The New Man

Colossians 3  •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 4
Most of the exhortations, as to walk and conduct for the Christian, in the New Testament, after redemption is accomplished, are founded on the fact that he is “dead and risen with Christ;” and thus associated with Him who is in heaven, while walking here below upon earth; his affections set upon things above, and so is to bring forth fruit to God. He is risen with Christ, but is always seen in Colossians as walking here below on earth, with a hope laid up for him in heaven.
In Ephesians he is looked upon as “in Christ” in heaven. Here it is only a hope. (Eph. 1:66To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6).) Associated in heart and affections with Jesus who is gone up there, but walking himself on earth, and thus a fruitful pathway all the way through.
This truth of his being thus “dead and risen” with Christ, detects all and everything that is of the “old man” in us. We have been delivered judicially from the old man; and, as risen with Christ who has borne our sins, we are associated with Him who is our life, in heavenly places. It is founded on what you get in Gal. 2:2020I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20), “I am crucified with Christ”—the old man—all that I had done, and all that I was as a sinner has been clean swept away before God and for faith in the cross; “nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” —He has become my life. As a sinner once, I had to do with God. Well-what then? The precious blood of Christ cleansed me from all sin-cleansed me so perfectly that God says, He will never remember my sins again. (Heb. 10:1717And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 10:17).) So perfectly has this been done, that unless God denied Himself, and the work of Christ, He can never charge them on me again. I shall be raised, or changed, and set in glory consequent upon the perfection of this work, and when I am raised, it will be in the likeness of Christ. It will be too late then to judge whether I am meet for heaven or not; or whether my sins are put away or not; for I shall then be like Him! “When he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:22Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2).)
God has not merely saved us through Christ, but has given us a place with Him. We have the Holy Ghost now, as an earnest of all we possess in Him. We know that all the guilt we should have had to answer for to Him as Judge, He has first come and cleared away as a Saviour! Well; a man learns that he is cleansed in God’s sight; but he wants more; he wants deliverance, too. That, God has given us also in Christ. It is this want which is expressed in the cry, “O wretched man that I am, who shall—not, forgive, or, cleans—but, “deliver me!” In Rom. 6 he has to reckon himself dead—to believe that as Christ died to sin when He had to do with it on the cross, so has he died to sin; and that he has now but to live to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. In Col. 2:33In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3) he goes further. He has died with Christ, and has been quickened together with Him, and all his trespasses forgiven all left behind in that order of things into which Christ entered in death for sin. He has borne them, and died and cleared them away—died to the whole thing—He went down to the “lower parts of the earth,” where sin had brought man under the power of death. He is raised from the dead; and God has taken us up; quickened us together with Christ, having forgiven us all trespasses. We have died with Him—and have deliverance from the evil nature. We “have put off the old man, and put on the new,” as in Christ risen from the dead; a total change by a new nature, not of “the flesh,” but of the man; the flesh remains the same. He is not now in “Adam,” but in “Christ” Christ is his life. By dying for us He has cleared away all that stood against us, and now He lives in us. He put away when He came in grace, what He would have to judge when He came in glory! and He has associated us with Himself after having done so. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
We thus have deliverance from the sense of sin as well as from its power: and this by reckoning ourselves dead, Christ having died and delivered us. We had natural life from Adam, and now Christ lives in us—the true “I.” Thus, all that Christ has done God has appropriated to the Christian. We have died to sin because He has; we are dead, because we have died with Him; Christ is risen, and we are risen with Him; Christ is hid in God, our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, we shall appear with Him, and be like Him. Thus the debts I had contracted as a poor sinner are all cleared away; and He has, taken me into partnership with Himself, having done so, so that all, that is His is mine. His peace is mine—His joy—His place—His glory—all mine! It is not, then, as the world gives, He has given to me. It is generous if it loves much. It gives little if it loves little; but it loses what it gives—not He brings us into His own possessions, and glory, and joy, that we may enjoy them with Him. We can now say, “As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Cor. 15:48,4948As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Corinthians 15:48‑49).) We have this life in a poor, feeble vessel, surely—but we have it! We can say distinctly, we belong to up there! Christ has gone up as a man. Down here we have to get our hearts exercised, and be strengthened to patience, and pulled to pieces: tried and tested, and the like and good for us it is so. He desires to do us good in our latter end.
