6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Verse six is a development of the truth regarding the believer’s death and resurrection in Christ from the previous verses.
6 knowing this,
“Knowing” is a deduction from 6:1-5. Paul is still dealing with the antinomianism of verse one that seeks to abuse God’s super-grace (5:20) in sinful living.
that our old man
The “old man” here is what we were in Adam before we became Christians; the new is what we are now in Christ. This identification with our life in Adam was broken by our identification with Christ’s death. We now have a new identity in Christ. Christians have now been incorporated into His status, a new order before God.
Eph 2:15, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace . . .
was crucified with Him,
This phrase is literally “was crucified together.” The “old man” was crucified together with Christ. This was an act of unadulterated grace for our behalf.
Our capacity to sin was not crucified with Christ, but our life in Adam was crucified with Him. Only our Lord can do crucifixion.
The essence of overcoming sin is not the killing off of the old self. The Bible never asserts that we are to crucify the old man, because he was already crucified when Christ was crucified.
that [purpose] the body of sin
The “body of sin” means our physical body that is ruled by sin. It is the system of our old desires or our capacity to sin.
might be done away with,
The power of controlling sin on the believer’s life was broken at salvation. We can translate these words might be rendered inoperative, nullified, or paralyzed. The idea is that God rendered the body of sin ineffective from a positional perspective. The super-grace in Christ of Romans 5:12-21 makes what we were in Adam powerless. The proclivity to sin was rendered inoperative. There was a change in orientation by becoming a Christian.
that [purpose] we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Those who died or were crucified with Christ are freed from the power of sin. Christians have entered into a new order as over against the old order in Adam.
Christ changed the corporate structure to which Christians belong.
The Christian’s “old man” was corporately dealt with by Christ’s crucifixion. This finished our status in Adam. Non-Christians do not operate under Christ’s super-grace (5:20). They do not possess the freedom of grace in Christ. The new man is someone who is under the umbrella of grace.
The idea of this verse is that the Christian has been freed from the principle of sin because of God’s provision of grace through Christ. It does not mean that it is possible to be free from sin while he or she lives on earth. Grace liberates the believer to relate to God. We are free to relate to God because of what Christ did, not because of what we do. Christians have a completely new orientation because we have been incorporated into Christ’s status before God.
Ga 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; 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 [salvation], who loved me and gave Himself for me.