This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
We’re going to begin again this session by making an affirmation, our new affirmation. I’m going to ask Ruth to come up and help me. This is the one about passing out, okay? So, we’ll do it once as a pattern and then we expect you all to be able to do it. Just bear in mind this is not a ritual, it’s not a formality. It can change the course of your life. Okay? This can be a turning point when you can learn to say this and reaffirm it regardless of circumstances, regardless of what’s happening in your life. This is true because it’s the word of God. Okay?
“Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we have passed out from under the curse and entered into the blessing of Abraham, whom God blessed in all things.”
How many of you want that? Well, God won’t force it on you. Do you think you can say it with us? All right. Slowly now, and if you make a few mistakes, we’ll forgive you. We might make one ourselves, too.
“Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we have passed out from under the curse and entered into the blessing of Abraham, whom God blessed in all things.”
What do you say next? “Thank you, Lord.”
Some of you are learning to say thank you but I must say some of you are rather slow learners.
Anyhow, we’re going on now with the theme of healing for emotional wounds. I want to make it clear to you I’m only dealing with two. The one we dealt with in the previous session was shame, the one we’re going to deal with in this session is rejection. I don’t mean to imply that there are no other emotional wounds but I believe healing for all of them is provided through the cross. These are just two examples of what I have personally found to be the commonest emotional wounds in contemporary humanity.
We’re going to deal now with rejection. What’s the opposite of rejection? Acceptance. So, Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance. Let’s do that once.
“Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance.”
Let me say a little bit about rejection. This is something I’ve learned in other people’s lives because basically—I say this not with pride but with embarrassment. Rejection is not a problem that I’ve struggled with. In fact, my problem was rather the opposite. I’ve always had the attitude if you don’t like me, that’s your problem. I’m not saying that’s a good attitude but that happens to be the way I was. I hope it’s not the way I am. So, I’ve learned this objectively and I’ve learned it with surprise. I mean, I couldn’t believe what people went through through rejection. I’d like to say really I do not preach theories. I aim to preach the word of God and I preach it in the light of what I’ve experienced and observed. I believe it works.
Rejection could be described as the sense of being unwanted and unloved. I’ve described it this way. Sometimes it’s like you’re always on the outside looking in. Other people get in, somehow you never get in. It says about our relationship with the Lord in the first epistle of John, “We love Him because He first loved us.” I think this is profoundly true. As human beings we are incapable of loving unless love has been awakened in us by someone else’s love. We cannot love God until God’s love awakens love in us. But I believe this is also true of human beings. A person who has never been loved doesn’t know how to love. And that’s true, unfortunately, of multitudes of people who suffer from rejection. They want to love but they’re not able to love because it takes something to awaken love in a person.
Now, let me just hold up this little book which I have here in front of me, Rejection: Cause and Cure. This is another transcript of my radio teaching. I think it’s one week’s. It’s pretty condensed but if you are seeking further information, it will help you. Again, we offered this transcript free to radio listeners who wrote in and I think it was the second highest response. After the one “From Curse to Blessing,” I think this was the highest response.
My personal opinion is this is number one emotional wound in our contemporary culture today, is rejection. There are a number of reasons for that. One main reason is the breakdown of family relationships. As I understand it, and as I have to say, I have to piece this thing together, as I understand it, every baby is born into the world with one supreme need, which is love, to be loved. And not just be loved in the abstract but to be actively loved. A baby needs to feel you want to cuddle him or her. You take pleasure in having him or her in your arms. Love has to be actively expressed to reach a baby. Just abstract love doesn’t meet the need.
Furthermore, it’s my opinion, and I find that recently psychologists have been coming to this conclusion, that the most important love, if you could put it that way, is the love of the father. I find that security for an infant is in a father’s arms. You sometimes see a little baby being held by the father and it looks at you as if to say, “Anything can happen all around me but I’m all right. I’m safe here in these arms that are strong, that hold me and that love me.” I’m not by any means belittling a mother’s love which is unique.
