“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man; ye have put off the old man” (Eph 4:22; Col 3:9). What exactly is “putting off the old man”? It’s not sending it away, for it remains constant with us. To put off someone means not to attend to what they are saying, like putting off someone who desires your attention or wants you to do something for them. We are hearing the old man’s demands, but that’s all. We are not conceiving what it dictates, nor acting upon it in any way; we are just hearing it, and that’s all!

Surely it’s worth dealing with the sin nature (old man) in the proper and godly way Scripture instructs. God desire that we continue with the old man is for our continued learning (everything believers encounter is just for learning and nothing else). There is nothing more challenging to the saint than the sin nature (closest enemy), which ever attempts to trip us up, and delay our growth in the Lord Jesus (Eph 4:15). But God will not allow it to overtake you, for He has promised that “sin shall not have dominion over you” (Rom 6:14). What is sin’s dominion? It’s the ability is has to cause you to desire sin, which is countered by God’s “work in you.”

Christians have the Life of the Lord Jesus in them by the Spirit. It’s not the Life of the Spirit that He works in us but the Life of the Lord Jesus (Col 3:4); and it’s the power of the Spirit that works all this into place! Thus, it’s by the Spirit using the Life of Jesus in us that we can be a godly people, and children of the Father. Just as He will always be His Son, so shall we ever be the Father’s children!

It’s my strong suspicion that the devil uses the old man as a door when He temp us, and that the Holy Spirit uses the new man (nature from Christ - Col 3:10) to guide and enable us; but our heart’s treasure is God, thus nothing can really sway us in any direction (Mat 6:21). No matter how often we are approached by the enemy (self, Satan and society), God does not allow ultimately anything but what our treasure provides—encouragement away from sin’s opposition.

We hear the old man; we see the devil and we interact with others in a godly manner—but ultimately we always choose “to will and to do of His good pleasure,” for it is the Father Himself that “works” this “in you” (Phl 2:13).

The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS