“Put Off … The Old Man” (Eph 4:22)
God always takes the initiative in salvation. Before He asks or expects man to act, He has acted. The work of the Lord Jesus in salvation is a completed work.
What the Father has made true for us positionally, He longs to make real in us experientially. This requires our intelligent cooperation in willing consent and in active choice, as the imperative “that ye put off” clearly shows. Therefore we should learn what our responsibility is, and seek to fulfill it. May we consider three practical ways in which we may “put off the old man”?
Reckon On The Crucifixion Of The Old Man
Such reckoning means simply believing what God says in Romans 6:6 (“our old man was crucified with Him”), and knowing it as a fact in one’s own salvation. This demands a definite act of faith, which results in a fixed attitude toward “the old man.” We are to see him where God sees him (it)—on the Cross crucified with Christ. Furthermore, it involves our consent to God’s condemnation of that old “I” as altogether unworthy to live, and as wholly stripped of any claim (guilt or rule) upon us.
Recognize The Presence Of The Self-life
While God makes it perfectly clear that identification with Christ in His death and resurrection takes us in toto ( total, whole) out of the of position in sin and in the flesh, He nowhere says that sin is taken out of us in our earthly life. All the verses of Romans Six tell us of God’s perfect provision for deliverance from sin’s power, but not one verse teaches us that we are here and now delivered from sin’s presence.
As we walk in the light, the Holy Spirit will perform an ever deepening work of conviction as to the self-life. This will lead to honest self-judgment (1 Cor 11:31), and confession (1 John 1:9), as sins are brought to our consciousness.
Renounce The Old Man In Its Entirety
“Put off” calls for unconditional renunciation. “Henceforth walk not.” The Christian has begun a walk on a new road in a new sphere leading to a new goal. He should in time be prepared to turn from the old life in its entirety. To put off the “old man” is but the negative side of a holy walk.
This is followed by a definite attitude toward the “old man” that will ensure refusal of his claims as soon as recognized. When we consign our entire old life to death—as God has already done, in Christ—we can trust the Holy Spirit to give us a hatred for every individual expression of the life. Thus, we are choosing in line with God, and against ourselves.
“Put On The New Man” (Eph 4:24)
This is the new creation in the Lord Jesus; the saint possessing a new, spiritual, divine nature; the human personality with Christ at its center, crowned as its Lord, and indwelling as its Life (Col 3:4).
The Christian is patterned after the Lord Jesus in the perfection of His character in its twofold expression: righteous, in relation to man; holy, in relation to God. Paul’s appeal is for us to become what we are, in Christ. But again we must do our part in putting on “The New Man.” May we consider three suggestions as to how we may do this?
Claim Your Position In Christ
In Ephesians 2:4-6 God states a fact of salvation which is true of every saint, whether he ever knows the fact or not. It is true that every believer was united with Christ in His death and resurrection the moment he believed, and is in Christ who is seated in the heavenlies at the Father’s right hand. This new position in Christ is the very foundation of our sanctification and of a walk in newness of life (Rom 6:14).
To take our position in the Lord Jesus, daily, by a definite act of faith, and to see ourselves “far above all,” is to begin the day in victory—fortified against the power of the world, Satan, and the flesh (our greatest enemy). We have the advantage, but we are called upon to use it!
Covet Your Possession In Christ
Every believer is the possessor of every spiritual blessing by virtue of being in Christ. Perhaps our desire for spiritual treasures is at a low ebb. To claim these effectually we must covet eagerly. To “Put on the New Man” will mean seeking after spiritual riches, and setting in the affections primarily and preeminently upon heavenly things, rather than earthly. Co-resurrection with Christ lifts one into a sphere where only Christ and His things can ever satisfy. “If (since) ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:1, 2).
Count Upon The Power Of The Spirit
To take our position in the Lord Jesus, and to covet our possessions in Him, cannot be done by dependence upon anything in ourselves. God made provision for just such impotency. The Holy Spirit is resident within us to make Christ a living reality to us, and in us (See Rom 8:2-14 for the Spirit’s ministry). It is His work to conform us to the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18). Our part is to count upon the Holy Spirit both to keep the old man in its place where God has put it, and to manifest the life of the Lord Jesus. This is true growth in Grace.
Remember, God has dealt with the “spider,” not only the web!
- Ruth Paxson