The problem in our contemporary society, and it’s really becoming a worldwide problem, it’s not just in the West. It’s almost as much in the Third World as—I wouldn’t really know about Moslem nations—is that family relationships have broken down and babies are not experiencing this loving acceptance. As a matter of fact, it sometimes go back before birth. I’ve dealt in the ministry of deliverance with people who needed to be delivered from a spirit of rejection which came on them in their mother’s womb. Let’s suppose that a mother finds herself pregnant and she didn’t intend to have a baby and it’s not in her plan. She resents it. She doesn’t have to say anything but that little person—and bear in mind it is a person—inside knows that it’s not welcome. And it’s born rejected.
I’m not so actively involved in the ministry of deliverance all the time now but when I was I noticed that people in a certain age group in America tended very frequently to need deliverance from rejection. So I thought to myself I’ll find out when they were born. And the answer was l929, l930 and following. Now, being British I didn’t know what happened in l929 but I’ve discovered for Americans, you just say l929 and they say the Great Depression, that’s right. So my mind pieced it together. Here’s a mother who is already struggling to feed maybe four kids and she discovers she’s pregnant again. She doesn’t have the time, she doesn’t have the money and so almost unconsciously she says, “I wish I wasn’t pregnant. I wish this little baby wasn’t coming.” And that baby is born with a spirit of rejection. That’s just one example.
Does somebody have a NIV available? Thank you. That’s right, it will be blessed forever now! Isaiah 54, this is so vivid in this. Here’s another main cause of rejection which is the breakup of marriage. And, of course, you know, 50% of marriages today are breaking up. And the wounds are usually felt by both parties. I think some women imagine they’re the only ones that suffer but that’s not true. A man can feel rejection just as deeply as a woman. Anyhow, Isaiah 54:6. This is, of course, addressed to Zion but it’s a pattern.
“The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit, a wife who married young only to be rejected, says your God.”
Thank you, I appreciate that. There is the word rejection which doesn’t occur in the other translations, that’s why I chose it. Who can number the people in our culture today in this nation, and it’s repeated in other nations maybe not to the same extent, who feel rejected because a marriage broke up. Take a woman who’s really given everything to her husband, determined to make a successful marriage. And then he goes off with another woman. I mean, I don’t think I can put myself in the place of that person. But God can.
I have to be careful, I forget where this may end up. I’m theoretically working on a script for a movie which may or may not ever come off. Theoretically based on the story of my first wife’s life. But it’s changing a lot, who knows where it will end. There’s a precious lady that’s working with us on that movie but she had a bad father, she had two marriages that broke up, each of her husbands deserted her, left her with children. There is no way for me to understand what she’s gone through. I mean, I can just intellectualize it but I can’t really empathize with it. She’s a precious person. In the midst of it all, or out of it all, she has found the Lord.
So, let’s just say it briefly. There are other causes of rejection. I mean, you could be just rejected by your friend, rejected at school. You know, today everybody has to be slim. How many of you know that, don’t put your hand up. I think that’s ridiculous myself but that’s not my problem. But a girl is a little plumper and rounder and thicker than her schoolmates; she feels rejected. It doesn’t take much. A boy is a little shorter of a little thinner or a little less good at games. He feels rejected.
So anyhow, I think you’ve identified the problem. Now let’s look at the solution, praise God! Again, the solution is provided by Jesus on the cross. Jesus endured total rejection. Let’s look in Isaiah 53:3 for a moment. We know now that this is a portrait in advance, 700 years before it happened, of what would take place when Jesus was on the cross.
“He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief [or a man of pains and acquainted with sickness]; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him.”
He was rejected by men. John says He came to His own people and His own did not receive Him. Even His own brothers, His mother’s children, rejected Him.
Let’s look again at Psalm 69. You remember we looked at that in our previous session, it’s a Messianic psalm. Psalm 69:8:
“I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children.”
I never noticed that till this moment that it says my mother’s children, it doesn’t say my father’s children. I mean, that’s true of many Messianic prophecies, it speaks about the mother of the Messiah but it does not speak about the father. But I never noticed this particular passage before.
That’s what happened to Jesus. His own family rejected Him, His own people rejected Him. But that was not the final. The ultimate rejection of Jesus was by His Father. And we need to turn again to Matthew 27:45–51. This is a description of the closing moments of Jesus on the cross.
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour [that was from 12 noon till 3 p.m.] there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ that is, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Some of those who stood there, when they heard that said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’”
They didn’t understand the language but they thought Eli was the name for Elijah.
“Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink.”
That’s the ultimate, being given sour wine to drink.
“The rest said, ‘Let him alone, let us see if Elijah will come to save him.’ Jesus, when he had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
That was the ultimate rejection. To be rejected by men was painful but to be rejected by His Father was the ultimate. For the first time in the history of the universe the Son of God prayed and there came no answer from the Father. Why? Because He had been made sin with our sinfulness and God had to deal with Him as with sin. Reject Him, refuse to accept Him. And so He died not of crucifixion but of a broken heart.
Let’s go back to Psalm 69 for a moment. I hope, incidentally, that this will introduce some of you to the reality of Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. Remember what I said previously? The New Testament tells us nothing of what went on inside Jesus but the Old Testament does. Psalm 69:20–21, that we may know this is also a prophecy of Jesus.
“Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food; and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”
We know that that was fulfilled on the cross. But notice what Jesus died of. A broken heart. “Reproach has broken my heart.” You see, normally crucifixion would not have caused so quick a death. And as a matter of fact, this is borne out in the New Testament if you turn for a moment to Mark 15:43:
“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went into Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate marveled that he was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if he had been dead for some time. And when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.”
Normally speaking, Jesus shouldn’t have been dead by that time. The two thieves had to be put to death by the soldiers. Jesus did not die of crucifixion, although that would have killed Him ultimately. He died of a broken heart, it’s very important to see that. What broke His heart? Rejection. Rejection by whom? By His Father. The ultimate rejection.
All that was that we might have acceptance. Going back to Matthew 27 for just a moment, reading verses 50–51:
“Jesus, when he cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
What does that signify? That we can have acceptance. The veil that was between God and us was torn in two. And it was from top to bottom so that nobody should ever imagine man did it. It was done by God. That torn veil is an invitation to every person who believes in Jesus, “Come in, you’re welcome. My Son has endured your rejection that I may offer you my acceptance.” That’s the key.
Let’s look in Ephesians 1:3 and following.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world...”
Notice the ultimate is not our choice, it’s God’s choice. Don’t imagine you’re saved because you chose. You’re saved because God chose. That makes it altogether different. You might change your mind but God doesn’t. See?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... [verse 4] Just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love...”
That’s a tremendous thought, isn’t it? If it wasn’t based on God’s choice, I would never have faith that it could be that we could be holy and without blame before Him in love. But it’s God’s choice, not ours.
See, there’s a great deal of wrong emphasis in contemporary presentation of the gospel where everything depends on what we do. You have to choose, you have to do this and do that. It’s true we have to choose but we would never be able to choose if God hadn’t chosen us in the first place. And you will find you’re much more secure as a Christian when you’re not basing all your relationship with God on what you do but on what God has done. See? It makes a lot of difference. God is more dependable than you and I.
Going on in Ephesians 1:5:
“...having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will...”
Who thought all this up? You didn’t. I didn’t. God did. Going on, verse 6:
“...to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he has made us accepted in the beloved.”
What’s the opposite of rejection? Accepted. Modern translations use different words but that word means really “highly favored.” The same word is used when the angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary and said, “Hail, thou that are highly favored.” So it’s better than being accepted. It’s highly favored through Jesus Christ. Understand, God has no second class children. If you’re a child of God you’re not in the second rank. There’s no child of God in the second rank. All God’s children are welcome.
