22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts
the old man
“Man” in the words “old man” means person. The old man was our former person before we became Christians. It was also our status in Adam as non-Christians. It is all that we were before our conversion; it was our entire complex of values.
To put off the old man further means to put off characteristics of the unregenerate human person. Putting off the old man has to do with renouncing the proclivities of our life before we became Christians (4:17-19).
Our position in Christ or our identification with the death of Christ caused us to transition into Christ and leave our status with Adam. By becoming believers, our relationship changed. We are to no longer walk like non-Christians (4:17). We are to walk according to our new calling (4:1). This walk is to manifest certain characteristics beginning at 4:25f.
The believer is to divest himself of the proclivities of his former life as an unbeliever.
Positionally the old man is gone but experientially remains active. When a person becomes a Christian, this is not a change of nature but a change of relationship.
The Bible then distinguishes between the old man and the old nature. The old man was crucified with Christ, but the Christian still struggles with the “body of sin” because the sinful nature is not dead. It was only rendered inoperative (Ro 6:6). There is then a distinction between the old man and the “body of sin.” Christians are no longer slaves to sin (Ro 6:6, 7, 18, 20, 22).