Bible words explained: “Put off the old man” and “Put on the new man”
VIDEO: Find out here what Paul meant by these important words marking the start of our Christian life.
“… that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to your deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24.
What does it mean to put off the old man, and put on the new man? This may sound complicated, but it actually just comes down to a decision, and a simple act of faith. In this concept study we explain what Paul meant by the words he wrote in Ephesians 4:22-24, and explain how you too can put off the old man, and put on the new man.
Audio Transcript: “Put off the old man” and “put on the new man”
Paul writes in several places about the “old man” and the “new man.”
The old man is the natural mindset of a human being. Even if I don’t really think about it, when I’m in this natural state, I’m selfish, serving myself, living according to my lusts, with no conscious decision to give up my lusts and serve God. I’m tempted by the lusts to sin in my flesh, my mind agrees with them, and my body carries them out – in thoughts, words or actions.
It’s impossible to come to a life of victory over the sin in my flesh if I don’t change my mindset. So, Paul writes about “putting off” the old man. In Ephesians 4:22, he says, “… that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts …” Putting off the old man is the decision to stop serving my own lusts and to stop serving sin. This is an act of faith.
Paul continues in Ephesians 4:23-24: “… and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Putting on the new man is the decision to start serving God and His will. It’s not a long process, but it’s the same act of faith as putting off the old man. It’s the work of a moment, and it’s permanent.
The body of sin, or the flesh, is not removed. I still notice the lusts are alive, for example, I get tempted. But with the new man I have a new mindset, a new determination to obey God. Now I can be driven by the Holy Spirit instead of my own lusts. I’m no longer a slave to sin. But God can use me to carry out His will, to resist the sin in my flesh.
So I leave behind my old life of serving my lusts and sin by putting off the old man, and I put on the new man, starting a new life in victory over sin, serving God.
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