We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with.
The concept of dying with Christ is intricately tied in with the mystery of the cross. “We know that our old self was crucified with [Christ].” At a moment in history nearly 2,000 years ago, I was crucified with Christ.
How can that be? I wasn’t even born yet, not even a gleam in my parents’ eyes. Ah, but I was a gleam in God’s eyes. I was part of God’s plan long before I was born. I was there on the cross in Christ’s heart—and not just me but all the people for whom he died. I was there; you were there; we were all there.
Does that sound strange? It shouldn’t—not if we understand Romans 5:12-21, where Paul explains that even as we were all subject to death through Adam, so we can all receive the gift of new life through Christ. When Adam sinned and died, so did we. When Christ died in our place, taking our sin on himself, so did we.
As a result, says Paul, our old self dominated by sin can be done away with. I don’t have to be a slave to sin anymore. Yes, there is sin still in me, but it is no longer my master. Jesus is.
We can change permanently and deeply—not by moral effort, or by meditation or any other ritual, but by the death and resurrection of Jesus. When he died and rose, so did we— and that reality changes everything.
Lord Jesus, we praise you for the miracle of your death and resurrection. Help us to believe in the transforming power of that miracle in our own lives. Amen.
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