pertinent question "Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice's den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish! Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler- be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again! It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which all have an eye to thy purity and holiness; therefore run not counter to the purposes of thy Lord. Another thought should restrain thee from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin. There is yet a higher argument: each time you "serve sin" you have "Crucified the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame." Can you bear that thought? Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening, to bring you back before you have backslidden very far. Turn thee to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten his love to thee; his grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come thou to his footstool, and thou shalt be once more received into his heart; thou shalt be set upon a rock again, and thy goings shall be established."
GWT: The person who has died has been freed from sin. (GWT)
NLT: For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: for a dead man can safely be said to be immune to the power of sin. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: for the one who died once for all stands in the position of a permanent relationship of freedom from the sinful nature. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for he who hath died hath been set free from the sin.
FOR HE WHO HAS DIED: ho gar apothanon (AAPMSN):
For (gar) (see importance of this term of explanation) means because and introduces an explanation of how believers have been emancipated from their former tyrant Sin. Paul is simply explaining and confirming what he has just said. His point is that The one who is by faith united to Christ in his death cannot any longer serve sin, for he who has died is justified from sin.
John Stott nicely sums it up writing "For us, then, it is like this. We deserved to die for our sins. And in fact we did die, though not in our own person, but in the person of Jesus Christ our substitute, who died in our place, and with whom we have been united by faith and baptism. And by union with the same Christ we have risen again. So the old life of sin is finished, because we died to it, and the new life of justified sinners has begun. Our death and resurrection with Christ render it inconceivable that we should go back. It is in this sense that our sinful self has been deprived of power and we have been set free." (Ibid)
Has died (599) (apothnesko from apó = an intensifier or with idea of "away from" or "disassociation" + thnesko = to die) means literally to die off (apo-) and is stronger (more intense) than the verb thnesko. Although the NT uses apothnesko to refer to natural physical death, Paul uses it here to refer to believers who are justified by faith in Christ and thus who actually "died off" to the power of Sin and are no longer in bondage to this harsh taskmaster.
Note that the aorist tense pictures finality, a once for all, past tense, historical event that in context equates with the moment each of us placed our faith in Christ. We can translate it "we died once for all". Note that Paul does not call upon Christians to die to sin (We died-not for sin, but to sin) but explains that by sharing in Christ's death, they have in fact already died to sin! That's a fact, not an experience. Feelings have nothing to do with it. From God's point of view, He sees you as dead, buried and raised (as discussed in the following verses) with the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore united with him so tightly that you could never be separated. That's the basic truth of Romans 6:1-10.
When we died with Christ. His readers being very familiar with slavery, could easily comprehend that when a slave died he was freed from his master’s service. By analogy then when one has died to sin he is no longer the slave of sin & is freed from the service to sin.
Apothnesko - 111x in 100v in the NAS - Matt. 8:32; 9:24; 22:24, 27; 26:35; Mk. 5:35, 39; 9:26; 12:19ff; 15:44; Lk. 8:42, 52f; 16:22; 20:28f, 31f, 36; Jn. 4:47, 49; 6:49f, 58; 8:21, 24, 52f; 11:14, 16, 21, 25f, 32, 37, 50f; 12:24, 33; 18:14, 32; 19:7; 21:23; Acts 7:4; 9:37; 21:13; 25:11; Rom. 5:6ff, 15; 6:2, 7ff; 7:2f, 6, 10; 8:13, 34; 14:7ff, 15; 1 Co. 8:11; 9:15; 15:3, 22, 31f, 36; 2 Co. 5:14f; 6:9; Gal. 2:19, 21; Phil. 1:21; Col. 2:20; 3:3; 1 Thess. 4:14; 5:10; Heb. 7:8; 9:27; 10:28; 11:4, 13, 21, 37; Jude 1:12; Rev. 3:2; 8:9, 11; 9:6; 14:13; 16:3 and is rendered in the NAS as dead(5), death(1), die(34), died(53), dies(12), dying(4), mortal(1), perished(1), put to death*(1).
