Home > Brandenburg, The Lord Jesus Christ > Kill Yourself (Colossians 3:5)

Kill Yourself (Colossians 3:5)

February 17, 2010

If you have received Christ, you already have killed yourself spiritually.  You gave up your life for His sake (Matt 10:39).  You were crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20).   Paul makes that point a little later here in 3:9, when he says that the Colossian believers had already put off the old man.  When we become new creatures (2 Cor 5:17) the old man is passed away.  We are not the old man any more.  The idea that we are sort of two people fighting against each other isn’t true.  Before we were saved we were one wicked person and then once we were converted, we become one righteous person.  We didn’t add a nature at the moment we became a Christian that could battle against another nature that stayed on.

However, we still do live in these bodies, and our body parts, our members, are still unredeemed.  This is the flesh.  Paul wrote in Romans 7:18 that in his flesh, dwelt “no good thing.”  Because of that, there will be a struggle for a Christian.  As v. 1 says, we are risen with Christ, and then v. 3, our life is hid with Christ in God, but we still have the flesh.  The nature of our new selves is that we can and we will struggle against the flesh.  We are dead to sin (Rom 6:2) positionally, but we still must reign in the ambitions and desires of our flesh.  We will either yield to our righteous nature or to the flesh.

To experience the reality of our position, we must cooperate with our new natures.  To do that we must act upon our flesh.  “Kill” is the word Paul uses to describe it.   In 1 Corinthians 15:31, he said that he died daily.  The flesh pulls the opposite of what God wants, and if we obey our body parts, we commit idolatry, worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.  All sin is a kind of idolatry, which is why Paul ends by placing all of the sinful activity of v. 5 under that heading.

To partake in the benefits of the heavenlies in which we exist as believers, Paul says we must kill our body parts, and then he lists activities.   We kill the flesh by prohibiting it what it wants.  Paul goes from a specific action to a general attitude, informing us of how sin works.  We won’t fornicate if we don’t covet, or any sin between.    We stop the action by eliminating the attitude.  Our fulfillment in Christ is fulfillment in Christ.  We won’t experience that fulfillment out of fleshly deeds or attitudes, but by keeping on thinking about things above, where Christ is.

Why does v. 5 start with fornication and why this limited list of sins, which seems to target sexual immorality?   There are many more sins than these, but these are those that Paul used as samples for the type of killing that needed to occur.   Nothing needed put to death more than these kinds of activities that might be the most prevalent wickedness in society.  Of course, it traces these all back to idolatry and then covetousness, two larger categories.  The infidelity represented by this list also smacks of an unfaithfulness that should not characterize a believer.

Of help should be the progression seen in v. 5.  We can trace fornication back to idolatry through covetousness.  The path to fornication could be stopped by mortification of the flesh somewhere on the way down.   In many cases in our culture, it seems, the goal at best is to avoid fornication, with everything up to fornication as acceptable.  No one would get to fornication if he ended at uncleanness or inordinate affection.  However, those are all sins that lead up to fornication from covetousness.  They are still wrong, even if they don’t arrive at fornication.

All of the activities up to and even including fornication are encouraged by dating.  God didn’t design men to handle the regular close proximity and intimacy found in a relationship outside of marriage called dating.  Young people often burn with desires initiated by this practice.  Often this feeling is as well then confused with love.  Young people that have developed feelings for one another can’t distinguish between infatuation, love, or lust.  I think that most of them don’t want to sin, but they haven’t been shown a method that can succeed at not sending them down a forbidden path.  Dating is not in the Bible, and it is easy to see why, especially with the list of prohibitions.   By tolerating the dating method of obtaining a life’s partner, I believe we forfeit the responsibility of killing the sins that lead to fornication.

  1. February 18, 2010 at 8:04 am

    What about in Eph. 4 where Paul tells the Ephesians to put of the old man and put

    on the new man?

  2. February 18, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Brother Kent,

    Are you proposing eradication of the sin nature?

    Are you saying that “flesh” refers merely to the physical body?

  3. February 18, 2010 at 10:22 am


    Actually in Eph 4 he doesn’t explicitly say to put off the old man, but to put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which helps us to understand “put on the new man” in that context. I believe paralleled with this passage we get an understanding. The positional and practical are aligned. What we have in position we cooperate in practice. Good question though. I’ve heard somebody illustrate in the realm of grave clothes. We’re alive now, we’ve resurrected, but the grave clothes need to be taken off.


    I take the position in sanctification very close to that of John Owen and not the one of Lewis Sperry Chafer, to identify them in history. Do you have an example of the two natures belief before Chafer and Keswick theology? The terminology “sin nature,” I understand, but I don’t see it in scripture. I don’t believe we have a nature to sin, however, after we are converted. Our nature is to do righteousness. However, sin resides in our flesh, so I believe that “the flesh” is more than the physical body, but that dimension of human fallenness that we still possess after our justification resides in our body parts. Like Paul wrote in Romans 7:21: ” I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” V. 22, Paul’s nature was that he delighted in the law of God in the inner man. However, v. 23, Paul saw another law in his members, warring against the law of his mind, and bringing his into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members. What were his “members?” The law of sin is more than just the physical body, but it is “in” his members. So the physical body is where the problem is.

    I’m always open to learn something about this, but there’s a lot to treat pertaining to all the passages regarding sanctification. I believe we do have the eradication of something when we are saved, because we are new creatures. That doesn’t mean that sanctification is not a constant struggle until our glorification. Thanks for commenting!

  4. February 18, 2010 at 10:37 am


    I have enjoyed your articles on Colossians.

    Remember Owens is Old World Reformed (Covenant Theology) and Chafer is New World Reformed (Dispensationalist). There is radical differences between their Reformed positions and especially their Pneumatology. THe article below is part of new book I am writing entitled The Unsearchable Riches of Grace.

    “1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:1-7).

    We all must get away from the foolish notion that we can somehow change ourselves by the mere exercise of the human will in outward conformity. We cannot will ourselves to change anymore than we can bring the dead back to life. Only God can revive the dead and only God can change us. Therefore, we need to yield to the indwelling Creator to accomplish a change in our hearts before we can ever expect to see any real change in the practices of our lives that will be pleasing to Him and blessed of Him.

    “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).

    This new spiritual reality of the ongoing work of transfiguring creation (Rom. 12:2) taking place inside a believer, and through the yielded believer, continues to answer the questions of Romans 6:1-3 in the transition from the doctrine of justification into the doctrine of spiritual growth (sanctification). Spiritual growth (sanctification) is progressive transfiguration through the ongoing creative work of indwelling Holy Spirit. Sanctification means to be set apart from worldliness and set apart unto God for service (“the work of the ministry,” Eph. 4:12). In this case, when a person is saved, God positionally sets that person apart for His peculiar use as a priest before Him.

    Water baptism (portraying the Spirit baptism of Romans 6:3-5) is intended to be the time in a believer’s life when he recognizes and accepts his responsibilities in this transition from salvation to service “from the heart” (the “newness of life,” Rom. 6:4). Part of a believer’s recognition and transition into this renewal is to accept the fact he no longer has the right to live any way he wants to live. “What shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid” (Rom. 6:1).

    The teaching that salvation is nothing more than to be rescued from Hell and God’s eternal wrath is extremely shallow and superficial. The believer’s “so great salvation” is the gift of eternal life. However, that eternal life is the divine, supernatural Christ-life that becomes available to EVERY believer the moment he receives Christ in the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. That is the transitional issue of Romans 6:1-7 going through Romans 8:39. These few chapters of Romans explain to us three different aspects of the “born again” believer’s sanctification from the moment of salvation from Hell to the moment of salvation to glory (glorification). These three aspects of sanctification are three aspects of perfection.

    1. Positional Perfection “in Christ”
    2. Practical Progressive Perfection (transfiguration) through the filling of the Spirit
    3. Permanent Perfection in glorification

    These three aspects of the believer’s sanctification also detail three aspects of the believer’s salvation. Salvation in Scripture comes to us in three stages or phases.

    1. The salvation of the believer’s soul from Hell and God’s wrath
    2. The practical salvation of the believer’s life (spirit or essence) through the filling of the Spirit
    3. The salvation of the believer’s body upon glorification

    Because many Christians do not understand how to apply an inductive hermeneutical methodology in understanding the doctrinal context of a particular text, they misapply Scriptures that deal with the three aspects of Perfection and the three stages/phases of salvation and come up with false conclusions such as the annihilation of the Sin Nature or Sinless Perfectionism in a second blessing. There will be an annihilation of the Sin Nature when the believer is glorified (the salvation of the body) and the believer will come to the place of sinless perfection when his Sin Nature is annihilated. However, neither Sinless Perfection nor annihilation of the Sin Nature will take place, or ever be experienced in the believer’s lifetime, until the believer is glorified.

    As we understand the three stages/phases of salvation, we can understand how the word “perfect” is to be understood within those three phases. When we find the word “perfect” in a text, the first things we must understand is the context of that text and to what phase of salvation does it refer. The Greek word usually translated “perfect” in our KJV is the word teleios (tel’-i-os; used 19 times in the NT). It basically refers to completeness. The applications of use would be completeness in physical or spiritual growth, or maturity in thinking or moral character. It is used to speak of a person of full age, fully educated, and able to live and function morally even within a corrupt corporate ethic. It is also used of people who have grown in their spiritual lives to the degree that they could be referred to as habitually spiritual people. Eph. 4:12 refers to this latter idea.

    “43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).

    “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

    In Philippians 3:12-16, Paul refers to two different aspects of perfection in one text. In Philippians 3:12, Paul refers to permanent perfection and in Philippians 3:15 he refers to practical/progressive perfection.

    “12 Not as though I had already attained {have a grasp on or possess}, either were already perfect: but I follow after {pursue}, if that I may apprehend {possess or get hold of} that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus {referring to what Christ has already attained for the believer positionally}. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto {stretching one’s self toward the goal} those things which are before, 14 I press {push forward} toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained {arrived at or achieved}, let us walk by the same rule {standard of faith and practice}, let us mind {set affections on} the same thing” (Philippians 3:12-16).

    The fact of the matter is that no believer can ACHIEVE any of the three aspects of perfection in the power of his own will. Each aspect of perfection requires a supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit upon that believer’s life. It is to this spiritual dynamic of the three aspects of perfection and the three phases of salvation in the ongoing creative work of the Holy Spirit that Paul refers in I Thessalonians 5:23-24.

    “23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).

    Romans 6:1-7 transitions in the teaching of God’s Word from positional perfection “in Christ” to practical/progressive perfection through the filling of the Holy Spirit. If the believer does not understand his positional perfection in Christ, he will not understand the dynamic of the ongoing creative work of the Holy Spirit into which he enters when he is “born again” and indwelled by the Spirit of God.

    Paul has already established that there is a perpetuation of the corruption of all humans in the passing of the Sin Nature through procreation in the descendants of Adam in Romans 5:12. It is not that Adam’s sin is imputed to his descendants, but that each of his descendants possesses their own Sin Nature that comes from the corrupted seed of Adam. The Sin Nature is procreated through conception and natural birth.

    The Divine Nature (I Peter 1:4) is imparted to the believer “through faith” and through being “born again” (the spiritual birth of regeneration or the “new creation”). It is the possession of this Sin Nature that condemns all of mankind having human fathers. God’s condemnation is on the Sin Nature of man. However, the possession of a Sin Nature corrupts the body in which it dwells and condemns the soul to which it is connected. Therefore, the corruption of the Sin Nature condemns the whole of a person; body, soul, and spirit. Each aspect of that person must be redeemed or saved. A thorough understanding of the doctrine of salvation (Soteriology) understands what God has done “in Christ,” what God is doing in Christ in us, and what God will do in the believer’s glorification that completely saves a person body, soul, and spirit.

    The issue before us in Romans 6:1-23 has to do with what is known as Federal Headship. In the text, we have two different Federal Headships before us.

    1. The Federal Headship of the first Adam and the condemnation of all those that descend from that Federal Headship and the complete corruption of the life of every individual that continues to live under that Federal Headship, including the redeemed.
    2. The new Federal Headship of Jesus Christ, the “last Adam,” and the salvation of all those that descend from that new Federal Headship “in Christ” “by grace through faith.” The baptism with the Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit creates a new union under the new Federal Headship of Christ. This union is eternal and is positionally complete “in Christ.” Practically, this new union makes the production of God-kind righteousness possible through the filling of the Spirit or “the unity of the Spirit” as the saved believer completely yields his will to the indwelling Spirit of God.

    These two Federal Headships are the subject matter of the perfectionism teaching (positional, progressive, and permanent sanctification/perfection) of the Apostle Paul that begins in Romans 5:1 transitioning from the doctrines of the propitiation of God and the justification of believers and going through Romans chapter 8. The subject matter then is picked up again in Romans chapter 12 and goes through the end of the epistle.

    The first aspect of the believer’s perfection/sanctification “in Christ” is positional. This means that in the Federal Headship of Christ through the New Birth into the New Creation every “born again” believer has such an intricate and intimate union with Christ that everything that has already happened to Christ actually has happened to the believer positionally. Under the Federal Headship of the first Adam through procreation, all of us are sinners by nature, condemned, and hopelessly spiritually dead in trespasses and sin. Under the new Federal Headship of the last Adam, Christ Jesus, all believers through the New Creation have positionally been crucified with Him, died with Him, buried with Him, are resurrected/glorified with Him, and are already seated with Him at the right hand of the Father.

    “1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance {perfect confidence} of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete {pleroo; another Greek word referring to a full or finished work} in him {in that you have been positionally immersed into the New Creation and the “body of Christ” by the baptism with the Holy Spirit}, which is the head {new Federal Headship of the last Adam} of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism {Spirit baptism; I Cor. 12:13}, wherein {in that Spirit baptism into the New Creation “in Christ”} also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened {positionally resurrected and glorified} together with him, having forgiven {gratuitously pardoned} you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it {vicariously; I Peter 2:24 & 3:18} to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:1-15).

    When we speak of the doctrine of Federal Headship, the common term is Lordship. However, this term is usually understood to refer to the Lordship of Christ in that He is God. As the title Lord is applied to Jesus the Christ, it is used in relationship to His theanthropicity (the union of God and man through the incarnation).

    The importance in our understanding this mystery, now revealed to us in Paul’s epistles, is that understanding it explains the three aspects of Perfectionism and the three phases of the believer’s salvation. What has happened to Jesus actually has happened to every believer positionally. The end result of what happened to Jesus is His theanthropic Federal Headship. This is the same ultimate outcome for every believer as “joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). It is to this ultimate outcome that the words “Lord of lords and King of kings” (I Tim. 6:17; Rev. 17:14, & 19:16) refers. This phraseology refers to an order of theanthropic sovereignty during the Kingdom Age on earth. Church Age believers will rule and reign (Rev. 2:26-27) with Christ in glorified bodies as “joint heirs” of His theanthropic Federal Headship. We will be the “lords” He will be “Lord” of and the “kings” He will be “King” of.

    What qualifies the believer for this exalted position is the prerequisite of being “born again,” and the last aspect of Perfectionism; i.e. permanent perfection in glorification. However, no one will be given these positions of theanthropic Federal Headship in the Kingdom Age who are unfaithful in their practical/progressive perfection during the Church Age as manifested by the production of some degree of fruit (Matt. 25:14-30)through the “unity of the Spirit” (John 15:1-18 & Eph. 4:1-16). There are a number of portions of Scripture that would be completely obscure to us if we do not understand the Federal Headship of Christ from this theanthropic perspective.

    “18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).

    The word “power” in Matthew 28:18 is from the Greek word exousia (ex-oo-see’-ah). It means authority, particularly in the sense of jurisprudence and governance. The word “all” conveys the idea of absoluteness in that “given” authority. In other words, there is nothing or no one that is not directly under that authority, subject to that authority, and accountable to and before that authority. If we do not understand this text from the context of the theanthropic Federal Headship of Jesus as the incarnate Son of God, we could never understand how this “power” was “given” to Him, in that as the Son of God He would have always had this “power.”

    “12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:12-18).

    The words “might have” in Colossians 1:18 are translated from the Greek word ginomai (ghin’-om-ahee). It simply means to cause to be. It is used in the context of the Son of God as the Creator (vs. 16-17). The fact that the Son of God is the Creator is emphatically stated. However verse 18 refers to the theanthropic Federal Headship of Jesus that He earned through His incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, and glorification.

    The Greek word translated “might have” is in the Subjunctive Mood, which is the mood of possibility. That possibility is realized and assured in His death, burial, resurrection, and glorification. The Greek word is in the Aorist Tense, meaning it refers to something that happened in the past with continuing or unfolding results. The glorified and ascended Jesus the Christ has already received His theanthropic Federal Headship as revealed by His statement in Matthew 28:18. He presently exercises His theanthropic Federal Headship over the Church during the Church Age (Eph. 1:22 & Col. 1:18). He will take absolute Lordship at His second coming and administrate that theanthropic Federal Headship through a worldwide change of command through Church Age believers who have been given these positions as under lords according to their faithfulness in fellowship during their lifetimes in the Church Age. Understanding this context gives us an expanded understanding of I Corinthians 15:20-28.

    “20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:20-28).

  5. February 18, 2010 at 11:48 am


    Thanks for the comment. I’m going to read it carefully when I can and comment later. I think it is a good discussion.

  6. February 18, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Dear brethren,

    I apologize (in advance) for the length of this comment. (If, Pastor Brandenburg, you think it is really going to far, please feel free to get rid of it; it is your post, after all.) Also, please feel free to skip it if you are not really that interested in the exegesis; but if you are, I definitely want to hear yout thoughts! I am very interested in having a Biblical view of sanctification, and I really want to hear the exegetical answer to the content below, which does relate to Colossians 3:5, and has a substantial section specifically about it. I could very easily be wrong on some (or much!) of what is said below, which is why I really want to get godly people’s thoughts. I can’t guarantee when I will be able to respond to comments, but I do intend to come back and look at them.

    What is below are some thoughts on cocrucifixion/mortification (Col 3:5, Rom 6:6, etc.) that I have not at this point posted on my website because I am not at this point confident enough about their validity.

    Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

    I. Summary of the Significance of the Verse
    II. Exegetical Justification for the Significance Assigned
    A. Crucifixion with Christ Does Not Mean That Sin Is Already Utterly Destroyed In The Christian Life
    B. The Ethically Sinful Portion Of The Regenerate Is Already Legally and Judicially Dead, But In Practical Sanctification What Is Legally Dead Must Still Be Put To Death, A Work That Continues Until And Is Consummated In Glorification
    C. The Significance Of And Relationships Between The Old Man, The Body Of Sin, And The Flesh, And How These Are To Be Mortified
    D. The Body of Sin Is Indeed Destroyed, Not Merely Counteracted
    E. Gradual Deliverance From The Power Of Sin Is Consistent With the Aorist Subjunctive Of “To Destroy” (katargeo) In Romans 6:6
    III. Classic Documents That Relate To Crucifixion With Christ And Sanctification In General [I didn’t post these-the comment is definitely long enough without them!!]
    A. 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith (1677) / Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith (1689/1720), Article 13, Of Sanctification
    B. An Excerpt from John Flavel, The Method of Grace: How the Spirit Works.
    C. The Old Man Crucified, Charles H. Spurgeon
    D. The Old And The New Man In Believers, Thomas Boston

    I. Summary of the Significance of the Verse

    Romans 6:6 promises that the believer’s “old man,” the pre-conversion person dominated by sin, the person “in Adam,” “is crucified with” Christ. It is judicially dead, having been judicially destroyed at the time of the crucifixion of Christ. The “body of sin,” the body dominated by sin when the Christian was still unconverted, has been judicially destroyed. This destruction is associated with positional sanctification. In terms of progressive sanctification, the flesh, the ethically sinful “body of sin,” has received its death blow, and its ultimate destruction at glorification is certain, as a man who is on a cross is certain of ultimate death, although he still can struggle and fight within certain limits. The flesh within the believer is certain of utter destruction at death or the return of Christ, but during this life, although crucified and growing weaker, it can still influence the Christian to sin. These remnants of sin in the believer are to be mortified, put to death, to bring the legal and judicial truth and the ultimate certainty of glorification closer to practical reality in this life. This crucifixion with Christ in the believer has the result “that the body of sin might be destroyed.” This destruction, judicially completed at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, and positionally and legally declared for the believer at the moment of his regeneration, will take place ultimately at glorification, when the remnants of sin in the Christian are entirely removed, finally and completely destroyed. However, the beginnings of this utter destruction are already set in motion, even as the crucifixion of the old man with Christ, which took place legally at the time of the Savior’s own crucifixion and begins experientially in the life of the elect at the point of their regeneration, progressively removes the life and strength from the old man, the body of sin. The negative aspects of the progressive mortification of sin in this life, is the converse to the vivification, the progressive cleansing, sanctification of the believer, and growth of the new man, produced by Christ through the Spirit and the Scriptures. This vivification culminates in glorification, when the Christian will be entirely without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26-27). Since the old man is already judicially crucified and dead, and experientially and progressively crucified and dying, on its way to certain destruction, the believer “henceforth . . . should not serve sin.” Freedom from service to sin in this life and the elimination of its reigning power (Romans 6:14) is immediately received at the moment of regeneration. Progressive deliverance from sin, the progressive destruction and progressive weakening of the strength of the old man, are the saint’s current portion, and final and ultimate deliverance from all service to sin, and the final and complete destruction of the old man in heaven are his certain inheritance. These are the purposes of God in and results of the saint’s crucifixion with Christ.

    II. Exegetical Justification for the Significance Assigned
    A. Crucifixion with Christ Does Not Mean That Sin is Already Utterly Destroyed in The Christian Life

    Crucifixion with Christ does not mean that the motions of the sinful remnants within the saint are entirely unable to do anything anymore in practice and are already entirely destroyed. The uses of “crucified with,” sustaurao (sustauro/w) in the gospels, where the word is employed of the thieves crucified with the Lord, certainly do not indicate that those crucified with Christ were already dead in practice (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32; John 19:32). A man who is literally condemned to death on a cross is legally dead, his future actual bodily death is certain, and he grows progressively weaker over time. In addition to his future death being certain, he had certain definite limitations imposed upon him from his crucifixion. His arms and legs were immobilized, and their actings were thus subscribed to a certain limited sphere, although not entirely eliminated—a man who has not been crucified can walk and act in a much wider sphere than one who is nailed to a cross. His fleshly struggles against his coming death grew progressively weaker until he finally died, but his body, his flesh, was still able to perform various actions and exert vigor until the time of its final passing. So the sin within a believer is legally judged dead already, its reign is shattered, it is certain of a coming utter destruction, it is confined within certain limits beyond which it cannot pass (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:18-24), and it is growing weaker over time, but it is not yet entirely motionless or its vigor entirely eliminated.
    The verb crucify [The forty-two instances of the verb in the NT are: Matthew 20:19; 23:34; 26:2; 27:22-23, 26, 31, 35, 38; 28:5; Mark 15:13-15, 20, 24-25, 27; 16:6; Luke 23:21, 23, 33; 24:7, 20; John 19:6, 10, 15-16, 18, 20, 23, 41; Acts 2:36; 4:10; 1 Corinthians 1:13, 23; 2:2, 8; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 3:1; 5:24; 6:14; Revelation 11:8.] is employed quite a number of times in the gospels for those who have had the sentence of death passed upon them legally, yet are not yet literally dead (Matthew 27:35, 38; 28:5; Mark 15:24, 25, 27; Luke 23:33; John 19:18, 23), just as cocrucify/crucify with is clearly employed in this sense (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:34; John 19:32). Indeed, no text in Scripture clearly makes crucify and die absolute synonyms, although crucifixion unquestionably leads to literal death, so that one who has been crucified eventually dies as a result (Matthew 20:19; 23:34; John 19:10, etc.). This, however, does not mean that the two words are identical any more than the fact that someone dies from terminal cancer means that to have cancer is a synonym with to die, or the fact that starvation leads to death means that to starve is a synonym with to die. Nor does the fact that the Christian is both crucified with Christ and dead with Christ prove the two terms are synonyms—believers are also buried with and risen with Christ, but nobody would argue that since believers are crucified with Christ and risen with Him crucified and risen are synonyms. Crucifixion brings one to the point of literal death, but only after a drawn-out and painful process of gradual dying. The metaphor of crucifixion with Christ (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20) should be interpreted in the same sense, where the ultimate and final death to sin takes place with the utter destruction of the ethically sinful flesh at glorification and the gradual process of dying to sin occurs in progressive sanctification throughout life as a product of the crucifixion with Christ and legal sentence of death that took place at the moment of regeneration. The believer does not, in progressive sanctification, become more crucified—at regeneration he is, once and for all, crucified with Christ. The gradual weakening of the body of sin and the remnants of sin in him are a result of that already completed cocrucifixion.

