24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Verses 22 and 23 set forth two of three things that happened at salvation: (1) the putting off of the old man and (2) the renewing of the spirit of our mind. Now we come to the last of the three parallel statements— “put on the new man.”
24 and that you put on
The final of the three parallel statements is “to put on the new man” (cf. v. 24). By the Christian robing himself with the “new man,” he was regenerated and received eternal life.
We exercise both putting off and putting on. There is a flip side of putting off the unsaved life. If we affirm Christ, we say “no” to the world. We put off the old man and put on the new man. The new man is a creation by God (Co 3:10). The Greek tense indicates that “to put on” was a one-time act (aorist) when we became a Christian.
the new man
We need to distinguish between the ideas of “man” and “nature.” Man or person is non-material substance. A substance can act but characteristics cannot; therefore, nature cannot act. A nature is a complex of attributes. There is a difference between a person or his life and his nature. The old man died when a believer became a new man, but characteristics of that old man remain.
The “new man” is the regenerate person who holds status with God positionally. The “old man” has been crucified and is gone; however, his characteristics carry over into the Christian life. This old nature is characterized as “flesh” (Ga 5:16-17).
This new man also has characteristics given by God at salvation. These characteristics enable us to live as we should. The new man can be renewed (Co 3:10). Thus, the Christian is a new man with both an old nature and a new nature. The old man is not the same as the old nature.
The new man is not an addition to the old man. “New” in the Greek does not mean new in time but new in quality. Since the old man refers to the unsaved person, the new man refers to our regenerate person, our divine nature. However, the Greek word for “new” here is different from “renewed” in the previous verse. The “new” here is not something renovated but something altogether different in nature. The “new man” is entirely different in substance than the old man.
Our new life in Christ has new wherewithal.
The Christian is a “new man” and has a new nature as well as an old nature. He is no longer an “old man.” The “old man” is not the same as the old nature. Transition from the old man to the new man took place at salvation. At salvation we received a new position or status before God (Co 3:9-10). Regeneration transformed the Christian’s character. The “new man” is a regenerate person. The new man is not a new disposition.
Our new life in Christ has new wherewithal given at salvation. God gave a set of characteristics to the “new man [person].” This is what Peter calls our divine nature (2 Pe 1:4). Verses 25 and the verses following indicate that it is possible to grow in these qualities. The new person can be renewed (Co 3:10). The Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit after salvation.