John_Chrysostom“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed” (Romans 6:6).

St Paul does not refer the name “body of sin” to this body of ours, but to all iniquity.

For as he calls the whole sum of wickedness the old man, thus again he calls the wickedness which is made up of the different parts of iniquity the body of that man.

[…] After saying “that the body of sin might be destroyed,” he adds, “that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

I would not have the “body of sin” dead in the sense that you are destroyed and die, but in the sense that you do not sin.

And as he goes on he makes this still clearer. “For he that is dead,” he says, “is freed (Gr. justified) from sin” (Rom. 6:7).

St Paul says of every man that, as he that is dead, he is henceforth freed from sinning, lying as a dead body.

In the same way he that has come up from baptism, since he has died there once for all, remains ever dead to sin.

If you have died in baptism, remain dead, for any one that dies can sin no more. But if you sin, you mar God’s gift.

After requiring of us then heroism of this degree, Paul presently brings in the crown also, in these words: “now if we be dead with Christ” (Rom. 6:8).

And indeed even before the crown, this is in itself the greater crown, the partaking with our Master.

But, he says, I give even another reward. Of what kind is it? It is life eternal. For “we believe,” he says, “that we shall also live with Him.”

And whence is this clear? “That Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more” (Rom. 6:9). And notice again his undauntedness, and how he makes the thing good from opposite grounds.

Since then it was likely that some would feel perplexed at the Cross and the Death, he shows that this very thing is a ground for feeling confident henceforward.

For suppose not, he says, because He once died, that He is mortal, for this is the very reason of His being immortal.

For His death has been the death of death, and because He did die, He therefore does not die. For even that death “He died unto sin” (Rom. 6:10).

What does “unto sin” mean? It means that He was not subject even to sin. But He dies for our sin, that He might destroy it, and cut away its sinews and all its power.

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Homily 11 on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (slightly adapted).