    B. The Ethically Sinful Portion Of The Regenerate Is Already Legally and Judicially Dead, But In Practical Sanctification What Is Legally Dead Must Still Be Put To Death, A Work That Continues Until And Is Consummated In Glorification

    The parallelism between cocrucifixion (Romans 6:6) and death in Romans 6:6-11 is significant. One who is crucified is already legally dead, although he may not, in practice, yet have in every sense of the word actually physically died. So the believer is legally both crucified and dead—the saint, as identified with Christ, was crucified when Christ was crucified, died when He died, and rose when He rose from the grave. Furthermore, at the moment of regeneration, the believer died in that he was freed from the legal dominion and reigning power of sin (Romans 6:14). As a consequence, in progressive sanctification, he is to put do death or mortify more and more of the deeds of the flesh, and more and more weaken the sin principle in him by the Spirit, and more and more put on holy habits and actions, as he is more and more renewed into the image of Christ. This progressive process is entirely completed in actuality at glorification.
    The legal sentence of death, with its resultant freedom from the reign of sin, is emphasized in the use of cocrucified, sustaurao, in Galatians 2:19-21. The perfect tense of cocrucified in Galatians 2:20 emphasizes the results of the point action of crucifixion with Christ experientially received at regeneration. Judicially, the believer’s ethically sinful flesh is already destroyed and dead, having died on the cross. In the purpose of God, glorification is already a certainty for the saint as well, as is perfect conformity to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29-30). Practically in this life, progressive renewal into the image of God and progressive destruction of the principle of sin in saints takes place. At the point of conversion, the believer crucifies the sinful flesh and its ways: “[T]hey that are Christ’s have crucified [estaurosan, e˙stau/rwsan, aorist active indicative] the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24), so that the believer can say that in his Christian life, “by . . . our Lord Jesus Christ . . . the world is crucified [estauromai, e˙stau/rwtai, perfect passive indicative] unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). However, while the legal sentence of death has been passed on the sinful flesh, its future actual destruction is certain, the flesh is progressively weakening on account of its crucifixion, and its actings are subscribed within certain definite limits, the flesh is still able to act in the Christian. No Christian experiences sinless perfection in this life (1 John 1:8-10). The crucified flesh is, in practice, dying, but not yet absolutely destroyed. The experience of freedom from the service to sin and the destruction of the sinful flesh begins at regeneration and progresses throughout life through mortification, but does not culminate until glorification.
    The fact that Christians are “dead to sin” does not deny the gradual nature of mortification. Rather, it is the basis of it. The fundamental idea of death is separation. Spiritual death is separation from God (Ephesians 2:1-3); physical death is the separation of the body and the soul (Genesis 35:18); and the second death is the everlasting separation of the sinner from God in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). The believer, then, is dead to sin in the sense that he is separated from it; he is freed from its dominion and control on his body, will, mind, affections, soul, and spirit, free from its predominant influence, and is certain of ultimate absolute freedom from its presence. He no longer lives in the realm of sin’s power, and consequently no longer walks in sin (Colossians 3:7). The believer is already legally dead (Romans 7:4; Galatians 2:19) with Christ, and the reign of sin is replaced at regeneration by the reign of grace (Romans 6:2, 10-14). His death to sin in regeneration, however, does not mean that there is yet nothing in him that still desires sin—he must still mortify what is ethically sinful in him. Even though believers “are dead” (Colossians 3:3), they still have sinful “members which are upon the earth” (3:5, 2) to which they must not yield (Romans 6:10-14). The believer, by the power of the Spirit, must continue to put to death the practices of the body of sin (Romans 8:13, thanatoute, qanatouvte, a present indicative). As Colossians 3:1-17 explains, believers are already “risen with Christ” (v. 1) (sunegerthete to Christo, sunhge÷rqhte twˆ◊ Cristwˆ◊), and “are dead” (apethanete, aÓpeqa¿nete), v. 3. They formerly “walked” (periepatesate, periepath/sate), v. 7 in sins, when, before their conversion, they “lived in them” (edzete en autois, e˙zhvte e˙n aujtoi√ß), v. 7, but now it is not so. Because they are already dead to sin, they are to “set [their] affection on things above, not on things of the earth” (ta ano phroneite, me ta epi tes ges, ta» a‡nw fronei√te, mh\ ta» e˙pi« thvß ghvß), v. 2, and “mortify [their] members which are upon the earth” (nekrosate oun ta mele humon ta epi tes ges, nekrw¿sate ou™n ta» me÷lh uJmw◊n ta» e˙pi« thvß ghvß), v. 5, that is, put to death those parts within them that still incline to the sorts of sins which they no longer live in as regenerated people (v. 5-7). Since believers are legally and judicially dead to sin, they are, by the Spirit, to put to death or mortify the remnants of the sin principle in them (Colossians 3:5) and its outward manifestations (Romans 8:13). At the moment of repentance, faith, and regeneration, they “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9) and “put on the new man” (v. 10). They are therefore daily to “put off” sins like anger, wrath, and malice (Colossians 3:8), as their “new man” is gradually “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (v. 10; note the present participle, the progressive action of the new man being renewed, in ton neon, ton anakainoumenon eis epignosin kat eikona tou ktisantos auton, to\n ne÷on, to\n aÓnakainou/menon ei˙ß e˙pi÷gnwsin kat∆ ei˙ko/na touv kti÷santoß aujto/n). Ephesians 4 expresses similar truth to Colossians 3—since believers have already “learned Christ . . . have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus,” they are to in practice “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of [their] mind; and . . . put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24). The only noteworthy difference is that Colossians 3:9-10 indicates that the old man was put off and the new man put on at regeneration, while Ephesians 4:20-24 speaks of practically putting off the old man and putting on the new man in the Christian life. This practical putting off/putting on, a consequence of the end of the dominance of the old man in Adam, union with Christ, and putting on of the new man in regeneration, appears as saints put away lying and put on truth (Ephesians 4:25), put away stealing and put on useful labor (4:28), put away corrupt communication and put on edifying speech (4:29), put away bitterness, wrath, anger, and such like sins, and put on kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness (4:31-32). This progressive putting off and putting on is how sin is mortified and the believer is renewed more and more into the moral image of Christ.
    As the Spirit works to lead believers to will and do of God’s good pleasure (Philippians 2:13), they become more conformed to Christ in their practical death to sin (Philippians 3:10), more conformed to Christ in positive inward holiness (Galatians 4:19), and more conformed to Christ in their progressive restoration into the moral image of God, the “divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), into which they are transformed as they grow in experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:3), knowledge which leads them to abound in all holy practices, godliness, virtue, and love (2 Peter 1:5-8). Christians are new men, new in body, soul, and spirit, all of which are progressively sanctified and are certain of complete transformation at glorification (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; cf. the practical outworkings of this inward transformation in vv. 16-22).
    As stated in Colossians three, Ephesians four, and other texts, Romans six similarly explains the significance of being dead to sin. One who is so dead can no longer live in it (6:2). As pictured in baptism, the Christian is now dead to sin and both free to live and certain of a new life (6:3-5). The statement that “like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” no more implies uncertainty about the saint’s new walk than the similar houto kai (ou¢tw kai/) + aorist subjunctive construction in Romans 5:21, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Divine purposes fulfill their result. As surely as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so sure is the saint’s walking in newness of life. The new walk is as sure as is the existence of the reign of grace by Jesus Christ. The new resurrected walk is as sure as the saint’s death and burial with Christ in regeneration (6:4-6). Death with Christ means that the old man has been crucified with Him (6:6). The Christian has received deliverance from sin’s bondage (6:6), legal freedom from sin’s service (6:7), freedom from death’s dominion (6:9) the ability to live for God (6:10-11), and freedom from the dominion of sin and the beginning of the reign of grace (6:14). The culmination of these blessings in this life is future absolute destruction of the body of sin (6:6) and glorification with Christ (6:8). All these are the believer’s inheritance. Romans 5:21 sets the stage for the discourse of Romans 6—the believer is free from the reign of sin, and now grace reigns in him through righteousness, by means of Jesus Christ, with the result of eternal life. Nevertheless, until glorification, sin still remains within the believer (Romans 6:6, 10-23).
    Romans six does not thus define the death to sin that the believer possesses as absolute freedom from all influence from sin, but as freedom from the reign of its power. Paul argues that since the believer is free, he is not to let sin reign in his members. The believer is already legally dead, buried, and risen with Christ, and this legal deliverance guarantees his sanctification now and future bodily glorification. He is consequently to reckon, consider, and believe that this is so (6:11), not allow sin to reign in his mortal body (6:12) and consequently obey its lusts, or present his members to sin and put them at its disposal (6:13), but rather he is to yield himself to God and yield his members as instruments of righteousness (6:13), knowing that, since he is not under the legal control of the law, but under grace, he has the promise that sin will not have dominion over him (6:14), but God will certainly effectually work in him to sanctify him and bring him to ultimate glorification. He can rejoice that 6:14 is a promise, not a possibility, and consequently yield himself to God, present his members to Him, and put sin to death, knowing that victory over sin is certain.

