Friday, September 10, 2010
Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to see and enter the kingdom of God one must to be ‘born again.’ (John 3:3). Yet even when born anew by the Spirit of God, residual sin remains in the Christian until glory (Phil. 3:12; Heb. 12:23). Converted man carries with him the rotten remains of his pre-conversion man. (Rom. 7:20&25). The Christian is taught to count his ‘old man’ as having been crucified with Christ. (Rom. 6:6). Therefore, for the Christian, the ‘old man’ has been put off and the ‘new man’ put on. (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9&10). The ‘old man’ for the Christian is his pre-conversion sinful nature. He is now a new creation. (Gal. 6:15).
The non-Christian too has an ‘old man’ ‘new man’ aspect to him/her. However, for the non-Christian the ‘old man’ is the residue of his/her pre-Fall or Adamic nature. And his/her ‘new man’ is his/her fallen nature. Thus the ‘new man’ for the Christian is the restoration of the non-Christian’s ‘old man.’ Thus the non-Christian and the Christian have at least one thing in common: Each suppresses his ‘old man.’
This has startling implications for Christian evangelism. For the Christian knows the non-Christian ‘knows’ the triune God - the Creator of the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them - but is simply suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. (Rom. 1:18-21). Thus the Christian ‘new man’ appeals to the ‘old man’ in the non-Christian. He does so with the confidence that the non-Christian will experience pangs of guilty conviction because he/she knows deep down that the Christian is telling the truth about his sinful condition.
In dialogue the Christian is able to use the Law and the Gospel of God to convict and save the non-Christian. For example, the Christian may ask the non-Christian if he has ever told a lie. Deep down the non-Christian knows that it is wrong to tell lies and that he has indeed lied on occasion. Thus God’s Law convicts as the non-Christian’s Adamic ‘old man’ inwardly admits the truth and thus his sin is exposed. The Christian then tells the non-Christian about the gracious provision that God has supplied to save sinners from the punishment their sins are due.
Jesus Christ is God’s provision for sinners. He is the Word, i.e., the 2nd Person in the Trinity, become also fully human forever. He is THE ‘new man.’ Unlike the rest of mankind Jesus Christ never had a fallen nature. Since becoming also a Man His human nature has always been pre-Fall Adamic. He alone is without sin. Therefore He was able to take away the sin of the world. This He did by living a perfect life and dying an atoning death on a cross. He perfectly kept the Law of God in its entirety as representative of all who have or will put on the ‘new man.’ His death on the cross was to pay the price owed for their sins.
Dear reader, deep down you know that you are a sinner. This you will see even more clearly if you would simply stop comparing yourself to the axe-murderer, and instead compare yourself to the perfect Man Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the good news that God, by His grace alone, forgives sinners in Jesus Christ.
May the Lord be pleased to renew and release in you that perfect Adamic nature, that ‘old man’, every non-Christian tries so hard to keep shackled in solitary confinement.