A lot of Christians are grave robbers. Did you know that? As shocking as it may seem, it is absolutely the truth. In fact, they rob graves on a regular basis. You had better continue reading to find out what I mean.
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6 – 7
What Paul refers to here as the old man is the person we used to be before coming to Christ. It’s that person who used to live life as though God did not exist. The old man live life by his wits in order to make life turn out for him the way he wanted it to go. All of life centered around him and his wants and needs.
However, when Jesus died on the Cross, He not only died for us He died as us. Look at what Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 5:14 – 15.
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
That’s what Paul means when he said in Romans 6 that our old man was crucified with Christ. In the mind of God, the person we used to be died together with Christ and was buried with Him. Therefore, God accounts that person as being dead and no longer gives him consideration.
Unfortunately, however, many Christians are in the habit of regularly resurrecting the old man. Whenever a problem comes up in life, they respond just like they did in their pre-Christians days. They rave and rant, whine and pout, blame and criticize. They act as though the Lord is totally absent from the equation. Instead of responding to life out of their new relationship with God in Christ, they rob the grave and bring the old man back to life.
I hope you will pardon me for sharing an illustration from my own life.
Many years ago I worked for a creamery in a small town. We mainly produced and packaged dried milk products. Of course, like most companies of this nature, we worked on the basis of contracts.
From time to time the boss would come around and say there wasn’t enough contracts to run full shifts. That meant some of the workers would not be able to work for the next week or so. Because I was one of the ones most recently hired, I would be one of the first ones laid off.
To my shame I have to admit that many times I resurrected the old man in those instances. I would be furious. I had bills to pay! I had mouths to feed! What was I going to do??
After I ranted around for a while (thankfully mostly to myself), I would suddenly stop and think, “Wait a minute. The Lord knew all about this. It didn’t take Him by surprise. The fact that He knew about it also means that He has a plan to meet my needs!” I would then begin praising the Lord for what He was going to do. Inevitably we would suddenly end up with more contracts than we knew what to do with, someone more senior than myself would take holidays and I would end up working, etc. The Lord always came through.
Do you see how I started off in the old man and then the Lord brought me into the new? It would have been so much better if I would have left the old man in the grave and started out by praising the Lord for His plan.
Stop Grave Robbing!
Beloved, it is time for us to stop grave robbing! It is time for us to leave the old man in the grave where God put him and start living like new people in Christ. We need to obey the injunction of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:17 – 24.
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
When Paul says to put of the old self, he means to put it off once and for all, never to raise it up again. Let’s shed the old man like a filthy garment and leave him in the grave. Let’s live like God’s new men as we seek to consistently live in the Reign.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.