Colossians 3:10b

The Renewal of the New Man


The Fact of Renewal

A. The New Man Is New Already [Positionally]

1. At the moment of saving faith, a new man is created. He is a new creation.

2. He has experienced a new birth; a new nature; a new heart; a new mind; a new will; a new family; a new position in Christ; free from the bondage of sin; new abilities; new power because of the indwelling Holy Spirit; etc.

3. He is different from the old man. He has TWO natures and is able to choose to obey and able to walk in newness of life, IF he chooses to walk by faith, trusting God to work in him.

4. The new man has already been blessed with all spiritual blessings.

5. At the moment of saving faith, the new man is complete.

6. At the moment of saving faith, in one instant of time, God FINISHED His work of creating a new man and that new man is completely new.

7. He is complete in Christ. He lacks nothing. Nothing new needs to be added to him.

B. The New Man Is Undergoing Renewal [Conditionally; Experientially]

1. The term renewal

a. Two words for NEW in Greek.
• Neos = new in time (new man)
• Kairos = new in quality (renewed)

b. Anakainow = make new in quality… + ana = again, hence RE-new.

c. The verb form used here is only found twice in the New Testament: here and in II Cor. 4:16.

d. In Col.3:10, Paul combines the two terms for new: καινος [kainos] to that of νεος [neos] just before.

e. Thus, this renewal is a continual refreshment of the new man in Christ Jesus.

f. The term renewal can also convey restoration.
• In Adam, the image of God was marred by sin… and every human being is made in the image of God… but the image is smashed by indwelling sin.
• In Christ, the Second Adam, that image of God is in the process of being renewed… restored…

g. This is the renewal of which Paul speaks here.
• A born again person is a new man.
• Instantly upon conversion the old man dies and a new man replaces him. That new man is complete and is completely new in Christ.
• That new man begins a life-long process of renewal and transformation… spiritual growth… more and more into the image of God.

The Process of Renewal

A. The New MAN is Being Renewed, Not the New Nature

2. The new NATURE, is not undergoing a renewal.

a. Let’s keep the person (the man) and his nature separate.

b. The new nature needs no renewal.

c. It always does that which is right and holy.

d. When in control, the new nature always causes us to love God; to seek God; to obey God; to serve Him; to know Him; draw near to Him; to bow before Him;

e. The new nature is always INCLINED towards holiness.

f. The new nature is part of the new creation.

g. It is God’s work and it is perfect. No renewal is needed.

3. But the new MAN does need to undergo a renewal.

a. The new man is the regenerate person… a born again person.

b. That new person… that new man has TWO natures and hence, has the capacity to CHOOSE which nature (old or new) will control his life.

c. He can choose to obey the flesh and walk in the flesh OR he can choose to obey the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.

d. When he chooses to follow the dictates of the old nature, the spiritual growth of that new man is stunted… hindered…
• He is a new man positionally, but conditionally, he is like a branch out of communion with the Vine.
• Without Christ he can do NOTHING of any value spiritually.
• The best he can produce is rotten fruit… wood, hay, and stubble.
• He manifests his ugly self when the old nature is in control.
• His behavior is no different from the old man… an unsaved person. He looks, sounds, talks, walks, and behaves just like the old man.
• Onlookers could never tell the difference between a new man who walks in the flesh (carnal believer) and an old man (unregenerate person).
• The wheat and the tares look very much alike.

e. But when the new man chooses to follow the dictates of his new nature, he will grow more like Christ and will manifest the sweet character of Christ.
• The new nature will always transform the new man’s behavior more and more like then Savior.
• The new nature will prompt the new man to put into practice that which he reads in the Word.
• The Holy Spirit works in the new man through his new nature… and transformation occurs.
• Hence, the spiritual life that new man is being renewed… like the strength and ability of an athlete as he practices…

f. The new man is a PERSON… and it is the PERSON who is being renewed.
• This person has intellect, emotion, and will.
• Every aspect of this person is being made new… renewed daily as he walks with God.
• His MIND is undergoing transformation… renewed in knowledge…
• His HEART is undergoing transformation… renewed in his love for God… love for God’s people… increase in compassion for the lost.
• His WILL is undergoing transformation… more and more he chooses to reject sin and obey God.
• The Holy Spirit transforms the mind, heart, and will of the new man… the PERSON is being transformed… and made more like Christ… after the image of Him who created him.

