Just as from Adam the First, sin, condemnation and death came to all his race, so there comes, to those who trust the Last Adam, justification, righteousness and eternal life. What Adam did was reckoned to his posterity; so what our Lord Jesus did is reckoned to those who are in Him. What happened to Him happened to all whom He represented.

This cannot be said, of course, of our Lord’s work as a propitiation (Rom 3:25). We were not identified with Him in that! (Heb 1:3; 9:12, 26). There was no one allowed in the tabernacle with the high priest on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:17). It took another Adam to take away the guilt of human sin from before the infinitely holy God! As the Only Begotton Son, as Fellow of Jehovah (Zech 13:7), our Lord became the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29). Only the Triune God knows what the sacrifice of Calvary had to compass, as touching human guilt. It was God who was to be satisfied. Yet let us rejoice. For the guilt, infinite as it was, is gone; and Christ Jesus our Lord hath done it—“by Himself” (nothing left to do but wait on Him—NC).

Our blessed Lord had no connection with sinful human life and nature until He came to the Cross. He not only bore our sin—that was propitiation; but He became Himself sin—that was identification (“made Him to be sin” (i.e. made Him out to be sin - 2Co 5:21, e.g. “likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3) otherwise the sacrifice would not do if He actually became sin, for the sacrifice required flawlessness, hence “separate from sinners” - Heb 7:26—NC). Both propitiation and identification began at the Cross. It is unspeakably wrong to imply that our Lord Jesus had any connection whatsoever with sin during His lifetime. Although He was a man, God was His Father, not Joseph.

It is those who are in Christ Jesus, members of His Body, who died with Him unto sin, and were raised with Him, who are in view here. Not earthly Israel (Jews believing in God but not in Jesus – Jn 14:1 —NC), not the millennial saints; but the Church which is Christ’s Body. We may remark here that the name Christ Jesus is our Lord’s name as the Risen Head of the Body as revealed by Paul; and this name of our Lord is used most by Paul.

We should ever remember that our death to sin was once for all accomplished on the Cross. In that, the believer shared the death of Christ; for when he became a believer, the life he received was life in Christ, that is, life out of death, “newness of life,” ascension life; and the relation to sin and the law which Christ had, became that of the believer. Our experience of it is simply the entering by faith into what has already happed at the Cross. “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ro 6:11).

In verse 12 we are told not to let “sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body.” Although we are new creatures, we are still in a “mortal body—a body of redemption which lies in the future (Phl 3:21). It is a “corruptible” body (1Co 15:53, 54); an earthly tabernacle (2Co 5:1). It is a body in which we “groan” (2Co 5:2-4), because we know that it has not yet been delivered out of the bondage that holds all creation, a bondage of corruption (Ro 8:21-23).

It is a body whose tendency is toward evil (“body of sin,” i.e. old man, sin nature – Ro 6:6—NC), whose deeds must by the believer be “mortified,” or kept in the place of death, by the enablement of the indwelling Spirit (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:17), if the spiritual walk is to be sustained. The body is not necessarily sinful in its nature of matter, as the Manichaeus taught (it’s just used sinfully—NC); but it has not yet shared the redemption unto which it is appointed, and which our spirit, being one with Christ, has already entered into.

—Wm R Newell (1868-1956)

The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS