Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 6 (Romans 6:6)

Our old man is crucified with him - This seems to be a farther extension of the same metaphor. When a seed is planted in the earth, it appears as if the whole body of it perished. All seeds, as they are commonly termed, are composed of two parts; the germ, which contains the rudiments of the future plant; and the lobes, or body of the seed, which by their decomposition in the ground, become the first nourishment to the extremely fine and delicate roots of the embryo plant, and support it till it is capable of deriving grosser nourishment from the common soil. The body dies that the germ may live. Parables cannot go on all fours; and in metaphors or figures, there is always some one (or more) remarkable property by which the doctrine intended is illustrated. To apply this to the purpose in hand: how is the principle of life which Jesus Christ has implanted in us to be brought into full effect, vigor, and usefulness? By the destruction of the body of sin, our old man, our wicked, corrupt, and fleshly self, is to be crucified; to be as truly slain as Christ was crucified; that our souls may as truly be raised from a death of sin to a life of righteousness, as the body of Christ was raised from the grave, and afterwards ascended to the right hand of God. But how does this part of the metaphor apply to Jesus Christ? Plainly and forcibly. Jesus Christ took on him a body; a body in the likeness of sinful flesh, Romans 8:3 ; and gave up that body to death; through which death alone an atonement was made for sin, and the way laid open for the vivifying Spirit, to have the fullest access to, and the most powerful operation in, the human heart. Here, the body of Christ dies that he may be a quickening Spirit to mankind. Our body of sin is destroyed by this quickening Spirit, that henceforth we should live unto Him who died and rose again. Thus the metaphor, in all its leading senses, is complete, and applies most forcibly to the subject in question. We find that παλαιος ανθρωπος , the old man, used here, and in Ephesians 4:22 , and Colossians 3:9 , is the same as the flesh with its affections and lusts, Galatians 5:24 ; and the body of the sins of the flesh, Colossians 2:11 ; and the very same which the Jewish writers term הקדמוני אדם , Adam hakkadmoni , the old Adam; and which they interpret by הרע יצר yetsar hara , "evil concupiscence," the same which we mean by indwelling sin, or the infection of our nature, in consequence of the fall. From all which we may learn that the design of God is to counterwork and destroy the very spirit and soul of sin, that we shall no longer serve it, δουλευειν , no longer be its slaves. Nor shall it any more be capable of performing its essential functions than a dead body can perform the functions of natural life.

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible