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5For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.7For he who has died has been freed from sin.8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.11Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Did you know that Jesus suffered and truly died on the cross because of your unclean sins? Because of your sins and your corruption you deserved to be tortured to death, and to taste the awful sufferings of eternal hell. However, Jesus bore the judgment of God on your offense, and accepted to be crucified in your place on the accursed tree.
If you accepted the saving love and work of Jesus, you would be ashamed of your sins, and you would not want to do or think evil any longer. Thereby, you would despise and deny yourself. You would not acknowledge yourself, but condemn yourself and agree to be condemned. You would consider yourself dead and rubbed out. There is no other salvation for your corrupt ego than practicing this spiritual death in yourself that Christ may live in you.
There is no following of Christ without self-denial. Paul has an initial testimony, which he repeats in his epistles: We have been crucified and risen with Christ that we may live in harmony with him; knowing that he who is crucified is unable to move as he pleases, but he is glorified, and dies in a great deal of pain.
Paul testifies that this death of ourselves took place when we began to believe in the Crucified. At that moment, we were united with Jesus’ death, and we confessed that his death was ours. We have lawfully died, and have no more rights or wishes in this life, for the wrath of God has entirely destroyed us in Christ.
As the civil law does not offer the dead any rights, so the law has no power over a dead person any longer. Temptation also finds no starting point in our evil bodies, because we consider them dead.
However, there are some people who have almost died, or are half dead, but still have a little breath of life. Such people might still be able to walk. But imagine a dead man rising and walking with his decayed body in the streets of your town! Then everybody would run away from him because of his bad smell. There is nothing more horrible than a Christian who turns back to his old sins, puts on his corrupt body once again, and becomes a prisoner of his debasing lusts. Continuance in our self-denial is a condition of our faith. We must consider ourselves dead in Christ at all times.
Our faith, however, does not only justify negative things, as if we have to put off the old man, and consider ourselves crucified and mortified. No, for our faith is a positive one. It is the faith of life, for our union with Christ in love makes us partners in his resurrection, triumph, and power. As Jesus left his grave silently, and passed with his spiritual body through rocks and walls, so he who believes clothes himself in Jesus, knowing that the eternal life of our Lord flows in him who holds fast to him.
Christ never dies. He has overcome death, for this original enemy had no power over the Holy One. Jesus died as the Lamb of God for our sins, and found eternal redemption. He died to serve God and men. How much more will he give his life today for God and men, for he lives and glorifies his Father at all times that many sons and daughters may be born to him, sanctifying his eternal name through their good conduct.
Do you know the emblem of our faith? We denied ourselves completely when we confessed our sins and were united with the cross. This is why Jesus planted the power of his life in us that we might rise in spirit, and live for God innocently and gladly in eternal righteousness, as Jesus rose from the dead, and lives and reigns forever.
There is a profound difference, however, between Christ and ourselves. He was holy in himself from eternity, whereas we only obtained true holiness through our faith union with him. The apostle does not only ask you to serve God, but he convinces us to serve him in Christ. We do not deserve to come to the Holy One by ourselves, but where we sink into the Savior, and our selfishness dies in his love, and we continue in him, there his power, kindness, and gladness work in us that we may overwhelmingly conquer our infirmities through him who loved us. We only participate in this privilege through faith and broken will. Do you believe that you have been truly crucified and buried with Christ, and have truly risen by his resurrection?

O holy Lord Christ, you are my substitute on the cross. You bore my sins and my condemnation. Thank you for this great and loving salvation. Complete in me my self-denial, and establish me in the knowdge that I am sentenced to death that I may consider myself dead in your death. Thank you for your sufferings and your motives. I glorify you because you planted your life in me that I might live for you, glorify your Father, and be united with you in faith. O holy Lord, you make saints out of criminals and out of the fatherless children of God who live for him. How great is your grace! Please accept our worship and our lives.
How were we crucified with Christ, and risen in his life?