That the body of sin might be destroyed

John Doughty, discussion with Professor Dan Dyke, 9/23/02 on “that the body of sin might be destroyed”


JD: The word KATARGETHE in Romans 6:6.  What does it mean that the body of sin “might” be destroyed?

DD: KATARGETHE is a form of the word KATARGEO which means “to destroy, abolish, or to render ineffective.”  KATARGETHE is in the Subjunctive Mood, and thus deals with the hypothetical in the sense of an abstract.  “I may go to work,” it is the same idea as the word “might.”  It is not the reality yet.  It is sometimes future, in the realm of the abstract.  It is an idea, anytime you have an idea.  It is used also with purpose clauses.  For example, “Jesus came in order that he might give life.”  The effect of his coming may or may not be realized, many people rejected Jesus.  But Jesus came, for the purpose of giving life, and His coming is independent of whether anyone receives that life or not.


The Subjunctive Mood is not used when it’s a time segment… If it were a length of time… okay, past present, and future…  That is what we call Diminutive.


Okay, so what this [Subjunctive mood] does…   It moves it outside of the realm of factual reality into the realm of an idea.


Let me give you an example.  “You are John Doughty.  You are an American.”  That would be an Indicative [mood].  Okay?  [With the Subjunctive]  “You may go to the store today.”  Maybe you will do it, maybe you will not go.  There is always that contingency that it might not happen.  Am I making sense?


JCD: So it moves it outside of the realm of time?


DD: It’s outside of the realm of time.  It moves it into the realm of abstract ideas, or into the realm of ideas, possible ideas, and maybe true ideas.  But there is still this contingency, because it is not yet into the realm of reality.  Okay?  It’s not yet there.  It could be there… it might be there.  Okay?  It’s a “maybe/maybe not” type of idea.


Now, if you put this into a purpose clause…  That’s what is called a purpose clause?  I think that’s actually…  I don’t have the text in front of me.  Read the rest of the verse.


JCD: Romans 6:6  “Knowing this that our old man is crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed.”


DD: Okay, that’s a purpose clause.  Now, a purpose clause, you always use a Subjunctive.  Okay?  You can’t use an Indicative or a Diminutive?  A purpose clause, like “Your Dad had you that he might love you.”  Okay?  The purpose of doing the one is to produce the other.  Okay.  Now whether the other becomes reality or not is not clear.  So, We were crucified for the purpose of destroying the body of sin, “soma hamartia” but many times purpose is not realized.


Jesus came that he might seek and save the lost.  Okay?  Did he save all the lost?  No.  Did he save some of the lost?  Yes.  The purpose is something that you can’t tell whether it’s become real or not.


This person [Wesleyan Holiness] is probably saying that, We’re crucified for the purpose of… your opponent in the debate, if I remember correctly, on Perfection.  The purpose that he’s saying is…  What he is saying is that this purpose is always fulfilled, if you’re a Christian.


JD: Yes.


DD: And I don’t know if he’s judging those who do not reach sanctification as not Christian.


JD: Well, the premise may not even be on the same page.  He sees the body of sin just as figurative.  He made a big mistake, I caught him calling it the SARX, so he doesn’t know the difference between the body and the flesh,  he confuses the body of sin with the SARX.




JD: And the only time SOMA would be used figuratively, as far as we know would be the body of Christ.


DD: I’m not sure on that.  Now here’s what I tell my students.  Jewish people reason this way.  This is a good way to approach it.  The purpose is…  I say, “You called me for the purpose of getting an answer.”  That would be a Subjunctive.  Now, that was your purpose.  Now, I may give you an answer; I may not give you an answer.  Let’s say you would have gotten the answering machine.  Or I would have said, “I’m sick as a dog, I can’t talk to you now, John.”


JD: Right, right, I took that chance.


DD: Maybe it will be fulfilled, maybe it won’t be fulfilled.  Okay?  Now, it is the intention that it will be fulfilled.  Okay?  So you see what I’m saying?  So I would say on that thing that, We were crucified for the purpose of destroying the body of sin.  Maybe it will be fulfilled, maybe it won’t be fulfilled in us, as far as our own sin.


