The Old Man and the New Man

22 06 2020

McKee Road Baptist – June 17, 2020 Wednesday Evening – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 3:9-11 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.

You can tell a lot about people in our society by the way they dress. People wear the
uniform of their profession. Professional athletes to nurses, from firemen to policemen;
all wear the uniform of their profession. Our uniform is an identifier, it identifies us.
That is precisely Paul’s point through verse 17 of this chapter. Christians must dress
themselves ethically in accordance with their new identity. They have died with Christ
and risen to new life.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his
deeds;

As believers, we are called to be truth tellers. God does not lie but is “the God of truth”
Isaiah 65:16, as his children, we are to be like him. Lying simply does not belong
among God’s children. Society may have plenty of room for the lie, but that is because
society does not know God.

The figure of the “old man” and “new man” is common in Paul’s writing. The
expressions “old man” and “new man” occur in basically four places in Paul’s letters:
Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:15; 4:22-24; and our text, Colossians 3:9-11. In order to
understand this important expression, we will examine the four passages in which Paul
uses it. In each passage the “old man” is the same expression in Greek. The expression
“new man” is the same in Ephesians 2:15, Ephesians 4:24 and in Colossians 3:10.
Romans 6:6 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.

Matthew Henry says of Romans 6:6, “The body of sin must be destroyed. The
corruption that dwelleth in us is the body of sin, consisting of many parts and members,
as a body. This is the root to which the axe must be laid. We must not only cease from
the acts of sin (this may be done through the influence of outward restraints, or other
inducements), but we must get the vicious habits and inclinations of weakened and
destroyed; not only cast away the idols of iniquity out of the heart. That henceforth we
should not serve sin.” Paul’s is saying, “No” to the reign of sin, and, “Yes” to life in God.

Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of
commandments contained in ordinance; for to make himself of twain one new man, so
making peace;

Ephesians is a letter dedicated to unfolding the mystery of the gospel as it relates to the
unification of Jew and Gentile in “one new man.” The focus in Ephesians 2:15 is on the newly created community in Christ. These are believers where hatred and division were the order of the day but now are joined together in Christ.

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.

Paul urges the Ephesians to the fact that they have received a certain calling.

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of
the vocation wherewith ye are called,

They are to walk or live in a way commensurate (in agreement) with their new calling
and privilege. Believers are not to live as the Gentiles do, those who are separated from the life of God. The Gentiles lived to fulfill their senses and lust. The believers of Ephesus were
not to live like that.

The “old man” refers to their former life as Gentiles and the sin that so consumed their
lives. They were taught to lay this aside and to put on the new man. The figure “put on”
and “put off” is one of exchanging clothes and refers to a change in character in light of
a change in identity, having moved from the old sphere of existence (without God) to a
new sphere of existence (with God).

In Ephesians 4:22-24 the “old man” refers to a lifestyle consistent with sin, but
inconsistent with being in Christ, while the “new man” refers to a lifestyle, “to walk” in a
way consistent with being in Christ and truth.

Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not
as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his
deeds;

Paul reminds his readers that they have been raised with Christ, and, therefore, should
seek things above and set their minds on things above, not on earthly things. Since they
have died with Christ, they are put to death “whatever in their nature belongs to the
earth” Colossians 3:5; referring to such things as, “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate
affection, concupiscence and covetousness which is idolatry.” The Colossian believers
are to put off all such things commensurate with their former life; such as “wrath, malice,
blasphemy and filthy communication…”

The reason the Colossian believers are to do this is because they have put off “the old
man” and have been clothed with “the new man.” They have put off the old man and
have been clothed with the new at conversion.

The “new man” in Colossians 3:10-11 refers to the new community that erases all
racial and social lines. Where there is “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor
uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Paul is
telling them they are to be clothed with the new man.

The “old man,” by contrast, is the body of people still under its old head Adam, and the
old clothing of sinful deeds is worn by all. The expression “image of God” refers to Christ Himself so that the renewal involves progressive conformation into the likeness of Christ himself.

Thus the “new man” in Colossians 3:10 not only applies to each believer, but rather the
new community in Christ, the church, and together we reflect the image of God. It is for
this reason, since we are the “new man” corporately, that we are not to live like we once
did. The “old man” refers to people in solidarity with Adam under the old age of sin, death,
and judgment.