Alford wrote that "As a man that is dead is acquitted and released from bondage among men, so a man that has died to sin is acquitted from the guilt of sin and released from its bondage
Illustration - Dwight L. Moody told of the young man who did not want to serve in Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. When he was drafted, a friend volunteered to go in his place. The substitution was made, and some time later the surrogate was killed in battle. The same young man was, through a clerical error, drafted again. “You can’t take me” he told the startled officers. “I’m dead. I died on the battlefield.” They argued that they could see him standing right in front of them, but he insisted they look on the roll to find the record of his death. Sure enough, there on the roll was the man’s name, with another name written beside it. The case finally went to the emperor himself. After examining the evidence, Napoleon said, “Through a surrogate, this man has not only fought, but has died in his country’s service. No man can die more than once, therefore the law has no claim on him.”
IS FREED FROM SIN: dedikaiotai apo tes hamartias: (Ro 6:2,8; 7:2,4; 8:1 Col 3:1, 2, 3; 1Pet 4:1)
Freed (1344) (dikaioo is derived from the noun dike = righteousness) (Click for word study on dikaioo) defines the act by which a man is brought into a right state. Note that verbs which end in –óo generally indicate bringing out that which a person is or that which is desired, but not usually referring to the mode in which the action takes place.
Jesus also taught this great truth when He declared…
The first two lines of stanza 3 (lines 3 and 4 are good also!) from Charles Wesley's great hymn provide an excellent summary of the liberating truths in Romans 6…
He breaks the power of cancelled sin
Dikaioo - 39x in 36v in the NAS - Matt. 11:19; 12:37; Lk. 7:29, 35; 10:29; 16:15; 18:14; Acts 13:38f; Rom. 2:13; 3:4, 20, 24, 26, 28, 30; 4:2, 5; 5:1, 9; 6:7; 8:30, 33; 1 Co. 4:4; 6:11; Gal. 2:16f; 3:8, 11, 24; 5:4; 1 Tim. 3:16; Tit. 3:7; Jas. 2:21, 24f
The NAS renders dikaioo as acknowledged justice(1), acquitted(1), freed(3), justified(24), justifier(1),justifies(2), justify(4), vindicated(3)
Note freed is in the perfect tense which describes a past action with a continuing effect or force and thus speaks of permanence of this new found freedom in Christ (cp "eternal security"). The believer has been freed at a point in time in past (moment of salvation) continues in that state of freedom from Sin (sin's penalty and power). Judicially speaking, Sin no longer has legal right or claim to force its mastery and control on a believer, for he has died with Christ and is forever in Christ and is complete in Him (Col 2:10-note)
Ray Pritchard expounds on this passage noting that…
"Anyone who has died has been freed from sin." This is the final—and ultimate blessing—of our union with Christ. We have been set free from sin. That means just what it says. We were enslaved to sin, but now through Christ we have been set free.
Why, then, would we ever go back to sin? Only one answer seems possible. We go back to sin because we think it will make us happy. And we're right. Sin is fun for awhile (He 11:25-note). Drinking is fun for awhile, adultery is fun for awhile, lust is fun for awhile, anger satisfies for a short time, bitterness has its rewards, thievery is fun while you get away with it, gluttony is fun until you wake up the next morning feeling guilty. Sin gives pleasure … but only for a short season. All Satan's apples have worms (Ed: Cp deceitfulness of sin - He 3:13-note) (See Related Discussion: The Deceitfulness of Sin).
When I preached this message I made a passing comment like this: "You can be an alcoholic drunk and it's fun for awhile." After the service a friend passed a note to me. "Pastor Ray, in your sermon you said alcoholic drunkenness is fun for awhile. Wrong! Drunkenness is fun for awhile until it becomes alcoholic drunkenness. And then it is a life of despair." My friend knows whereof she speaks. She knows the truth of her words because she once lived in that despair (cp 1Co 6:9, 10, 11, especially verse 11! Hallelujah!).
