OUR old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What does it mean to be “crucified with Christ”?
Righteous John Cassian, the fifth century monk, has this very helpful explanation.
THE fear of the Lord is our cross.
As then one who is crucified no longer has the power of moving or turning his limbs in any direction as he pleases, so we also ought to affix our wishes and desires—not in accordance with what is pleasant and delightful to us now, but in accordance with the law of the Lord, where it constrains us.
And as he who is fastened to the wood of the cross no longer considers things present,
nor thinks about his likings,
nor is perplexed by anxiety and care for the morrow,
nor disturbed by any desire of possession,
nor inflamed by any pride or strife or rivalry,
grieves not at present injuries, remembers not past ones, and while he is still breathing in the body considers that he is dead to all earthly things,
sending the thoughts of his heart on before to that place whither he doubts not that he is shortly to come:
so we also, when crucified by the fear of the Lord, ought to be dead indeed to all these things, i.e. not only to carnal vices but also to all earthly things, having the eye of our minds fixed there whither we hope at each moment that we are soon to pass.
For in this way we can have all our desires and carnal affections mortified.
St John Cassian (+435), “Institutes of the Coenobia” IV.xxxv. Translation at CCEL.
Our liturgy expresses this same idea in prayer.
YOU took your Cross on your shoulders, O Christ, as you went to your passion, and granted an example to us who wish to live in you, how we might be glorified with you and live;
grant that we may also become partakers of your sufferings and of your glory, bearing your death around with themselves;
slay the stirrings of my flesh, O Lover of mankind, and nail down its limbs from your divine fear, making me dead to the world and alive only to your commandments.
Weekday Vespers on Tuesday Evening. Translation from Anastasis.
Isn’t it wonderful, how the liturgy, the Fathers, and the holy Scriptures all sing to the Lord with one voice?