Now let me relate to you a little incident that made this so vivid to me. A good many years ago I was speaking in a big camp meeting and I was due to preach and I was a little in danger of being late. So, I was hurrying across the campground to get to where I was due to speak. I ran into a lady, or she ran into me, who was going in the opposite direction. We kind of picked ourselves up and she said, “Oh, Mr. Prince, I was praying that if God wanted me to speak to you, we’d meet!” So I said, “We’ve met but I can only give you two minutes, I’m going to be late for my preaching.” So she began to tell me all her woes and all her problems in one minute. And at the end of that time I stopped her. I said, “Listen, I can’t give you any more time. Say this prayer with me.” I didn’t tell her what I was going to pray, I didn’t diagnose her condition; I just said pray this prayer with me. So I led her in a prayer that went something like this:
“Oh God, I thank you that you really love me, that I really am your child, that you really are my Father, that I belong to the best family in the universe. I’m not unwanted, I’m not rejected. I’m accepted. You love me and I love you. Thank you, God.”
And then I said, “Good bye, I have to go.” I didn’t talk any more to her. I got to my preaching assignment and really forgot about her.
I would think about a month later I got a letter from her. She described the incident and where we met so she could be sure I knew who she was. And then she said something like this, I can’t give you the exact words, but she said, “Praying that prayer with you has completely changed my life.” She said, “I am a different person.” What happened? She passed from rejection to acceptance. Not by anything she did, not by her trying harder or improving herself or praying more. But just accepting what Jesus had done for her on the cross.
The worst thing you can do for a person who is struggling with rejection is to tell them to do more. You know why? Because they’ll never believe they’ve done enough, no matter how much more they do.
This is the wonderful thing: God loved us. God loved you individually. He loved me, marvelous though it may seem. And in Christ we are His children, we are His family, we belong to the best family in the universe. We have nothing to be ashamed of, we’re not second class, we’re not unwanted. We are accepted. Can you say amen? Thank you, God.
Part 12 – Old Man vs. New Man
In our two previous sessions we’ve been dealing with what I call emotional wounds: the wound of shame and the wound of rejection. I’ve tried to show you directly from scripture that Jesus endured both of those wounds to the ultimate and He endured them that we might be healed from them. We’ve read the scripture several times “by his wounds we are healed.” I believe that’s true in the physical and in the emotional. There could be other emotional wounds that we’ve not dealt with but I believe if you’ll accept the principle that healing is provided through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus, you will be able to find healing for yourself and if you’re in ministry or counseling, you’ll have the privilege of leading others into healing. I don’t think I’ve ever had any greater privilege than being able to see people healed from the wounds of shame and rejection. But I want to tell you God’s remedy works. It’s not just theory, it’s not just theology; it works.
We are going to move shortly into another aspect of the work of the cross, we’re going to deal with what the cross should be doing in us. Up till now we’ve been dealing with what the cross has done for us. Everybody is happy about that and many Christians just stop there. All they want is “gimme, gimme, gimme” and their Christianity becomes very shallow and unsatisfying because that’s not the end.
What we’re going to deal with today in this session now is God’s dealing with what’s called the old man. And this is both a substitutionary act of God and it’s, as it were, the doorway to what we’ll be dealing with in the remaining sessions, the next four sessions, which will be what the cross needs to do in you. So view this as a kind of transition from what the cross has done for us to what the cross needs to do in us. But here we’re talking about the old man and God’s way of dealing with the old man.
We need to form a clearer idea of what the old man is. It’s not your father! The New Testament speaks, and we’ll look at it in a little while, about two men: the old man, the new man. They’re never named, they’re never called George or Henry or Bill. But they’re two of the most important characters in the New Testament. The old man, as I understand it, is the nature that we have inherited by our descent from Adam. Some people call it the old Adam which I think is legitimate. You see, Adam never had any children until he was a rebel. And every descendant of Adam is born with something in them that is a rebel. And it doesn’t matter how good you are outside or how young you are or how old you are, there’s a rebel inside every descendant of Adam.
I think you can see this with little children. I’m the adoptive father of a family of nine girls so I have a little experience in dealing with girls. Although, most of them were older than that. You will notice with little girls about the age of two, I mean, they’re the sweetest, cutest things. You couldn’t believe that ice cream would melt in their mouths. But, you say come here and what happens? They turn around and begin to walk in the opposite direction. Is that right? Just about age two I notice. What’s that? That’s the rebel manifesting himself.
I have a friend who said, “I could believe that little boys told lies but that little girls told lies,” he said, “I couldn’t believe it until my daughter told a frank blank lie and I knew it was a lie.” But there’s something in every one of us that’s a rebel. And the Bible calls it the old man.