And so, one of the rules that I follow in Hermeneutics is real simple.  There is this word…  Are you familiar with the word Pericope,  (peri – ko – pee.)  The whole context in which a man designates that thought.  So as soon as he goes on to a totally different topic, he doesn’t connect the first topic.  You’ve changed your Pericope.  Anyway, this Pericope is where he starts discussing the subject and its where he ends the discussion.  You can’t take words and phrases and sentences, verses, and paragraphs, and put them by themselves.  You have to take them in the context of where that discussion began and where that discussion ends.


Now here’s the thing I always used with the Perfectionists.  Some of them want to say that “God wanted to destroyed the body of flesh, therefore those that are Christian do not sin, because the body of flesh is destroyed.”  Is that sort of what the guy is advocating?


JD: Yes.


DD: Where does the context start?  Well it starts in chapter 6.  In chapter 6, He says, “What shall we do then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”  “No.”  “God forbid.”  “May it never be.”  Okay?  That’s where this discussion starts.  It starts out with a resounding “No.”  Now, he [the perfectionist] likes that.  He likes the beginning.


JD: Yes.


DD: Okay, now here’s how Jewish people think.  We don’t think like they do.  The way they think is… a bad word in English, but it was a good word to them… “bipolar.”  They think between two borderlines.  One borderline, “We will not sin if we come to Christ.”  The other border line, “We do sin.”  That’s how they think, within those two borderlines.


Acts 2, verse 23, where it talks about God giving Jesus up, “being delivered up, through his determinate counsel… but ye have taken up with the hands of godless men…”  There’s the two poles.   God planned it, but you did it, and he holds you responsible.  Now he never explained how….  That’s okay with the Jewish mind.


Okay, here’s Romans 6.  Here are the two poles.  Romans 6 talks about God’s great desire that men be sinless.  Romans 7 talks about the eternal struggle that every man has, and that the only way to be delivered from that struggle is by Christ Jesus.  Right?  “I thank God by Christ Jesus…


JD: Romans 8


DD: “Who will set me free from this body of death?”  That verse.  So there’s the other pole.  See?  The one is God’s ideal that men should be set free from sin.  The other one is my struggle with the things I want to do and the things I don’t want to do.


JD: Yes, No way that’s talking about before he became a Christian.


DD: No way.


He is doing Jewish thinking here between the two poles, that’s why I call it “Bipolar thinking.”


JD: Right, I’ve heard that.


DD: Okay, Well anyway, the one extreme is God’s great desire that we live apart from sin.  The other extreme is the reality of what happens.  My life, I really want to do good, but I can’t.  But thanks be to God…  And he continues that thing up into chapter 8.  Chapter 8 is the resolution.


Okay, go to chapter 8, verse 19



Rom 8: 19: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”


Rom 8:20 “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.”


Well that says what my Dad is saying, that the body of sin is our body that will be released from that struggle when we die.


DD: Okay, But when is all creation released from that?


JD: Okay, [Rom 8:23] “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, groan within ourselves,  waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”


DD: The resurrection of the dead.


JD: Okay.


DD: So I’m set free.  In this Jewish thinking, we hit the two poles.  God’s great desire I live apart from sin.  And that is why it’s stated as this potential [Subjunctive].  Okay?  Because it’s the one pole of their thinking.  The other way, the other pole is Romans chapter 7, the great struggle that I have, even though I want to be this very thing; I am not this very thing, but I want to be this thing.  And all of us have lived that.  You’ve lived that, Johnny.


JD: Well that’s what he said, You need to impute yourselves as nekros to sin.  Impute yourself, it’s an imputation.  Consider yourselves dead to sin, which you’re not.  Right?


DD: Exactly.


And then you get down to the resolution.  Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am!  who shall deliver me from this body of death?”


Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.


Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”


[Interruption of phone call.]


DD:  What I was saying is that you have the two horns of the bull.  But this time, he’s not content just to put the two horns before them.  I’m going to give you an illustration of the same thing in the Old Testament.  Now, when is it resolved?  Well its resolved in the resurrection from the dead.


JD: That’s right.