    C. The Significance Of And Relationships Between The Old Man, The Body Of Sin, And The Flesh, And How These Are To Be Mortified

    The “old man,” the person dominated by the ethically sinful flesh, expresses an idea closely related to “the body of sin,” the body as dominated by sin. The body of sin is the portion of the old man (who is body, soul, and spirit) that controls the unregenerate individual, that is, his ethically sinful flesh, which is related to his physical body.
    Both the “old man” and “the body of sin” are dead and are crucified, yet are still extant and still in need of mortification, in a different sense. The “old man” and his ungodly deeds are “put off” (apekdusamenoi ton palaion anthropon sun tais praxesin aoutou, aÓpekdusa¿menoi to\n palaio\n a‡nqrwpon su\n tai√ß pra¿xesin aujtouv) and the new man and holy actions “put on” (kai endusamenoi ton neon, kai« e˙ndusa¿menoi to\n ne÷on) at the moment of faith and regeneration (Colossians 3:9-10), yet, as already indicated, the old man still is to be constantly put off as the saint is constantly “renewed in the spirit of [his] mind” and the “new man” constantly “put on” (Ephesians 4:21-24). The result (“wherefore,” 4:25) of this continuing and progressive mortification of the old man and vivification or strengthening of the new man is that specific sins are put off and holy actions are put on (Ephesians 4:25-29).
    The “body of sin” (Romans 6:6) is the “body of this death” (Romans 7:24), the “body of the sins of the flesh” (Colossians 2:11), and “the body” the “deeds” of which one is to “mortify” (Romans 8:13; cf. also Romans 8:10, 11, 23; Philippians 3:21). This body is put off, just like the old man, at the moment of regeneration, for “the circumcision made without hands” involves the “putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Colossians 2:11). Nevertheless, the body of sin is still present in another sense, for the apostle Paul, although obviously already regenerate, nonetheless complains, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). Romans 7:24 is conclusive that the body of sin remains present in the believer if one accepts that Romans 7:14-25 describes the state of the apostle in his struggle with sin as an already converted person. Detailed proof that in Romans 7:14-25 Paul refers to the normal state of his Christian life as representative of believers in general, and a refutation of the opinion that the passage speaks of the apostle in his unconverted state, or an examination of the many other possibilities that have been argued for in the pericope, goes beyond the scope of the current analysis. One may briefly note that unbelievers do not hate sin (Romans 7:15) and have nothing within themselves that is against it (7:16-17, 19-20), nor do they will to do right (7:18; cf. 3:11), nor do they “delight in the law of God,” nor do they possess a holy “inner man” (7:22), nor do they have a godly mind that wants righteousness (7:23, 25; cf. 1:28; 8:5, 7; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 1:21; 2:18; Titus 1:15). To make Romans 7:14-25 into an unconverted sinner is more consistent with Pelagianism than with the Biblical picture of the depravity of man. Thus, the body of sin in believers has been permanently put off in regeneration, but, in another sense, it is still present.
    Likewise, believers are no longer in the flesh (Romans 7:5), and everyone who is still in the flesh is unconverted and unregenerate (Romans 8:8-9), yet in another sense Christians still possess the ethically sinful flesh (Romans 6:19; 7:18, 25), although they no longer characteristically walk according to the flesh (Romans 8:1-14). Thus, the old man is “put off” (Colossians 3:9) and the body of sin is “put off” (Colossians 2:11) in regeneration, and all the regenerate are no longer in the flesh (Romans 7:5), yet the old man, the body of sin, and the flesh are still present.
    The “body of sin” expresses itself in its parts, its “members.” That is, “when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death” (Romans 7:5). These “members” constitute, together, the entirety of the person (1 Corinthians 12:14-27), from the “head to the feet” (12:21). In the sense in which the old man and the body of sin are still present and active, the believer must “mortify . . . [his] members which are upon the earth” (Colossians 3:5). He is commanded: “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13). That is, “as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Romans 6:19). The Christian must mortify his sinful members because he can say, with Paul, “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23), since he still has “lusts that war in [his] members” (James 4:1; cf. 3:5-6) that seek to “defil[e] the whole body, and . . . [are] set on fire of hell” (James 3:6). Nonetheless, as new men, believers’ “bodies are the members of Christ” (1 Corinthians 6:15). As an unconverted person continues to sin, yielding his members to uncleanness and to iniquity, his lesser sins lead on to even greater ones, “iniquity unto iniquity.” (Romans 6:19; cf. 1:21-32). Likewise, as the believer yields his members to righteousness, his “righteousness [is] unto holiness” (te dikaiosune eis hagiasmon, thØv dikaiosu/nhØ ei˙ß aJgiasmo/n), that is, progressive yielding of his members to righteousness leads to progressive growth in holiness within him as a person. The mortification of the remnants of sin within the believer takes place as the believer opposes, by the Spirit, the various members of the body of sin that still remain within him.
    Romans 8:13 states, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (thanatoute, qanatouvte, present active indicative) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Colossians 3:5 states, “Mortify (nekrosate, nekrw¿sate, aorist active imperative) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” These two texts, the ones that speak specifically of the Christian duty of mortification, employ two different Greek verbs, thanatoo (qanato/w) in Romans 8:13, and nekroo (nekro/w) in Colossians 3:5. The “deeds of the body” are put to death or mortified with thanatao, and the “members which are upon the earth” are mortified with nekroo. While there is doubtless a significant amount of overlap in the semantic domain of the two verbs, it appears that the use of thanatoo indicates that the deeds of the body are to be entirely eliminated, caused to cease, and put to death. The earthly members are to become as good as dead (nekroo), that is, progressively weakened, although the earthly members are never totally extirpated in this life. Thanatoo appears with relatively greater frequency than nekroo in the New Testament; the only texts containing nekroo besides Colossians 3:5 are Romans 4:19 and Hebrews 11:12. Both Romans 4:19 and Hebrews 11:12 refer to a person who is still alive, but weak and “good as dead” because of his age. In light of the parallel texts, the command to the Christian to mortify his earthly members in Colossians 3:5 indicates that he is to progressively weaken them so that they are “as good as dead.” The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (ed. Gerhard Kittel. trans. & ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. 4. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967) states concerning nekroo: “Among physicians it denotes the atrophy of a part of the body through sickness.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon (Henry Thayer; elec. acc. Online Bible for Mac) gives as definition #3 for nekroo, “to deprive of power, destroy the strength of.” Thus, Romans 8:13 indicates that the deeds of the sinful body are to be put to death, caused to cease, and eliminated, while the earthly members themselves are to be made as good as dead, although they will always remain present in this life. The believer is to progressively put to death the sin principle within him by the power of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit, he is to assault and weaken the strength of the body of sin within him by putting to death both the sinful deeds and the earthly members that are the manifestations of his indwelling sin.
    Arthur Pink comments well on the use of the word “body” in Romans 6:6, rather than what might be expected, “flesh”:
    But why “mortify the deeds of the body”? In view of the studied balancing of the several clauses in this antithetical sentence, we had expected it to read “mortify the flesh.” In the seventh chapter and the opening verses of the eighth the apostle had treated of indwelling sin as the fount of all evil actions; and here he insists on the mortifying of both the root and the branches of corruption, referring to the duty under the name of the fruits it bears. The “deeds of the body” must not be restricted to mere outward works, but be understood as including also the springs from which they issue. As Owen rightly said, “The axe must be laid to the root of the tree.” In our judgment “the body” here has a twofold reference.
    First, to the evil nature or indwelling sin, which in Romans 6:6, and 7:24, is likened unto a body, namely “the body of the sins of the flesh” (Colossians 2:11). It is a body of corruption which compasses the soul: hence we read of “your members which are upon the earth” (Colossians 3:5). The “deeds of the body” are the works which corrupt nature produces, namely our sins. Thus the “body” is here used objectively of “the flesh.”
    Second, the “body” here includes the house in which the soul now dwells. It is specified to denote the degrading malignity which there is in sin, reducing its slaves to live as though they had no souls. It is mentioned to import the tendency of indwelling sin, namely to please and pamper the baser part of our being, the soul being made the drudge of the outward man. The body is here referred to for the purpose of informing us that though the soul be the original abode of “the flesh” the physical frame is the main instrument of its actions. Our corruptions are principally manifested in our external members: it is there that indwelling sin is chiefly found and felt. Sins are denominated “the deeds of the body” not only because they are what the lusts of the flesh tend to produce, but also because they are executed by the body (Romans 6:12). Our task then is not to transform and transmute “the flesh,” but to slay it: to refuse its impulses, to deny its aspirations, to put to death its appetites.
    But who is sufficient for such a task—a task which is not a work of nature but wholly a spiritual one? It is far beyond the unaided powers of the believer. Means and ordinances cannot of themselves effect it. It is beyond the province and ability of the preacher: omnipotence must have the main share in the work. “If ye through the Spirit do mortify,” that is “the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ” of Romans 8:9—the Holy Spirit; for He is not only the Spirit of holiness in His nature, but in His operations too. He is the principal efficient cause of mortification. Let us marvel at and adore the Divine grace which has provided such a Helper for us! Let us recognize and realize that we are as truly indebted to and dependent upon the Spirit’s operations as we are upon the Father’s electing and the Son’s redeeming us. Though grace be wrought in the hearts of the regenerate, yet it lies not in their power to act it. He who imparted the grace must renew, excite, and direct it.
    Believers may employ the aids of inward discipline and rigor, and practice
    outward moderation and abstinence, and while they may for a time check and suppress their evil habits, unless the Spirit puts forth His power in them there will be no true mortification. And how does He operate in this particular work? In many different ways. First, at the new birth He gives us a new nature. Then by nourishing and preserving that nature. In strengthening us with His might in the inner man. In granting fresh supplies of grace from day to day. By working in us a loathing of sin, a mourning over it, a turning from it. By pressing upon us the claims of Christ, making us willing to take up our cross and follow Him. By bringing some precept or warning to our mind. By sealing a promise upon the heart. By moving us to pray.
    Yet let it be carefully noted that our text does not say, “If the Spirit do mortify,” or even “If the Spirit through you do mortify,” but, instead, “If ye through the Spirit”: the believer is not passive in this work, but active. It must not be supposed that the Spirit will help us without our concurrence, as well while we are asleep as waking, whether or not we maintain a close watch over our thoughts and works, and exercise nothing but a slight wish or sluggish prayer for the mortification of our sins. Believers are required to set themselves seriously to the task. If on the one hand we cannot discharge this duty without the Spirit’s enablement, on the other hand He will not assist if we be too indolent to put forth earnest endeavors. Then let not the lazy Christian imagine he will ever get the victory over his lusts.
    The old man, the body of sin, and the flesh all relate to remnants of sin within the believer that are legally dead at regeneration, progressively weakened in the Christian life through mortification, and utterly abolished at glorification. However, they emphasize different aspects of indwelling sin. The term old man refers to the entirety of the unconverted person, body, soul, and spirit. The body of sin is the body as dominated or controlled by sin, and the flesh in the ethically sinful sense is the seat of indwelling sin in the believer that controlled him in his unregenerate state.

