Jew and Gentile
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.
(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;
He varies his approach by using the participle “knowing” (Ro 5:3-note;
Or he can say “you know” (Ro 2:18-note)
or ask the question “Do you not know?” (Ro 6:3-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)
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
Old Man (Old Self)
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
our old [unregenerate] self was crucified once for all with Him
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.
IS MISLEADING IN ROMANS 6:6-8
our old man is crucified
our old self was crucified
he that is dead
he who has died
if we be dead with Christ
we have died with Christ
(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)
the antonym of
kainos [word study]
which means brand new.
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.
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.
12x in the non-apocryphal
- 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;
(anthropos) means a human being, a man or woman, an
individual of the human race or a person.
See more detailed discussion of
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)
The old self is the unregenerate man
in Adam (1Cor 15:22, Ro 5:12,18,19), the person
who is apart from divine redemption and the new life it brings.
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.
says that the
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
introduces a key fact that needs to
be believed! What is the "old man" (Ro 6:6; Ep 4:22-note;
and what is the "new man" (Col 3:10-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
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
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
“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...
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...
people confuse the old man with the flesh. (Ed: Not
the physical flesh but the fallen
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
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
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)
F Godet adds that...
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
John MacArthur has some clarifying thoughts on an area that can
be easily misunderstood and which can have negative consequences if
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).
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
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 dualistic, schizophrenic Christian.
The old man—the unregenerate person that was “in Adam” (cf. 1Co 15:22 ;
dead. We are to “lay aside” that crucified, dead, and corrupt old self
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,
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:
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.
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
man has died. Do not go on living as if he was still there.
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
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.
Crucified with (4957)
[word study] from
= 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
to crucify with in a transcendent
sense, crucify with, fig. ext. of 1, of identification w. Christ’s
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.
5x in 5v in NAS - Matt. 27:44; Mk. 15:32; Jn. 19:32; Rom. 6:6; Gal 2:20-note
“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".
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
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!
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
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.
(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
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
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
controlling the physical body!
(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
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
Sin is personified as a
"king" that seeks to "reign in your mortal body". In (Ro
Paul changes the metaphor somewhat and personifies
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
seeks to reign as king or to rule as slave master.
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
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament.
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
(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
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
Might be done away with
[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.
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
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).
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
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
"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
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
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,
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.
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)
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 writes...
“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
6:12,22; 7:25; 8:4; 2Ki 5:17; Isa 26:13; Jn 8:34, 35, 36)
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
(2 Pe 2:19)
painted a similar picture of men in general explaining to His Jewish
Truly, truly, I say to you,
everyone (no exceptions) who commits (present
tense = as
the habit of their life, their lifestyle) sin is the slave (doulos)
- This implies that prior to the crucifixion of Christ and the
believer's co-crucifixion with Him, every person ever born was a slave
and unable to say "no" to this harsh master. But now in Christ no
[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
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).
slave does what the master (Sin) tells him to do. Believers are no longer slaves of
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
as before he was saved by grace through faith.
signifies this is no longer to be our lifestyle (continually enslaved)
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
nature inherited from Adam. Every person born in the flesh becomes a
slave to the rule and reign of SIN, Paul instructing us that
just as through one man (Adam)
entered into the
world and death through
and so death
spread to all men because all sinned (Ro 5:12-note).
The service of
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,
Paul repeats this great truth of the believer's liberation from
grip a few verses later
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.
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,
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
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
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;
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,
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!").
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.