Monday, 26 February, 2024

put off the old man; put on the new man

flower, poppy, flower background-8044365.jpg

“That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”Ephesians chapter 4 verses 22-24” *

The “man” in the sense of our text is the reigning disposition. It is that which the mind is disposed of, or rather which the mind voluntarily disposes and sets itself to do. The mind deliberately chooses its purpose of existence. The mind chooses the kind of good it will seek, and then, of course, sets itself, to secure this kind of good by every means in its power. Hence there is a disposition of the mind that is shaping its efforts, and all its mental activity to secure the good of its purpose.

The ultimate and efficient intention of the mind in the form of the old man is to commit itself in a deep and hearty commitment of the soul to self-gratification. It controls all the activity of all unregenerate men. You do not see the old man with the external eye, but by its ceaseless development, we learn its character and omnipresent agency.

The new man however is a spiritual mind, or a disposition to please God instead of self. It is right over against the carnal selfish state. The mind is fully committed to pleasing God so this becomes the chief purpose for which the individual reacts and acts. The new man is thoroughly committed to doing the will of God, just as the old man is to do the bidding of his carnal impulses. The former lives for God; the latter for himself. All voluntary agents will seek to please either God or themselves. All action, therefore, results from one or the other of these ultimate intentions. And this is true not only of all men but of all other intelligent beings of angels and devils.

These two dispositions divide all mankind into two classes. Hence there are, as we often say, two sorts of men; and so the Bible says. The Bible represents all men as either saints or sinners; holy or unholy; spiritual or carnal; children of God or children of the devil. It makes them either old men or new men; born of the flesh, or born of the Spirit. The old state is first in order, and all pass into the channel of self-gratification, which leads directly to it. Thus what is born of the flesh is the carnal mind that is committed to the lust of the flesh.

With the exemption of those who may be enlightened, and converted by the Spirit from the womb, all others begin a course of self-gratification from their birth, which becomes sinful, as soon as they know that God forbids it. Sin is thus the desire to make self-gratification, the supreme purpose and reason of existence, in disobedience to God. This old man is corrupt, according to and in compliance with deceitful lusts such as all forms of sensual desire. It includes the entire circle of physical propensities. All these the old man commits himself to obey. He lives for their gratification. They are called deceitful for the obvious reason that the pleasure they promise in their gratification is always delusive. They flatter only to destroy.

Whereas the new man is born of the Spirit, born from above; the Spirit of God continually begets his moral activity, leading him thoroughly to renounce himself and commit his whole being to do the pleasure of God. This new man is sometimes spoken of as being the Lord from heaven, or Christ formed in the soul. So it is, not in the sense of physical creation, but in this sense; Christ by His Spirit begets, produces, a state of mind in which we voluntarily commit our whole being to God. Then we become like Christ, and it is therefore as if Christ Himself were formed within us, His very Spirit and temper now reigning in our hearts, so that it seems as if Christ Himself were there, and indeed He is there by His spiritual and most efficient presence.

So, What are we to understand by the exhortation to put off the one and put on the other?

This putting off the old man and putting on the new is precisely what the Bible means by regeneration. This is the change of heart of which the Bible speaks. It also implied Perseverance. Wherein we are to continue in this state. Paul is writing to Christians and urging them to put off the old man with his deeds and put on the new man could have only meant that they should continue to do what they began to do at their conversion and maintain in constant vigor that activity which then commenced.

When the old man is put off, he dies. This does not mean the annihilation of the appetites and the physical constitution: no, the former body still exists, and you must eat and drink, for its support, no less than before. It only means that all these appetites and propensities are held under the control of God’s revealed will, and to be indulged only following that will. They are no longer our masters; we have no master but God.

error: The love of the father is awesome!