5 Minute Lessons on the Kingdom of God
The Old Man & the New Man
Read time: 6 minutes
Audio Lesson
The "old man" and the "new man" are terms used exclusively in the writings of the Apostle Paul.

Simply put, the "old man" was your old life or old nature that was full of evil desires and deeds. Your "new man" is your new life that is godlike, created after God, empowered by the Holy Spirit and is righteous and truly holy.

Various translations translate the "old man" as: our old self (NASV), our old sinful selves (NLT), our old life (NCV), the persons we used to be (CEV), our old way of life (TM), our old being (GNT), your old evil desires (LB), our old unrenewed self (AMP), and our old personality (NWT).

God's Word tells us that at the cross God put a death blow to the part of you that used to love to sin. That redemptive act of Jesus put an end to sin's reign in our mortal bodies, freeing us from sin's slavery (Romans 6:6, 11‑13, 17‑18, 22).
"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20 NLT)

The "new man" is translated by these various terms: the new self (NASV), your new nature (NLT), a new person (NCV), a God fashioned life (TM), a new and different person (LB), living a new life (NIRV), the new personality (NWT), and the regenerate self (AMP).

The "old man" is a personification of all that is evil. The "new man" is a personification of all that is righteous and truly holy (Ephesians 4:24).

The basis for godly living is sound doctrine, the Holy Spirit, the "new man," the words of Jesus, and the teaching of the 12 Apostles who were taught directly by Christ. This information constitutes what the Apostle Paul calls the putting on of the "new man," created in righteousness and true holiness (Acts 2:41‑42).

The basis for unsound doctrine is the teaching of false teachers. Its teaching is derived from twisting of the Scriptures and changing that which was intended by the original Apostles. This false teaching allows what Paul calls the "old man" to thrive among the Christian community.

The teaching concerning putting on the "new man" and putting to death the "old man" is found primarily in the teaching of the Apostle Paul. It is the basis for godly living in a believer's life and its foundation rests in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and the empowerment of the Spirit of holiness that is given to the believer (Romans 8:12‑14).

The Apostle Peter tells us that the Apostle Paul writes some things in his letters to the church that are hard to understand.
"...Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction." (2 Peter 3:16 NLT)

The point I am trying to bring out is that people twist the real meaning of the Scripture to something that it does not mean. Changing the meaning of Scripture always leads to disaster and spiritual ruin.

Examples of distorting the Scripture are: let's go on sinning so that God's grace may increase (Romans 6:1), let us do evil that good my result (Romans 3:8), claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred (2 Timothy 2:18), grace allows us to live immoral lives (Jude 1:4) etc. All of these are distortions of Scripture that in some form promotes the works and deeds of the "old man" (the flesh).
"21Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy." (Ephesians 4:21‑24 NLT)

Notice this is saying, we must put off our "old man," and we must put on our "new man."

So put off, throw off, give up your old way of life with its characteristics and manifestations of,
"...sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these..." (Galatians 5:19‑21 NLT)

And put on the "new man" with the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives:
"...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control..." (Galatians 5:22)

The "new man" is a way of thinking and acting that reflects God's own Person. It is the fruit of God's Spirit. A person puts on the "new man" by allowing the Holy Spirit to influence their thoughts, feelings, and actions (Romans 8:13‑14).

I am reminded of the story of the evil King of Israel Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel.
"25No one else was so completely sold out to the devil as Ahab, for his wife, Jezebel, encouraged him to do every sort of evil. 26He was especially guilty because he worshiped idols just as the Amorites did—the people whom the Lord had chased out of the land to make room for the people of Israel. 27When Ahab heard these prophecies, he tore his clothing, put on rags, fasted, slept in sackcloth, and went about in deep humility. 28Then another message came to Elijah: 29"Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime; it will happen to his sons; I will destroy his descendants." (1 Kings 21:25‑29 LB)

Oh that we might follow the example of Ahab the evil king, to humble ourselves, to turn away from the "old man" and its evil deeds, and walk softly and tenderly before the Lord each day. Why should sin be our ruin?

Abbreviations of Bible Translations
King James Version (KJV), New American Standard Version (NASV), New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), New Century Version (NCV), Contemporary English Version (CEV), The Message (TM), Good News Translation (GNT), Revised Standard Version (RSV), The Living Bible (LB), Today's English Version (TEV), God's Word Translation (GW), New International Readers Version (NIVRV), Amplified Bible (AMP), Easy-to-Read Version (ETRV), Bible in Basic English (BIBE), NT in Modern Speech (Weymouth), New King James Version (NKJV), Complete Jewish Bible (CJB), English Standard Version (ESV), Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), New World Translation (NWT).
  1. Read Ephesians 4:24.
    "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." ‑ Ephesians 4:24
    Read Colossians 3:9.
    "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;" ‑ Colossians 3:9
    The "old man" and the "new man" are terms used exclusively in the writings of the Apostle Paul.
    True or False
  2. Read Galatians 5:19‑21.
    "19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." ‑ Galatians 5:19‑21
    The "old man" is a personification of all that is evil.
    True or False
  3. Read Galatians 5:22‑25.
    "22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." ‑ Galatians 5:22‑25
    The "new man" is a personification of all that is righteous and truly holy (Ephesians 4:24).
    True or False
  4. Read Jude 3‑4 (NLT).
    "3Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives." ‑ Jude 3‑4 (NLT)
    False teaching allows what Paul calls the "old man" to thrive among the Christian community.
    True or False
  5. Read 2 Peter 3:16 (LB).
    "...Some of his (Paul's) comments are not easy to understand, and there are people who are deliberately stupid, and always demand some unusual interpretation—they have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant, just as they do the other parts of the Scripture—and the result is disaster for them." ‑ 2 Peter 3:16 (LB)
    Changing the meaning of Scripture always leads to disaster and spiritual ruin.
    True or False
  6. Read 1 John 1:7‑9.
    "7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." ‑ 1 John 1:7‑9
    The redemptive work of Christ, along with His Holy Spirit, will help us to walk in the light and enjoy:
    1. God's forgiveness
    2. fellowship with other Christians
    3. cleansing from sin
  7. Read Luke 15:7.
    "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth (present tense: and continues in repentance), more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." ‑ Luke 15:7
    Putting on the "new man" is another way of saying, let repentance towards God be ongoing.
    True or False
  8. Read Acts 17:30.
    "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (present tense: and to continue in repentance)." ‑ Acts 17:30
    Repentance, faith, the putting on of the "new man," is describing something that is in the process, something that is ongoing.
    True or False
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