I often hear people saying they have to “die to self.” But is this Biblical terminology? Did any of the saints in the Bible ever say, “I must die to self” in the sense of dealing with sin? This idea of “dying to self” is taken from 1 Cor. 15:31. By reading the context we begin to understand what Paul was talking about. He simply stood in jeopardy every hour. He was always in physical danger where it would cost him his physical life, not some inner turmoil he struggled with as we are led to believe by the professing church today. (They cling to Romans 7 as life support!)
We often hear of the “old nature” and the “new nature.” Rather, the Bible talks about the “new man” and the “old man.” Nowhere in the Bible does it say the new man must learn to overtake the old man. Nowhere does Paul say he ever struggled with the old man.
Who Is That Old Man?
What the old man is not. The Bible doesn’t speak of him as the soul, nor the spirit, nor the law of sin in our members. The old man is not some mysterious “other-self” that co-exists with the new man. It is not a personality disorder, as though there are two opposing inner forces striving for supremacy. This is not supported by Scripture, it’s only philosophy.
What the old man is. The old man is the natural man, carnal, dead in personal trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), weak through the flesh, and cannot please God (Rom. 8:8). He is without hope, without God, and under condemnation (Eph. 2:12; Jude 1:4)) Paul said the old man could not do the things that he would, that he was sold under sin (Romans 7).
The old man is all that we were in every aspect of our being before we came to Jesus in faith and repentance and placed into His body, into His death, burial, and resurrection. The old man is crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). He is supposed to be dead! It is then that the old man is entirely replaced by the new man. (2 Cor. 5:17). The old man is history! The new man now sustains a relationship only to Christ and not to Adam.
Who is the New Man?
What the new man is not. The Bible does not say the new man is the Holy Spirit, nor does the Bible say the new man is Christ living in me, nor does the Bible say it is the “new nature” struggling with the old man. Furthermore, the Bible does not say the new man is Jesus Christ.
What the new man is. The new man is all that the believer is in body, soul, and spirit after being placed into Christ’s body. As a believer, my only reality is that of the new man. I am a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). This may sound ghastly to some, but if one belongs to Christ and he should sin, don’t blame it on the “old man,” blame it on yourself, the new man! The new man should not be living a life of sin (1 John 3:6), but should be abiding in Christ. (John 15:6)