Romans 6:6 “We know that our old man was crucified with Him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”
Ephesians 2:15; 4:22-24 “When He nullified in His flesh the law of commandments in decrees, He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace…that you were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.”
Colossians 3:9-11 “Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the One who created it. Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.”
The “old man.”
We know that the Holy Spirit comes into the new believer’s life when he or she is born again. We know the Holy Spirit convicts us and calls us to lead better lives in Christ. We know the Holy Spirit regenerates us as we seek to move forward from where we are in life, from sin to repentance, to forgiveness, to a closer relationship with God the Father.
Where does this “old man” come into play, that old man that can come out of the bag from time to time? That “old man” who reappears?
Recently in my Sunday school class, I asked the class if someone could lose their salvation. One of my students responded “no.” He said “we can walk away from it but we won’t lose it”.
Here is where Pastor Graham* writes the Holy Spirit assures us that we won’t lose what God has given us. “After we receive Christ as Savior we may be confused sometimes because many of our old temptations [“the old man”] have not disappeared. We still sin. Sometimes we lose our tempers. Pride and jealousy may crop up from time to time. This is not only confusing it is discouraging and sometimes leads to spiritual depression.” He mentions “besetting sins” which could be bad habits or addictions that we just don’t have the power to conquer.
When we are born again, we have a “new nature” but our “old nature” does not immediately go away. The reappearance of the old nature in the born again person’s life is a severe problem. When one continues committing sins from the past, those sins are from when we were born in the flesh. When we are born again, we are born again in the Spirit; we are now children of God.
It is doubt that we fight. Satan wants us to doubt what has happened. He does not want us to have a new nature. He wants us bogged down in our old way of life.
The Holy Spirit is the key to understanding what is going on. It is the Holy Spirit that assures us that we have truly been born again. Hebrews 10:15 says “And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us.” Romans 8: 16 says “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Pastor Graham adds his personal assurance to God’s word: “By the written Word of God, and the quiet work of the Spirit in our hearts, we know we have been born again—regardless of the accusations of Satan” .
Yes, our old nature does not immediately go away when we give our lives to Christ. Indeed the old nature will reappear from time to time. Sometimes the temptation is so strong that we walk away from Christ and find ourselves acting just like we did before we were saved. But the Holy Spirit is there, calling us back to God. We may not choose to listen but we can.
And the message is pretty clear to me…
Stuff that old man back in that bag and move forward to a new life, a better life in Christ.
*from his book The Holy Spirit