Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ephesians 4:24 comments: the new man (or woman)

24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Here is the new man as opposed to the old man. This is the new creature who is going to be made in Christ’s image.

2Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Galatians 6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

What is the nature of the new man?

Galatians 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The new man is the result of having the very Spirit of God, of Christ, coming to live inside of a believer.

John 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The new man’s character is in sharp contrast to the old.

Colossians 3: 8 ¶  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Paul speaks of a struggle so difficult that believers would feel more comfortable putting themselves back under the Law given to Moses.

Galatians 4:19 ¶  My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, 20  I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

The human and carnal desire to be placed back under rules and ordinances is a fleshy opposition to being ruled by the Spirit, substituting our own will working superficially for God’s will working inside of us. Paul asked the Galatians as we can ask ourselves when we try to judge others by our own convictions;

Galatians 3:3  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

 Part of the struggle between the new and the old man is the fight over whether  obedience is superficial based on a humanistic attempt to obey commandments or whether the Spirit of God is yielded to in order to make the lasting change that God wants. It’s a matter of appearances or the Spirit. Do you simply will yourself to be Holy or do you submit to God’s changing of you inside?                                                                            

In his letters John contrasted the two people warring within the believer until Christ has the preeminence. Only this time it is not about how we are changed. It is about our reaction to sin. In the same letter, speaking of our natural man, the old man, John says;

1 John 1:8 ¶  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

…and regarding the new man;

1 John 3: 9  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Righteousness and holiness are the results of letting the Holy Spirit lead a believer through the words of God found in the Bible daily and thereby feeding the new man and helping him to mature. Following Paul’s statements regarding how you are to treat others is also a vital part of that growth. Acknowledging at all times that your old man is still present and that he must be opposed is essential.

Don’t feed the old man with your bitterness, your abiding wrath, your paranoid delusions that make you the center of the world, or your selfishness. Don’t feed the old man with pornography, violent fantasies in movies and television living a life of wickedness vicariously through characters portrayed on a flickering screen, or excess in food and drink.

Feed the new man by uniting with other believers in worship weekly with the church. Deny the old man by avoiding your old haunts of the barroom and places where people congregate under the pretext of a wholesome activity but in reality just to gossip and rip up those not present with your words.

The new man is constantly seeking to please God. The old man is constantly seeking to please him or herself. The BBC produced a documentary called, “A Century of Self” which explained how the abiding spirit of the 20th century was one of devotion to pleasing oneself.

The old man expresses him or herself in the works of the flesh versus the new man who expresses him or herself in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:13 ¶  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Let God speak to your heart through His Bible and nourish the new man.

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