Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The old man and the new man

The old man is the outward senses, the carnal mind, the thinking of the flesh, the ego or personality. The old man is separate in consciousness from God. This is a believer before he or she receives the new life that is in Christ.

We must crucify the old man and remove him out of our consciousness so that the Christ may be resurrected in us. This we do by the renewing of our mind.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

The "new man" is born of the word of God.  A birth is a coming into a state of being. The "new birth" is the coming into a higher state of being. The realisation by the believer of his or her spiritual identity, the Christ consciousness the real seal.

The contrast between the old man and the new man is similar to that which Paul draws in 1 Cor. 15:45 between the “first man”, Adam, and the “last” man, Christ. Therefore I suggest that the “old man” here is a reference to our status in Adam; by baptism we pass from that status to that of the “new man”, Christ. Eph. 4:22-24 exhorts baptized believers to put off the old man and put on the new man- i.e. to live out in practice the change in status which occurred in baptism.

“The new man” is composed of both Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:15; Col. 3:10,11)- connecting with how Gal. 3:27-29 explains that baptism into Christ likewise gives us a status of “in Christ” which thereby removes any difference between Jew and Gentile. If “the old man” refers to our status in Adam which has now ended, been crucified, then we need no longer be phased by the fact that no baptized believer manages to totally avoid sinning; none of us have put to death the old manner of life in totality. All our days we seek to respond to the change of status which has occurred, living appropriate to that change.

We must " put off the old man" (Eph. 4:22); and yet " ye have put off the old man" (Col. 3:9). Have we, or haven't we? In God's eyes we have, in that the new man has been created, and the old man died in the waters of baptism. But of course we are still in the flesh; and the old man must yet be put off. What happened at our baptism must be an ongoing process; of laying the old man to rest in death, and rising again in the newness of life. The Gospel 'instructs us to the intent that, having once and for all put away ungodliness (i.e. in baptism) and worldly lusts, we should live in a holy manner' (Tit. 2:12 Gk.). Having put these things off in baptism, we must live a life of putting them off.

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