    D. The Body of Sin Is Indeed Destroyed, Not Merely Counteracted

    BDAG provides the following definition for the verb katargeo (katarge÷w), translated destroy in Romans 6:6 [I got rid of the definition because it had too much Greek to post here]:

    1. to cause someth. to be unproductive, use up, exhaust, waste of a tree
    2. to cause someth. to lose its power or effectiveness, invalidate, make powerless fig. extension of 1
    3. to cause someth. to come to an end or to be no longer in existence, abolish, wipe out, set aside ti« someth.
    4. to cause the release of someone from an obligation (one has nothing more to do with it), be discharged, be released.

    The lexicon places Romans 6:6 in category 3, “to cause something to come to an end or to be no longer in existence, abolish, wipe out, set aside.” This is also the category of katargeo in the verse with the syntax that is closest to Romans 6:6 in the NT, namely, Hebrews 2:14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” In both Romans 6:6 and Hebrews 2:14, the verb katargeo is an aorist subjunctive within a subordinate hina clause that gives the Divine purpose (which brings a certain result) of the main clause. The certain result of cocrucifixion with Christ is the destruction of the body of sin, Romans 6:6; the certain result of the incarnation and death of Christ is the destruction of the devil, Hebrews 2:14. The similar syntax of katargeo in the aorist subjunctive within a hina clause in 1 Corinthians 1:28 also means much more than simply “counteract,” as does the final instance of the word in the aorist subjunctive in 1 Corinthians 15:24.
    Indeed, all four of the definitions for katargeo (katarge÷w) given by BDAG, each of which is certainly countenanced in the New Testament, mean more than simply “counteract.” None of them can reduce Romans 6:6 to simply “that the body of sin might be counteracted.” Definition #1, which is only used in the New Testament for a tree that makes ground unproductive, is not especially relevant to Romans 6:6. If one wanted to affirm that Romans 6:6 is an instance of definition #2 of katargeo, a restriction of the verse to “counteraction” does not fit; the body of sin “lose[s] its power or effectiveness, [is] invalidate[d] [and made] powerless” by its destruction from cocrucifixion. Advocates of the view that the strength and power of the flesh within believers is entirely unchanged through the course of one’s life, and is thus equally powerful and living years and decades after regeneration as it is a minute after conversion, do not believe that there is any loss of power or effectiveness in the flesh at any point in one’s Christian life. The “counteraction” view does not fit BDAG definition #2; something that is invalidated and made powerless has much more done to it than a simple counteraction. On the other hand, if the flesh grows powerless and ineffective over the believer (not that the flesh itself gets better, Romans 7:18, but that it has less power) as it is gradually mortified and weakened until, at the moment of Christ’s return or the believer’s death, it is entirely destroyed, the significance of katargeo in Romans 6:6 comes out to mean just about the same thing whether one assigns it to definition #2 of BDAG or keeps the verse in #3, where the authors of the lexicon place it. Finally, if one affirmed Romans 6:6 is an instance of definition #4 (although that definition fits the verse poorly), it would not assist the advocates of simple counteraction. Advocates of “counteraction” in Romans 6:6 believe that the Christian can instantly return to life under the power of the flesh and of sin when he ceases to maintain the moment-by-moment faith decision that counteracts the flesh and keeps him in the realm of freedom from acts of sin, and then instantly return again to life under the power of Christ when he restores a moment-by-moment faith decision to counteract the flesh. (It should be noted that there are significant elements of truth here, in that one receives supplies of grace to mortify sin by faith in Christ, by looking to Him for that grace and strength, and that there is indeed a very clear Biblical distinction between one who is holding on to known sin and one who is seeking for and looking to Christ for deliverance from all sin, who has an evangelical sincerity—cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. However, there is more to sanctification than this alone—one who is in a state of being right with God, who is evangelically sincere, also experiences progressive deliverance from the power of sin and progressive renewal into the image of Christ.) Definition #4 is employed for a woman who is separated from her husband on account of his death, and compared to the freedom of the Christian from the law (Romans 7:2, 6). A woman whose husband has died can never go back to her dead husband and resume the marital relationship. A believer is eternally secure and can never again be condemned by the law. The relation between a Christian and condemnation, and a widow and her dead husband, is not simply a “counteraction” of their connection so that the believer can again be lost or the widow can be remarried to her dead spouse. This idea simply does not fit the use of the word. There is no flip-flopping in Romans 6:6 from one category of believer who experiences katargeo of the flesh and another category of believer that does not experience katargeo for his flesh. (This is not to say, however, that a believer cannot have times when he is holding on to some sin and thus is losing ground spiritually and hindering the work of the Spirit to renew him into the image of Christ, and so is giving the flesh room for greater power as it lusts against the Spirit for dominance, Galatians 5:17. He can face setbacks where he allows sin to reign in more of his mortal body than it was when he was consciously surrendered to God in all areas, Romans 6:12.) Nor does Romans 6:6 give the least hint that the destruction of the sinful body or the freedom from service to sin is a sort of higher Christian life only attained by certain believers at certain times. The verse states a truth about all the saints, about all who died with Christ on the cross and become experientially cocrucified with Him in regeneration. Romans 6 is an explanation of why believers will not live in sin, rather than being only an explanation of how believers may not live in sin (although it does explain this as well, especially in connection with chapters 7-8). Thus, none of the definitions for katargeo in BDAG can be reduced to a mere counteraction of the flesh.
    It is not surprising that, since none of the four definitions of katargeo listed in BDAG fit the idea that there is a mere counteraction of an unchanged, unweakened fleshly principle in Romans 6:6, an examination of all the verses in the N. T. with the verb provides not a single clear instance where such a “counteraction” idea, rather than one of the categories of use listed in BDAG, is required by the inspired text. On the other hand, large numbers of verses clearly testify to a sense of “destroy” for the verb.

