In scripture we are told to put away our Old Self, our Old Man, but what does that really mean? How can we identify the Old Man, or I guess for us ladies, the Old Woman?
Since the middle of the summer, I’ve been slowly studying the will of God by looking at all the various things God’s word tells us to do. I’ve also done a study on sin and a number of scriptures that breakdown various sins. What is Sin? What are Sins Listed in the Bible? | Bite-Sized
This is not the full list, I’m sure, but I wanted to help give an idea for those wondering what does the Old Man or our Old Self look like before Christ. And remember, even those in Christ will be battling the Old Self every single day, see Galatians 5:17.
Today, I wanted to share mainly a list of character traits we can expect to see in our old self. The list I share below is mostly from looking at God’s Will for You Today | Instructions for Life, which shares the traits/fruit we receive from Christ. Our old self will reflect the opposite of what is good. Our old self will be focused on our wants and desires, not Christ’s.
Old Man/Self References:
- Romans 6:06 – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
- Ephesians 4:19-24 – They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
- Romans 7:05-06 – For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
- Jeremiah 17:09 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
TERM – The Old Self belongs to our old way of life. Our original nature, our sinful nature. A nature that is consumed with self and rejects her Creator.
Sinful Traits/Attitudes Reflecting the Old Man or Old Self:
- Has not put faith (trust) in Jesus Christ.
- Is not confident in Christ.
- Does not follow Christ.
- Does not repent.
- Not convicted of sin.
- Does not fear God.
- Does not treasure God’s commands. Therefore, does not love God.
- Does not meditate on God’s word.
- Does not pray.
- Ignorant of God’s word, the Gospel, etc.
- Has deceitful desires.
- Trusts in self.
- Does not have discernment.
- Is not sober-minded.
- Does not know how to test all things.
- Holds to evil, not good.
- Not content.
- Not gentle.
- Puts self above others.
- Not humble.
- Lacks wisdom.
- Lacks understanding.
- Lacks knowledge of the Holy One.
- Not kind.
- Does not endure in trials.
- Not patient.
- Trusts self.
- Hates suffering.
- Does not give thanks.
- Is not grateful.
- Happy when the enemy falls.
- Tries to take refuge in self.
- Rejoices in self.
- Lacks discipline.
- Lacks self-control.
- Has a back-biting tongue.
- Does not listen to wisdom.
- Does not delight in understanding.
- Not gracious.
- Not merciful.
- Puts trust/security in riches (or positive outcomes.)
- Does not know truth.
- Does not speak truth.
- Commits harlotry against the Lord.
- Commits sexual immortality and delights in it.
- Disrespectful to parents.
- Doesn’t care about family.
- A thief
- Participates in the occult (see: What Is Divination & the Occult? | Bite-Sized)
- For a list of more traits see: What is Sin? What are Sins Listed in the Bible? | Bite-Sized
This is who we are before Jesus because of the fall of Adam. We inherit sin. We have a sin nature from birth. This is why Romans 3:10 says no one is good, no, not one. Christians, be accountable, because we are only blameless through Christ’s righteousness, not our own.
It’s easy to read this list and think of everyone else who fits the traits, except ourselves. For those who do see themselves in the list, this is why godly sorrow leads to repentance because our focus needs to be on Christ and every good thing He has done. He helps us transform from our old ways.
Jesus is God and in order for Him to die as a replacement for man, He added a second nature to Himself becoming the God-Man. Christ lived a sinless life. He relied purely on the will of the Father, not Himself. Christ’s obedience led Him to the cross to pay off the debt of the sinner. Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself, the just punishment for the sinner. Therefore, on the cross, Jesus paid off the debt of the sinner. He died and resurrected conquering death and bondage to sin. For those who put faith in the grace shown to them, they are put under a yoke with Jesus guiding them.
What to Take Away:
Thanks to the Lord, our full wickedness is not unleashed, but restrained. Can you imagine how awful this would be if all of these things were unleashed at once by every sinner? The Lord restraining the full amount of evil lying in the hearts of the wicked alone shows us the mercy and kindness of the Lord. I imagine the days of Noah showed us what this list looked like, for evil lay in every thought of man.
But what about when people do good works, even if they are not a follower of Christ? Any time we see a sinner show some good it is a reflection of being made in the image of God. The credit of “goodness” does not go to the person, but the Lord.
