Scripture Notes


Colossians 3:9-10.

In general terms the "old man" is expressive of the nature we derived from Adam, the flesh dominated by sin, and the "new man" as plainly speaks of Christ. But this must be considered more particularly. It belongs then to our Christian profession to have put off the old man and to have put on the new; and this, indeed, forms the basis of the exhortations found in verses 8, 9, and in verses 12-14. All that morally distinguishes the old man, "anger, wrath, malice," etc., is to be "put off"; and all that characterizes the new man, "bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering," is to be put on. But all these features (those of verses 12, 13) were seen in our blessed Lord and Saviour. They were displayed in all their perfection in His blessed life in this world; and consequently the moral traits which He exhibited are to be reproduced in us. This will help to the understanding that the new man is Christ in moral character. Another thing may be mentioned. It has often been pointed out that the term "new" (new man) in Ephesians is different from what is employed in Colossians. In the former the word signifies what is wholly new in kind or character; in the latter it means rather what is new in commencement - what is recent, and not old. But, then, when we come to the phrase "renewed in knowledge" (v. 10), "renewed" is connected with the word found in Ephesians. We call attention to this to emphasize the fact that the "new man" is a new creation (see Ephesians 2:15), and is thus wholly apart from - not of - the world, even as Christ was not of the world. A word may be added on "putting on." It need scarcely be remarked that it is putting on inwardly, and that the action, therefore, is connected with moral growth in the likeness of Christ. This may be seen from verses 10, 11. The new man is there said to be "renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him" - and in the close of verse 11 we learn that it is Christ who is presented as the standard or the model of the new man. Christ is everything, and as such He is to fill the vision of the soul as object, being, moreover, in all as life, in accordance with the characteristic teaching of this epistle. This makes all plain. Christ Himself, Christ Himself glorified as Man (compare John 17:19), is presented as the perfect model of the new man; and then when we come to the practical putting on, "as the elect of God, holy and beloved," the details are given, the details of those blessed characteristics which, as already seen, shone out through Him when here in this world. As ever, therefore, it will be through occupation, through the enjoyment of intimacy with Himself, that the new man will be renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him, and that we shall put on the moral features which were seen in Him. It is in this region that man disappears (" there is neither Greek nor Jew," etc.), and that Christ Himself floods the scene with His own perfections and excellencies; and it is because He is in us that we may daily be learning to put these on to the end that Christ Himself may, in some measure, be manifested in our walk and ways. (Compare 2 Cor. 4:10.)


1 Samuel 8:7; 1 Samuel 10:19.

To reject a servant who is really sent forth by the Lord, and who is doing His will, and is standing for Him, is to reject the Lord Himself. This is the lesson God taught Samuel when he was displeased with Israel for desiring a king to judge them like the nations. Perhaps he viewed the desire as affecting his own position. Whether he did so or not, like a true man of God he prayed about it, and in answer to his prayer the Lord bade him to hearken to the voice of the people, saying, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them." Samuel learned his lesson, and hence in chap. 10 he boldly tells the people, "Ye have this day rejected your God, who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto Him, Nay, but set a king over us." Samuel was now in his true place as a servant, for he lost sight altogether of himself, and considered the action of the people as it affected the Lord. In precisely the same way the Lord Jesus identified Himself with His disciples: "He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me." (Matthew 10:40; John 13:20.) Blessed is that servant who, through grace, is so hidden behind his Lord that he is lost in the Lord's objects and interests, and thinks only of HIS honour and HIS claims. Such an one will understand with Samuel that if his message is refused it is God's word, and not his own, that is rejected; and, further, the state of the rejecter will only produce pity in his heart, and lead him to intercession before God on his behalf. (See 1 Samuel 12:23.)

The Spirit of God is our only power as against evil, and our only power for the enjoyment of heavenly things; but to avail ourselves of His power we need to be in dependence and in the activity of faith.