    E. Gradual Deliverance From The Power Of Sin Is Consistent With the Aorist Subjunctive Of “To Destroy” (katargeo) In Romans 6:6

    If progressive destruction of the flesh as a result of crucifixion with Christ is indicated in Romans 6:6, one might ask why the verb to destroy is an aorist, not a present subjunctive. A number of considerations suggest themselves. First, the ultimate destruction of the sinful flesh in connection with the believer’s entry into heaven is appropriately expressed by the aorist subjunctive. Glorification is truly a point action, the work of a moment. Had a present subjunctive of katargeo been employed in Romans 6:6, it could convey the idea that the body of sin is continually being destroyed and that there is no point in the future when it is actually utterly abolished. A present subjunctive would at least allow for, if not actually affirm, the continuance of the existence of the sinful flesh in believers in heaven. Cocrucifixion with Christ does not bring only a limited deliverance from sin, but absolute and total conquest over it and its utter destruction in every believer. The aorist, not the present subjunctive is the tense to use to express this idea.
    One also notes that Romans 6:6 states “that henceforth we should not serve [douleuein, douleu/ein] sin” employs a present, not an aorist, infinitive. Durative or progressive action is the consistent use of the present infinitive of douleuo (douleu/w) in the New Testament (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; Romans 6:6; 7:6; Galatians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). From the moment of regeneration on through eternity future, the believer is permanently and continually freed from bondage to and the service of sin. While there is undoubtedly a very dramatic change in the fullness of the saint’s service of God at glorification, his freedom from the slavery to and service of sin is a continual action that begins at the moment of his conversion and continues from that time onward without interruption. While this freedom from the service to sin is appropriately expressed with a Greek present tense, a continuing action of the same nature is not an appropriate way to express the destruction of the sinful flesh in the saint. That fruit of cocrucifixion is completed in a particular instant. There are no remnants of sin left in the believer to destroy from the time he enters glory to all eternity to come. A present subjunctive of katargeo would not fit the sense of Romans 6:6 as well as an aorist.
    The aorist of katargeo does not eliminate the fact of the progressive weakening of the cocrucified body of sin during the believer’s lifetime. The common category of the constative aorist “treats the act [of the verb in question] as a single whole entirely irrespective of the parts or time involved. If the act is a point in itself, well and good. But the aorist can be used also of an act which is not a point.” While a constative aorist does not eliminate the possibility of progressive destruction of the body of sin in this life culminated at glorification, an even better view takes the aorist of katargeo in Romans 6:6 as effective, so that the aorist emphasizes the completion of the action of destruction without eliminating the possibility of a progressive beginning.
    The emphasis the aorist subjunctive places upon the final completion of the destruction of the sinful flesh at glorification in the hina clause of Romans 6:6 does not eliminate the progressive mortification and weakening of the body of sin because of cocrucifixion any more than the aorist subjunctive verb “sanctify” and its dependent aorist participle “cleanse” in the hina clause of Ephesians 5:26 eliminates the fact that Christ progressively sanctifies and washes the church by the Word as it is preached, taught, and received until the expected day when He completes the work at His coming and “present[s] . . . to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). A good case could be made that Hebrews 2:14 contains an effective aorist verb, just like Romans 6:6 and Ephesians 5:25-27. The use of katargeo in Hebrews 2:14 is, as noted earlier, syntactically very similar to Romans 6:6—the ultimate destruction of the devil in the lake of fire is assured by the death of Christ, but the fact that the Lord Jesus, through the conversion of sinners, starting of churches, and even Satan’s Millennial binding (Revelation 20:1-3) achieves many partial victories that forecast Satan’s ultimate demise is not eliminated because of the aorist in Hebrews 2:14. One can also note that the aorist subjunctive of katargeo in 1 Corinthians 15:24 is employed for the action of Christ of progressively putting down all His enemies, until He finally destroys the last enemy, death (15:24-26). Indeed, the parallel between Christ progressively defeating all His enemies until they are finally destroyed in 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 is very close to the progressive defeat and ultimate destruction of sin in the life of the believer in Romans 6:6. Comparable examples of katargeo and related texts about sanctification in the New Testament thus provide excellent support for taking the destruction of the body of sin in Romans 6:6 as a gradual process during life that culminates in sin’s final defeat at the believer’s glorification, employing an effective aorist.
    Furthermore, the present subjunctive of katargeo is not found anywhere in the New Testament—all instances of the subjunctive are in the aorist (Romans 6:6; 1 Corinthians 1:28; 15:24; Hebrews 2:14). Nor are there any instances of the verb in the present subjunctive in the apostolic patristic writers. The present subjunctive of the verb may not have been much of a live option at all.
    Thus, employing the aorist subjunctive of katargeo in Romans 6:6 to state that “that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” does not by any means negate the gradual weakening of the power of the flesh in progressive sanctification, while it emphasizes the ultimate destruction of sin in the believer at glorification. The connection with the present infinitive of “serve,” a comparison with the aorist subjunctive in connection with sanctification in Ephesians 5:25-27, the categorization of the aorist in both Romans 6:6 and in Hebrews 2:14 as effective, the comparison to Christ’s progressively dominant reign in 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, and the nonexistence of the present subjunctive of katargeo in the New Testament and related Koiné literature all validate the appropriateness of the aorist. Indeed, a present subjunctive for the verb would be inappropriate, as it would suggest that even in heaven sin is not ultimately destroyed, but only progressively weakened. The aorist subjunctive in the purpose clause of Romans 6:6 is the appropriate tense to express the gradual mortification of sin and its ultimate utter abolition in glory that is the certain result of the believer’s cocrucifixion with the Lord Jesus Christ in regeneration.

    Some footnotes:

    Some have employed Galatians 2:20 to affirm that Christ lives the Christian life for the believer. It is difficult to figure out what the meaning is of such an affirmation; it would seem to lead to either the heresy of the absolute perfection of the believer in his will, nature and in all his acts, for Christ considered in His human nature is absolutely perfect in His will, nature and His acts, or to the heresy that Christ fails and Christ sins when the believer sins. Happily, since Galatians 2:20 never states that Christ lives the Christian life for the believer, neither heresy has any support whatsoever from the text. The verse affirms that 1.) Paul was crucified with Christ, 2:20a. 2.) Nevertheless, he was spiritually alive; the apostle had spiritual life, that he “might live unto God,” Galatians 2:19; 2:20b. 3.) The “I” who was now alive was not the same “I” as before Paul’s conversion (cf. Romans 7:17), in that Paul was no longer an ungodly, unregenerate person, a natural man and a slave of the old covenant, as he was when he was under the law (Galatians 2:19). He was dead to sin and alive to God, Romans 6:10-11. The good in his life was not sourced in himself, but in the grace of God, 1 Corinthians 15:10. He now had a new principle within him and was a new man, 2:20c. 4.) Christ now indwelt Paul, and was the source of spiritual life and strength to him, 2:20d. 5.) The Apostle now lived his natural life in his body by faith in Christ, 2:20e. 6.) Christ loved Paul, and died for him, 2:20f.
    Paul in 2:19-21 is proving that he is dead to the law (2:19a) and not trusting in the law for salvation and frustrating the grace of God by so doing (2:21) but instead is living unto God (2:19b, 2:20). He is not proving that somehow he does not live the Christian life but Christ lives it instead. Paul and all Christians are given strength and grace from Christ, apart from whom they can do nothing good, John 15:5, and they are to live by faith. Certainly the facts of the saint’s union with Christ, the Savior’s indwelling presence, and the strength He gives believers to will and do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13) are glorious truths worthy of joyful acceptance and humble meditation, producing loving, faith-based obedience. To go beyond the declarations of Galatians 2:20 to say that the believer does not live the Christian life but Christ Himself does it for him instead is to make the verse say what it does not say and thus grieve the Spirit and displease Christ. It also confuses the Christian, hinders his sanctification, and opens the way to serious Christological error. The glorious truths of Galatians 2:20 should neither be minimized and ignored nor turned into something other than they are by illegitimate extrapolation.

    Commenting on Psalm 37:37, Nathaniel Hardy wrote:
    The perfect man, etc. — Divines well distinguish of a double perfection, it is absoluta or comparata. That is absolutely perfect, to which nothing (that it may be accounted truly good) is wanting; and thus He only is perfectus who is infactus; God, who made all things, and himself is not made, only enjoying an all sufficient perfection, in and of himself. That is comparatively perfect, in which, notwithstanding some wants there is a fulness compared with others. Thus every saint is perfect in comparison of the wicked among whom he liveth. In this respect it is said of Noah, That he was a perfect man in his generations; his grace compared with the wickedness of the old world well deserving the name of perfection; indeed every upright man is perfect in comparison of them who are openly bad, or but openly good; stained with wickedness, or but painted with holiness. Thus one saint may be perfect if compared with another, the strong Christian in respect of the weak, whom he outstrips in grace and piety: such saints Paul means when he saith, “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect;” that is, such as have attained to greater measures of grace than others. It was said of Benaiah, “He was more honourable than thirty, but he attained not to the first three;” and though no saint can ever attain to the perfections of the first three, the blessed Trinity, yet many saints may be honourable amongst thirty perfect in comparison of those among whom they live.
    We must further distinguish of a double perfection, it is extrinseca and intrinseca. Extrinsic perfection so called, because by imputation, is that which every believer is partaker of through the perfect righteousness of Christ, whereby all his imperfections are covered; in this respect the author to the Hebrews tells us, “That by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified;” and S. Paul tells the Colossians that they were “complete in him,” meaning Christ. Indeed omnia Dei mandata tune facta deptutantua, quando id quod non fit ignoscitur: divine commands are then in God’s account fulfilled when our defects for Christ’s sake are pardoned; and the evangelical perfection of a Christian consists not in perfectione virtutum, sed remissions vitiorum, in the completion of our graces, but remission of our sins.
    Intrinsical perfection, so called because by inhesion, is no less rationally than usually thus distinguished, there is perfectio partium et graduum. He is said to be perfect, cui nihil deest eorum quae ad statum salutis necessaria, who wants no graces that accompany salvation; or he is perfect, cui nihil deest in gradibus gratiarum et virtutum; who is not defective in the measures of those graces; both these are frequently and fitly illustrated by the resemblance of a child, and a grown man; the one whereof hath all the essential and integral parts of a man, the other a complete use and measure of those parts” (Nathaniel Hardy, cited in the Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon. Elec. acc. in Hamel, Ken, The Online Bible for Mac, version 3.0).

