Who is the new man?

24 Apr

Figure3A person might be tempted to think that Jesus Christ, the “last Adam” and “Head of the new creation”, is the “new man” (Romans 6:2-7; Ephesians 4:20-24).  But that is not what the Scriptures say.  Pastor Surburg talks about this and much, much more that is very helpful.  Here’s a clip, but check out the whole post:

The Scriptures teach that the individual Christian is both new man and old man at the same time (Rom 7:13-23; Gal 5:16-17; Col 3:5-15).  In Christ through the work of the Spirit the new man knows God’s will and lives according to it. Because they are individuals in whom the old man still exists, this new life does not occur perfectly and instead occurs in the midst of struggle and weakness.  Naturally, the Lutheran Confessions also present this view of Christians as old man and new man at the same time (for example FC SD II.84-85; VI.6-8).

 While it is true that we must always add all of the caveats about how the presence of the old man impacts the individual Christian, this does not change the fact that in regeneration the Spirit has actually done something to the individual and brought about a change.  Paul writes in Rom 7:22-23, “For I delight in the law of God, according to my inner man (κατὰ τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον), but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind (τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ νοός μου) and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”  Paul goes on to say in Rom 8:5-6, “For those who are according to the flesh think the things of the flesh (τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς φρονοῦσιν), but those who are according to the Spirit think the things of the Spirit (τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος). For the mind of the flesh (τὸ γὰρ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς) is death, but the mind of the Spirit (τὸ δὲ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεύματος) is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6). The subject doing the thinking does not cease to be the individual.  Paul says that they think (the φρονοῦσιν of 8:5a must be supplied in 8:5b). Regenerated by the Spirit the new man now is able to think in the ways of the Spirit, namely, the things that reflect God’s will.  True, it is only through the continuing work of the Spirit that this is possible, because otherwise the old man, the mind of the flesh will gain complete control as he does in the non-Christian. Nevertheless, the existence of the individual as new man is not lost.  Regenerated, sustained and led by the Spirit, the new man is able to begin to cooperate in the new obedience that faith produces.
This is the position of the Lutheran Confessions.
(bolded parts were italicized in Pastor Surburg’s post)

As my pastor has told me, sometimes the new man just needs to take old Adam for a walk (and more).  We fight against him in this way precisely because we already are in communion with Christ.  As His sheep, we desire to huddle close to our Shepherd in the paths that are safe, good, right, true, and beautiful – to the glory of His Holy Name.

Image from my pastor’s recent paper, mentioned in the previous post.

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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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