B. Passages Which Speak of This Renewal

1. II Cor. 5:17 – a new creation —

a. New creation = kainos

b. AND all things are become new!
• Become: perfect—he STANDS as a new creature. He was made new and remains new.
• New: (Kainos – new in quality)

c. He begins a new life at salvation…
• He begins to demonstrate a new quality of life.
• He begins seeing everything from a new set of eyes… with a new heart… he begins to LIVE anew!
• Just like a newborn baby. He is a completely NEW baby at birth… and with great potential to INCREASE in the quality of his life as he grows.
• Like a seed planted in a new sphere… where it is expected to grow and bear fruit…
• The new man receives LIFE and is planted in Christ… with such potential for INCREASE and growth.

d. The new man is created as a new creation in an instant, but over time, he gradually grows and matures in the demonstration of a new quality of life: Christlikeness!
• God’s purpose for that new creature is to be pressing toward the mark of the prize of his high calling in Christ!
• He is new, but is also BEING renewed.
• The renewal (his condition) is to be making progress toward his high calling (position) in Christ.

2. Titus 3:5 – a regenerated person receives:

a. The washing of regeneration (born again)…

b. And also experiences a RENEWAL by the indwelling Holy Spirit…
• This renewal (noun form of verb in Col. 3:10) is a process that continues throughout his life until glory!

c. Note here that Paul states that BOTH regeneration and renewal are part of salvation.
• There is no such thing as being saved or born again and omitting sanctification!
• They are part of the same package.
• How can we who have died to sin LIVE any longer therein?
• He who began a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!
• Regeneration INTRODUCES us into this new life of holiness and righteousness.
• Renewal continues the work of transforming us… more and more into Christ’s image.

3. II Cor. 4:16 – This is the only other occurrence of the term renewal which appears in this passage as in Col. 3:10.

a. In context, Paul has shared his personal experience as an apostle who has suffered much tribulation in the Lord’s service.

b. His physical body was deteriorating as a result.

c. As time goes on, our bodies DO deteriorate, whether through persecution or just the natural ravages of life in a cursed earth!

d. But for the believer, the INNER MAN—the kind of person you are on the inside is being renewed!

e. This is only true of the believer in Christ… a regenerated person… a new creature in Christ… the new man.

f. Paul makes a few important notes about this renewal in this passage:
• The renewal is inward…
» The new man is renewed on the inside…
» It is a change in his character… his behavior… his thoughts, words, deeds…
» All of which originate on the inside…
» It is a gradual change of character… attitudinal changes… world view changes… changes in goals… pursuits… changes of inward affections…
» In time these inward changes will eventually manifest themselves in outward behavior…
» Religion works on the outward only (white washes the sepulcher).
» God’s work always begins on the inside…
» And if God is working on the inside—before long, changes will be seen on the outside too!
• The renewal is immaterial… (on the immaterial part of man)
» It stands in contrast to the outer man, the body.
» The NORM for the believer is that the older, sicker, and weaker our body gets as time goes by, the more mature, stronger, and healthier we become spiritually!
» Time destroys the material part of a Spirit filled new man; but time enhances the immaterial part of a Spirit filled new man!
» The declining changes in our bodies are visible and seen… our body can be measured; we know our weight, height, our hair color, and general overall condition of our health.
» But the inward renewal occurring in us cannot be measured by any technology known to man.
» However, it IS being observed and measured by God.
» God is working IN us… in our soul… mind, heart, attitude, etc… and a transformation process is underway.
» Because it is inward, much of this renewal is not seen by men.
» Because it is not always seen, one might conclude that it is not occurring… but God says it is… whether we see it or not.
» Trust Him. He never stops working IN us for His glory.
» This is why we can trust our children to God’s care too. If they are born again—even if they are presently living in sin—God has not stopped working in them… even if we don’t see that work.
• The renewal is gradual…
» It occurs day by day…
» Day by day indicates a continuous, but very gradual renewal process is occurring.
» And again, changes that occur so slowly are usually not detectable to us as we observe.
» Does the oak tree in front of your house look bigger today than it did yesterday? But it is growing!
» The physical growth of our children occurs day by day too… and we don’t notice the changes day by day. They are not noticed until we take out some old pictures!

• The renewal is unrelated to circumstances.
» Vs. 8-9 – consider Paul’s outward circumstances… they were quite miserable.
» Consider II Cor. 11:23-27 –
» No wonder his outer man was perishing!
» His outward circumstances gave every indication that he should collapse on the inside… or would require therapy… a prescription…
» But inwardly, Paul was being renewed!
» The good work of making Paul more like Christ was begun, and NOTHING in this life could ever thwart God’s work in this new man!
» Nothing you or I face need hinder the inward work of renewal God is doing in our lives too!
» Rom. 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,? ?nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
» Phil. 1:6 – He that hath begun a good work in YOU will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ! (True of you and every other genuine believer in Christ!)
» Maybe you know a believer who is out of fellowship… someone who is walking in the flesh… and from outward appearances, it seems like God gave up on him!
» That never happens to a child of God. God never gives up on His own… and neither should we!
» God says of His own, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

