Renewed in Knowledge
1. There are two main passages in which Paul teaches us about the renewal of the New Man. (Eph. 4 and Col. 3)
a. The first thing Paul says about the new man in BOTH passages where this figure appears is that the new man is characterized by a new knowledge…
• As a new man, he has a new MIND… a regenerated mind… one that is ABLE to know and understand God and spiritual things.
• Col.3:1-2 – the new man is risen with Christ and is told to set his MIND on things above. (affections = mind)
• Col. 3:10 – the new man is being renewed in knowledge.
• Eph. 4:22 – it is a renewal of the spirit of his mind…
b. In some way, the MIND is central in the LIFE of a new man in Christ. It is the ground zero of our spiritual battles.
• The new mind of the new man is featured in these central passages… even more than his WORKS!
• It is not so much what he DOES… or doesn’t do…
• It is not what he wears…
• It is not what he says…
• It is not what he feels…
• It is not what he possesses…
• Rather, it is primarily the way he THINKS that best reflects this new quality of the new life.
• As a man thinketh, so is he!
• Our thinking is a reflection of the KIND of person we are.
• The new regenerated man has a new heart attitude towards everything. He is being renewed in the spirit (attitude) of his mind.
• It is not the outward man, but the INNER man who is renewed day by day.
• Ultimately of course, a new MIND will be manifested in new WORKS… in words and deeds…
• But those words and deeds are but an expression of the thoughts and intents of the heart and mind.
• A person who thinks differently will behave differently.
c. The new man has a new mind—in contrast to the old man who does NOT have a new mind. (I Cor. 2:9-16)
• This does not mean that the new man has a new brain! His body is the same… even deteriorating.
• But he has a new MIND… a new capacity to know and understand things in the spiritual realm… a capacity the old, unregenerate man never had nor could have.
• Vs. 9 – revelation did not originate with man.
• Vs. 10 – rather, divine truth is divinely revealed.
• Vs. 11 – it takes the Spirit of God to know the things of God.
• Vs. 12 – believers have the Spirit of God and are thus able to KNOW the things that are freely given to us from God—namely, divine revelation.
• Vs. 13 – the apostles spoke these things and recorded them in Scripture.
• Vs. 14 – The unbeliever does not have the Spirit and is thus UNABLE to receive or to know spiritual things. The natural mind of the old man CANNOT know the things of God.
• Vs. 15 – but the spirit filled new man has a new mind and he is ABLE to discern all things.
• Vs. 16 –we have the mind of Christ… we have a new capacity to THINK the way Christ does.
• But that mind needs to be renewed day by day… it needs to grow in knowledge… and experience…
• Increasing in the knowledge of God is IMPOSSIBLE for the old man, but is possible for the new mind of the new man.
• When the flesh is in control, the believer will manifest the mind of the old man… a carnal mind.
» He will think they way he used to think… just like an unsaved man!
» The carnal Corinthians WALKED like men because they THOUGHT like men too.
» Don’t be surprised when evil thoughts pop into your mind.
» It doesn’t mean you are not saved. It means that at that moment, the flesh is in control of your thought life!
» Cast down imaginations and every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God! Don’t tolerate such thoughts.
• When the Spirit is in control, the believer will manifest the mind of Christ… a new mind…
» The Spirit filled believer will think like a new man.
» He will think on things above… things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report…
» He will be able to grow in the knowledge of God and understand God’s Word… discern all things.
• Paul laments the reality of a conflict in his mind. (Rom. 7:25)
» Dwight Pentecost’s paraphrase of this verse: “With the new mind I serve the law of God, but with the fleshly mind I serve the law of sin.”
» The old way of thinking is not eradicated when we get saved… because we still have the old nature.
» When the flesh controls our mind, we are capable of thinking some pretty terrible thoughts… evil… cruel… immoral… violent… malicious… vile… nasty, and sinful…
» And when those thoughts are dwelt upon, tolerated, even enjoyed, they bubble over into in action… sin! That’s the carnal, fleshly mind.
» But with the new mind, the new man serves God and submits to His Word… His moral principles.
» A spiritual battle rages fiercely in our minds, does it not?
» Hence, a renewal process is in order for the new man to be victorious experientially.
» He needs a constant renewal… a refreshing in knowledge… in his mind.
2. The Term KNOWLEDGE: epignoskw
• Strong’s: a full, precise, and correct knowledge—an intensified form of gnosis—knowledge.
• Zodhiates: it expresses a more thorough participation in the acquiring of knowledge on the part of the learner… a knowledge which includes PERSONAL involvement.
b. This term is chosen because of the cult that had infiltrated the church at Colossae. (Later became the Gnostics.)
• The cult claimed to have a special, superior knowledge that only the initiated few in their ranks could obtain.
