“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 6:6-7).
Having died with Christ, believers are no longer under sin’s control.
Years ago a book with the amusing title “It Ain’t Gonna Reign No More” appeared. Though humorous, that title aptly summarizes the believer’s relationship to sin. Christians still commit sins but are no longer under sin’s dominion.
When we were united with Christ in His death (Rom. 6:5), “our old self was crucified with Him” (verse 6). Our “old self” equals what we were before salvation—lost in sin and bound for Hell. It is the unregenerate nature we inherited from Adam (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22).
Some argue that believers now have both an old and new nature—a sort of spiritual split personality. The conflict between those two natures, they believe, is responsible for the struggles of the Christian life, as the believer strives to crucify his old self. But notice that Paul does not command us to crucify our old self; he tells us that has already happened (cf. Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:9-10).
The expression “that our body of sin might be done away with” approaches this same truth from a slightly different perspective. It notes the close connection between the body and sin (Rom. 8:10, 13) and describes the absolute domination of sin in the life of an unbeliever. That domination is broken at salvation.
Paul is not teaching, however, that believers’ sin natures have been eradicated, and hence they no longer sin. The Greek word translated “done away with” does not mean “destroyed” but “rendered inoperative” or “deprived of its strength, influence, or power.” Christians are no longer slaves to sin; its tyranny in our lives has been broken.
Be encouraged today in your battle with sin because though it is still a dangerous enemy, sin is no longer your master.