I found this very interesting transcript from one of Ern Baxter's series of sermons; "The Adam/Christ Analogy". During the sermon he spoke about the "Old Man" from Romans. Why do I quote him? I don't even presume to imagine that Ern Baxter is seen as an authority who will persuade those who doubt Rob Rufus's stand on the issue. However for me it serves to personally amaze me at the similarity in theology and teaching between these two heroes of mine and to men of God. Here's what he said;
"Our 'old man' is not something that is in us, it is something in which we are".
You don't have an 'old man' in you. Having said that, I have to prove it don't I? Well what does this have to do with the corporate? We will get to that. You have to realize how important the Corporate is. You see this whole matter of unity isn't just something nice. It's something mandatory! We have to come at it from God's side not our side. Not from holding ecumenical meetings. We have to find out what it is all about from God's Word.
In Romans 6:6, let's assume for a minute that you have got an "old man" in you, dirty, rotten, nasty fellow in there. He's in you! It says; "Our old man was crucified". In the English, we do not have a corresponding tense to the Greek aorist tense. The Greek aorist tense is simply this;
"It declares that something happened in time, once for all, never to be repeated - the effects of which continue".
Our old man was crucified! Now whatever that old man was; whenever it was crucified; it was crucified once for all - never to be repeated. Now let's be very logical about this; if that "Old Man " in you was crucified, at sometime back there, "he" was crucified! When a person was crucified, what happens to them? They die! If you have an old man in you - and there was some point in time when he was crucified - he's dead! Very dead! Right? If he was dead, dead then you don't have an old man in you because he's dead! He isn't there!
But the fact of history and the fact of experience is, whatever makes people sin, continues with us and it's something that we have to deal with. Therefore if that "old man" is in me and he's supposed to be dead - who's that other guy in there giving me trouble?
"Our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin (this is in the aorist tense) might be destroyed. Now if the body of sin is destroyed or made ineffective (and that's my physical body) - because that's what people say; "I have an old man in me and he makes me sin and he sins through my body!" - but the Bible says that old man was crucified, so he's dead and the body of sin has been destroyed, so I don't have a body?"
And if we are Christians we would all be in the grave! If you take it without looking at it closely, it becomes ludicrous; silly. If the body which is spoken of here is your body through which sin manifests itself then then the Bible categorically states that at some point in your past your old man was crucified and your body was "destroyed". Now your body is not destroyed, you are sitting here - unless I'm looking at a mirage - you are here. So what does it all mean?"
"Let me be autobiographical for a moment. I was raised under the teaching that I had an "Old Man". And when I became converted, I had - me. Then there was my "old man" which is seperate from me, which is my sin nature. It is not really me, it is my sin nature. Before I was converted it really dominated me. Now when I became a Christian, I got a "new nature". So now there is three of us in here. I know this because I was taught this. I am concerned because it kept me in semi-defeat for about 20 years of my Christian life even in the ministry!
I was taught that I had this "old man" plus me and then the "new man". Three of us in there. And I am the neutral umpire who decides who operates. And my old man is a disreputable, scandalous, vile, foul, vicious thing living in there - but I got converted and now I got a new man and he lives in there too. One of them wants me to do something wrong and one of them wants me to do something right and I am in the middle here and I kind of arbitrate between the two. So I am caught in this everlasting dichotomy; this on-going tension. Now I believe this, every one in a while to prove my orthodoxy that I have to let this "old guy" have some sort of expression, just to prove I am sound.
I was raised to believe it was not possible to really have complete victory in life and only in death would I have complete victory".
One day I was researching Romans chapter 6 and I decided to look into a commentary. I really didn't like this commentator because he didn't hold to my theological views. I decided I would look at him anyway on Romans 6. As I was reading him, he said;
"Many of my brethren feel that the article of physical death has more power to deliver Christians from sin than the Cross of Christ".
And I slammed the book shut and said; "I never liked him anyway". But the hook was in my jaw. I began to laugh and I saw the logic of what Adam Clark said. Everybody believed that when we die - we are going to move into instantaneous sanctification. I was sitting in my study and I said; "Come quickly terminal cancer that I may enter into sanctification!". You know the more I ridiculed the view that I held, the more I began to see the truth.
That I was saying that terminal cancer or a heart attack could do more to me in terms of sanctification than the Cross of Christ! And I saw how ridiculous this way. I saw how I was constantly downgrading the accomplishment of Calvary and I was imputing to the act of physical death a power that it didn't have.
"In fact - death is the last enemy - it is not my friend at all! It is not a sanctifying power; it's an embarrassing power! It's going to be done away with!"
Well to a cut a long story short ... and a very long story ... I discovered that I didn't have a seperate person in there called an "Old Man". And I tell you something else that does. It gets you off the hook of moral responsibility. I do something wrong and I can say; "It wasn't my fault - it was my old man". So what do I do? I cope out of moral responsibility as a responsible person and I say; "It was my old man!". Now I am doing exactly what Adam did in the beginning. So what are we doing? We are saying; "God it is Your fault! If I didn't have this "old man" then I wouldn't be doing this bad thing". I've got news for you.
"You are not going to be able to blame Him again because you don't have it! You don't have an "old man"! You are in, by nature, the "old man" but there is no "old man" in you! In fact what ever old man is in you is just as old as you. Your old man is you, not something seperate from you".
See when God came to save us, He came to save me not replace me. He didn't come to replace me. He didn't come to put someone beside me and call that "me". That isn't fair. There is just me in there. He came to save MY soul. He came to regenerate MY spirit. To renew MY mind. The Holy Spirit has come into MY life, not seperate from me. For the Bible said; "If anyone be joined to the Lord, he is one spirit with him" (1 Corinthians 6:17).
"Now it is very important that you see that we are members by nature of an Adamic body. And that the "old man" that was crucified was not something in you, but something in which you were and furthermore that the crucifixion of the old man and the destruction of the body of sin is a legal, judicial act which God performed in the Cross".