Colossians 3:10

The New Man


The New Man Defined/Described

A. The New Man

1. He is NEW in every way, spiritually.

a. New birth (John 3:3)
• A born again person – a spiritual birth.
• Regenerated– a new life entered the world.
• Spiritually, the person born (again) did not exist before the new birth.
• The new birth brings into existence a new man.

b. New life… (John 10:28)
• Eternal life
• Resurrection life
• His new life is hidden with Christ in God

c. New creation (II Cor. 5:17)
• Creation is a supernatural work that only God can do.
• Only God can create a person.
• This new creature did not exist before the supernatural work of salvation.
• He is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph. 4:24)

d. New nature (II Pet. 1:4)
• New mind
• New heart
• New will
• The moral law of God is etched in our hearts in such a way that it becomes the driving force of the believer… it is the believers NATURE to love God, seek God, serve God, etc.
• The new nature is implanted in the believer at the moment of saving faith.
• It is God’s work and it is perfect.

e. New power (Rom. 15:13)
• Indwelling Holy Spirit.
• The power of the resurrection.
• He is able to walk in newness of life.

f. New position
• This new man is IN Christ… in His Body.
• Seated in heavenly places.
• Redeemed, justified, reconciled, saved, regenerated.
• Blessed with all spiritual blessings.
• The list describing this new position is VERY extensive… and all new.
• You did not possess this position before your salvation. It is the new position of the new man.

g. New in time (Col. 3:10)
• New = neos = new in time (kairos = new in quality).
• The new man is a man—a person who did not exist before the miracle of the new birth.
• Jim Delany existed before my salvation, but I was a very different KIND of creature.
• At the moment of saving faith the Christian becomes a “NEW man”… a new man with respect to time.
• This man did not exist before the miracle salvation.

h. All of this indicates that PUTTING ON the new man is God’s work, not ours.
• God does the putting off and putting on of the old man and of the new man.
• It is a supernatural work involving placing the believer IN Christ, placing Christ in the believer, the new birth, creating life, supernatural resurrection power, etc.
• We couldn’t possible MAKE ourselves a new man… or PUT ON the new man.
• That is what religion vainly attempts to do. The best they can do is dress up the old man…
• The new position of the new man is God’s work for us. God makes the believer in Christ a NEW man!

2. The new man is in another sense, the very same person.

a. The new creature is not new physically.
• He bears the same name.
• He is the same age physically.
• He has the same old body.
• He looks the same; same voice; same height; weight; same color; same health.
• He lives in the same house; same earthly family.
• He works at the same job; pays the same bills; has the same Social Security Number.
• He is still a citizen of the same city and country.
• He still has that same mole on his back.
• No one would ever be able to tell by looking at him that he is a new man… but he is.
• Physically, he is the same person.

3. In one sense (physically), the new man is completely the same; and yet, in another sense (spiritually), he is completely new.

a. The new man is new in time. He did not exist before salvation.

b. The new man is new spiritual. He is ALIVE; saved; etc.

c. The new man has a new nature and new power.

d. The new man is in a new position: IN Christ.

e. The new man is complete. He has everything he would ever need to know God, to love God, to serve God, and to walk with God.

f. All of this is BRAND new at the moment of saving faith and is entirely God’s work on our behalf.

g. Gal. 2:20 – I am crucified, nevertheless I live.
• Paul acknowledges here that in one sense he died (the old Saul) when he came to Christ in faith. The person he was in Adam died.
• Paul also acknowledges that in another sense, he still lives… as a new man in Christ.
• Physically he is the same, but spiritually, he is completely NEW. “I died… yet I live.”
• If you are born again, all of this is true of you.

h. Col. 3:3 – ye are dead but yet you are alive in a new realm… your new life is hidden with Christ in heaven.
• The person we USED to be died. That old man is dead.
• But in another sense WE still live … as a new man.
• Our new life is hidden with Christ in God… hidden away from the world.
• The world cannot SEE the change outwardly… the world may think this talk is quite foolish… but God says it is reality.
• Sometimes when temptation is strong, or when we fail and fall flat on our faces, it is hard even for us as believers to BELIEVE what God said: your old man is dead and you are a NEW man in Christ!
• But regardless of what our senses, feelings, sight, and even experiences tell us… just believe God!
• Believing God on this point is the BASIS for a victorious Christian life.