4. Phil. 2:13 – God’s work in us is continuous.

a. It is God who WORKS (present active participle).
• This states that God is CONTINUALLY working in us.
b. What is the result of that continual inward work?
• God is continually working on our WILL that we might DESIRE that which is pleasing to Him.
• God is renewing our desires… so that we want what He wants!
• That makes our choices so much easier…
• He changes us our inward desires so that we learn more and more to LOVE righteousness and hate iniquity!
• God changes our will so that we learn to DELIGHT in the Lord!
• Ps. 37:4 – delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart!
• God transforms our wills.
• As a young man, I never would have dreamt in my wildest imagination that I would go to church in the morning, and then WANT to come back for another church service at night! And then prayer meeting!
• God changed my will… and He isn’t done yet!
• There are many more changes in my will that need to occur too!

c. And God continually changes our ability to PERFORM… to will and to DO!
• The renewal God does in the inner man of the new man… does not stop with desires and will.
• It transforms the DEEDS too!
• The new man is going to WANT to shed himself of the dirty clothes of the old man… the dirty clothes of his old life… sinful behavior!
• That’s regeneration!
• God gives the new man new desires… and He enables that new man to walk in NEWness of life!
• The new desires (new will) and new ability to DO (new resurrection power) give the new man the desire and the ability to PRACTICE a new kind of life.
• As he practices walking this new walk, a renewal process occurs within. He is being transformed.

5. II Cor. 3:18 – here the Holy Spirit’s work of renewal is called “transformation.”

a. Changed = Metamorphow – (Eng = metamorphosis)
• To transform, transfigure, to change condition.
• Used of the transfiguration of the Lord –

b. Tense: present passive participle
• This is an ongoing work…
• It is an inner work…
• It is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit…
• It is the work of changing us—restoring us unto the image of Christ which was marred by sin.

c. This change is once again described as gradual… from glory to glory…

d. The ultimate goal of this change is the image of Christ.

6. Repeatedly, the renewal of which Paul speaks is described as an ongoing PROCESS in the life of a believer.

a. “Renewed” is a present passive participle
• Present tense speaks of continuous action…
• The new birth or the new creation occurs in an instant, but the renewing is a lifelong process that is never finished until we arrive in heaven.
• It is passive – indicating that the work of renewing is not performed by the individual (us), but by an outside source—namely, God!
• It is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
• In particular, it is the work of the Holy Spirit according to Titus 3:5 and II Cor. 3:18.

b. The new man comes into existence in an instant. It is a sudden, supernatural, instantaneous creative work of God.

c. But for the rest of his days on earth, that new man is to undergo a renewal process that will not be finished until glory.

d. Renewed” is a present participle – “who is constantly being renewed.”

e. Illustration: a baby enters the world all of a sudden! But once that baby enters the world, a long process of growth, maturity ought to follow. This is the renewal process.

7. The old man undergoes a similar process in reverse. Eph. 4:22

a. The old man is BORN totally corrupted and totally depraved.

b. He sins right from the womb! (Psalm 58:3)

c. However, as an infant, that person (though possessing ONLY a sin nature and thus a slave to his sin nature) is not yet very EXPERIENCED in sin.

d. Little children learn how to lie at an early age.
• However, as time goes on, and they practice those sinful things, they become more experienced and SKILLED in sin!
• They learn how to become really GOOD liars!
• The little boy caught red handed with his hand in the cookie jar will say, “I didn’t do it,” but it isn’t a very sophisticated lie.

e. As a little child they can be quite hurtful with their evil thoughts that pour out of their mouths… right to your face! (You’re ugly and I hate you!)
• But as time goes on, that child learns the subtlety of hypocrisy.
• He learns to THINK those same thoughts, and cover it up with a smile or flowery words… or to say it behind your back.
• By the time he’s 75, if he doesn’t get saved, he becomes really GOOD at lying… exceptionally skilled in the fine art of deceit!

f. A little child is selfish and learns immediately. Some of his first words are ME… and that’s MINE!
• But as he grows up, he learns how to cover up his selfishness and self-centeredness behind a façade…
• When he gets older, in the office he learns how to smile at his coworker and at the same time stab him in the back in order to get the next promotion.

g. A little child is born covetous (MINE).
• He wants the biggest and best toys in the nursery for himself.
• This process of corruption continues throughout his years… and he learns to covet for more and more…
• Later in life, he learns how to keep up with the Joneses… and have the biggest house on the block… the newest, fanciest car… etc.