God’s plan is to replace the old man with the new man. And so, I could say this:
“On the cross our old man was put to death that the new man might come to life in us instead.”
Let’s look for a moment now in Matthew 3:10, which is the verse that really introduces the gospel. And the words are in the mouth of John the Baptist who was the forerunner sent to introduce Jesus. In Matthew 3:10, introducing the gospel, John says:
“Even now the ax laid to the root of the trees...”
Do you know what the word radical means? Radical is derived from a Latin word “radix” which is the word for root. And radical means that which deals with the root. Now, of all the messages that have ever come to humanity, the most radical is the gospel. We need to bear that in mind. A lot of people have got a very superficial version of the gospel that doesn’t deal with the root. But God deals with the root. He doesn’t just chop off the branches, He doesn’t even cut down the trunk; He deals with the root.
I learned in the ministry of deliverance, for instance, that I started with what were just little branches up at the top of the tree, things like smoking and alcohol and things like that. All the obvious sins that religious people don’t like. But I realized that every addiction is a branch that grows on a bigger branch. And that if you only cut off the addiction branches you haven’t dealt with the root problem. Now, my thinking, the basic problem of every addiction is a frustration. So, in order to deal with the addiction you’ve got to find out what is the frustration that caused the addiction to grow. However, even frustrations are only branches. If you want to really deal with humanity’s problems you’ve got to go below the surface to the root. And that’s what John said, “The ax is laid to the root of the tree.” What is the root? The root is rebellion. The root is man’s rebellion against God. Do you remember when we first started to look at Isaiah:
“All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him [Jesus] the rebellion of us all.”
That’s our root problem. And there is a rebel inside every one of us. Sometimes he’s a communist rebel. Sometimes he’s an alcoholic rebel. But sometimes he’s a nice religious rebel but he’s still a rebel. And God has only got one remedy for the rebel. Do you know what it is? He doesn’t send him to church, doesn’t send him to Sunday School, doesn’t teach him the golden rule or teach him to memorize scripture. What does He do. He executes him. Execution is God’s solution. Shall we say that? “Execution is God’s solution.” But the message of mercy is that the execution took place in Jesus on the cross.
Let’s look in Romans 6:6. We may read a little further.
“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.”
The problem with many Christians is they don’t know it. You see, we’re not talking now about the forgiveness of your past sins. We’re talking about dealing with the rebel that’s inside you. You can go to church and say a prayer and maybe get your sins forgiven. But if you walk out of the church with a rebel inside you, what are you going to go on doing? Sinning. The rebel is going to go on sinning. So in order to be free from slavery to sin we have to have more than the forgiveness of our past sins. We have to have the rebel inside us dealt with. And it’s dealt with through the death of Jesus on the cross. Our old man was crucified with Him.
Now, that’s a historical fact. It’s true whether you know it or whether you believe it. But, it won’t work in your life until you know it and believe it. That’s what releases it in your life. Let’s read on a little there.
“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him [Jesus], that the body of sin...”
That’s the sinful nature. That’s not our physical body but it’s the nature that we got with our physical body by descent from Adam.
“...that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin...”
And anybody in whom the old man has not been dealt with is still a slave of sin.
“...for he who has died has been justified from sin.”
This says freed but the Greek says justified. Once you’ve paid the final penalty there’s no more penalty to pay, you see? The law can demand nothing more from you after you’re dead.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. For the death that he died he died to sin once for all; the life that he lives he lives to God.”
Now, here’s the application, this is the fact:
“Likewise, you also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So now you’ve got the facts, you have to apply them. Our old man was crucified. God did that. But you’ve got to reckon yourself dead with Jesus. That’s faith. That’s where it works. Until you do that you’ll be the slave of your old man.