But Jesus Christ has delivered her. He has set her free from alcoholic drunkenness. By the power of Jesus Christ, she has been delivered from slavery to sin. Where once she knew only self-loathing and despair, now she knows freedom and full deliverance. And if you doubt my words, just ask her. She'll tell you herself. She is a living testimony to the truth of Romans 6. She has died to sin and through Jesus Christ has been raised to a brand new life. She's living a different life now because she's not the person she used to be. (Ed: See sermon by Rob Morgan - Romans 6 Staying Sober in an Addictive World)
Jesus said, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36) Hundreds of people in our own congregation can testify to that truth. They have been delivered from sin and set free indeed through Jesus Christ. (Free at Last)
The Amplified Version translates Romans 6:7 as "For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].
This translation and the general truth of a believer's death to sin in Romans 6 is nicely paralleled in the story of Lazarus (John 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 40, 41, 42, 43). Jesus raised him from the dead and then commanded "Loose him (he was "bound hand and foot with wrappings"), and let him go (John 11:44).
Lazarus left the grave, got rid of the grave clothes, and began a new life (Col 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10-see notes Col 3:1ff.) completing the picture of what all believers are now privileged and enabled to do (cp 1Th 4:1-note)!
W E Vine has a lucid explanation of the meaning of the passage he that hath died is justified (freed, NAS) from Sin (Ro 6:7KJV) writing that Paul is using dikaioo…
… in the legal sense. There is no legitimate method of terminating sin’s claims except by death. Death both snaps all bonds and annuls all obligations. The statement of this verse covers the whole of the preceding argument and does not apply merely to the figure of bondage as just mentioned. The special reference is to the subject of crucifixion, the death penalty which Christ endured. Our identification with Christ, as the One who endured the penalty for us, removes the legal sentence from us and thereby delivers us from a condition of bondage to sin. There is both the removal of the penalty and the deliverance from the power. A corpse can neither be punished nor can it become subservient to the will of another." (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Wuest adds that dikaioo usually means "to justify, to declare righteous, to render or make righteous, acquit of a charge, to absolve. It is a term having to do with the law and the courts of law. In this sense Paul uses it in the section in Romans (Ro 3:21-5:11) where he deals with the doctrine of justification. But in Romans 6 he is presenting the doctrine of sanctification (progressive sanctification or becoming holy). Therefore, the idea of being set free, growing out of the idea that a justified person is set free from the penalty of the law, is used. The one, Paul says, who died off once for all from the sinful nature, has been set free completely from it, with the present result that he is in a state of permanent freedom from it (as depicted by the perfect tense), permanent in the sense that God has set him free permanently from it. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Ray Pritchard asks all of us the question dear saint…
Will You Go Back? God Forbid!
Will a prisoner go back to prison? God forbid!
Will a slave go back to his master? God forbid!
Will a rich man return to his poverty? God forbid!
Will a happy man go back to sadness? God forbid!
Will a survivor go back to a concentration camp? God forbid!
Will a Christian go back into sin? God forbid!
Let's stop for a moment and make sure that we understand the difference between the doctrine of justification (Ro 3:21-5:11) and the doctrine of sanctification (Romans 6-8).
Clearly sanctification (growth in holiness, Christ-likeness, spiritual maturity) is a process that continues throughout our Christian lives. But don't forget that sanctification is a process and not an arrival, for the believer will never be completely freed from the possibility of sinning in this life. Paul is declaring when we were co-crucified with Christ we died, and now that we are dead, we are legally free from Sin as our master. Justified people will live sanctified lives!
When a criminal has been put to death,
Rasnake writes that "The major ramification of these verses in our lives today is this: Sin no longer has power over us. This means that when we sin now, it’s not because we have to but because we choose to. Before meeting Christ, we were slaves to Sin and did not have the power to consistently avoid it. Being released from our enslavement to Sin means that though we can still choose to sin, we can also choose not to. It’s this choice not to sin that’s our part of cooperation in the sanctification process. (Rasnake, E. The Book of Romans. Following God Series)
More and more of Thee
Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers a helpful illustration of the believer’s relation to his old sinful disposition (from his work "Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 6"). He pictures two adjoining fields, one owned by Satan and one owned by God, that are separated by a road. Before salvation, a person lives in Satan’s field (cp Col 1:13-note, Acts 26:18, 1Jn 5:19) and is totally subject to his jurisdiction. After salvation, a person works in the other field, now subject only to God’s jurisdiction. As he plows in the new field, however, the believer is often cajoled by his former master, who seeks to entice him back into the old sinful ways. Satan often succeeds in temporarily drawing the believer’s attention away from his new Master and his new way of life. But he is powerless to draw the believer back into the old field of sin and death.
