Put On the New Man – Ephesians 4:20-24 – Wuest

The following is a Greek word commentary, taken from Wuest Word Studies – K. S. Wuest, on Ephesians 4:20-24

“That ye put off, etc.” gives the purport of the instruction given. Connect with “were taught.” The connection is, “ye were taught that ye put off, etc.” The word “old” is palaios, “old in the sense of worn out, decrepit, useless.” “Man” is anthropos, the racial term, not aner, a male individual. The word refers to the individual self. The expression “the old man” therefore refers to the unsaved person dominated by the totally depraved nature. The expression, “put off,” is a figure taken from the putting off of garments. Paul, in Romans 6:6 says: “Knowing this, that our old man (that person we were before we were saved) was crucified with Him in order that the physical body which before salvation was dominated by the totally depraved nature, might be rendered inoperative in that respect, to the end that no longer are we rendering an habitual slave’s obedience to sin” (translation plus paraphrase). It was in our identification with Christ in His crucifixion that potentially we put off the old man, and we did so actually at the moment we were saved.

This act of putting off this old man had to do with the “former conversation.” The word “conversation” is obsolete English for “manner of life.” This old man is described as “corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” “Is corrupt” is a present participle. The idea is, “which is being corrupted.” It speaks of the progressive condition of corruption which characterized the old man. The unsaved person is thus subject to a continuous process of corruption which grows worse as time goes on. This process of corruption is “according to the deceitful lusts.” “Lusts” is epithumia, “a craving, a passionate desire,” good or evil according to the context. Here it is evil cravings. This process of corruption is dominated or controlled by the passionate desires of deceit, deceit being personified. All this, the believing sinner put off when he was saved.

The second point in the teaching they received was that in their Christian experience they are being renewed in the spirit of their mind. “Renewed” is ananeoo, “to be renewed, to be renovated by inward reformation.” “And” is de, a particle which here is transitional or continuative. They have put off the old man. Moreover, they are being renewed in the spirit of their minds. And they have put on the new man. Upon the basis of these three facts, Paul commences his exhortations in 4:25 will “wherefore, speak every man truth etc.” The renewal is, of course, accomplished by the Holy Spirit.

The word “spirit” refers to the individual’s human spirit, that part of him which gives him God-consciousness, that makes him a moral agent. Vincent comments: “The apostle’s object is to set forth the moral self-activity of the Christian life. Hence pneuma (spirit) is here the higher life-principle in man by which the human reason, viewed on its moral side-the organ of moral thinking and knowing is informed. The renewal takes place, not in the mind, but in the spirit of it. ‘The change is not in the mind psychologically, either in its essence or in its operation; and neither is it in the mind as if it were a superficial change of opinion on points of doctrine or practice: but it is in the spirit of the mind; in that which gives mind both its bent and its material of thought. It is not simply in the spirit as if it lay there in dim and mystic quietude; but it is in the spirit of the mind; in the power which, when changed itself, radically alters the entire sphere and business of the inner mechanism’ (Eadie).” “Man” is again anthropos, the individual. Since the old man refers to the unsaved person dominated by the totally depraved nature, the new man refers to the saved person dominated by the divine nature. This new man “after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” This is what Paul has reference to when he says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation” ( II Cor. 5:17 ). “After God” is kata theon, “according to what God is in Himself,” that is, created after the pattern of what God is. The expression “true holiness” could better be rendered, “holiness of truth,” “truth” being personified and being opposed to the “deceit” of verse 22 which was also personified. Translation. That you have put off once for all with reference to your former manner of life the old man which is being corrupted according to the passionate desires of deceit; moreover that you are being constantly renewed with reference to the spirit of your mind; and that you have put on once for all the new man which after God was created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

The third fact in the teaching is that they “put on the new man.” The word “new” is kainos, not new in point of time, which would be neos, but new in point of quality, new in quality as opposed to the old in the sense of outworn, marred through age, which latter designations refer to the old man. “Man” is again anthropos, the individual. Since the old man refers to the unsaved person dominated by the totally depraved nature, the new man refers to the saved person dominated by the divine nature. This new man “after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” This is what Paul has reference to when he says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation” ( II Cor. 5:17 ). “After God” is kata theon, “according to what God is in Himself,” that is, created after the pattern of what God is. The expression “true holiness” could better be rendered, “holiness of truth,” “truth” being personified and being opposed to the “deceit” of verse 22 which was also personified.

Translation. That you have put off once for all with reference to your former manner of life the old man which is being corrupted according to the passionate desires of deceit; moreover that you are being constantly renewed with reference to the spirit of your mind; and that you have put on once for all the new man which after God was created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

(A change which) radically alters the entire sphere and business of the inner mechanism (of the individual).

3 comments to Put On the New Man – Ephesians 4:20-24 – Wuest

  • rick

    That part of us that loves to sin was punished and killed in the crucifixion. Then the Holy Spirit came and raised us to heavenly places to sit alongside God at His right hand. And you have all the spiritual blessings at your disposal. This is our identity with Christ, who became our substitute. You are identified with Him in His death and resurrection. You, along with Him are far above all principalities and powers. You are actually delivered from the power of darkness. The devil will try to keep you a slave to old habits of sin . But you have the authority to tell the devil, he has no place in you.

    You’re old nature was crucified. Now you are filled with God , since you are a citizen of heaven. Take this by faith, and thank God you are not the same person anymore. Always confess that you are a new person, and believe the old you, that loved to sin, was crucified. Keep confessing what God has done for you. For if we trust what God says, and lean not on our own understanding, He will direct you and crown your efforts with success – Proverbs 3:5, 6.

  • Lucinda Palestrant

    God save the USA. If Christians would wake up the new man, do the duties for the kingdom this country would truly be a Super Power.

    God forgive the USA

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