Have You Died, Yet?
The natural man is a narcissist to some degree. Narcissism is the focus on oneself. God created Adam and Eve with a focus on Himself as their Creator. When they were distracted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, self-obsession set in. They were now aware of their nakedness and already shifting blame for their disobedience in acts of self-preservation.
Our first parents were promised death as a consequence. Their souls (heart, mind, will) were now dead in sin and dead to God. Death eventually visited their bodies, too. Adam and Eve’s posterity also suffered the plight of sin and death. Each soul conjoined to a body at conception inherits the progenitor’s sin (original). In Adam, all sin and all die (Rom 3:23; 5:12; 6:23; 1 Cor 15:22a).
My dear reader, you were conceived in sin (Ps 51:5), which means your original state in the womb was spiritually dead (1 Cor 2:14). This means that your heart affections were not for God. Your mind was not interested in God. Your will was never to seek God. In turn, you were not righteous in God’s assessment. You were not a good person, as sin contaminated every thought, word, and action. Your “good works” were assessed by God to be filthy rags (Is 64:6). What makes all of this worse is that you simply could not believe any of this about yourself when it was presented to you (Is this the first time?).
Dead bodies follow dead souls into the second death which is hell in the lake of fire (Rev 20:14–15), as the eternal punishment for lawless rebellion against the perfect standard of righteousness. The natural man also does not believe this is his future for eternity. He asks, “What kind of god would do that to good people?”
There is another death that the Bible teaches us besides death of the soul and death of the physical body. Death of the old man or death to self is biblical. By way of explanation the old man is the selfish self. When the term “natural man” is used, it means the same thing. This is who we all are from conception.
The term “old” suggests a change to something “new.” The old man somehow becomes a new man. This transformation is the will of God and the work of God for His chosen people, who He intends to save for all eternity. First, lets profile the old man and then consider the new man.
The old man lives in his body of sin with a looming death sentence. In Christian conversion, the old self is crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20). The old manner of life is laid aside (Eph 4:11), which includes evil practices such as anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech (Col 3:8–10). The Bible presents many vice lists that describe the characteristics of the old self (1 Cor 6:9–10; Gal 5:19–21; Eph 5:5–6; Col 3:6–8; 1 Jn 3:14–15). In short, the old man is a slave of sin (Jn 8:34; Rom 6:6, 16–20).
The old man occupies a body of death because of sin. Without the crucifixion of the old self the natural man dies in his sins and has his appointment with the just Judge of unrighteous, ungodly men. The just Judge of the living and the dead is our Lord Jesus Christ (Gen 18:25; Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; Heb 9:27; 1 Pet 4:5). The sure sentence is eternal hell.
Hell warrants the death of self, and the only way to kill self is to be joined with Christ in His death on the cross (Gal 2:20). One must be brought into union with Christ (1 Jn 4:13). This is the work of God (Is 26:12; Jn 6:29). The Holy Spirit must enter the soul and the soul must be brought into Christ.
The selfish self is a potent character, and only the wisdom and power of God can facilitate this transformation (Ezek 36:26; Rom 12:2; Col 1:13; 1 Cor 1:30). Transformation includes a death and a new life brought to change by a catalyst.
God’s Spirit and God’s Word are the change agents for the death of the old man and his becoming a new creation. Remember that we are speaking of spiritual things, so the death of the mind is a change of mind (metanoia). It is a discarding of old thought and beliefs. It is the formation of new thoughts and beliefs (1 Cor 2:16). The death of the heart is a change of heart as with a heart transplant (Ezek 36:26). It is a whole new set of affections. The death of the old man’s allegiance to sin is the change of will. A new, more powerful source of influence affects the will to do right.
The old man loves the old self so much that the death of self cannot be self-inflicted. Just as God the Father was committed to the deliverance of His only begotten Son over to death on a cross, so He is committed to delivering the old man over to death, so that He might raise us to new life in the Spirit (2 Cor 5:17). This is His gift to His chosen people. He does what we could never do for or to ourselves because of the cunning power of the devil (Jn 8:44; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 6:11).
The new man must be born again of God’s Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). This means He must be made alive by the Spirit’s work of regeneration (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). The Word of God is implanted in the old man by the Spirit through preaching the Gospel (1 Cor 1:23; 2:2, 4; Jas 1:21). The Word of the Spirit kills the old self and also plants the seed of the Word that manifests the new self (Mt 13), which has the features of Christ-likeness (Rom 8:29).
The man made new has the life of God in his soul (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Cor 3:16; Jas 4:5). He is a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). The change of mind to the mind of Christ begins to manifest (1 Cor 2:16), as does the love of God in his heart, which manifests in good works of sacrificial giving that resemble Christ. His will, as was Jesus’ will, is to do the will of God his Father. His ambition is to please God (2 Cor 5:9). His mind is on things above (Col 3:2). His eyes are fixed on Jesus (Heb 12:2). He walks by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 25), mortifying the sinful flesh by means of the Word of God.
Have you died this death? If not, pray to God for a mercy killing of the old self and its raging pride and arrogance. Pray that God would change you by resurrecting your soul. Ask Him to give you His Holy Spirit. It will be the death of you, but it will also be the new life of you…and this life is abundant and eternal (Jn 3:36; 10:10; 1 Jn 5:11–13).
Spokane Valley, Washington
June 9, 2022