• But the knowledge they had did not satisfy the soul.
• Like any other false teaching, it soon became old, dry, crusty, and stale… disappointing.
• But the Christian is being renewed and refreshed DAILY in the perfect, full knowledge of Christ… the Bread of life.
c. In reality it is true knowledge of the true God that separates Christianity from the pagan world.
• They are children of darkness… wandering in darkness and spiritual ignorance. The same is true of the lost today.
• We are children of light… enlightened by the Holy Spirit… the light of the gospel shined in our hearts.
• There is no advantage to ignorance. Light is superior to darkness; knowledge is superior to ignorance.
• II Cor. 4:4, 6 – at salvation, God opens the mind and heart of the repentant sinner and gives him LIGHT… light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
• From that point on, the Spirit filled believer is to be constantly growing in the KNOWLEDGE of Christ.
• KNOWLEDGE is necessary for good, consistent, steady growth to occur.
» We must KNOW these facts. (Rom. 6:6-11)
» We must KNOW the purpose of trials or they will crush us! (James. 1:2-4)
» We must KNOW the Word of God or we will be deceived and led away into error.
» We must KNOW God’s will for our lives… or we will do our own will.
» There are countless things that are necessary for us to KNOW if we are to GROW.
» Just as a plant does not grow well in darkness… a believer does not grow well if he remains in ignorance.
» Light is needed… the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
d. The knowledge of God is limitless… infinite.
• Rom. 11:33 – ?O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
• Thus, the renewal process is never finished.
• Paul had not attained this full experiential knowledge of Christ.
• There is always MORE… fresh things to learn about Christ… and about how to manifest His life to others.
Renewed in Knowledge
1. Renewed in knowledge. (in = eis… unto)
a. UNTO knowledge (eis) –
• Eis: The primary idea of motion into any place or thing; also of motion or direction to, toward or upon any place, thing.
• The renewal is in the direction of a full knowledge of God through Christ…
• The ultimate goal of renewal is the image of God.
• But the first step in this renewal is in the area of the knowledge of God.
• Renewal begins in the mind of the new man in Christ.
• We NEED knowledge… knowledge of Christ and His Word.
• And from that point renewal in the image of Christ begins.
• Without this knowledge, renewal and sanctification are greatly hindered… spiritual growth is stunted.
2. Rom.12:1-2 – there is a battle going on in the mind of every believer.
a. It is a battle between the carnal mind which relates to the world and the spiritual mind of the new man which relates to God and spiritual things.
b. The world attempts to CONFORM us outwardly to its ways.
• It cannot transform a true believer in its ways.
• The world system CANNOT change who we are in Christ.
• But it CAN and often DOES cause us to be outwardly conformed to its ways… and especially to its way of THINKING… its world view (grab for all the gusto!)
• The world influences our thinking every day… from the things we see, read, hear, watch on TV, our interaction with its people, living in its system.
• We are commanded NOT to allow it to outwardly conform us to its ways. That takes effort on our part.
c. God’s MEANS of keeping us from worldly conformity is through the renewing of the mind.
• Transform: a change of outward expression which comes from and is representative of one’s inner being… a change from inside out… so that the outward behavior is truly representative of what the person is on the inside.
• The word is used in Matthew 17:2 where it is translated transfigured.
• Transformation occurs BY MEANS OF the renewing of our minds…
• Renewing of our minds comes from spending time with Christ… in His Word… abiding in Him and His word abiding in us.
• It is a work of transformation that begins on the inside… the inner man… and especially the MIND.
• THEN it will manifest itself outwardly… in PROVING the will of God in our daily lives.
d. Change is constant in the life of a believer: either we are being conformed or transformed.
• We are constantly changing… moving… in one direction or another. Either we are going on to forward on to perfection and are being transformed in the image of Christ OR we are going backwards and are being conformed to the world.
• There is no such thing as being in neutral in the Christian life.
• Hence, it is a constant battle… like swimming upstream every day.
• The moment we stop advancing and growing in the knowledge of Christ and transformed… we begin to drift backwards to the ways of the world.
• The MIND is at the center of it all.
» Whether it is salvation or sanctification—everything has to first be filtered through our minds.
» We must UNDERSTAND truth before it can affect our heart and thus manifest itself outwardly.
» Knowledge is KEY to the Christian life.
» Knowledge has ALWAYS been central to a relationship to God… and continues to be central if we expect to be transformed into the image of Christ.
» The little glimpse we have of the early church tells us what they did when they met: they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ DOCTRINE (teachings).
e. Adam sinned and the image of God in man was defaced… marred.
• What was Adam’s sin? He ate of the tree of KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.
• Adam disobediently chose an unlawful knowledge and the image of God in man was marred.
• All those in Adam are still in the image of God, but it is defaced by sin.
