What Does the Bible Mean by Our "Old Man" and the "New Man"?

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What Does the Bible Mean by Our "Old Man" and the "New Man"?

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To understand the "old man" and the "new man," we need to understand the symbolism of water baptism. The apostle Paul describes the process of baptism this way: "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin" (Romans 6:4-6, emphasis added throughout).

Paul here explains that our water baptism is a symbol of the death and burial of our "old man"—meaning the life we led apart from God. We are further instructed to "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" (Colossians 3:10). The new man is our changed Christian lifestyle after baptism, for "as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).

After putting to death our old man through repentance and baptism, we put on Christ (by receiving His Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands) to become the new man. At the same time, Paul informs us, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we become a new man, putting on Christ, we also become a new creation. This begins the lifelong process of conversion—becoming like Christ.

The "new man" and "new creation" are the state of a converted Christian after his or her baptism, now striving to always live in accordance with God's way of life.

For more information, please read our booklet Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion.