Forrest Gump: “Lieutenant Dan, what are you doing here?”
Lieutenant Dan: “I’m here to try out my sea legs.”
Forrest Gump: “But you ain’t got no legs, Lieutenant Dan.”
Lieutenant Dan: “Yes… yes, I know that. You wrote me a letter, you idiot!”
Lieutenant Dan: “Where the Hell is this God of yours?”
Forrest Gump: “It’s funny Lieutenant Dan said that, ’cause right then, God showed up.”
For some Christians, this passage from Romans chapter six is a frustrating portion of theology. “If my old sin nature was done in, ” we might say, “why then do I still sin.”
The truth is that we struggle because we don’t fully understand the Apostle Paul’s assertion.
I chose Lt. Dan from the movie ‘Forrest Gump‘ as in illustration because, when we first see him in the fictional movie, he is Forrest’s abusive, arrogant, and generally annoying commanding officer during the Viet Nam War. In this respect, Lt. Dan is a picture of the domineering sinful nature inside of us.
Dan Taylor is later wounded in battle and when we catch up to him again nothing much has changed–he is the same vicious, prideful, and irritating guy, but minus his legs and bound to his miserable little wheelchair.
Hold that image…
Have you read Romans 6:6-7 and concluded that your old man’s sinful nature is dead because he was crucified with Jesus upon the cross? That’s not an accurate interpretation. Your old man is not dead; he’s incapacitated, just like good ol Lt Dan in his rusty wheelchair.
The Greek word used in the passage for the phrase, ‘Done away with’ (*or ‘destroyed’ in the King James Version) is katargeo, and in this instance it means to make idle. In other words, our old man is not dead, but rendered powerless. As an illustration, Paul uses the imagery of one who hangs helpless on a cross. Recall the despicable thief on the cross next to Jesus? I’m reminded of Lt Dan; once controlling, now feeble and ineffective—just like our old man.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 6:6-7