DD: That’s why you want to set the boundaries.  YOU set the boundaries.  Don’t let him set the boundary lines.  Because he’s wrong!  Not because you’re just an arrogant little fellow.  You can be, but so can the rest of us, you know what I mean?  But the boundary lines are this, Romans 6 starts the discussion, chapter 8 ends it.  Chapter 8 ends this whole thing with the resurrection of the dead.  But it also points out that the work of Christ is one that has taken me all the way through the struggle of not being one, about becoming.  Because, “What shall separate me from the love of Christ?  not famine or death…”


But you’ve got to be emphasizing that we are not saying that it is good or okay to sin.  The man who is struggling is the man who is not saying it is okay.   And that there should be some sanctification of the Spirit, and mortification of the flesh.  As the Spirit puts it to death.  Johnny, you’re a much better man than you were 20 years ago.  I’m a much better man than when your Daddy baptized me.  Even though I struggle and fight every day.  I buffet my body lest I too become a castaway.  I’m a better man.  You’re a better man, than when I saw you as a little boy.  But you’ve been into the hard things of life.


Okay, I’ll give you an example of the same type of thing.  God’s purpose, Exodus 19.  Remember when God said, You’re a royal priesthood, around verse 5, 6 somewhere.  I’m doing this off the top of my head.


Answering Machine cut off, transcript from notes


Exodus 19:5 “Now if you obey me, ye shall be a kingdom of priests…”  Joshua and Caleb were purified.  They sought God.  They were the Remnant.  It was not an absolutely holy thing, the Remnant.  Rather, they were the repentant ones.


Job “turned” from evil.  It is translated “shunned,” it means to “repent of.”


For the Devil to win, all Job had to do was curse Him to his face.

For God to win, all Job had to do was Repent.


I am not a good man.  Paul says Christ came to this world to save sinners of whom I AM (present tense) chief.  BUT! and we can’t leave it there, we have to continue, But, I have received grace.


We have students here at CBC & CBS from all persuasions.  We have Pentecostal Holiness people.  I tell them, I’m not here to give you the “Church of Christ view,” I’m here to give you the Bible view.  These students like me.  They tell me that all of these Wesleyan Holiness who claim the eradication of the carnal nature, they curse, they treat their wives bad….  It’s a sham.


As far as the Greek tenses.  Aorist deals with what happened or what happens.  I don’t make too much out of the Aorist tense.  The Present tense deals with processes.  The Future, we don’t know what they are because they are future.  The Perfect is continuous, the results are ongoing.  The Aorist can be a single event, such as Pilate crucified Jesus.  It covers things which are complete events.


For instance, Mark 16:16, is a good case for Aorist.  He who believeth (Aorist) and is baptized (Aorist) shall be saved.  The first verb is continous, the second is a single event, but both are Aorist.  Aorist is looking at the whole life as an event.


I know many Greek scholars, and I work with the Hebrew and the Greek every day.  My colleagues and I are agreed that Aorist simply means it happened.  The Present deals with a process, an action in progress.  The Perfect deals with results.


Passive Voice:


KATARGETHE, the word used in Romans 6:6 is a form of the word KATARGEO, which means “to be destroyed, to be abolished, to be rendered ineffective.  The KATARGETHE is the Subjunctive Mood, Aorist Tense, and Passive Voice.  Passive Voice simply tells us that the subject, the body of sin is not doing the action, but rather, is receiving the action.  The body of sin is the thing which will be destroyed.


If we compare it to other scriptures, the best description is the phrase “rendered ineffective.”  That means that it is not obliterated.  It means to render null or void, to render ineffective.  It reminded me of an Olympic boxer years ago.  The two best boxers met in the semi-finals.  The Olympic officials received much criticism later for this, because these two fighters should have been seeded to meet in the finals.  But anyway, the two best boxers met in the semi-final round and fought so hard that the winner, though he won, was finished.  He was so weakened that in the final championship match, he was defeated by an opponent who was a lesser fighter than both of the two.  Here the man who advanced to the finals had not been knocked out, or eliminated from the tournament, but he had been rendered ineffective, and as a result was ultimately defeated.


This is the point with the body of sin.  It is destroyed, (rendered ineffective) but it is not obliterated.  According to Romans 8, the body of sin is adopted or redeemed at the resurrection from the dead.

Keywords: body of sin
Categories: Perfectionism