Put Off & Put On
By Pastor J.D. Link
I encourage you to read Eph 4:17-24. Verses 22-24 say, “That ye put off (cast off, lay aside) concerning the former conversation (behavior, conduct) the old man (nature), which is corrupt (ruined, defiled) according to the deceitful lusts (desires); And be renewed (renovated, reformed) in the spirit of your mind (be spiritually minded); And that ye put on (be clothed with) the new man (nature), which after (according to) God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The illustration here is referring to a garment. The old man (corrupt nature) and his deeds (works of the flesh) are like an old, filthy, stinking defiled garment that we are to cast off. The new man (new nature) and his deeds (the fruits of the spirit) are to be put on, like a bright, shining, spotless and pure robe. As we learned last week, the remnants of the corrupt nature still abide in the flesh, even after conversion. However, the old man has been dethroned. While he exists, he doesn’t reign supreme (Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world). The old man has been put off, but not put out entirely; and will remain as long as we are in these mortal bodies.
Again, we are to “put off” the old man and his corrupt deeds. We are to mortify the deeds of the flesh (Col 3:5-9). This obviously doesn’t mean we are to kill the flesh, as in suicide; but rather, the deeds of the flesh. “Let us therefore “cast off” the deeds of darkness” (Rom 13:12). Let us “lay aside” every weight and besetting sin” (Heb 12:1). “Let us “put away” the corrupt conduct” (Eph 4:25). Let us “lay aside” all evil, bitterness, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking (1Pt 2:1). Let us “lay apart” all filthiness and abundance of wickedness (Jam 1:21). We are to offer our bodies (in which dwells the corrupt nature) a living sacrifice to God, and not be conformed to this world (in which the corrupt nature reigns), but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:1-2). As in 1Pt 2:2 and Jam 1:21, being students of God’s Word will enable us to have victory over the old man.
The “putting off” of the old man is only half the equation. We are then to “put on” the new man (nature). The new man, and his deeds, are righteous and truly holy (Eph 4:24). Let us “put on” the breastplate of faith and love and the hope of salvation (1Thess 5:8). Let us “put on” the armor of light and walk honestly. Let us “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh (Rom 13:12-14).
We must understand the difference between the one-time “putting on” of the Lord Jesus (conversion); and the continual “putting on” of the new man, in our daily lives. The first speaks of justification, and the second of sanctification. In the same manner, we once “put off” the old man at conversion; but continually “put off” the old man daily. The second is based on the first. We first put on Christ, and then continually put on Christ. We first put off the old nature, and continually put off the old nature.
When you are born again, your spirit is joined with the Lord’s Spirit, and you become a new creation (Gal 3:26-27). You “put on” the new man (Col 3:10). You are spiritually regenerated, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Afterwards, you renew your mind in God’s Word, and by yielding to the Word and the Spirit, you continually “put on” the new man (Col 3:12).
The new creation in Christ is told, “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are under grace” (Rom 6:12-14). If sin (the flesh; the old man; the old nature) has gained the ascendancy in some area of your life, it is because you have yielded to the flesh, and not the Spirit. It does not “legally” have the reign – it is given the reign. “Sin shall not have dominion over you”. We are told not to yield to sin. This means sin does not have dominion. It must be given dominion. Why is this so important to know?
Because when we know and understand that Jesus has dealt with our sins and carried them away, and that Jesus has made us free indeed; then we will view the corrupt nature in it’s proper light. It does not reign supreme. It does not have dominion. We have the power over it. Satan is a master identity thief. He wants to steal our identity in Christ, and deceive us into identifying with the flesh. Then we will believe the lie, that sin has dominion over us. We must stand unmovable on this: “Sin does not have dominion over me”! That is God’s Word. Say it a million tines, until it’s reality to you.
Col 2:6-7 summarizes this lesson: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” As we have received Jesus (salvation), so now walk in Him (be continually clothed with His nature and deeds). May the salvation of the spirit be continually walked out in our soul and flesh. Selah.