What does it mean to be dead to sin? In one of my books, my Foundation Series, it gives a little illustration. We choose the worst man, the kind of man that churchgoers just can’t abide. He swears, he drinks whiskey, he smokes cigars, he curses, he’s unkind to his wife and children, and he watches all sorts of bad things on television. But his wife and his children have become believers. And so, Sunday evening they sneak out to the local gospel service. And as they go out they see him there sitting in his armchair watching things that he oughtn’t to watch on video and a cigar in his mouth, glass of whiskey on the table beside him. He swears at them as they go out. He’s bad. All right. Well, they have a wonderful evening in the gospel service and they come back singing choruses, walk into the room and suddenly realize he’s going to swear at them. But he doesn’t swear. They look. The cigar is in the ashtray, the smoke is curling up but he’s not smoking. The whiskey is in the glass but he’s not drinking. He’s not even watching what’s on the television. Why? Guess what happened? He had a heart attack and died. And now he’s dead to sin. Dead to whiskey. Dead to cigars. Dead to the television. Dead to swearing. All right? Put it this way. Sin has no more attraction for him. All right? Sin produces no more reaction from him. He’s dead.
Now, the Bible says likewise reckon yourselves to be dead to sin. What does that mean? Sin has no more attraction for you. Sin has no more reaction from you. Sin has no more power over you. Is that what it means? It can’t mean anything else. How? By faith. By faith in what? By faith in what Jesus did on the cross. Our old man, that criminal, was executed.
Years ago, I really can’t tell this story in detail but it’s one of the ways God dealt with me, I had a vivid dream in which I saw a man preaching in an open air street meeting in London. I was doing that regularly three times a week at that time. As I looked, he was doing a good job of preaching and there was a crowd of people standing around him; but he had a club foot and he was just somehow twisted and crooked. I didn’t think much more about the dream. I said to myself, “I wonder who that man is?” But about two weeks later I had precisely the same dream. I thought to myself God must be trying to tell me something and I said, “I wonder who the man is?” His preaching was all right but there was something crooked about him. And as I was wondering that, God said to me just what Nathan said to David, “Thou art the man.” And I realized that God was exposing to me the old man in me. I’d been saved and I was in the ministry at the time. And then I began to study the scripture and I saw that the remedy was crucifixion.
It was about Easter time and I had a mental picture in my mind of three crosses on the hill of Golgotha. The middle cross was taller than the other two. As I was meditating on this, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and He said, “Now tell me. For whom was the middle cross made? But,” He said, “think before you answer.” So I thought for a moment and I said, “It was made for Barabbas.” He said, “That’s right.” Then He said, “But Jesus took the place of Barabbas.” You realize that’s the historical truth. So then He said, “But I thought Jesus took your place.” I said, “Yes, He did.” Then He said, “You must be Barabbas.” I never argue with people but at that moment I saw it. I was the criminal for whom the cross was made. It fitted me exactly. It was my due destination. But Jesus took my place. My old man was crucified in Him.
Now let’s look for a moment at the picture of the new and the old man. Ephesians 4:20–22. I can’t go into the background. Paul is talking to Christians. Notice Christians, not unbelievers.
“That you put off concerning your former conduct the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts; be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and you put on the new man which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.”
Now notice he was talking about people who were already saved. There’s no question they were saved but he said remember you’ve got to put off the old man and put on the new man. That’s not something that happens when we’re saved, it’s something to which we are led after we’re saved. Put off the old man, put on the new.
And he describes them. He says, and I’ll give you the Prince version of this:
“The old man is experiencing corruption because of the lusts of deception.”
All right? The old man is experiencing progressive corruption because of the lusts of deception that are in it. Verse 24:
“But the new man was created according to God’s pattern in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
This doesn’t come out in any of the translations. The two contrasts are deception and truth. The old man is the product of the devil’s lie. It’s the nature that came when Adam and Eve believed the lie of the devil. The new man is created afresh by God, it’s the new creation in Christ which is the product of the truth of God’s word and produces righteousness and holiness. That’s complicated, let me try and say it again. The old man is the product of the devil’s lie. What did the devil say? You’ll be like God, you will not die. They believed him and it created in them a corrupt nature. I wouldn’t say created, it corrupted their nature. The key word to describe the old man is the word corrupt.