The Apostle now (v. 5) turns to the consequences of all this. He begins with grosser things. He does not allow that we have a life down here at all, but members to mortify the gross sins which bring down the wrath of God on the children of unbelief, in the which once we lived as having our life in them. He is not content with that, but adds, but ye also put off all these—the things which spring up in the heart—after which I have no lust: “Anger, wrath, malice,” &c., all because of having put off the Old man. “Seeing that ye have put of the old man with his deeds.” Then you have put on the new, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him, i.e., after God. You know God now that you are a Christian; He is holiness, and love, righteousness, grace you go and be the same. Walk worthy of Him, by a spiritual apprehension of what He is; not worthy of Adam, but of Christ. “Be perfect even as (not “with;” we are that in Christ) your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” God loved you as an enemy—you go and do the same. Where can I learn what is worthy of God? In Christ. He gave Himself up for us, who were unworthy, to God who was worthy. He “is all and in all;” everything to us; and in all as life and power. We get this brought out in Gal. 2:2020I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20). “Christ lives in me”—He is in all. “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me;” He is an object which governs all in the heart.
Does He, beloved friends, govern all the motives of our hearts? If not, He is not all! He is grace, and life, and strength as in us. There may be failure, and, alas, there is but the Christian gives it no quarter, or excuses himself. Mind he does not say, He ought to be in all, Nay, He says He is there. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness:” and, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9,109But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:9‑10).) You say you are a Christian. Well, if so, Christ is in you, and He should be seen in your ways.
Now we get the practical “putting on.” You have put off the old man with his deeds. Put on, therefore, “as the elect of God “: not, “that you may be;’ but “as” such. As I say to my child, “I look to you to walk as my child.” Presumption someone will say. Why, He tells me to do it! Is that presumption? If a child does not know he is his father’s child, do you suppose he can walk as such? We never can walk as God’s children till we know we are such. God puts us in the relationship, and then tells us to walk as elect, holy and beloved; and we shall never walk worthy of Him till we do so. It is where God would have us walk, and, beloved friends, because it’s true! I am a poor worm in myself, but elect of God, holy and beloved; and God asks me to walk in it because He loves me, and would have me enjoy it! Christ was all this before Him in the fullest sense: Elect-holy-beloved; and He has brought us into all the blessedness of His own peace with God. Now, He gave Himself up; do you do the same? It takes me far beyond the law. Love me and I’ll love you, was what it proposed. But here is the giving up of self, and loving others when they do not so!
The world rejoices, dear friends, when it sees a Christian fall-when he does not live out what it hates; and that is. “Christ!” “Over all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.” It binds all together with the olivine nature. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts;” and, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly:” and all this after the “putting off”—after a right condition of heart with God. It is not to be content that I am saved, merely; or not immoral in my ways. But Christ expects the heart to listen and attend to all He has to say. As if He said, “I have spent myself to bring you there, and I expect you to enjoy it and live in it, for my glory.” He has called us friends. Do you believe Christ is dealing with you as a friend?
Beloved friends, if I am to set my affections on things above, I must know what is there, and who is there. It is Christ? That makes me unworldly, and nothing else will.
It is His joy to make me happy here in His love. By and bye He will come forth in the glory to serve and make us happy there. Is that the thought you have of Christ? We are babes, indeed, in the way we enjoy it; but a babe can know its mother’s love? He looks for our hearts to respond to His.
Now we get conduct in the pathway. “Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” One thing governs the heart; it is a simple rule, but reaches the spring of everything. “Are you doing it in the name of the Lord Jesus?” Well “Giving thanks to God, and the Father by Him.”
It is the complete picture of the expression of the life of Christ—the new man—in us here below, from the sinner walking and living in sin—then as dead and risen with Christ, and all sins put away, and the new man put on. the word of Christ dwelling in us richly, and all, in word or deed, done in His name. He is done with Adam, and to him Christ is all! Then the results and consequences of all this in practice here. The flesh is unchanged, and remains; but there is an intrinsic change in the man by a nature suited to God who has produced it, and caused it to spring up in his heart.
The Lord give His people, for whom He has spent Himself, to walk in the power of this new life, with the eye upon Him, for His own name’s sake. Amen.