Death To The Old Man

My dad used to talk about listening to a particular Christian tape series so many times the tapes broke. He knew the material on those tapes would change his life. Sometimes you have to do that. I listen to a lot of preaching on CD. I'll get a new set, and my mind wants to get through them all for some feeling of accomplishment. But often I don't fully digest what's said. It's like when you walk out of church and can't remember the sermon. But you must listen to some sermons until you get it.

I've found the first set of such sermons for me. Years ago a friend gave me lessons 6 through 12 of Dr. Christian Harfouche's International Miracle Institute teaching on New Creation Realities. I listened to Lesson 6 several times, but only recently have I listened to the others. Essentially, these sermons describe our new life in Christ, how we must disassociate from the old, flesh-ruled person we used to be, and how we must embrace the grace, power and new reality available to us through our union with Christ.

After having these sermons all these years, the preaching of the Word of God in them is changing my life. Over the past few months, God has show me in my personal study time that being conformed to the image of Christ must become my primary goal. Now that I have that revelation, I am ready to digest everything contained in these sermons.

God gave us an imagination for many good reasons I'm sure. One reason is so we can see things in realms beyond the physical. For example, I can imagine an animal right now that I've never seen. I don't really know how that works, but I can. Similarly, I can imagine a version of me that I've never seen. I can see myself completely conformed to the image of Christ.

Now imagine that version of you. What would be different? Personally, I would be more patient. I would be kinder and gentler. I would be stronger to endure personal difficulties and irritations without letting them affect my Christian love walk. Then going to the next level, I would allow the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to operate through me. I would take more time with people and listen better. I would witness quicker. I would generally sacrifice myself to bless others as God would have me. I imagine that's how I would be if I were completely conformed to the image of Christ.

In fact, the other day something happened that should have bothered me. I can't even remember what it was now. But it didn't. I didn't care. Then someone tried to offend me, but I just laughed and immediately recognized it was the devil trying to get me into unforgiveness. Being conformed to the image of Christ is much more than simply becoming a nicer person. Your entire framework of self will radically change.

I saw all this before I re-engaged that sermon series. I was continually praying for the Holy Spirit to change me. But, I suppose, I was unsure of some specific actions I must take to further the change.

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:4-6)

"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24)

"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." (Colossians 3:9-10)

Three times Paul specifically discusses the "old man." In Romans Paul says that this old man is crucified with Christ, but in Ephesians and Colossians Paul says that we have to put him off. And this concept I began grasping only recently, after listening to those sermons several times.

The old man is the person I used to be before I began allowing God to change me. Let's call him the old Byron. The old Byron was only interested in pleasing himself. He didn't care about other people. He was prideful, rude and generally ugly. Sure, he could be nice and funny, but he only acted that way to serve his interests. He was also very disrespectful. Unfortunately, I knew him very well, and he thrived.

Fortunately, I have put on the new man to a large extent. I'm don't act perfectly as God would have me all the time. But I certainly do better than the old Byron. However, I know that I'm not done. This process of change isn't over. I'm the new Byron now, and I hate the traces of the old Byron that still appear. I have to put them off.

Now Paul clearly tells us that the old man was crucified. The old man is dead. The old Byron is dead. And I have put him off. But I must constantly reinforce that one-time act of putting him off by constantly remembering to keep off all his characteristics. He tries to come back. He tries to return to my mind and my actions. But he's dead. I have to remember he's dead and eradicate any trace of him.

He only exists in my mind. I remember him and how he was pleasing to the flesh. I remember his ways. Sometimes I'm with people who wish he still lived. I miss them, I remember what they liked about him, and I let him come back a little. Unfortunately, even though he's dead, I know him better than I know the new Byron. The old Byron actually existed and I feel his memory. But the new Byron that people will see, at least the more complete physical expression of him, only exists in my imagination, like a place I'm looking forward to visiting.

This is a transitional stage. I declare by faith that I have put on the new man which is created in righteousness and true holiness. I walk in newness of life. And I must cast down every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ, especially against the knowledge of Christ that is in me. I must remember that the old Byron is dead. He can't come back for anyone or for any reason. He's gone forever.

As for these aspects of my life that I don't like, I must recognize that they are all aspects of an old man who is dead. That is the key. Since that person is dead, I must disassociate from his ways. I must so embrace the new man, the God man, the Christ that is in me, that I forget the old man, and he fades away together with his deceitful lusts.

Remember, renovation of the mind is key. As you study Christ and God's Word you will get to know the new you, that you were always meant to be. But more than that, God will change you by His Spirit. You are not alone. God made the way for the death of your old man and your transformation into the new man.

Praise God, "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6) This change that will take place in you is one of God's best and most amazing works. This is one way that God's manifold wisdom is shown by the church to all the spiritual beings (Ephesians 3:10). In Christ, we are spiritually washed perfectly clean. Then, in Christ, through Christ, and by the Holy Spirit, we are changed into beings that actually resemble God. The new man is created in the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10).

So death to the old man. Life to the new man. In your mind and in your flesh, those statements must help define you. May God bless you and always bring you closer to Him, allowing you to see more of Him, so that you will be continually changed.

For more reading on the subject of putting off the old man and putting on the new man, read our earlier post Embrace Your New Reality.


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