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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 6

Verse 6. Knowing this. We all knowing this. All Christians are supposed to know this. This is a new illustration drawn from the fact that by his crucifixion our corrupt nature has been crucified also, or put to death; and that thus we should be free from the servitude of sin.

Our old man. This expression occurs also in Eph 4:22, "That ye put off .... the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." Col 3:9, "Lie not to one another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds." From these passages it is evident that Paul uses the expression to denote our sinful and corrupt nature; the passions and evil propensities that exist before the heart is renewed. It refers to the love of sin, the indulgence of sinful propensities, in opposition to the new disposition which exists after the soul is converted, and which is called "the new man."

Is crucified. Is put to death, as if on a cross. In this expression there is a personification of the corrupt propensities of our nature represented as "our old man," our native disposition, etc. The figure is here carried out; and this old man, this corrupt nature, is represented as having been put to death in an agonizing and torturing manner. The pains of crucifixion were perhaps the most torturing of any that the human frame could bear. Death in this manner was most lingering and distressing. And the apostle here, by the expression "is crucified," doubtless refers to the painful and protracted struggle which every one goes through when his evil propensities are subdued; when his corrupt nature is slain; and when, a converted sinner, he gives himself up to God. Sin dies within him, and he becomes dead to the world, and to sin; "for as by the cross, death is most lingering and severe, so that corrupt nature is not subdued but by anguish." (Grotius.) All who have been born again can enter into this description. They remember "the wormwood and the gall." They remember the anguish of conviction; the struggle of corrupt passion for ascendency; the dying convulsions of sin in the heart; the long and lingering conflict before it was subdued, and the soul became submissive to God. Nothing will better express this than the lingering agony of crucifixion; and the argument of the apostle is, that as sin has produced such an effect, and as the Christian is now free from its embrace and its power, he will live to God.

With him. The word "with"—(sun)—here is joined to the verb "is crucified," and means "is crucified as he was."

That the body of sin. This expression doubtless means the same as that which he had just used, "our old men" But why the term body is used, has been a subject in which interpreters have not been agreed. Some say that [it] is a Hebraism, denoting mere intensity or emphasis. Some, that it means the same as flesh; i.e., denoting our sinful propensities and lusts. Grotius thinks that the term "body" is elegantly attributed to sin, because the body of man is made up of many members joined together compactly, and sin also consists of numerous vices and evil propensities joined compactly, as it were, in one body. But the expression is evidently merely another form of conveying the idea contained in the phrase "our old man"—a personification of sin as if it had a living form, and as if it had been put to death on a cross. It refers to the moral destruction of the power of sin in the heart by the gospel, and not to any physical change in the nature or faculties of the soul. Comp. Col 2:11.

Might be destroyed. Might be put to death; might become inoperative and powerless. Sin becomes enervated, weakened, and finally annihilated, by the work of the cross.

We should not serve. Should not be the slave of sin, (douleuein). That we should not be subject to its control. The sense is, that before this we were slaves of sin, (Ro 5:17,) but that now we are made free from this bondage, because the moral death of sin has freed us from it.

Sin. Sin is here personified as a master that had dominion over us, but is now dead.

{o} "body of sin" Col 2:11

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