I don't like to think of my-self as being crucified. After all, isn't the plan of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins to keep us from facing that same sort of fate? I don't like the idea of my arms being nailed, my feet being nailed, my lungs collapsing, my body exposed… for the world to jeer and mock. That does not appeal to me.
But Paul suggests in Romans 6:5-7 that crucifixion is precisely what we have experienced if we belong to Christ. If we say that we accept Jesus' death for us on the cross… if we say that it is our sin that he carried on his outstretched arms… if we say that it is our consequence, our transgression, our rebellion, our self-ishness that held Him there… then we are saying that it is our self that is crucified along with Jesus.
Nailed, hung, delivered to death to the mockery of all that is against God.
That is what we have given up if we have chosen to live in Christ. Our old self has been violently judged and put to death. Anyone, Paul says, who has died with Christ has been freed from sin. Sin oppressed us, enslaved us, and belitted our lives. So we carry it to death with us… and leave it there… so that Jesus can raise us free from sin to a new life.
I know we like to think of God's grace as warm and fuzzy, and this isn't necessarily a wrong thought, but God's grace comes through the powerfully abhorent wretchedness and stench of crucifixion.
If we're not ready to be free, then we're probably not ready to sacrifice enough of our self (i.e. our old self ruled by sin) to the cross.
We champion those brave men and women who have sacrificed themselves for our country in the name of freedom. We say it all the time: "They gave up their lives so that we might be free."
And yet, so many of us who claim to be Christians are reluctant to make the same sacrifice of our "self" in order to gain our own freedom in life and in order to share that message of freedom with others. Paul continues to argue, "How can we go on sinning?! We are Christians, aren't we?!"
Romans 6:5-7 ~ 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
*Note: Romans 5-6 isn't the only New Testament passage that talks about the issues of law, sin, death and life. Check out Galatians 2:19-21, for instance.