Spurgeon explains that "he that died to Sin when Christ died is free from sin’s condemning power. God has driven the nails through the active powers of our Sin, both hands and feet are fastened to the cross of Christ, and though the heart and the head may sometimes wander, yet our old man is crucified with Christ that the body of sin may be destroyed; and we are looking forward to that happy day when the old man shall be dead altogether, and we shall be made meet to enter into the inheritance of the saints in light (Col 1:12-note). We believe that our old man will never die until we die, but we thank God that the death of our body will be also the death of the body of sin.
John Piper explains a believer's new relationship with the flesh…
Picture your flesh-- that old ego with the mentality of merit and craving for power and reputation and self-reliance -- picture it as a dragon living in some cave of your soul. Then you hear the gospel, and in it Jesus Christ comes to you and says,
"I will make you mine and take possession of the cave and slay the dragon. Will you yield to My possession? It will mean a whole new way of thinking and feeling and acting."
"But that dragon is me. I will die."
"And you will rise to newness of life (Ro 6:4-note), for I will take its plan; I will make My mind (1Co 2:16) and My will (cp David in Acts 13:22) and My heart your own."
"What must I do?" (cp Acts 16:30)
"Trust Me and do as I say. As long as you trust Me we cannot lose."
Overcome by the beauty and power of Christ, you bow and swear eternal loyalty and trust (cp Ep 2:8, 9-note). And as you rise He puts a great sword in your hand and says,
He leads you to the mouth of the cave and says,
"Go in, slay the dragon."
But you look at him bewildered,
"I cannot. Not without You." (cp Php 4:13-note)
"Well said (Jn 15:5). You learn quickly. Never forget: My commands for you to do something are never commands to do it alone."
Then you enter the cave together. A horrible battle follows (cp 1Ti 1:18, 19, 6:12, Ep 6:13-note, Jas 4:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 2Co 10:3, 4, 5-note) and you feel Christ's hand on yours. At last the dragon lies limp. You ask,
"Is it dead?"
His answer is this:
"I have come to give you new life (Col 3:4-note). This you received when you yielded to My possession and swore faith and loyalty to Me. And now with My Sword and My hand you have felled the dragon of the flesh. It is a mortal wound. It will die. That is certain. But it has not yet bled to death and it may yet revive with violent convulsions and do much harm. So you must treat it as dead and seal the cave as a tomb. The lord of darkness may cause earthquakes in your soul (cp Ep 6:16-note) to shake the stones loose but you build them up again. And have this confidence: with My sword and My hand on yours this dragon's doom is sure, he is finished, and your new life is secure."
Christ has taken possession of our soul (Titus 2:14-note, 1Cor 6:19, 20). Our old self has been dealt a mortal wound (Ro 6:6, 7) and stripped of its power to have dominion (Ro 6:11-note, Ro 6:16, 17-note). The Christian life, the fruit of the Spirit, is a contrast reckoning of the flesh as dead (piling stones on its tomb) and a constant relying on the present Spirit of Christ to produce love, joy and peace within (Gal 5:22-note, Gal 5:23-note). The difference between the Christian life and popular American morality is that Christians will not take one step unless the hand of Christ holds the hand that wields the sword of righteousness. (Read Pastor Piper's complete message "Walk by the Spirit) (See related resource - Verse by Verse commentary on Walking in the Spirit - Gal 5:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 - see notes Gal 5:16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26)
Romans 6:6: Coming to know this, that our old man was crucified with Him, in order that the body of sin might be annulled, that we might no longer be in slave service to sin.
