“But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8 RSV).
When a man dies his spirit departs from this world leaving behind his physical body or remains for his family to put away, bury or cremate. However, if the man’s dead body or remains is left unattended to after a short time it will begin to decompose and exude a repulsive stench and thus become a nuisance to all those around it.
The stench or repulsive character of many born-again believers today are coming from the remains of the old man lingering on unattended to in their will, minds and emotions.
The longer a man’s dead body stays around unattended to, the greater the stench that will emanate from it and the greater the discomfort it will cause all those around it.
Similarly, the longer the old man’s remains lingers on in your will, mind and emotions, the greater the stench of the old man that will ooze out of your thought, speech, conduct, character or lifestyle.
If you are genuinely born again through faith in the person of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, you no longer have the sinful, depraved or corrupt nature you inherited through the natural birth.
As a believer in Christ, what you now have is the divine, holy, and loving nature of God (2 Pet. 1:4). You don’t have two conflicting or opposing natures within you!
The Scripture states, “No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9 RSV).
What happened to your old sinful and selfish nature?
It was crucified with Christ on the cross!
The Scripture clearly teaches that if you are born again your old man (the embodiment of your sin nature) which bound you to sin has been crucified, mortified or put to death with Christ on the cross, so that you might no longer be a slave of sin.
Paul affirms, “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.” (Rom. 6:6 NKJV).
Why then are many believers today still living, walking, or operating as slaves of sin?
Because of the body of sin or the remains of the old man left unattended to in their will, minds and emotions!
While it is absolutely true that by your spiritual union with Christ through the new birth your old man was put to death through the cross of Christ, however, it is your personal responsibility to put away the remains or the body of sin left behind by the old man in your will, mind and emotions (Eph. 4:22).
Your slackness, laziness or unwillingness to properly put away the remains of the old man in your will, mind and emotions is the primary cause of your constant struggles with sinful habits, falling into diverse temptations, and the cause of many frustrations and failures you are experiencing in your Christian life.
At the Cross, the life of the old man was snuffed out, extinguished or put out completely. The old man is no longer alive in you; he is dead and gone. It is Christ who is now living in you.
Apostle Paul attests to this truth.
20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; 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. (NKJV).
However, the old man left behind his remains in your soul (will, mind and emotions). Therefore, if you fail to properly put away the remains of the old man or the body of sin in your soul, your life will continue to exude the stench of the old man, or bear fruit according to your former sinful nature.
What is the body of sin or the remains of the old to put away in your soul?
Like your physical human body, the body of sin consists of many members!
This is why the Scripture commands you to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Col. 3:5 NKJV).
The body of sin comprises all the sinful desires, all the fleshly passions, all the selfish ambitions and all the worldly and ungodly values and mindsets that have been entrenched or firmly fixed in your soul before you became born again.
In a word, all that the corrupt old man inculcated, infused, or instilled in your soul (will, mind and emotions) before the Lord Jesus Christ put him to death on the cross can be referred to as “Self” or “Selfishness.”
Self is the remains of the old man in your soul which you have to continuously deal with or put away in your Christian journey.
Before his life was snuffed out through the cross of Christ the old man has successfully taught, trained, educated or programmed you to be selfish or self-centred, to boast in your self-righteousness, to think only about yourself, to seek after only your pleasures, to pursue only your selfish ambitions or dreams, to depend only upon yourself, and to live only for yourself.
Seeking to love, obey or serve the Lord Jesus Christ with the same soul (will, mind and emotions) that have been previously programmed or set on pleasing “Self” by the corrupt old man who once lived in you will always result in confusion, friction, frustration and failure in your Christian life.
Your mind is so crucial in your spiritual walk, for it is the seat of your intellect, knowledge, reasoning, perception, judgement, emotions or feelings. Without renewing your mind, you will always struggle to obey and follow the commands of Christ (Rom. 12:2, Jam. 1:21).
Beloved, although you are now a new man or creation in Christ, yet you still have to deal with the body of sin or the remains of the old man (Self) left behind in your will, mind and emotions after Christ put him to death on the cross.
This is your personal and primary responsibility as a born again Christian.
You cannot shirk this responsibility for another person.
Therefore, Paul admonishes 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.” (Eph. 4:22-24 NKJV).
Any born-again believer who is slothful in putting off the remains of the old man (his former selfish mindset, values, principles, pattern, conduct or lifestyle) in his will, mind and emotions, and in putting on that of the new man (which is according to Christ and His teachings) will continue to exude or show forth the repulsive stench or character of his old sinful and selfish nature.
This is why many born again believers today are still thinking, speaking, acting, walking or operating as though they are still slaves of sin and having their inherited sinful, selfish and corrupt nature.
Friend, when you are diligent in putting away the remains of the old man in your soul by yielding your will to God, renewing your mind according to Christ’s teachings, and letting the Holy Spirit control your emotions; the repulsive stench of the old man will cease to ooze out of your life, conduct or character.
Arise and get to work now – identifying and putting off “self” (the remains of the old man) in your will, mind and emotions.
8 But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.
9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices
10 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (RSV).
Be wise and heed Paul’s admonition!
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for crucifying with You my old man on the cross. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to put away the remains of the old man in my will, mind and emotions, in Jesus’ name. Amen.