• As a result, all those who are in Adam today have NO access to the true knowledge of God in Christ. They cannot know God or His Word.
• All those in Christ are being renewed in the image of God AND have ACCESS to the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
• We have a new mind and can know God… a true spiritual and experiential knowledge of Christ is ours!
• We are being renewed UNTO the kind of knowledge that God WANTS us to have… the knowledge of His Beloved Son!
• The spiritual new man discerns all things.
• The natural old man cannot understand the things of God, they are foolishness to him.
f. It is (epignosis) the full and deep knowledge of Christ that renews and transforms the new man. Nothing else will do. (not a superficial knowledge; not psychology; philosophy; religion; new age teachings).
• The new man undergoes a LEARNING process.
• He INCREASES in his knowledge of God, His Word, and spiritual things.
• He knows Christ at salvation, but is constantly being renewed and refreshed in that knowledge… and getting to know Christ in a deeper and deeper way.
• There is no end to this process… even in heaven we will continue to be learning of Christ and His infinite glory.
• We can begin beholding His glory as in a glass today! (Bible)
g. Phil.3:8 – the knowledge of Christ radically changes the kind of person we are.
• When it sinks in who He really is, the knowledge of Christ will make us willing—yea joyous and eager—to exchange the riches and pleasures of this world for the knowledge of Christ!
• Through the eyes of the new man, it is but dung in comparison!
• This is the thinking of a new man… one who no longer has the worldly attitude of the old man—a this life only attitude Paul decried in I Cor. 15.
• The new mind filters everything in this life through the reality of resurrection life: this life is a vapor… this world is not my home… my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue!
• The new man thinks on things above. He dwells above. His home and heart are above.
• Phil. 3:10 – that I may KNOW Him! (Even if it includes the fellowship of His sufferings!)
• The knowledge of Christ, knowing Christ… is worth forsaking all to achieve… it is worth suffering to obtain.
• And it is the only way we grow and mature as believers.
• Don’t ever be satisfied with your present knowledge of Christ!
• HUNGER and THIRST for more and you will be filled!
h. Col. 2:3 – we are renewed in knowledge… and all knowledge resides in Christ.
• Thus, as we abide in Him, we are being renewed in knowledge… filled with the knowledge of Him and His will…
• He is all we need for this renewal to occur.
• He is sufficient for ALL of our needs… sufferings… sorrows… He is the Savior!
• Just as a branch finds the Vine all sufficient, and as the branch abides in the vine, it is constantly being renewed by virtue of the fact that it is resting IN the vine, so we are constantly being renewed as we abide in Christ.
• The more we learn of Him by reading His Word and experientially through practicing His Word, the more we are transformed into His image.
• And it is by ABIDING in Christ that we learn of Him… and learn of His mind… we will experience by practice His attitude… let this mind be in you…
• If we abide in Him and His word abides in us, a transformation occurs:
» His will gradually becomes our will…
» We begin to THINK like He thinks…
» The more we abide in Him, the more of His thinking is reflected in us…
» The mind of Christ is that humble, selfless, willingness to suffer and serve for the good of others… the mind or attitude of Christ demonstrated in the incarnation.
» When yielded and filled with the Spirit Christ’s attitude will be our attitude.
• Spending time in the company and fellowship of an infinitely Holy One will change the way we think. It has to!
» There is a difference between being a student of the Word, and spending time in His presence.
» It is the difference between spending time in a book and spending time with a Person.
» A student of the Word isn’t necessarily being renewed by the knowledge of God he receives from the Word.
» He may well be simply adding data to his brain.
» But the student of the Word who studies the Word SO THAT he might spend time in communion with Christ WILL be renewed by the knowledge he receives.
» It is possible to know the book, but have little experiential knowledge of the Person of Christ.
» It is possible to know the Word of God and not know the God of the Word!
• God USES knowledge of Himself and His Word to renew us and make us more like Christ… but knowledge alone will not renew.
i. As a newborn babe DESIRE the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby!
j. Job had the right idea: He saw the word of God as more important than his necessary food!
• Renewal of the inner man is based upon taking in the knowledge of Christ and exercising ourselves in it… just like refreshment of the body is based upon our taking in food and exercise.
• If you don’t eat and exercise, you will be might sick physically. If you don’t eat the Word of God and be exercised thereby, you will be mighty sick spiritually too!
3. The new man is given many COMMANDS with respect to filling his mind with the knowledge of Christ.
a. Col. 3:2 – We are commanded to set our MINDS or THINK on things above.
b. Col. 1:9 – PRAY to be filled with the KNOWLEDGE of His will.
c. Rom. 12:2 – Be ye transformed (metamorphosis) by the renewing of your mind
d. Eph. 4:23 – renewed in the spirit of your mind
e. Phil. 4:8 – THINK on these things…
f. I Pet. 1:13 – gird up the loins of your mind.
g. II Pet.1:5 – give all diligence to add to your faith knowledge!
h. II Pet. 3:18 – we are commanded to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
i. OH how we need to faithful every day in our time in the word!