4. The new man is the REGENERATED person.

a. The new man is the person we are when God saves us.

b. It is the PERSON we are in Christ.

c. It is an entirely NEW position… NEW life… and hence, a NEW person.

d. This person did not exist before the miracle of the new birth.

e. He is not the old man improved… cleaned up… or restored.
• He is a completely NEW man.
• Eph. 4:22 – The old man and his old manner of life was CONTINUALLY in the process of corruption.
» God determined that he was incorrigible.
» God chose not to fix or renovate the old man up. He chose to put him to death.
» The old man was worthy of death, was condemned, and was put to death: crucified.
» What we were in Adam had the sentence of death placed upon it and was executed at Calvary.
• First the old man was put off and THEN the new man was put on.
» Of course, this all happens instantaneously at the moment of saving faith.
• Our point is that the new man isn’t the old man with some new clothes. He is a NEW man… new in time and new in quality of life.

B. The Old Man

1. The old man is the person we WERE in Adam.

2. The old man is the PERSON we were before salvation.

3. The old man is the UNREGENERATE person… condemned.

4. We can NEVER become that old man again. He’s dead and buried.

5. We can never revert back to the unregenerate state. That position has been changed eternally because the old man really is DEAD!

6. The new man did not exist BEFORE the new birth.

7. The old man does not exist AFTER the new birth. (He is history.)

8. The old man died and the new man took his place.

9. The KIND of person you were before salvation does not exist any more. The KIND of person we are in Christ has replaced that person.

10. The new man has replaced the old man.

C. The Man Distinguished from the Nature (Old or New)

1. It is at this point that much confusion arises.

a. Sometimes we are sloppy in our use of terms and cause confusion.

b. Many theologians do NOT make a distinction between the old man and the old nature. That causes confusion.

c. Some popular preachers today teach that the old NATURE died and that the believer has only ONE nature… which is continually improving!

d. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sin nature is incorrigible!

e. That false teaching arises from confusing the old man and the old NATURE.

f. Yes our old MAN (the unregenerate person) is dead. But that does NOT mean the old NATURE (sin nature) is dead. It is very much alive!

g. John tells us that if any man says he has no sin (nature) he has deceived himself and the truth is not in him!

2. There is a difference between a person and his nature.

a. A person HAS a nature, but a nature is not equal to a person.
• The new man is a regenerated man, and he has a new nature… he is a partaker of the divine nature. (II Pet. 1:4)
• That new nature is God’s moral standards etched so deeply in the heart of the new man by the supernatural work of regeneration, that it is his nature.
• That new nature is IN the new man, but that new nature is equal to the new man.

b. The new man is being renewed.
• The new PERSON is improving in quality and character… gradually, from glory to glory. He is becoming more and more like Christ… growing in grace and the knowledge of Christ.
• However, the new NATURE (God’s moral laws imprinted in our hearts that loves truth, righteousness, holiness, and God) can never be improved.
• When the new nature is in control, the believer will ALWAYS do that which pleases God.
• The divine nature needs no renewal.
• The new nature ALWAYS loves God; ALWAYS thinks pure thoughts; ALWAYS says kind, truthful, gracious words; ALWAYS seeks things above.
• The new man (the born again person) however, does not. The regenerated person needs much improvement.
• The regenerated person STILL often yields to the flesh and allows his old nature to be in control.
• The fact that the new MAN is being renewed and the new NATURE does not need to be renewed makes it clear that they are not the same.

c. The Bible states that the old man is dead. But the old nature is very much alive!
• Never are we told that our old nature is dead.
• The old nature is fallen, corrupt, human nature: called the sin nature, or SIN.
• Sin (the nature) did not die. We died to sin. (Rom. 6:2)
• The old MAN is dead. He died the moment we were saved and we can never be that old, unregenerate man again. Thank God!
• The old NATURE is alive. It will be with us until death or until Christ returns. Even so come Lord Jesus!
• The fact that one is dead and one is alive clarifies the fact that they are not the same!

d. Failing to distinguish between the MAN and his NATURE has led to all kinds of errors: sinless perfection; eradication of the sin nature; one nature of the believer; etc. (Reformed Theology; MacArthur; and others…)

D. The New Man Distinguished from the Old Man

1. Two natures – old and new

a. The old man had only ONE nature: sin.
• His mind was affected by his fallen nature.
• His heart was affected by his fallen nature.
• His will was enslaved by his fallen nature.
• Every part of his person (intellect, emotion, and will) was affected by sin. He is totally depraved; he NEEDS a Savior!
• The source of ALL of his thoughts, words, deeds, and motives originated in the only nature he had: sin nature!
• Hence, NOTHING this man could offer God was of any merit before God. The source of it all was totally corrupted.
• That old sin nature, the flesh, is incorrigible. God chose NOT to try to improve it or fix it.
• God’s method was to condemn it…

b. The new man has TWO natures: Adam’s nature and the divine nature… the old nature and the new nature.
• It is the new nature in this person that makes him NEW!
• The new nature affects for the good every part of this new person: intellect, emotion, and will.
• New mind – not a new physical brain, but a new capacity to know God and understand spiritual truth.
• New heart – an innate, inner love for God and His Word
• New will – a new capacity to seek God and choose to obey—a desire and a thirst to obey.

