The New Man: Devotional Commentary for November 27-December 3
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
14Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
So far, we have learned that the process of putting off the old and putting on the new is partially related to our response to the prevailing influence of the active persona in the life of the believer. Then the question comes up: which one is active in our hearts? Is it the old-nature still, or the New Man in Christ? Here, Paul does not seem to leave any room for doubt. He reasons, if we are God's chosen, if we are holy, if we are beloved, then the characteristics of the New Man ought to be reflected in our decisions, actions, and relationships. That can happen only when the New Man responds to the convictions and promptings of the Holy Spirit.
It is very important that we understand the New Man is not just a fictional fancy, a mode of demeanor, or an approximation of the best toward which one can aspire. It is a real person in Christ born of the Spirit of God. It is a real person with a real heart and a real conscience. It is a real person who lives in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. That means, when the child of God puts on the New Man, the new heart of the New Man would be the provenience (that is source) for the actions and the decisions of the believer.
The essence of Paul's admonition is that, as God's chosen, holy, and beloved children, we respond to the business of life with the heart of the New Man that the Spirit of God had instilled in us at the time of our salvation. Since the heart of the New Man is characterized by Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, and Patience, our responses would be distinguished by sympathy, kindness, humbleness, gentleness, and patience. When we put on the New Man, we operate out of the Heart of Christ. The Heart of Christ impels us: to esteem others more highly than ourselves, to be more considerate and thoughtful toward others, to deal with others patiently and with a gentle spirit, and to be kind and gracious altogether.
Putting on the New Man is, therefore, operating out of a new heart filled with the Fruit of the Spirit. Such a heart is forgiving, accommodating, loving, and Peaceable. Naturally, when the New Man is alive and well in the life of the redeemed, the Fruit of the Spirit would flourish in the heart of the child of God.
How are the redeemed inspired to respond with the Fruit of the Spirit? It is not just a matter of the will. Rather, the will is driven to act or respond by a heart which understands and appreciates the forgiveness it had received from Christ. Thus, we forgive and accept one another just as we are forgiven and accepted by God our Father for Christ's sake. United as one in our Savior, we are governed by the Peace of Christ. This is the Peace not only which passes all understandings, but also which permeates every aspect of the lives of the children of God.
As forgiven people of God, we are called to live and serve in the Peace of God. Forgiven and peaceable, we are exhorted to treat one another with characters that reflect forgiveness and peace. Forgiveness flows out of a heart that is controlled by the Peace of Christ. The children of God share that, not only because it is the inclination of the New Man, but also since we must do everything as unto God for the sake of Christ.
Our decisions, actions, and relationships must reflect the prevalence of the New Man as we do everything in the Name of Christ for the Glory of God. God is glorified when the New Man becomes the means by which the presence of Christ in us is revealed.
At the outset, the text at hand seems to be issuing a set of directives which must be followed by Christians. However, a closer look at the text reveals that Paul is pointing us to the outcome that must follow the transformation we experienced.
The mystery of redemption has two aspects. Certainly, redemption means that God has redeemed us from His just Judgment by paying the Price with His Son's Life. Because He redeemed us for Himself, we shall be with Him in heaven for ever. However, the same redemption brings into our earthly life a profound transformation which discards the old and raises up the new.
Still part of the same process, the transformation of the believer begins to dethrone the old-nature by nurturing the newly born babe in Christ, first with the milk of the Word, then with the Bread of life, and the living Water. That is, the character and the behavior of the old-nature would be gradually replaced by the godly attributes of the New Man in Christ. Anger, malice, wrath, slander, greed, and all forms of idolatry will surrender their prominence to Love, Peace, Joy, Compassion, Patience, Gentleness, Humbleness, and Kindness: all the Fruit of the Spirit. These are not native to the old-nature. They are the characteristics of the New Man by the Spirit of God.
The old-nature lives for itself. Its motivation is fueled by selfish objectives. But the New Man lives to glorify God. Decisions are made and actions are taken as unto the Lord. As the heart of the Christian is controlled by Christ's Peace, its decisions and actions are reasoned by love. Its wisdom and guidance come from God's living Word. As the attributes and behavior of the Christian steadily replicate the Character of Jesus Christ, then the old-nature is put off and the New Man is put on.
When the New Man is put on, The life of the believer is controlled by Peace, enriched by Love, fortified by the Word, and characterized by the Fruit of the Spirit. Simply put, our life bears the testimony of our redemption. Our words and deeds expose what is in our hearts. If it is still as unto us, then it is the old-nature, an offense to God. But if our words and deeds are as unto the Lord, then the New Man is on and God is glorified.
Paul identifies three foundational elements which effectively facilitate the prevalence of the New Man in the hearts of the redeemed. These are Love, Peace, and the Word. Love is the Power of Christ for the unity of the Body. Peace is the Power of Christ which rules over the heart of the believer. And the Word is the Wisdom of Christ which enriches the New Man with knowledge and understanding. A heart anchored in the Love of Christ, a heart secured in the Peace of Christ, and a heart enriched by the Word of God knoaz to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, and forgiving. The beloved knows to love. The peaceable knows to be patient. the wise knows to bless and strengthen the Body of Christ for the Glory of God.