The word translated "coming to know, " means, in the Greek, coming into knowledge ,-a discriminating apprehension of facts. See note below. (#1)
Our old man
Our old man-This is our old selves, as we were in and from Adam. It is contrasted with the new man (Col 3:9,10) -which is what we are and have in Christ. The word our indicates that what is said, is said of and to all those who are in Christ. The expression "our old man, " of course is a federal one, as also is "the new man." The "old man, " therefore, is not Adam personally, any more than the "new man" is Christ personally. Also, we must not confuse the "old man" with "the flesh." Adam begat a son in his own likeness. This son of Adam, as all since, was according to Adam, -for he was in Adam; possessed of a "natural" mind, feelings, tastes, desires, -all apart from God. He was his father repeated. Cain is a picture before us of the meaning of the words, "the old man." Moreover, since man's activities were carried on in and through the body, he is now morally "after the flesh." Inasmuch as his spirit was now dead to God, sin controlled him both spirit and soul, through the body. And thus we read a little later, in the Sixth of Genesis, upon the recounting of the horrible lust and violence that filled the earth, God's statement: "In their going astray, they are flesh!" (R. V. margin.) What a fearful travesty of one created in the image of God, and into whose Divinely formed body God had breathed the spirit of life, so that he was "spirit and soul and body" (1Th 5:23) ; and with his innocent spirit able to speak with his Creator! with his unfallen soul-faculties, and with body in blessed harmony.
When we are told, for instance, in Colossians, that we have put off the old man, we know that we are being addressed as new creatures in Christ, and that the old man represents all we naturally were, -desires, lusts, ambitions, hopes, judgments: looked at as a whole federally: we used to be that-now we have put that off. We recognize it again in the words "Put away as concerning your former manner of life the old man" (Eph 4:22).
1. First, then, our old man was crucified (Romans 6.6). That is a Divine announcement of fact.
2. Those in Christ have put off the old man.
3. He still exists, for "the old man waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit" (Eph 4:22).
4. He is to be put away as belonging to our former manner of life: for we are in Christ and are "new creatures; old things are passed away; behold they are become new" (2Co 5:17).
Now as regards the flesh:
1. While our old man has been crucified, by God, with Christ at the cross, -the federal thing was done; yet of the flesh we read, "They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof" (Ga 5:24).
2. The flesh has passions and lusts.
3. It has a mind directly at enmity with God.
4. As we shall see in Chapter Seven, the flesh is the manifestation of sin in the as yet unredeemed body. "Our old man, " therefore, is the large term, the all-inclusive one-of all that we were federally from Adam. The flesh, however, we shall find to be that manifestation of sin in our members with which we are in conscious inward conflict, against which only the Holy Spirit indwelling us effectively wars. Our bodies are not the root of sin, but do not yet share, as do our spirits, the redemption that is in Christ. And as for our souls (our faculties of perception, reason, imagination, and our sensibilities), -our souls are being renewed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Not so the body. "The flesh, " which is sin entrenched in the body, is unchangeably evil, and will war against us till Christ comes. Only the Holy Spirit has power over "the flesh" (Ro 8:1).
Our old man was crucified-The matter of which we are told to take note here is the great federal fact that our old man was crucified with Christ. Perhaps no more difficult task, no task requiring such constant vigilant attention, is assigned by God to the believer. It is a stupendous thing, this matter of taking note of and keeping in mind what goes so completely against consciousness, -that our old man was crucified. These words are addressed to faith, to faith only. Emotions, feelings, deny them. To reason, they are foolishness. But ah, what stormy seas has faith walked over! What mountains has faith cast into the sea! How many impossible things has faith done!
Let us never forget, that this crucifixion was a thing definitely done by God at the cross, just as really as our sins were there laid upon Christ. It is addressed' to faith as a revelation from God. Reason is blind. The "word of the cross" is "foolishness" to it. All the work consummated at the cross seems folly, if we attempt to subject it to man's understanding. But, just as the great wonder of creation is understood only by faith: ("By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the Word of God, "-Heb 11:3) so the eternal results accomplished at the cross are entered into by simple faith in the testimony of God about them.
No, it is no easy or light thing that is announced to you and me, that all we were and are from Adam has been rejected of God. Scripture is not now dealing with what we have done, but with what we are.
