THE OLD MAN AND THE NEW MAN OF A BELIEVER
As believers we all have our old man and also the new man (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22, 24). We also can say that we believers of Christ are both the old man and the new man. In Romans 6:6 Paul said that our old man has been crucified with Christ. Then, in Ephesians 4:22, 24 he said that we need to put off the old man and put on the new man. Such a thing has not been thoroughly taught in today’s Christianity, but in the Lord’s recovery this has been ministered to the saints throughout the past sixty-eight years. In 1924 Brother Nee began to speak concerning the old man and the new man. In his book The Spiritual Man he made this matter more than clear. If we check with our experience, we will realize that at times we are the new man, and at other times we are the old man. Thus, we are both the old man and the new man. After our morning revival we are the new man, but a short time later we may be offended by someone and become the old man. Then, after repenting and confessing our failure to obtain the Lord’s forgiveness, we become the new man again. This kind of experience is the story of our Christian life. The Christian life is a life in which we are sometimes the old man and at other times the new man.
OUR OLD MAN (THE OUTER MAN) TO BE CONSUMED, BUT OUR NEW MAN (THE INNER MAN)
TO BE RENEWED DAY BY DAY
God’s economy is to have our old man (the outer man) consumed and our new man (the inner man) renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). Being consumed is not the same as being killed. A person may be killed instantly, but the consuming of our old man is a long process that requires many years. I have been in this process for nearly seventy years; nevertheless, the consuming of my old man has not yet been consummated.
Every day in the church life we are being consumed. This consuming is our being molded, or conformed, to the death of Christ (Phil. 3:10c). In making cakes, dough is put into a mold and pressed into the mold. In this way the dough is conformed to the form of the mold. If the mold is in the image of a fish, the dough that is pressed into this mold will be conformed to the shape of a fish. The death of Christ is our mold, and we are the dough. Since the day we were saved we became the dough. This dough is made of fine flour from wheat (Lev. 2:1; John 12:24; 1 Cor. 10:17). Christ is the fine flour for us to be made the dough.
God has put us all into the mold of Christ’s death. The death to which we are being conformed is not Adam’s death but Christ’s death. The death of Christ is a particular death. Out of millions and even billions of deaths, only Christ’s death is a particular death. From the time that we became dough God put us into this death (Rom. 6:4), considering this death as a mold. Day by day and year after year God is molding us to conform us to this death.
On the one hand, we are happy in the recovery and in the church life, but on the other hand, deep within we are suffering here. However, we have no way to escape. Every day we are being molded. When we come to the dining table to eat, we may not like the food that has been prepared for us. This is part of the mold, the mold of the death of Christ. Marriage too is a part of this mold. Marriage is used very much by the Lord to conform the married ones to the death of Christ.
(The Christian Life, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)