And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.– Romans 12:2
We need the transformation mentioned in this passage to take place in our lives. But it is worth knowing what is being transformed. We need to know what part of us is going to be have to be changed.
Yesterday we talked about the difference between the outward man and the inward man. This match is a tough one. We usually only ever tend to observe the characteristics of the outward man and we completely neglect the inward man. There are two more matches we will look at today. Who is going to win in your mind?
The Natural Man vs The Spiritual Man
The terms natural man and spiritual man are used to make a distinction between the part of our nature which possesses temporary, earthly desires and the part of our nature which desires after eternal, spiritual things. Our bodies have been tainted by the curse of sin. These natural bodies were made from the dust of the earth and desires earthly things. For this cause the natural bodies are also called earthy (1 Corinthians 15:47-49). Because the natural man is the part of our nature that submits to the desires our bodily flesh, we say the natural man is fleshly or carnal. We are told many times in the New Testament to not obey the lusts of our flesh (Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 2:11; 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 4:2). The battle between the natural man and the spiritual man is intense. They are COMPLETELY contrary to each other. Paul points out this battle in Galatians 5:16-17,
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Whereas the outward man vs inward man is a fight between the invisible and visible parts of our natures, the fight between the natural man and the spiritual man is a fight for our desires – fleshly or spiritual.
The Old Man vs The New Man
When Paul contrasts the old man with the new man, he is emphasizing the importance of realizing that in being saved we have been given a NEW nature. We needed to REPENT from our sin. We needed to LEAVE the old ways. When someone confesses Jesus Christ as LORD of their life, they are repenting (facing the opposite way) of their sin and accepting a new life of submission to the LORD. At salvation we are willing to CRUCIFY the old man.
“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 6:6
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” – Ephesians 4:22
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” – Colossians 3:9
Once we have PUT OFF the old man, we are now able to PUT ON the new man.
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” – Ephesians 4:24
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” – Colossians 3:10
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
If you are saved today, what nature is showing? Your inner nature is JESUS! Let HIM shine through YOU! Don’t be controlled by the outward, natural, and old man!
We are to put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.