2. Two Choices:

a. The old man had NO choice.
• He had only one nature: a sin nature.
• Everything he did and thought was sourced from that fallen human nature, called the sin nature.
• He was a slave to sin and sin had dominion over him. (Rom. 6:6, 14)
• The old man / the unregenerate man has NO choice.
• He has no power, no capacity, and no desire to obey. He LIVES in the realm of sin… and is unable to extricate himself from that position.
• His only hope is to vainly attempt to improve the old nature… which is no hope at all because it always results in miserable failure.
• Even if that old unregenerate man was religious and moral and tried his hardest to improve his nature and do good, the Lord’s answer to him is: “Depart from Me. I never knew you.”

b. The new man now has a choice.
• He has been set free from the bondage of sin—he is no longer under its dominion.
• Therefore he is able to choose to sin or to choose to obey.
• And he has new life, new power, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and thus, is ABLE to walk in newness of life.
• It is THIS POINT that most prominently distinguishes the old man from the new man in Paul’s writings.
• And can’t you see how important this is with respect to sanctification?
• An exhortation to holiness to a man who is enslaved to sin and has no choice is an impossible command doomed to failure.
• An exhortation to holiness to a man who has a new mind, new heart, new will, and power to obey… and has the CHOICE of obeying to disobeying is no longer an impossible command!
• For that man, victory is available and possible… by faith… IF he believes that he truly is a new man… believes that he is ABLE to walk in newness of life… and chooses to take a step of faith. God will hold him up.

The New Man Has Been Put On Already

A. Putting Off and Putting On Occur at Salvation

1. The putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new man is a figure of salvation.

a. That’s what salvation is in this age.

b. The old condemned sinner becomes a new creature.

c. This is a supernatural transaction that only God can do. It is His work on our behalf when we trust in Christ.

d. It is an instantaneous change of position:
• A change from being unregenerate person to being regenerate person.
• A change from being the old man in Adam to being the new man in Christ.
• It is a change from condemnation to justification.
• A change from death unto life.
• And this change can NEVER be reversed.

e. This is what God does to every believer at the moment of saving faith, whether we understands the theology behind it or not.

f. Becoming saved is becoming a new man.

2. This occurs at the moment of saving faith.

a. The old man is crucified – put off/dead. (Rom. 6:6)
• Paul addresses ALL the believers in Rome—immature and mature; spiritual and carnal.
• The only thing ALL the believers in Rome shared equally was salvation!
• The old man doesn’t need to be put off repeatedly. He is put off once and for all at the moment of saving faith.
• When a sinner comes to Christ in faith, a miracle occurs. The person he was in Adam DIES! The old man is put off.

The new man is already put on—for any one IN Christ. (II Cor. 5:17).
• In other words, since EVERY believer of this age is in Christ, every believer has already put on the new man.
• The figure used here is that of creation. God brought something into existence that did not exist before! A NEW creation! (New in time Col. 3:10 – new in quality II Cor. 5:17).
• Creation is not a process, but is instantaneous. God SPOKE the universe into existence.
• Salvation is likened to creation in II Cor. 4:6.
» God spoke and creation occurred!
» Creation of the world and creation of the new man in Christ are alike: the supernatural, creative work of God.
» A transformation occurred: from darkness to light… from death to life…
» Suddenly, supernaturally, and instantaneously, a new creation came into existence.
» In that moment one moment of time, the old man was put off and the new man was put on… once and for all and forever.
• Salvation is not a process. It happens in one moment of time… the instant we trust in Christ as Savior.
• In one moment’s time, we are supernaturally transformed from the old man in Adam to the new man in Christ. In an instant, we are not the same person any more.

B. Putting Off and Putting On Are Not Commands

1. Col. 3:10 and Eph. 4:22 compared.

a. Col. 3:9-10 – clearly states that every believer has already put on the new man.
• Both verbs (vs. 9-10) are aorist participles.
• The sense of the sentence is this: stop lying to one another, SINCE ye have already put off the old man and have already put on the new man.
• These are not commands, but statements of fact.

b. Eph. 4:22-24 – Paul states the same thing in this passage, but the wording is open to interpretation.
• “Put off” or “put on” in English CAN be either past, present, or imperative.
» Yesterday I put on my shoes; today I put on my shoes; put on your shoes!
» The wording in the original Greek is equally difficult. It is an infinitive… which has MANY usages.
» The Greek scholars are NOT in agreement as to whether it is to be understood as a command OR whether it has the sense of a past tense.
» Grammatically, it can go either way. Hence, it is a matter of interpretation, not grammar only.