The crucifixion of the “old man” refers to a definitive break with the past in Adam, and is
something God reckons to be true of us. The sinner is separated from the community of
Adam and the relationships that exist there. Paul is reminding us that the “old man”
must be continually put off.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his
deeds;

The words “put off” means: “to take off or strip off clothing – to undress, to disrobe,
stripping off.” This term is used in Colossians 2:11 & 15, and in both places, it refers to
the effects of the cross. This word carries the idea of “strip off from oneself.”

The Greek indicates that this stripping off from oneself took place at the cross. That is
where the great change took place. This principle is the basis for all spiritual life in the
New Testament.

Notice the end of verse 9, “…with his deeds.” The word “deeds” is from the Greek word
praxis, which means: “practice.” “Deeds” is function, implying sustained activity and/or
responsibility. Because the “old man” was stripped off, so should the sins that are
connected with him. We are to stop acting upon our old life and start acting upon our
new life.

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after
the image of him that created him:

Every believer is a new man:

2 Corinthians 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.

We are new, because we hold the same status that Jesus does before God. We are
new, because we possess the life of Christ. We are new, because of our position before
God.

In reference to the new man Paul says, “…which is renewed in knowledge…”
The word “renewed” means: “to cause something to become new and different, with the
implication of becoming superior. It means to make new, to renew, to cause a change to
a previous, preferable state.” This word comes to mean: “to restore, to bring back, to
make new; not in the sense of recent, but different.”

Notice what Paul says about this “new man.”

Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor
uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

This clearly demonstrates the nature of the “new man.” In the body of Christ there are
no class distinctions. The Greek here for “no distinction” is: “Where there is neither,”
Greek nor Jew.”

We must remember that people are not born equal. We have different IQs, physical
beauty, strength. There is no such thing as true equality in this life. Members of the
human race are not born equal. But regeneration brings true equality to people.
The terms “Greek nor Jew” are national differences. “Greek” represents a person who is
a Gentile, a non-Jew. The Roman world classified a “Greek” as a person who
participates in Greek culture and, in so doing, would speak the Greek language, but not
necessarily a person of Greek ethnic background. A “Greek” was equivalent to a
civilized person.

The terms “circumcised nor uncircumcised” refer to a religious difference. The Greek
and Jew, one circumcised and the other uncircumcised, were separated by seemingly
insurmountable racial and religious barriers. They had nothing to do with each other.
Jewish people refused to enter a Gentile house. They would not eat a meal cooked by
Gentiles, nor buy meat prepared by Gentile butchers. When they returned to Israel, they
showed their disdain (to think unworthy of notice) for Gentiles by shaking off the Gentile
dust from their clothes and sandals. Even the apostles were reluctant to accept Gentiles
as equal partners in the church Acts 10-11. But the gospel broke down those barriers,
and Jew and Gentile became one in Christ.

The terms “Barbarian, Scythian” are cultural differences. “Barbarian” properly means:
“one whose speech is rude, or harsh.” It signified one who speaks a strange or foreign
language, I Corinthians 14:11.

The “barbarian” came to represent anyone ignorant of Greek or its culture, a person not
participating in Greek culture and civilization. The focus is on culture rather than on
language, I Corinthians 14:11.

“Scythians” were uncultured, nomadic people from north of the Black and Caspian seas.
They were fierce barbarians who offered human sacrifices and scalped their enemies
and used their skulls as drinking cups. The Jewish historian, Josephus, added, “The
Scythians delight in murdering people and are little better than wild beasts.”

The terms “bond nor free” refer to economic or social distinctions. The “slave” in Roman
times was not classified in law as a human being. His master could maim or kill him at
his pleasure. The slave had no rights. The slave was viewed, in the words of Aristotle,
as “a living tool.” He did not even have the right of marriage.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is
neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

The meaning here is that all are on a level; that there is no distinction. All are to be
regarded and treated as brethren, and that, therefore, no one lie to another.

There is no place for racial barriers or cultural snobbery in the body of Christ. God has
united all believers in Christ Jesus. This was a startling, unbelievable revelation for the
first-century world. The racial, religious, cultural, and social barriers separating people
were as deep-seated and formidable as any in our day.

There is no place for manmade barriers in the church since Christ is all, and in all.
Because Christ indwells all believers, all are equal. He breaks down all racial, religious,
cultural, and social barriers, and makes believers into one new man.

Pastor Don Thomason


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