When you think of the old man and the new man spoken of by the Apostle Paul what comes to mind? At the moment we believe in Christ our old man is done away with and the new man is created in us right? Partially true and very misleading as well.
Romans 6 speaks of our old man being put to death and we as Believers having a new life in Christ being obedient unto righteousness.
Consider Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
The “old man” referred to herein is our old nature-our Adamic nature or our born propensity to sin. Obviously we were not crucified in person with Christ, so it is our spiritually dead Adamic “old man” that at conversion is crucified and dies with Christ. Therefore the “body of sin” is not our physical body that is the vehicle through which sin acts, but rather this is again our old sinful nature we were born with. As we were crucified with Christ through baptism into His death, God views our old man as having been destroyed and it was. We are no longer subject to the “body of sin” but are free to live in our “new man”. Note verse 7 says he that is dead is freed from sin. This is not to say that we are now incapable of sin but rather that we can choose not to be ruled by sin any longer.
Romans 6:4 mentions that we are to walk in newness of life, another hint that we are set free from the absolute rule of sin in our lives. Before conversion or our acceptance of Christ as Lord, we lived in sin there was no other option. After conversion we are presented with a new choice; sin no longer holds dominion over us, we can choose to sin but we are no longer subjected to the rule of sin in our lives. Our relationship to sin has changed, it is no longer a requirement as it is to unbelievers; we are free to dismiss it. It is important to note that this change is effected by what Christ does in us, not what we ourselves do or our choice to follow/accept Him as Lord, that choice simply opens the door through which Christ steps in and makes changes within us.
This is all confirmed to us in: Romans 6:11-13 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God
We are to be dead to sin Paul says but alive to God through Jesus Christ…Christ effected this wonderful change within us…without Him we are powerless to change anything. Verse 13 indicates where our choice lies in that although Jesus saved us from sin’s rule in our lives, we are still free to decide how we will conduct ourselves.
Witness: Paul warns us not to let sin reign in our bodies or minds but to serve as instruments of righteousness…we are yielded to God choosing to serve Him through the gift given us through Christ.
Being free from sin’s all pervasive grasp of our lives, we are free to be servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:18)
In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul speaks of the old man and the new man. Some have posited that this references the Jews and the Gentiles as one people before God; while true this is not what this set of verses is speaking of.
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
In these verses Paul is indeed setting the tone of this chapter, “one body”…Jews and Gentiles together in Christ. Keep in mind that Paul was himself a Jew although he devoted himself to taking the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles while Peter primarily dealt with the Jews. Bear in mind also that Paul was writing to an already established church in Ephesus trying to encourage the flock and combat heresy at the same time.
Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
We already established that our so-called “old man” is the sinful nature we inherited from Adam, we lived “in Adam” if you will. We were essentially slaves to sin, as there were no other options open to us. Then at some point we meet the Risen Lord Jesus Christ; the “old man” is condemned to death, and the “new man” is born. The old man and the new man are not so much something to be put on; rather the old man our Adamic nature was bound over to death with Christ and at the same time Christ instilled in us a new nature, one dedicated to continuing the defeat of sin in our lives and living for God instead of ourselves. Remember that only Christ could defeat the rule of sin in our life, it is up to us to choose to serve our new master: righteousness.
It is not that we no longer sin as mentioned before, but that we can choose not to sin whereas before that option was not open to us because the new man as it were is something that Christ creates IN us, it is not anything we can do or create of our own volition as Paul shows us in verse 24…the new man is created “after God”. In other words, the new nature is created by God that we may walk after Him in righteousness and holiness.
The “new man” is therefore first a creation of God in us. Secondly the “new man” is a choice we need to continue to make; we will devote ourselves to living as Christ would have us live not as sin would have us live as in when it reigned supreme in our flesh.