Now, God’s remedy is to crucify the old man in Christ, let it be applied in us and God creates in us a new man which is the product of the truth. Notice, the difference is between the devil’s lie and God’s truth. And God’s truth, through the new creation, produces in us righteousness and holiness. That’s the transition.
But you need to grasp this fact that the old man, the key word is corrupt. He’s morally corrupt, physically corrupt, emotionally corrupt, he is corrupt.
God showed me something years back which is significant. Corruption is irreversible. You cannot turn it back. Once it comes in there’s no way to turn corruption back. You can slow it down but you can’t reverse it. Take, for instance, a beautiful piece of fruit like an apple or a peach. It’s just perfect. You can’t see anything wrong with it but it’s corrupt. You leave it on the dining room table for a week and you come back, it’s yellow, shriveled and unattractive. Because, corruption was in it. The modern solution is put it in the refrigerator. But the refrigerator doesn’t reverse corruption, it just slows it down.
In my opinion, many churches are like the refrigerator. They don’t change corruption, they just slow it down a little bit. All right? The only way to change is a new creation. God doesn’t patch up the old man, He doesn’t reform the old man, He doesn’t improve him, He doesn’t educate him; He puts him to death. And in his place there comes forth a new creation which is the product of God’s truth.
Let’s look briefly in closing at the nature of the new creation. 1 Peter 1:23, writing to born again Christians Peter says:
“You have been born again not of corruptible seed but incorruptible through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”
What is the seed that brings forth the new man? It’s the seed of God’s word. What’s the key word that describes it? It is incorruptible. All right? Now, in all nature, in fact the whole universe as far as I know, the nature of the seed determines the nature of that which comes out of it. So if you sow an orange pit you don’t get an apple. If you sow an apple pit you don’t get an orange. The nature of the seed determines the kind of life that comes out of it. So if you’re born again as you are as a natural person of corruptible seed, you’ll have a corruptible life, a life which is subject to the process of corruption. But if you’re born again of incorruptible seed, what kind of life will you have? An incorruptible life. It is impossible for incorruptible seed to produce a corruptible life. You understand? So what’s the nature of the new man that comes out of the seed of God in one word? It is incorruptible. Incorruptible. What causes it to be incorruptible? The seed of God’s word.
Now, look on with me in James 1:18 for a moment very quickly. James 1:18, speaking about God:
“Of his own will he brought us forth [or begot us again] by the word of truth.”
Notice the new man is the product of what? The truth. The truth of God’s words begets in us an incorruptible nature.
Now go to 1 John 3:9:
“Whoever has been born of God does not sin...”
“...because his seed remains in him and he cannot sin because he has been born of God.”
Now, Derek Prince was born of God about 48 years ago. Does that mean that Derek Prince cannot sin? I’ll tell you for sure it doesn’t. Does it mean that Derek Prince never sinned after that? I’ll tell you for sure it doesn’t. But it says he that is born of God, not that he does not sin but cannot sin. My conclusion is that it’s not talking about the individual, it’s talking about the new man in the individual. The new man is incapable of sinning. Okay? Because he’s born of incorruptible seed.
If you look in 1 John 5:4:
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.”
It’s both a whoever and a whatever. It’s not talking about James or Bill or George or Mary or Jane. It’s talking about the new man that’s produced in us by the word of God. Incorruptible seed produces an incorruptible nature. Does that mean that once we’re born again we can never sin? No. Because it all depends on which nature is allowed to control us. See? The old man cannot help sinning. The new man cannot sin. What you will do depends on who is in control of you.
See, a person who has never been born again cannot help sinning, his nature causes him to sin. A person who has been born again has an option. If we allow the new nature to remain in control, we do not sin. But if we allow the old nature to reassert itself, then we sin. See, this is very appropriate because in our next four sessions we’re going to speak about what the cross is designed to do in us. And whether we sin or don’t sin, whether we have victory or defeat will depend on the measure in which we allow the cross to do its work in us.
But, God’s solution is this:
“Our old man [the rebel, the corrupt one] was crucified in Jesus that we might be delivered from that evil/corrupt nature and a new nature might come into us through the word of God and take control.”
But whatever you do, don’t try to make the old man behave religious because it doesn’t work.