Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him
By the old man is meant the corruption of nature; called a man, because natural to men; it lives and dwells in them; it has spread itself over the whole man; it rules and governs in men; and consists of various parts and members, as a man does: it is called "old", because it is the poison of the old serpent, with which man was infected by him from the beginning; it is derived from the first man that ever was; it is as old as the man is, in whom it is, and is likewise called so, with respect to its duration and continuance; and in opposition to, and contradistinction from, the new man, or principle of grace: it is called "ours", because continual to us; it is in our nature, it cleaves to us, and abides in us. This name the apostle took from his countrymen the Jews, who were wont to call the vitiosity of nature hereby; so R. Aba on that passage, "the firstborn said to the younger, our father is old", ( Genesis 19:31 ) , asks, what is the meaning of this, "our father is old?" this, answers he, is the evil imagination, or corruption of nature, which is called (Nqz) , "old", according to ( Ecclesiastes 4:13 ) ; and is said to be old, (Mdah Me dlwnv) , "because it is born with the man" F15; or as the reason is elsewhere given F16, because it is joined to him from his birth, to his old age: this, they say F17, is with a man as soon as he is born, from the hour of his birth, as soon as ever he comes into the world. Now this is said to be "crucified with him"; that is, with Christ, when he was crucified: the Jews F18 have a notion that the evil imagination, or corruption of nature, (ljbty al) , will not be made to cease, or be abolished out of the world, till the King Messiah comes, and by him it is abolished: this is so crucified by the death, and at the cross of Christ, as that it cannot exert its damning power over believers; and is so crucified by the Spirit and grace of Christ in them, as that it cannot reign over them, or exercise its domineering power over them; wherefore they are dead unto it, and that to them, and therefore cannot live in it; which is done,
that the body of sin might be destroyed:
by "the body of sin" is meant sin itself, which consists, as a body does, of various members; and also the power and strength of it, which the Jews F19 call (erh ruyd alyx) , "the power of the evil imagination"; this is crucified with Christ, and nailed to his cross by his sacrifice and satisfaction, that its damning power might be destroyed, abolished, and done away: and it is crucified by the Spirit and grace of Christ, that its governing power might be took away, and that itself be subdued, weakened, and laid under restraints, and its members and deeds mortified:
that henceforth we should not serve sin;
not that it should not be in us, for as yet, neither by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ, nor by the power of his grace, is sin as to its being removed from the people of God: but that we should not serve it, make provision for it, indulge it and obey it, in the lusts thereof.
F15 Midrash Haneelam in Zohar in Gen. fol. 68. 1. Vid. Caphtor, fol. 20. 1.
F16 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 70. 2.
F17 Zohar in Gen. fol. 102. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 14. 4.
F18 Zohar in Exod fol. 94. 4.