"The Old Man and the New"
In Colossians 3:9-10 the apostle Paul mentions the "old self" and the "new self" as he writes "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him." He says that the old self has been put aside. Why would one want to put aside the old self, or old man? We are taught to put aside our old self because it is being corrupted. "if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit," (Eph 4:21-22). We can see that once we have been taught about Jesus Christ that we should want to do away with our old self that is full of sin, corrupted with the lusts and deceit of this world. We can further see that we can put off this old self by having it crucified with Jesus Christ. As he was crucified on the cross so that we may have forgiveness of sins, in like manner, our old self is nailed to that cross so that we will not walk in an unrighteous manner afterward. Paul says "knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin" (Rom 6:6). We also put off this old self by regeneration in accordance with Galatians 3:26 and Ephesians 4:23-24.
We have learned that the old man is one that is full of sin and worldliness. But what is the new man? The new man is the one that is full of the righteousness and holiness of God! "and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Eph 4:24). Also if you go back to the beginning of this article and read the text you'll notice that this new man is one that is renewed according to the image of God (Col 3:10).
Once one has decided to put on the new man (and this can only be done through baptism (Gal 3:27), and put off the old, then there are things that must follow after doing so. One cannot expect to go to heaven by accepting Jesus Christ and then quit trying to live the Christian life. There are several things that the new Christian must strive to do everyday to live a life for Jesus. It starts by speaking the truth about Jesus. We should feel so good about Him, that we would WANT to tell others about the wonderful happiness that we have found in Jesus. We should want to tell our neighbors about Him. "Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another" (Eph 4:25). In the past we might have gotten angry and sinned, but now the new man understands the righteousness of God and when one gets angry they will "sin not" as it states in Eph 4:26. We would be moved to do good works accompanied with good speech, while at the same time striving daily to resist the devil and all his temptations (Eph 4:27-29). This will be a struggle for the new babe in Christ but it can be done. Remember, God will not allow you to be tempted greater than you can endure (1 Cor 10:13). A new man will be moved to practice kindness to others. "And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Eph 4:32). Knowing that Christ died for us, forgiving us of all our sins, we should likewise be quick to forgive others in like-manner. When the old self has been put away, the new Christian will strive to have compassion on others (Col 3:12), and be long-suffering towards others (Col 3:13). The new man stands out because he has learned to put on love. "And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity". (Col 3:14).
There is a big difference between the old man of the world and the new man of God. Which are you? Have you put away that old man? If not, you need to get into Christ and enjoy the wonderful blessings of being a Christian!
By Richard Thetford
From Expository Files 12.9; September, 2005