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The Old Man

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When people are young, they often want to be older. When they are old, they often want to be younger—or at least to look and feel younger. Common to nearly everyone is the desire to be rejuvenated and renewed.

What do we think of when we hear the words “old man”?  We may think of “Old Man Winter”—a hoary and harsh picturing of the cold season. We might picture an aged, wizened grandfather with wisps of white hair. It all depends on our perspective. When I was six years old, my family visited at my second cousin’s house. He was twice my age. I thought I would never, ever get to be old like he was, though he was merely the “ripe old age” of twelve.

Now, however, years have gone by and I am, by analogy, well past my 50,000-mile warranty. I still have some miles left, but nobody would be fooled by the euphemistic moniker of “pre-owned” rather than simply “used” or “worn.”

Like anyone who is past the halfway mark, I would love to be physically and mentally rejuvenated. Most of us would love to have the youthful vigor of our late teens and early twenties. We would love to have the mental acuity we had in our thirties and forties. But there is no fountain of youth. There is no magic pill, potion, or lotion that can rejuvenate us and make us “new” again. The inevitable and relentless effects of the passing of time will take their toll on all of us.

For many, old age is the enemy. People spend a lot of money fighting their inevitable aging. The desire to maintain a youthful vigor and appearance has spawned numerous multi-million dollar industries. We have all seen the commercials hawking these products and services that remove wrinkles, tighten sagging skin, hide spots and blemishes, dye gray hair, remove hair here, add hair there, and tone this and lift that.  Like a new coat of paint on an old car, the outside may indeed look better. But underneath and inside, we remain the same worn and used old man.

But there is a genuine and effective rejuvenation available to us. The Bible speaks of “putting on the new man” (Colossians 3). The new man is the one on the inside. The Apostle Paul describes a process of putting aside sins such as fornication, uncleanness, evil desire, covetousness (idolatry), anger, blasphemy and filthy language (vv. 5-9). And then he writes of “putting on the new man” by developing such attributes as mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and love (vv. 10–14).

In Romans 6, Paul further explains this rejuvenation or renewal as “walking in newness of life.” When we do this, we are symbolically crucified, putting to death the “old man” through baptism (v. 6).  When we are then “dead” to our former sinful ways of life, we are alive to God in Christ Jesus (v. 11).

Paul tells us more about the contrast between the old man and the new one, exhorting the Ephesian brethren “that you 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).

This is a rejuvenation that is really worth something, lasting long after the creams and balms and treatments have lost their effectiveness. But it is not a process we can accomplish alone. We need the Holy Spirit if we are to experience this change in our life—if we are to become true followers of Jesus Christ and practice His ways in all aspects of our lives.  We receive the Holy Spirit after repentance and baptism, by the laying on of hands. This wonderful process is explained in our inspiring booklet, Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning. Read it online, or order your own copy, absolutely free.  The “old man” can give way to the new!

  Originally Published: 20th March 2012