• Various translations deal with this issue differently:
» Most translations translate the infinitive as a command, but not all.
» Darby: 22namely your having put off according to the former conversation the old … 24and your having put on the new man, which according to God is created in truthful righteousness and holiness.
» Wuest: you heard and in Him were taught just as truth is in Jesus, that you have put off once for all with reference to your former manner of life the old self who is being corrupted according to the passionate desires of deceit; moreover, that you are being constantly renewed with reference to the spirit of your mind; and that you have put on once for all the new self.
» Darby and Wuest I believe have the right interpretation, and their translations reflect their interpretation.
» The KJV handles it masterfully, in that it translates it in such a way as to be accurate AND it omits interpretation. Just as the Greek can be understood as either a command or a past tense… and so is the KJV often understood either way.

• There are FOUR good reasons to understand these words with the sense of a past tense.
» Consider the whole sentence: (vs. 21-22) “Ye have heard (past) and have been taught (past) THAT ye put off the old man… and have put on the new man (vs. 24).
· Paul isn’t commanding the Ephesians to put off the old man and put on the new man.
· Rather, he is reminding them that he had already taught them that they put off the old and put on the new… long ago!

» Secondly, this is a parallel passage to Col. 3:10.
· In fact, it is almost identical in thought.
· Vs. 24-25a – you already put off the old man, wherefore stop lying!
· It hardly seems likely that Paul would tell the Colossians that the old man has been put off and on already… and then tell the Ephesians to PUT off the old man!
· These are parallel passages, saying the same thing.
» Thirdly, consider the MOTIVATION factor.
· In both chapters, Paul is using the language of GRACE.
· The command is not “put on the new man.”
· Rather, the command is, “put away lying and speak the truth!”
· What is the motivation behind the command? You already have put off the old man, and you are a new man ALREADY… WHEREFORE… on that basis, therefore, stop lying.
· This is exactly what Paul is saying in Col. 3:9-10; “lie not one to another SEEING THAT YE HAVE put off the old man and put on the new man.
· Because of your position… change your condition!
· Your position is: your old man is dead (you don’t have to lie) and your new man is put on (you CAN speak truth).

» Fourthly, putting off the old man and putting on the new is a figure of salvation itself.
· That would be tantamount to telling them to save themselves…
· It would be a command to change their position from unregenerate to regenerate!
· Only God can change our position. Only God can make us a new person.

C. But there ARE Commands!

1. Paul explains in this context how COMPLETELY God has changed us!

a. From death to life; from the old man enslaved to sin to the new man who is ABLE to walk in newness of life.

b. God did not renovate the old man; He put him to death.

c. In his place, God raised up a NEW man… who is ABLE to know God, seek God, hunger after God; he understands God’s Word, able to walk with God, able to obey…

2. On that BASIS, Paul gives the Colossians (and us) a whole litany of commands!

a. Mortify the sins of the flesh! (Vs. 5)

b. Put off all these: anger, wrath, etc. (vs.8) Stop lying! (Vs. 9)

3. And to WHOM are those commands given?

a. Not to the old man!
• That kind of person couldn’t POSSIBLY put off the deeds of the old man. He IS the old man!
• The old man was a slave to sin. Sin had dominion over him. He was powerless before sin.
• These are quite impossible commands to the old man.
• The heaven high commands of grace are far beyond the ability of the unregenerate man to perform.
• No wonder the unsaved aren’t too crazy about reading the Bible! What could be more frustrating and irritating?

b. These commands are addressed to the NEW MAN.
• The new man has a new nature; he is indwelt.
• The new man has a new mind; new heart; new will.
• The new man is FREE from bondage to his old nature.
• The new man is ABLE to walk in newness of life!
• This is the BASIS for all the exhortations to holiness in this book!

c. If you are a true believer in Christ, then you are a NEW MAN!
• That should affect your WHOLE LIFE!
• You can and should experience victory over the sins of the flesh.
• Vs. 18-25 – to the new creatures God commands to have a holy home life!
• This is not the norm in the world full of old men… related to Adam.
• But it SHOULD be the norm for the new man in Christ.
• Nothing is more practical than KNOWING and BELIEVING that we are indeed a new man in Christ!
• If we are unsure of this, a worthy walk will be a vague dream… an ethereal pie in the sky.
• But if we KNOW and BELIEVE… all things are possible.

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR? Through simple faith, God will give you a new life… make you a new person… IF you come to Christ and BELIEVE.

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