"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." - Colossians 3:3
This Scripture is hard for most Christians to believe, but just as we are to believe and receive what Jesus did for us on the cross of Calvary, when He shed His blood to pay the price for our sins, so are we to believe that our fallen sinful nature was crucified with Him as He nailed our sins to the cross. Jesus didn’t just fulfill the law and nail it to the cross, but He actually took our sins upon Himself, and became our sins, so that we could be made righteous.
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." - II Corinthians 5:21
If we can believe this, then we should be able to believe that our old sinful man was crucified with Him on the cross.
"I 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
By faith, our old nature is put to death, and we rise from the dead with Jesus, and He gives us a brand new life, a brand new identity, as The Word of God and the Spirit of God come to live and grow in our hearts.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." — II Corinthians 5:17
Now all things have become new, as God no longer sees our sinful nature, because He killed it off at the cross. Now God sees us covered in the Blood of Jesus, righteous, justified, redeemed, and a Saint of God. In order to see ourselves the way that God see’s us when He looks at us, we have to put our faith in Jesus Christ and His Word instead of putting our faith in ourselves, our feelings, our emotions, or our carnal minds. The Word of God says that we are now dead to sin. If you can believe it, then receive it in your life and continue believing it, just as you continue believing that Jesus died to pay the price for your sins. The sixth chapter of Romans has a lot to say about our old man being made dead at the cross of Jesus.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." - Romans 6:1-11
This is why water baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is so very important to the believer. Water baptism is an act of faith, walking in obedience to the Word of God, as the believer is choosing to go down in His death, with Jesus, so he can come up in newness of life. When a believer gets baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, then he actually, by faith, is buried with Jesus. His old man is crucified with Him so that the power of sin might be destroyed.
Many believers will ask Jesus to forgive them of their sins, and they accept Him into their hearts. But they stop short there and never take on the Name, Death, or Life of Jesus Christ in water baptism. These people will have much more trouble with their old man than the obedient ones who are willing to be baptized, buried, planted, crucified with Jesus so that they can arise with newness of life. But to the believers who have been baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, the secret of victory is that you must continue to believe that you have really been buried with Him, planted with Him, crucified with Him, in order to actually walk in newness of life.
The Bible tells us to put off the old man and to put on the new man. We are to put it off, or lay it to the side. Or, better said, would be to lay it at the feet of Jesus and leave it there. We are never to put it back on again; it is a corpse, so we should leave it alone. Instead, we are to put on by faith the New Man daily and each day choose to walk in newness of life. This is walking in our true identity or the persona that God sees when He looks at us.
"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
I’m not saying that the old man has ceased to exist, but quite the opposite is true, for we will always have the old fallen sinful nature inside of us until our bodies rest in the grave. However, the Apostle Paul made it clear that his sinful nature was not him; instead, it was the sin that dwelt within him. To the Christian, the real you is your New Man; that is your new identity that God has given you, because now Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory, lives inside your heart. Paul still struggled with his old man just as we will still struggle until the day we die and our body is finally resting in the grave. But Paul realized that the sinful nature inside of him was not him, but it was sin that dwelled within him.
"For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." - Romans 7:15-20
Paul saw his solution to his problem in Jesus Christ. And Jesus is the solution to our problem as well. The key is to believe that our old man is really dead, and then, by faith, reckon him dead every day, and by faith walk in newness of life as we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us each and every day and each and every step of the way. This is what walking in the Spirit means.
Paul also said that he died daily.
"I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily." - I Corinthians 15:31
I believe the way that Paul died daily was to reckon his old man dead daily. I believe that he was saying the same thing with both statements.
"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." - Romans 6:11
To reckon our old man dead means to conclude him to be dead, to count him as dead, to impute him dead, to think about it and to acknowledge him dead or to take an inventory and realize that, yes, God’s Word says that he is dead, so no matter what I feel, by faith, I believe him to be dead.
Why is this so important doctrinally speaking to realize that our old man is dead? Because only once you acknowledge the death of your old man can you begin to realize how to walk in the newness of Jesus Christ's resurrection life.
Once you put off the corpse of your old man, once you lay it at the feet of Jesus and leave it there, then you can begin to walk in newness of life. Once the old identity is completely dead, then you can begin to walk in your new identity or from the perspective of your New Man.
