Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall give a further word concerning how to put on the new man.
The way the New Testament speaks of the new man may sound strange to our natural mind. According to 4:24, the new man is created in righteousness and holiness of the truth, but according to Colossians 3:10, the new man is being renewed. How can the new man be both created, which has nothing to do with anything old, and renewed, which is related to something old? The creation of the new man is one thing, but the experience of the new man is another. From Christ’s side, the new man has already been created. But from our side, our experience, the new man is being renewed. According to the new creation, the new man has been completed by the work of Christ. But according to our experience, the new man is in the process of being renewed daily. My burden in this message is to point out how the new man is being renewed. This renewing is actually the putting on of the new man. As we pointed out in the previous message, the new man has been created, but now our need is to put him on in our experience.
The Greek word rendered “put on” is used with respect to clothing. Suppose a brother has a suit of clothes tailor-made for him. We may say that the suit has been completed. Now the brother must put on this suit in a proper way. He cannot put it on all at once; rather, it is a gradual, step-by-step procedure.
The putting on of a suit of clothes, however, is not a fully accurate picture of the putting on of the new man. The putting on of a suit is objective, whereas the putting on of the new man involves an inward renewing. We do not put on the new man in an outward, objective way. On the contrary, the putting on of the new man begins from within; it is related to an inward, subjective renewing.
At the time of our regeneration, the new man was put into, or born into, our spirit. Now this new man must spread into every part of our being. This spreading of the new man is the putting on of the new man. It is also the renewing. By this we see that the putting on of the new man is not an outward, objective matter, but an inward, subjective experience.
We have pointed out that on the cross Christ has slain the ordinances in order to produce the one new man in resurrection. Hence, in the resurrection of Christ, the new man was created and brought forth. When we believed in the Lord Jesus, the life-giving Spirit came into our spirit, bringing with Him the new man as a finished product. In this way the new man was born into our spirit. Therefore, since the time of our regeneration, the new man has been in our spirit. Now the new man must saturate every part of us. This spreading is both the putting on of the new man and the renewing. As Colossians 3:10 says, we need to put on the new man, which is being renewed. How much of the new man we put on depends on how much we are renewed.
Both Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3 indicate that in order to put on the new man, we first need to put off the old man. Ephesians 4:22 says, “Put off concerning the former manner of life the old man.” The words “manner of life” imply a great deal. Before you were saved, you had a certain manner of life. Perhaps you worked five days a week and then in the evenings or on the weekends amused yourself with certain worldly entertainments. To some, the manner of life may be gambling. To others, it may be going to certain places or eating certain foods. These are all part of the manner of life. In every country of the world and among every people there is a characteristic manner of life.
If we truly desire to be renewed, we need to put off the former manner of life. By putting off our manner of life, we put off the old man in a practical way. To bury the former manner of life is virtually the same as burying the old man. Therefore, my burden in this message is not simply to encourage you to put off the old man; it is specifically to encourage you to put off your former manner of life.
Many of the saints in the Lord’s recovery still hold on to their old manner of life. Do not say that I am legal, conservative, or old-fashioned in telling you to put off your former manner of life. To have this attitude toward what I am saying here is a sign of being caught in the evil current of today’s satanic system. We should not be swept along by the current of this age; instead, we should bury our former manner of life and even hold a funeral for it. To speak merely of putting off the old man is too doctrinal. The actual putting off of the old man is the putting off of the former manner of life, which always involves ordinances and our way of living.
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