PUTTING OFF THE OLD MAN AND PUTTING ON THE NEW MAN
Verses 22 and 24 continue to say that we must put off the old man and put on the new man. The old man refers to our old social life. To put off the old man means to put off this old social life. Putting on the new man refers to putting on the church life. The old social life is just the old man, while the new church life is the new man. Many in Christianity do not know this matter. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible, which was published in the 1940s, translates the old man in Ephesians 4 as “your old nature” and the new man as “the new nature.” In this view, putting off the old man means putting off the old nature, while putting on the new man means putting on the new nature. This shows that many in Christianity do not have the proper knowledge of the church as the new man. The Lord’s salvation today causes us to put off not merely our old nature but our old social life. The Lord’s salvation today does not cause us merely to put on a new nature, but it causes us to put on the church life. Putting off the old man and putting on the new man mean to put off our old social life and put on the church life. The old social life has many different kinds of backgrounds. There are the Japanese social life, the Chinese social life, the South American social life, the North American social life, the Southeast Asian social life, and so on. The old social life is of different kinds. However, I tell you that the church life is unique; there is only one kind. In the Lord’s life and in Him as the all-inclusive Spirit, we are putting off the old social life and putting on the new church life. The result is that in the church life we are the new man. This is not an outward reformation or an outward movement, but it is a transformation of our living from within.
How is the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new man accomplished? The key is in verse 23, which says, “And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” It is hard to say if this spirit is our human spirit or the Spirit of Christ; it must be the two spirits mingled as one spirit. This tells us that in order to put off our old social life and put on the new church life, we need to open our spirit within and allow the Spirit of Christ to fill, saturate, and permeate our entire spirit until the Spirit overflows into our mind, emotion, and will. It is by this overflowing Spirit that we can be renewed, and this renewing is transformation. Transformation is not the result of any outward teaching; rather, it is the issue of the Spirit’s saturating, permeating, watering, and processing. The life-giving Spirit enters our spirit to process us, and this processing is transformation because the element of the Spirit increases. It is this mingled spirit—the spirit that is two spirits becoming one spirit—that seeps out of our spirit and soaks through our mind, emotion, and will, even our entire being. In this way we are renewed in this spirit of our mind. The renewing makes us all into the new man. In this renewing we put off the old social life and put on the church life. This is putting off the old man and putting on the new man.
The Lord today is doing this work on the earth, and this is the goal of the Lord’s recovery today. All those who love Him, pursue Him, and follow Him on the entire earth today must be renewed in the spirit of their mind to become the one new man, taking Him as their person and living by Him. This is what the Lord wants today.
(One Body, One Spirit, and One New Man, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)