And really to enter spiritually into the meaning of this awful word, Our old man was crucified, involves, with all of us, deep exercise of soul. For no one by nature will be ready to count himself so incorrigibly bad as to have to be crucified! But when the Spirit of God turns the light upon what we are, from Adam, these will be blessed words of relief: "Our old man was crucified."
Now here is the very opposite of the teaching of false Christianity about a holy life. For these legalists set you to crucifying yourself! You must "die out" to this, and to that. But God says our old man, all that we were, has been already dealt with, -and that by crucifixion with Christ. And the very words "with Him" show that it was done back at the cross; and that our task is to believe the good news, rather than to seek to bring about this crucifixion ourselves.
The believer is constantly reminded that his relation to sin was brought about by his identification with Christ in His death: Christ died unto sin, and the believer shared that death, died with Him, and is now, therefore, dead unto sin. This is his relationship to sin-the same as Christ's now is; and believing this is to be his constant attitude.
Difficulty there will be, no doubt, in taking and maintaining constantly this attitude: but faith will remove the difficulty, and faith here will grow out of assiduous, constant attention to God's exact statements of fact. We are not to go to God in begging petitions for "victory, "-except in extreme circumstances. We are to set ourselves a very different task: "This is the work of God, that ye believe" We may often be compelled to cry, with the father of the demoniac, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief!" But it is still better to have our faces toward the foe, knowing ourselves to be in Christ, and that we have been commanded to reckon ourselves dead to sin, no matter how great and strong sin may appear. Satan's great device is to drive earnest souls back to beseeching God for what God says has already been done!
"Our old man was crucified with Christ." This is our task: to walk in the faith of these words. Upon this water God commands us to step out and walk. And we are infinitely better off than was Peter that night, when he "walked on the water to come to Jesus"; whereas we are in Christ. And our relationship to sin is His relationship! He died unto it, and we, being in Christ Risen, are in the relationship Christ's death brought about in Him, and now to us who are in Him: whether to sin, law, death, or the world.
If I did not die with Christ, on the cross, I cannot be living in Him, risen from the dead; but am still back in the old Adam in which I was born!
Christ died once-once for all, unto sin. He is not dying continually. I am told to reckon myself dead-in that death of Christ. I am therefore not told to do my own dying, to sin and self and the world: but, on the contrary, to reckon by simple faith, that in His death I died: and to be "conformed unto His death." But, to be conformed to a death already a fact, is not doing my own dying, -which is Romanism. If you and I are able to reckon ourselves dead-in Christ's death: all will be simple.
That the body of sin might be annulled-The word for "annulled" is katargeo. The meaning is, to "put out of business."
The "body of sin" refers to our bodies as yet unredeemed, and not delivered from sin's rule; as Paul says in the Eighth Chapter: "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin." Now we shall find that we have no power to deliver our body, our members, from "the law of sin" (See Ro 7:8-24). But since our old man has been crucified with Christ, all the rights of sin are gone; and the indwelling Holy Spirit can annul "the body of sin"; thus delivering us from sin's bondage. We know the Spirit is not mentioned here (as He will be constantly in Chapter Eight); but inasmuch as it is His work to apply all Christ's work to us, we speak of His blessed annulling of the power of indwelling sin. It is blessed to know that we do not have to crucify the old man: that was done in Christ's federal death at the cross. Nor do we have to "annul" the "body of sin": that is done by the blessed Spirit as we yield to Him.
1.The Greek word for "know" (ginosko) here, means to get to know, come in the knowledge of, become acquainted with the fact. It is an entirely different word from the one translated "knowing" in verse 9 (eido), meaning "a clear and purely mental conception, in contrast both to conjecture and to knowledge derived from others" (Thayer). In this latter verse the fact spoken of is a matter of common knowledge. We, by God's word here, come to know (verse 6) that our old man was crucified with Christ; whereas we know as a necessary thing that Christ, being raised, dieth no more (verse 9). This is not a fact we "come to know, " as in the matter of our vital connection with His death, verse 6. The manner in which we "come to know" our old man was crucified is by faith in God's testimony to fact!