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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Old Man and the Cross

For if we have become united in Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, 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. Romans 6:5-7 (New American Standard Bible)

In the gross immaturity of my younger years I led some new believers to think that as Christ was now Lord of their lives all their problems would be over. I was not only wrong but I did a lot of damage to the beginning of their relationship with Christ. After a couple of days when they realized sin still lurked and rough temptations assailed them they were not only discouraged but angry. One lady told me she expected to wake up the next morning sinless. When she realized she still had to deal with sin she became extremely angry. I am happy to say she has remained a mature and faithful child of the King for many years.

So what does Paul mean when he says we have been crucified with Christ and freed from sin? Does it mean we become sinless? A person’s ‘old man’ is the person they were spiritually before he/she trusted in Christ. This was the time when they were under sin, ungodly and powerless to resist temptation. This isn’t referring to the sin nature for in Christ the sin nature was broken in its power but not destroyed. In other words Christ’s death and resurrection overcame the power of sin to rule us totally yet it still remains an entity that tries to reassert its power in our lives. Now through Christ the person has the option of walking in the Spirit of God and can decide whether or not they want to pursue unrighteousness or operate in the freedom of God’s power.

When our old natures are crucified, or identified with Christ, that’s the basis for deliverance from enslavement. A slave has no say over his/her life and is always under the direct will of their master. The Old Man and the cross were made for one another but at this time in eternity crucifying him is a daily execution. But now that Christ’s death and resurrection has broken this old master’s power (sin) we are no longer in slavery to it but through Christ can choose to kick the shackles aside. The old master continually tries to reassert his power but we have been fully freed from him and never again need to put those chains on for we have been justified and declared righteous in Christ. When the Old Man rises up and bids us to enslave ourselves again to sinful passions we now have the choice and power to resist. Because we have been crucified in Christ, freed from the power of sin, those shackles can lay before us in the full light of Christ with the knowledge we need never put them on again. What a glorious freedom!