Little note- Now, I don’t believe every time a person experiences, fear, for example, it is a sin. Fear has a healthy place in our lives. But I hope you understand how sin and corruption often lead us into unhealthy thinking, emotions, and actions.
Sin affects and damages our life. Sin affects our understanding. Sin damages the relationships we have with others. Which means sin affects our understanding of the Lord and our relationship with Him.
Sin says, “Focus on me. Don’t focus on Him when anything good happens, oh, but look at the pain He is dealing you.” All the while sin is the one stabbing us, lying to us, deceiving us, and hurting us over and over.
Please understand that whenever we do experience pain related to something the Lord is doing, the pruning or refinement process, while painful, isn’t forever, and it will bear GOOD fruit, not this rotten fruit you see in the Old Man.
Can a believer still struggle with Old Self? Yup. But a believer cannot hold onto the Old Man. Through the Holy Spirit identifying these sins in our lives, we have the opportunity to pray, seek forgiveness, meditate on scripture, that helps us turn away from who we used to be.
Hope in Christ:
- Romans 6:04 -We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
- Philippians 1:09 -11 – And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
- How do we discern? See: How Does Wisdom & Meditating on Scripture Help Us in Our Life? | God’s Will
*All scripture is from ESV
The Gospel Message: With the Good News means there’s bad news. We all are sinners and condemned. We all deserve the just punishment of God’s wrath. Christianity is unlike any other religion because we cannot earn our way into Heaven. God saw the weakness of man and his utter depravity. Yet, He showed us grace. Jesus, God, One Person of the Trinity, became God in the flesh, the God-Man. He was always perfect and sinless. And His humanity was perfected on the cross, living the full sinless life. He became our atonement sacrifice. Dying in our place, taking on the wrath of God upon Himself. He died on the cross, and He was resurrected because death could not hold Him. Jesus is the answer. We, as guilty sinners, need His blood to pay off our debt of sin. For all who put their faith in Him – meaning eyes are opened to the Gospel, we see ourselves as a sinner, we see the need for Christ, we desire our Savior, and we see the ugliness of our sin. Putting our faith in Jesus, we seek HIs forgiveness and repent from our sins, we turn away from our old way of life. We, through the work of the Holy Spirit, continue to become convicted of sin daily. Our eyes will never be the same again. We see things in a different light, and the truth of Christ affects how we live and serve Him. Christ tells us to count the cost. Salvation is a serious topic, it is not to be taken lightly. For a breakdown of this powerful message, understanding how Christ could be God and Man, why God required sacrifices, and more -please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
Scripture To Meditate On – (ESV) Ephesians 5:19-20 – Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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4 thoughts on “What Does the Old Self, the Old Man, Look Like?”
I think the one that caught me off guard was being hopeless, not something I thought too much about as far as being connected to our old nature. Makes me think, thank you.
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Christ gives us hope 🌷🌻 I have a post in December about how Christ is the hope of glory. Christ gives us hope for each day and the promise of God each moment, no matter how hard. The wages of sin, the goal of sin is death and separation from good. So it helps seeing how our old nsture reflects corruption. Grateful the post made you think 🌷🌻 these studies have been doing the same for me. I’ve been slowly going over the will of God so if you are interested on the promises of God, let me know. I can send you the link.
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I really love what you’ve done here. As a Christian in recovery from opiate and alcohol addiction, I am familiar with the need for a thorough and honest personal inventory: a list of one’s character defects, which come from our sinful response to life’s circumstances. My psychology education explained these defects of character as defense mechanisms. The only way we can walk in newness of life is through Christ. There is no way to life for Christ and maintain our “old ways.” Thanks for sharing this post.
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It’s true. Our character “defects” are sin that we inherited sin from Adam. Our natural response to life is to sin and reject our Savior. Sin is enticing, even if ultimately hurts us and others. It’s like poison that’s candy-coated. The world may not think “self-love” for example, is a bad/sinful thing, and yet so many go through all the motions and it’s not enough. We are not enough. We were not made to be enough. We need our Creator, for only He is righteous. You’re absolutely right, the only way for transformation to begin is through Christ. The process of refinement is definitely not easy, but so needed. May the Lord guide you and strengthen you in His word through your journey.
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