h. A little child is born a thief.
• They steal toys from the other kids in kindergarten.
• Nobody taught them. They know innately… instinctively. You didn’t teach them that.
• But when they grow up and get caught robbing a bank, they are cast into prison with other corrupted sinners.
• And there they develop their skills in stealing and other crimes to a whole new level! They learn all the tricks of the trade.

i. The old man… the unsaved person… is BORN corrupt… but through experience and practice, he GROWS in corruption.
• It is the same kind of corruption we are all born with… but as a child, we are green behind the ears.
• It takes a long time to become as a corrupt as sophisticated 70 year old lady who has many years of practice—who has learned how to master the English language and use it in conversation to say things that sound quite proper…but are cutting to the bone and hurtful to the hearer.
• You don’t get that corrupt morally over night. It takes practice!

j. A little child is corrupt morally and spiritually—a sinner by birth. But he has to LEARN the fine art of sinning by watching us adults—experienced, skillful sinners—and imitating us.
• They are keen observers and fast learners… but it is a process of corruption. And with a little study and practice, they too will become skilled sinners…

k. The sinful nature is passed on from parent to child (we inherit our parent’s fallen, corrupted human nature).

l. And the process of corruption continues as we learn by experience, practice, and observation how to become more and more learned, educated, experienced, sophisticated, and even religious in our corruption.

m. That is exactly the reason the Lord Jesus rebuked the Sadducees and the Pharisees with such vigor—they were not only corrupt, but had become EXPERTS at moral and spiritual corruption… and covering it up with religious ceremonies and traditions of men!

n. In other words, the old man is BORN totally corrupt (corrupt in every part of his being: intellect, emotion, and will)… but through practice, observation, knowledge, and experience, the process of corruption continues.

o. The sinner is born in total depravity… corrupt.

p. But over many decades of practicing sin… the character of this man has undergone years of corruption and his character is far worse at age 50 than he was at age 2 or 3!

8. The character of the new man undergoes a transformation too.

a. He is continually being renewed.

b. But because the new man has two natures, not every born again Christian matures at the same rate.

c. Some new creatures in Christ CHOOSE to be submissive to God, His Word, and His Spirit.
• This is a spiritual man.
• The longer he remains filled with the Spirit—the healthier he is spiritually.
• In that spiritually healthy condition, he GROWS more like his Savior.
• Over time, his character IMPROVES.
• He still sins, but he sins less frequently.
• By God’s grace and strength he learns to be more kind… to show love to others more… to be selfless… He learns to control his tongue. He demonstrates more compassion for the lost… He becomes more generous… more thoughtful of others… He becomes wiser and more discerning…
• In other words, he becomes more Christlike.
• If he walks many years as a Spirit filled believer, his character, his wisdom, his discernment, his thoughtfulness, his selflessness will be FAR greater than when he was a babe in Christ!
• If he walks with God, but sporadically… an up and down spiritual life—bouncing back and forth between spiritual and carnal, his progress towards Christlikeness is hindered… stunted…
• Just as it takes time for a 2 year old sinner to become a hardened criminal (years of practicing sin and walking in the flesh)… it takes time for a babe in Christ to become Christlike!
• In fact we’ll never be finished in our striving for Christlike perfection in this life! There’s always room for improvement…
• And this too is LEARNED by observation… LOOKING unto Jesus… beholding His glory in the Word, we are transformed into His image!

d. The longer we walk by faith, yielded to God, and filled with the Spirit (the longer we remain in a spiritually healthy condition—like a branch remaining on a vine)… the more fruit, growth, and transformation will take place!

e. This is a lifelong, supernatural process of renewal by the Holy Ghost.

f. Regeneration introduces us into this life… renewal causes us to grow in newness of life.

g. The goal is Christlikeness… and with that as our goal—we’ve all got a LONG way to go.

h. Hence, keep on striving… pressing toward the mark… looking unto Jesus… and as we do—God will work in us—and our lives will be CHANGING for the glory of God!

i. We should be growing in grace and graciousness as time goes on. We should be kinder… more tenderhearted…

j. Christ should be to us… sweeter as the days go by…

k. Our desire, hunger, and thirst for Him should be increasing day by day…

l. More and more, the inward transforming work of God should be evident in our daily walk… in our outward behavior…

m. More and more the daily condition of our lives should be brought closer and closer to our glorious position in Christ.

n. Is that true of your life? Can others see Christ in you? Is self decreasing and Christlike character increasing?

o. That’s the norm for the Christian life.

· Don’t try to change your character before you come to Christ.
· Don’t try LIVE the new life.
· You first need to RECEIVE new life—through regeneration… being born again! (John 1:12)
· If you will trust in the finished work of Christ on Calvary, God will GIVE you new life…
· And it is an abundant life!

Back to top of page

Back to Chapter-3 Index

Back to Colossians Index

Back to Bible Studies