    In the words of John Owen, at the moment of conversion and regeneration “by this change of the will do we become ‘dead to sin,’ Romans 6:2; that is, whatever remains of lust and corruption there may be in us, yet the will of sinning is taken away” (pg. 26, comment on Hebrews 6:1-2, from Owen’s commentary on Hebrews) so that believers are “dead to sin by profession; dead to sin by obligation to be so; dead to sin by participation of virtue and power for the killing of it; dead to sin by union and interest in Christ, in and by whom it is killed: all taken from the death of Christ [as explained in Romans 6].” (pg. 104, The Mortification of Sin in Believers). Nevertheless, Owen writes: “Indwelling sin always abides whilst we are in this world; therefore it is always to be mortified. The vain, foolish, and ignorant disputes of men about perfect keeping the commands of God, of perfection in this life, of being wholly and perfectly dead to sin, I meddle not now with. It is more than probable that the men of those abominations never knew what belonged to the keeping of any one of God’s commands, and are so much below perfection of degrees, that they never attained to a perfection of parts in obedience or universal obedience in sincerity” (pg. 16, Mortification of Sin).

    The aorist infinitive for the old man being “put off” in Ephesians 4:22 (aÓpoqe÷sqai) should be taken in the same sort of sense as the aorist participle for the putting away of lying in v. 25 (aÓpoqe÷menoi) or the aorist imperative to put away (aÓrqh/tw) all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking and be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving instead (v. 30-31).

    If someone wished to conclude from the fact that the verb “yield” in Romans 6:19 is an aorist imperative (parasth/sate) that the verse speaks solely of a decision that one makes only once in his entire life, he would, it seems, also have to conclude that in their unregenerate life the Roman Christians only yielded themselves to sin once in their life, because Romans 6:19 describes their past life of yieldedness to sin with an aorist (paresth/sate). Somehow the unsaved would, it seems, have to yield themselves to sin only once, and permanently, for their whole lives. All of the members of the church at Rome would have engaged in this once-for-all yielding to sin. They then would have to have made this permanent yielding to sin temporary when they were converted and turned from their sins. The clear fact of the matter is that the proponents of the argument that the aorist imperative “yield” in Romans 6:19 must refer solely to a once-for-a-lifetime yielding are reading very greatly into the verse and ignoring the plain requirements of the immediate context. Concluding that the aorist requires a once-for-life action also clearly is more than is required by the Greek syntax (cf. pgs. 719-721, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996). This is not to deny, of course, that a believer holding on to sin is required to make a clean and immediate break with it.

    Thus, BDAG lists as the second definition of thanatoo, “to cause total cessation of an activity, put to death, extirpate.” This does not mean, of course, that the believer ever eliminates every single manifestation of sin from his life, but he does gain absolute victory over a course of continued sin and has the ability, by the Spirit, to entirely defeat the outward appearance of specific sins.

  7. February 18, 2010 at 10:54 pm


    Importunate you are. I’m not so much concerned of giving some commentary about what you have written. It’s the after discussion that will likely be tough.

  8. February 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

    Thanks for the thought in post #7.

    Concerning your original post, you had made a point about “I die daily.”

    1 Cor 15:30-32 reads as follows:

    30* And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
    31* I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
    32* If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

    Why is “I die daily” talking about fighting the sinful remnants in the believer? Why isn’t it talking about physical danger to Paul’s life?

    Dear Bro Ketchum,

    I am glad you want to study sanctification carefully. I must dissent from your view that Romans 6 has anything to do with Spirit baptism. I would encourage you to check out my paper on Spirit baptism at http://thross7.googlepages.com in the Pneumatology section. Nobody has been received Spirit baptism for the last 1,900 years, and nobody today recieves Spirit baptism. There is only one baptism (Eph 4:5) today, water baptism. Also, I don’t see the evidence for certain aspects of your affirmations about theanthropic headship as convincing, although Christ does have a mediatorial kingdom as the Theanthropos. Sometimes Christ is called Lord or kurios simply because He is Jehovah (Romans 10:13; Joel 2:28), which He is eternally, without regard to His incarnation.
    Also, you stated: “The Greek word translated “might have” is in the Subjunctive Mood, which is the mood of possibility. That possibility is realized and assured in His death, burial, resurrection, and glorification. The Greek word is in the Aorist Tense, meaning it refers to something that happened in the past with continuing or unfolding results.”

    These statements represent a definite misunderstanding of the subjunctive mood and an extreme misunderstanding of the nature of the aorist tense, which is a simple, snapshot action, something you seem to have confused with the Greek perfect tense. Furthermore, the Greek tenses are not temporal in the non-indicative/oblique moods, such as the subjunctive. I commend to you the appropriate sections of Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. Furthermore, aorist subjunctives are simply very common after hina, as in Colossians 1:18.
    I rejoice that you are concerned about and desire to be sanctified for the glory of God, and understand and practice the teaching of Scripture on this important subject.

    • February 25, 2010 at 11:37 am

      Brother Ross,

      I do not want to engage you in a long discussion of Greek verb tenses.

      However, I suggest that you read Frank Stagg’s book entitled The Abused Aorist as quoted by D.A. Carson in his book Exegetical Fallacies (Second Edition, pages 68-77; Baker Bookhouse.

      Secondly, if water baptism is the the one efficacious baptism referred to in Eph. 4:5, then you have just made water baptism efficacious to salvation. Do you believe water baptism is efficacious to salvation?

      The words of the KJV translation of the subjunctive mood “might have” certainly reflects the mood of possibility. Are you saying the KJV translators have mistranslated this?

  9. February 19, 2010 at 9:58 am


    Regarding 1 Cor 15:31. 1 Cor 15 is about resurrection. Paul could die physically any day—that is how dangerous his life was. So resurrection was the motivation for him to die daily—to die to his own life, his own desires, his own ambitions. Because of resurrection, dying for the Lord wasn’t a big deal. I think it is very much like Paul in Philip 3 when he said things were dung compared to life in Christ. Paul obviously wasn’t physically dying every day, so it can’t be that. If it isn’t that, then how did he die daily? Someone is prepared to die physically who is already dead to this world, to his desires, is following Christ out of the hope of resurrection. That’s my take on it.

    My point of quoting it where I did is that Paul had talked about dying daily. Physical death only kills you once, so if you are dying daily it means you are killing yourself every day. I do think there is a nuance of difference in 1 cor 15, but the common ground is the death. In other words, it’s not unusual for Paul to talk about the Christian life as death. I didn’t deal with it any depth, but now I have.

  10. February 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Dear Bro Ketchum,

    Thanks for the reference to Carson’s book. I own it and have read it. I would very seriously encourage you to examine any Greek grammar book if you think that the aorist tense “refers to something that happened in the past with continuing or unfolding results.” That is something that neither Stagg, nor Carson, nor any Greek grammarian, would affirm.

    If you could show me where Ephesians 4:5 states that baptism remits sin, I would be interested in seeing it. Actually, the view that Spirit baptism unites one to a universal church is the view that connects baptism with salvation, and supports the Cyprianic heresy that outside the church there is no salvation.

    I have no problem with the KJV. If we are going to assert that the aorist tense refers to something that happened in the past with unfolding results, however, I wonder if we really know enough Greek to discuss the Greek subjunctive mood.

    Of course, many men of God who don’t know Greek well have done a lot more for the Lord than I have ever done, for which they are to be greatly commended.

    I again commend you to my essay on Spirit baptism.

    May the grace of Christ, love of God, and communion of the Holy Ghost be with you.

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