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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

August 1, 2014

The new man

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

In chapter 6 of his epistle to the Romans the apostle Paul compares baptism to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our "old man" dies and is buried in baptism, just as Christ died and was buried. Then we arise from the baptismal pool to "newness of life" (Romans 6:3-6).

Paul talks about this theme of a new life more than once in his epistles. In this regard he exhorted the Ephesians: "Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24).

We "put on the new man" when we are baptized, because our "old man" stays on the other side of the baptismal pool.

Sometimes we hear stories about people who "re-create" or transform themselves after a life-changing experience. Their life takes on a whole new direction, it is as if they are no longer the same person.

We are not the "new man" that we put on at baptism. The "new man" is not some transformation that we struggle to bring about in ourselves or to “create” by ourselves. Instead this "new man" is our Lord and master, Jesus Christ: "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26-28).

If it were up to us to determine the "form and shape" of our new man, we would most likely be quite different as God’s called out ones. But since we all "put on" Jesus Christ as our common new man, we have a basis for unity in thought and action. As we become more like Jesus Christ, we also become more like one another: "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:12-14).

"Not my will, but Christ's [God's] will be done," is the attitude of everyone who seeks to "put on the new man".

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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