When the Lord Jesus went to the cross, He not only brought our sin there, but also brought us, our beings, there. Our old man has been crucified on the cross. This is an accomplished fact. Therefore the apostle tells us, "Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him." In the Greek "crucified" is a verb and is in the perfect tense. It means that our old man has been crucified with Him once and forever. As the crucifixion of Christ is an accomplished fact, similarly the crucifixion of our old man (with Him) is also an accomplished fact. No one doubts that Christ has been crucified. Why then do we doubt whether or not our old man has been crucified?
Many believers have heard the truth of co-crucifixion, but because of either their lack of revelation from God or their shortage of faith, they think that they themselves should die and must do their best to crucify themselves. They do this themselves, and they also teach others to do the same. However, the end result is that they do not have the strength to be delivered from sin. Regardless of what they do, they feel the old man is not dead.
This is a great mistake. The Bible never tells us to crucify ourselves. On the contrary, what the Bible shows us is not that it is up to us to crucify ourselves but that when Christ went to the cross, He also brought us there to be crucified with Him. What the Bible shows us is not that from this moment onward we should begin to crucify our old man but rather that our old man has been crucified already with the Lord Jesus when He was on the cross. There is no need to look for other verses in the Scripture. It is sufficient to look at Romans 6:6: "Our old man has been crucified with Him." There is not the slightest sense that we should crucify ourselves, nor is there any indication that the accomplishment of this crucifixion is in the future. Here we are shown without any ambiguity that we are crucified with Christ, and this co-crucifixion is an accomplished fact.
Here is the result of this very precious saying in the Bible, "in Christ." Because we are in Christ and are in union with Him, when Christ went to the cross, we went there in Him; when Christ was crucified on the cross, we were also crucified in Him. Oh, the most marvelous thing is that we are in Christ!
Any truth that we understand only mentally will never enable us to withstand temptations. The revelation of the Holy Spirit of God is absolutely indispensable. The Spirit of God must give us a revelation so that we may know that we are in Christ and that we are in union with Him. This revelation will cause us to see very clearly that our old man has been crucified with Him because we are in Christ. This is not a mental understanding but a revelation of the Holy Spirit. Once a person has God’s revelation, this truth spontaneously becomes powerful in him, and he also has the power to believe. Faith comes from revelation. Without revelation there is no faith. Many people do not have the living faith but only have the mental understanding because they do not have God’s revelation. Therefore, brothers, let us pray to God until He gives us a revelation so that we can truly say that we know "that our old man has been crucified with Him."
What is the use of the crucifixion of our old man? "That the body of sin might be annulled." The Chinese Version, which renders this, "That the sinful body might be destroyed," is not accurate. "Sinful body" should be translated as "the body of sin." "Destroyed" should be "paralyzed" or "unemployed."
Formerly, when "sin" instigated, our "old man" responded to it, and consequently the "body" carried out the committing of sins. Now, even though sin is still instigating as usual and is still oppressing with its power, because the "old man" has been crucified and the new man is now taking his place, "sin" can no longer tempt this man. Because he is a new man, there is no longer an "old man" to agree with "sin" and to direct the "body" to sin. Since the "old man" has been crucified, this "body" of sin becomes unemployed and has nothing to do. Originally, the occupation of the "body" was to sin. Now it can no longer sin. Therefore, it is unemployed. Praise the Lord, this is what the Lord has prepared for us.
Why did God cause our old man to be crucified with Christ and make our body unemployed? His purpose was that we would not be the "slaves" of sin. Because God has done this, we henceforth do not have to obey sin, we no longer have to be under the oppression of sin, and we no more have to be bound by the power of sin. Sin cannot be our master anymore. Hallelujah! We should truly praise God for this.
(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)