If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
This is a huge verse. For Paul, it was the foundation for all that he did. He writes that we should know this. But knowing and applying are sometimes two very different things.
The Greek words of this verse say that our old, antique, worn out man is crucified with Him. What does that mean to you? How do you see this taking place on a daily basis? What’s your reaction to it? These are the important questions we all need to deal with.
Actually, we can gain some insight into it by looking at the scene of the Lord’s death on Calvary. There were a couple of people who really were crucified with Christ. What was their reaction?
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
Here’s the first response. You’re the Christ. It sounds like there’s some level of belief. But the plea is, “Save yourself AND ME!”
The unfortunate thing about this is that many believers do the same thing. They’ll try everything possible other than crucifying the old nature.
“Lord, surely there must be some way to keep the things I enjoyed about the old man.”
What we need to realize is that it’s because of our sin nature that Christ went to the cross. That’s exactly where our flesh needs to hang. It needs to be done away with, never to be heard from again.
It was the second criminal that got it right.
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
He understood that the cross was where he belonged. But that wasn’t the end of the story. He was also looking forward to the resurrection power of Christ.
There are two responses to being crucified with Christ. Which do you choose? Keeping the old man as long as you can, trying to make him be good. Or will you nail him to the cross with Christ and open yourself up to the power of the risen Lord.
I want to experience the manifestation of the kingdom of God during this life. To do that I need to make sure that my sin nature is right where it belongs – nailed to the cross with Jesus.
Question: What does it take to crucify the old sin nature?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014