Your new identity or persona is how God sees you when He looks at you from heaven. And if you are a believer, covered in the Blood of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, and baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, then God looks at you as righteous. He doesn’t see anything wrong with you, because He put it all on the cross with Jesus and killed it. As long as you stayed covered by the Blood of Jesus, then God sees you covered, justified, as a holy Saint.
All religions of the world focus on the old man and trying to change his behavior. It really doesn’t matter what religion it is, because a religious spirit is a religious spirit, is a religious spirit, is a religious spirit. The Muslim’s, the Buddhist, the Mormon’s and 1,000 other religions all teach the same thing, and that is to try and improve the condition of the old man. Religion is working on trying to change or improve the behavior of the inherited fallen sinful nature. God is not working on behavior of the old man, because He crucified it and destroyed its power over man at the cross, for all who will believe. God is working on establishing our new or true identity of the New Man. Religion calls us a sinner, a saved sinner, but God calls us a Saint who sometimes still sins; there is a big difference. God says to your old man: "You are dead, and I’m not dealing with you anymore."
I’m not saying that you will not sin any more; I am not even suggesting that. I am just saying that you don’t need to try to resurrect something that God has killed. You don’t need to pick up the dead identity of your old man and try to live from that perspective again, because it will be death to you. Just take off the dead corpse and leave it at the foot of the cross. Don’t put it on again, leave it off and put on Jesus Christ, your New Man.
Sure, you can stop believing that your old man is dead at anytime, and you can live life through the lenses of your old man if you want to do so, because God gives us all a free will to choose. In fact you can choose to stop believing that the Blood of Jesus can justify you, forgive you, or make you righteous at any time in your life. The Bible is full of examples of people who backslide away from God, and the only way to fall completely away from God is to stop believing and trusting in the Blood of Jesus.
You can choose to continue to go back and forth between your new identity and your old identity. But if you do that, then you will keep vacillating from victory to defeat. Or you can start believing the Word of God and put your trust in what Jesus did for you at the cross, for His Death on the cross destroyed the power and authority of the Devil and the power and authority of our sinful old man. The choice is ours to make.
I’m not saying that the old man is gone and never to be remembered anymore, and I’m not saying that you won't ever sin again, because you surely will. But I am saying that the old man doesn’t have to rule over you anymore. If you choose to believe God’s Word, then you can reckon the old man to be dead, and you can choose to walk in the newness of life or live through the lenses of your new true identity.
A life of faith is a life that reckons the old man dead and reckons the New Man alive, and as we do, we can actually walk through this world with our new, true identity and see ourselves as God sees us instead of the way our old man views us.
Two great preachers from yesteryear, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) and Charles Finney (1792-1875), have some interesting thoughts on this matter.
If we really want to be more like Jesus, then we will stop putting our trust and faith in what we can do to make our old man better, and we will begin to trust in what Jesus did for us. Not only do we need to believe that Jesus died for our sins and paid the price for our sins, but we should believe that our old man was crucified with Him on the cross of Calvary. Jesus killed it off, and He is giving us the opportunity of a lifetime to simply reckon it dead so that we can walk in newness of life or walk in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.
Religion will keep you captured and enslaved in the thinking that if you work hard enough on your old man that one day you will conquer him, subdue him, tame him, and control him. But you never will conquer him because sin will be your master, unless you put your faith in Jesus Christ. This is because Jesus is the only One Who can conquer your old fallen sinful nature, and He did it at the cross of Calvary 2,000 years ago. The question today is: Do you have the faith to believe it?
Only as we learn to daily reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God can our New Man grow in our hearts. Every born again believer has Jesus Christ living in their heart, but most do not allow Him to grow. The problem is not with the Seed, but the problem is with the ground. Jesus is perfect, but the ground of our hearts is full of junk and problems. Neither the stony ground nor the weedy ground will allow Jesus to grow, but if we can conquer the old man at the cross by faith, then the incorruptible Seed of the Word of God will grow in our lives like a mighty oak tree, bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold and some a hundredfold.
This is the difference between those who want to go all the way with God and those who want to just keep a shallow relationship with God. If we will sell out and finally decide that we want to believe that Jesus crucified our old man at the cross, then we can walk in our new identity of our “New Man” or our true identity, and we can then begin to grow to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. You will never grow up in God by continuing to live life wrestling with the old man and living your life through the lenses of the old man. The old man is dead! God’s Word says that he is dead. Let’s believe God’s Word and get on with this matter of growing in Jesus Christ.