The Goal of Renewal in Knowledge: The Image of Christ
A. The Past
1. Rom. 8:29 – before the foundation of the earth, God determined that SOME men would be conformed to the image of His Son.
2. Gen. 1:26-27 – we were CREATED in God’s image.
3. Then sin entered the world and everything changed.
B. The Future
1. I John 3:2 – we shall be like Him. This is a marvelous promise from God.
a. But this promise is far greater than we might think at first.
b. This is not a promise that one day we will be like Adam was before the fall. That would be great enough.
c. But this is a promise that we shall one day be like the resurrected Christ who is glorified and seated at the Father’s right hand!
2. The future image of God into which we are being transformed is far SUPERIOR to the image of God we lost in Adam.
a. I Cor. 15:49 – We shall bear His image in every way.
b. Christ, the Second Adam is far superior to the first Adam!
c. What we are in Christ is far superior to what we were in Adam.
d. The image of God reflected in those who are in heavenly places in Christ is far superior to the image of God reflected in Adam who was on earth… even before the fall.
e. Christ does not simply restore to the image man had before the fall… He restores us to a far greater image of God in the Person of Jesus Christ… the perfect image of the invisible God!
C. The Present
1. God determined in eternity past that some would be like His Son.
2. God began that good work in us the moment we were saved.
3. God promises in the future the work of transformation will be completed… and all true believers will be like His Son.
4. He who BEGAN a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ—the rapture at which time we will be LIKE Him.
a. The transformation process into the image of Christ WILL occur in the life of every believer.
b. That is something we can REST in because it is a promise of God.
c. But we are not there yet.
5. Presently God is slowly, gradually making that transformation an experiential reality in your lives and mine…. grace upon grace… from glory to glory…
6. Warren Wiersbe: We were formed in God’s image, and deformed from God’s image by sin. But through Jesus Christ, we can be transformed into God’s image.
D. The Image of Him Who Created Him
1. It was GOD who created man. (Gen. 1:1) The New Testament states that it was Christ who is Creator.
a. Christ is the image of the invisible God. (Col. 1:15)
b. We are in Him and associated with Him.
c. We are being transformed into the image of Christ… and thus into the image of God…
2. II Cor. 3:18 – states that as we behold His glory, we are being transformed into the image of Christ—by God’s Spirit.
a. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to renew the child of God.
b. As we behold His glory by reading and meditating upon the Word, we grow in the knowledge of Christ.
3. Gal. 4:19 – Christ is being formed in us. (His character)
a. As we are transformed into His image, His character and His LIFE will be manifested through our mortal bodies.
b. The marred image of God in man is gradually being restored in the new man in Christ.
c. Regeneration began the process. Progressive sanctification continues that process.
d. Christ is being formed in us… His glorious character is reflected through our lives as we increase in the knowledge of Him.
e. The greater our appreciation of Christ, the greater will be our appreciation for this marvelous work of God in us.
f. This is the goal of the Christian life… the goal of the renewal of which Paul writes… and that for which we should strive.
g. But it all requires KNOWLEDGE of God… to know Him… and to INCREASE in the knowledge of God.
h. Are you GROWING in the knowledge of Christ?
i. Are you PRAYING to be filled with the knowledge of His will for your life?
j. Are you being conformed by the world or transformed by the renewing of your mind?
k. Brother – in what direction are you traveling in your Christian walk?
l. Do we really manifest the mind of Christ in our daily lives?
m. Are we manifesting the savor of His knowledge every place we go?
n. Are we becoming more and more heavenly minded or is our mind worried and tangled and choked by the cares of this life?
o. Maybe it’s time to pause and ponder the path of your feet.
p. And our feet are only going to go where our head directs.
q. What really goes on in your mind throughout the day? What do we really fill it with each day?
r. Can we say with the psalmist, “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day long?”
s. Ps. 119:113 – “I hate vain thoughts but thy law do I love!”
t. Ps. 119:127 – “I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.”
u. A transformation in the way we THINK will at once be a transformation in the way we LIVE.
The Hindrances to Renewal: The Old Adamic Nature
A. Indwelling sin nature
1. Refusal to present one’s body as a living sacrifice
2. Refusal to cast down imaginations
B. The world Appeals to Our Old Nature
1. Setting our affections (minds) on things of earth
2. Loving the world
3. Refusing to be different from the world
C. The Devil Appeals to Our Old Nature
1. Caving in to temptations from the Devil…
2. Filling our minds with false doctrine…