God’s Perspective of the New Person
by Keith Green [Edition revised 17/07/2010]
There is a great deal of misunderstanding among the people of God concerning God’s definition of the new person that comes into existence when one is baptized by the Holy spirit. The reason for this is because many have been making the mistake of viewing the subject from a human perspective, and not the way God sees things. What do you believe in regard to the new person? For example, do you believe this new person ever sins? If your answer is yes, you may be surprised to find God defines things differently and disagrees with you.
When I questioned a number of people in various Churches of God about this subject, I found that most of them believed the new person mentioned in the New Testament was a mixture of good and evil. In other words, they thought the new person that came into existence after baptism also the included sinful side of a Christians nature, but what does God say?
New person identified as Christ within
In Galatians 2:20-21, Paul refers to himself as having been crucified, which according to what he wrote in Romans 6:6 is about the death of his old sinful self (picturing justification). He then continues in the same passage and makes mention of his new spiritual life (in contrast to his old life) – referring to it as Christ living in him. By describing things this way it is clear he was writing about what happens when a person is baptized with the Holy Spirit – the old person is figuratively crucified and the new person is conceived (Romans 6:3-6).
Therefore, it makes sense that the reference in Galatians 2:20-21 to Christ living in him is what God defines as the new person – the Christlike side of a persons nature. See now the relevant verse in which the terms old person and new person have been added in brackets:
“I have been crucified with Christ; [old person] it is no longer I who live, [old person] but Christ lives in me; [new person] and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20-21).
Adding support to the above concept, notice how Paul in Romans 7:14-25 writes in a similar way he did in Galatians 2:20-21 – using descriptive language one would normally expect if someone was referring to two separate entities. This was simply a way of describing the old and new person. The concept is explained with more detail in another article entitled “The 2 creations within Paul” . However briefly, in Romans 7:14-25 Paul was describing the conflict between ‘two opposing natures’(old person and new person) that takes place within the mind of a Christian. By examining the content of the verse, it is clear God does not consider the new person (Christlike nature) to be a combination of good and evil, but inspired Paul to write about the presence of the Christlike nature (new person) as a separate entity.
See now the relevant verses where to help identify the two creations the terms old person and new person have been inserted in brackets:
14 “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” [old person]
15 For that which I do [old person] I allow not: for what I would,[new person] that do I not; [old person] but what I hate,[new person] that do [old person].
16 If then I do [old person] that which I would not [new person] I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it,[new person] but sin that dwelleth in me [old person].
18 For I know that in me [old person] (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; [new person] but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would [new person] I do not: [old person] but the evil which I would not, [new person] that I do [old person].
20 Now if I do [old person] that I would not, it is no more I that do it, [new person] but sin that dwelleth in me [old person].
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me [old person].
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: [new person].
23 But I see another law in my members, [old person] warring against the law of my mind, [good Paul] and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.[old person]
24 O wretched man that I am! [old person] who shall deliver me [new person] from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself [new person] serve the law of God; but with the flesh [old person] the law of sin.” (KJV).
New creation described as an inner righteous spirit
Summarizing the above verses, the ‘new person’ as defined by God is identified as: the one who wills to do good; the inner part of us that delights in the law of God; the part of our mind that actually serves or complies with Gods spiritual law.
It is the impregnation of the Holy Spirit into the spirit in man (Job 38:2) that causes the new spiritual creation to come into existence. The new person is therefore a combination of both spirits. (spirit in man and God’s Holy Spirit). However, the new person does not include the old sinful nature – that belongs to the old person.
Further evidence that ‘Christ within’ is the new creation
Further evidence that God defines the new person as ‘Christ within’ can be obtained by looking at various New Testament bible verses, all written by Paul, that use the same termonolgy ‘put on’ (NT:1746) to refer to either the putting on of the new man or the putting on of Christ.
For example, comparing Galatians 3:27-28 with Colossians 3:10 it becomes evident that both verses are very similar, and are both talking about what happens when one receives the Holy Spirit – the new man is put on. In Colossians 3:10 the putting on of the new person is specifically mentioned, while in Galatians 3:27-28 putting on of the new person is mentioned as the putting on of Christ. This is further evidence that God defines the new person as Christ within. See now the relevant verses below:
1)“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 3:27-28; KJV).
2)“…and have put on (NT:1746) the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:10-13; NJKV).
Ephesians 4:23-24 also talks about the new person using the same terminolgy ‘put on’:
“… and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on (NT:1746) the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness…” .
To put on Christ or put on the new person is simply to incorporate Christlike spiritual characteristics and behaviour like the following verse shows:
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on (NT:1746) tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”(Colossians3:12-13)
New creation not fully developed
This ‘putting on’ (NT:1746) of Christ or the incorporation of Christlike characteristics is a continuing process, because we are admonished in Colossians 3:13 to ‘put on’ more of these characteristics during our Christian lives: “ …put on tender mercies, kindness…”.
The ‘putting on’ of Christ is therefore a process that begins when a person is baptized with the Holy Spirit until Christ is fully formed in us as a spirit being: “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,…” (Galatians 4:19-20).
The fact the new creation is not fully developed while we are still human is further evidenced in Ephesians 4:13;15:
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:...But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:...”
Notice in verse 15, the new spiritual creation, is in the process of growing in Christlike behaviour.
There is also indication given in Hebrews 6:4-6, that while still human, we will only be given a taste of Christlike characteristics. In other words the new creation ‘Christ within us’ will only be partial compared to the fulness of Christ’s spiritual stature:
“...For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance,...” (NKJV). Notice the word “tasted”, indicating that only a portion of the spirit is given to Christians for the purpose of spiritual development.
Another scripture that affirms the new person, which is formed after baptism by the Holy Spirit, is only a degree of the fulness of Christ’s spiritual makeup is in 2 Corinthians 1:22: “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts...”(KJV).
The English word ‘earnest’ having been translated from the Greek word ‘arrhabon’ (NT:728) and means: a pledge, i.e. part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest. Other scriptures that refer to an earnest can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:5 and Ephesians 1:14.
However the fact that the ‘new person’ may fall far short of the fulness of the fulness of Christ’s spiritual stature, does not mean that the ‘new creation’ sins.
The new person does not sin
As discussed previously, the new person according to God is ‘Christ within us’, which is a term used in the bible to describe Christlike behaviour – NEVER sinfulness. This ‘new person’ is us whenever we express the spirituality of Christ, and does not include the sinful characteristics of the old person. The new person therefore does not sin.
The new person is defined by GOD as: the sinless; growing; spiritual; Christlike nature within a Christian, and includes positive attributes such as the will to do good, delight in the spiritual law of God and obedience. It does refer to a persons coexisting sinful nature.
[Home] [About Author] [Why this Site] [My Articles] [General Articles] [Your Articles] [Church Articles] [Your Comments]