Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1538
In his sermon on Romans 6:5,6, Dr. Lloyd-Jones considers the issue of what is meant by the “old man” who has been crucified. He rejects one common understanding that the old man is “the carnal nature and all its propensities”. Rather, the old man “the man that I used to be in Adam” (Rom. 6, p. 62). “As a Christian I am no longer in Adam; I am in Christ….It is not my carnal, sinful nature. That is still here, but the old man has gone, he has been crucified.” (Rom. 6, p. 63).
That is why those who are in Christ are no longer under condemnation. Rom. 8:1. The condemned man has been crucified; I am someone else.
And here is the implication:
We are never called to crucify our old man. Why? Because it has already happened — the old man was crucified with Christ on the Cross…nowhere does the Scripture call upon you to get rid of your old man, for the obvious reason that he is already gone….What you and I are called upon to do is to cease to live as if were were still in Adam. Understand that the “old man” is not there The only way to stop living as if he were still there is to realize that he is not there. That is the New Testament method of sanctification. the whole trouble with us, says the New Testament, is that we do not realize what we are, that we still go on thinking we are the old man and go on trying to do things to the old man. That has already been done; the old man was crucified with Christ.