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« The Attitude of Survival | Main | Mind Games »

Anatomy of the New Man

We begin with the new birth.

John 3:3-5; Acts 2:38-39; 1 Peter 1:23

We understand that the watch word or code word for the believer is new.

  • New doctrine
  • New testament
  • New creature
  • New tongues
  • New man
  • New covenant
  • New and living way
  • New commandment
  • New name
  • New song
  • New heavens
  • New earth
  • New Jerusalem
  • New everything

Is the old always bad and the new always good?

No, if the old is ordained of God and the new is man’s invention.

  • Old paths
  • Old truths

Yes, if the old is man’s way and the new is God’s promise.

  • Old man
  • Old covenant
  • Old commandments
  • Old master

Sometimes, it is not right or wrong, but favorable and unfavorable.

Better or worse

Heading up or heading down

We must understand the contrast between the old and the new.

  • Adam and Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:45-50
  • Old Testament and New Testament. Hebrews 8:6-7, 13.
  • Old man and new man. Ephesians 4:22-24

The Galatian Problem

  • Galatians 2:4. The Judiazers imposed the Old Covenant on the believers.
  • Galatians 2:16-21. The Apostle Paul corrected the error.
  • Galatians 3:1-3. Setting the vision for the future.
  • Question: Why did the Galatians have such a difficult time transitioning from the old to the new? Answer: Because our natural tendency is to revert to the way we were first taught.

Does the statement, “We’ve always done it like that” ring any bells?

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s a very odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England , and English expatriates built the US Railroads. Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used. Why did “they” use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.  

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England , because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England ) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder who came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory at Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds. So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of the back end of a horse. 

The fact that we are born again does not mean that living for Christ is automatic. A child needs to learn many new things in order to survive in life. Galatians 4:1-2. We have all had to go through orientation and training for a new job.

Many times, in order to learn something new, we have to unlearn something old.

Consider QWERTY…the typewriter keyboard…the Universal User Interface….

It makes no sense. It is awkward, inefficient and confusing. We’ve been saying that for 124 years. But there it remains. Those keys made their first appearance on a rickety, clumsy device marketed as the “Type-Writer” in 1872. Today the keyboard is a universal fixture even on the most advanced, sophisticated computers and word processors electronic technology can produce.
How could we get stuck with something so bad?
In this case, the answer lies in the old proverb about the early bird catching the worm. As far as the typewriter keyboard is concerned, being first was the whole ball game.

  • 1878 Typewriter Patent Drawing, featuring the QWERTY Keyboard. Years after its introduction, it was considered important enough to include in a patent.
  • The name “QWERTY” for our typewriter keyboard comes from the first six letters in the top alphabet row (the one just below the numbers). It was the work of inventor C. L. Sholes, who put together the first commercial typewriter in a Milwaukee machine shop back in the 1860’s.
  • When Sholes built his first model in 1868, the keys were arranged alphabetically in two rows. At the time, Milwaukee was a backwoods town.
  • The crude machine shop tools available there could hardly produce a finely-honed instrument that worked with precision. The first typewriter clashed and jammed when someone tried to type with it. But Sholes figured out a way around the problem simply by rearranging the letters.
  • Looking inside his early machine, we can see how he did it.
  • The first typewriter had its letters on the end of rods called “typebars.” The typebars would tend to clash into each other when typed in succession. So, Sholes rearranged the keyboard to separate the keys used most frequently. His solution did not eliminate the problem completely, but it was greatly reduced.
  • In 1932, Professor August Dvorak, of Washington State University, set out to develop the ultimate typewriter keyboard once and for all.
  • Dvorak created a home row using all five vowels and the five most common consonants: AOEUIDHTNS. With the vowels on one side and consonants on the other, a rough typing rhythm would be established as each hand would tend to alternate.
  • With the Dvorak keyboard, a typist can type about 400 of the English language’s most common words without ever leaving the home row. The comparable figure on QWERTY is 100. The home row letters on Dvorak do a total of 70% of the work. On QWERTY they do only 32%.
  • Dvorak’s keyboard failed to take hold. No one wants to take the time and trouble to learn a new keyboard, and it never got used enough to prove that it was convincingly superior to the old.

Unlearning the old man, learning the new man.

In contrast to the keyboard controversy, there is no question about the superiority of the new man of the Spirit over the old man of the flesh. Even though we have a new spirit and a new heart working inside of us after the new birth experience, we still have the baggage of the old man to contend with.

Let’s go to Ephesians 4:22-32 and find out some practical things we need to unlearn so we can replace them with the new.

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Lying. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

The sin of lying stems from the old nature. Why do people lie? They have something to hide; they fear the repercussions from telling the truth. Everyone knows that you shouldn’t tell a lie. But what about really small lies, like when you’re asked, “Does this dress make me look fat?” And what about really important lies, like when you’re asked, “Are you hiding the man I want to murder?” Are these really lies? If they are lies, is it okay to tell them? If they aren’t lies, then what are they? Do we even have a meaningful definition of a lie?

Telling the truth does not mean being harsh, mean or ignorant. We can use a soft answer. We can use diplomacy. We can use kindness. We can be gentle. We can choose words that are less offensive or less shocking. We cannot, however, engage in deliberate deception, misleading people, fabricate stories that will hurt or destroy others, or gain advantage by falsifying the facts. The following statements are wrong:

  • I had to lie because you can’t handle the truth.
  • I had to lie to get out of trouble.
  • I had to lie because it was the best choice for everyone.

Prov 12:17-23 He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit. 18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. 19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. 20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellers of peace is joy. 21 There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief. 22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. 23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.

Anger. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Anger in this verse means to become provoked or exasperated. In other verses, it means to be irritable or enraged.

If you find yourself constantly in the grip of anger, you need to do some deep soul-searching.

  1. Accept that most things in the world are out of your control.
  2. Accept that it is your choice to get angry about those things.
  3. No one makes you angry.
  4. Life is unfair. Waste no energy lamenting or trying to change that fact.
  5. No one likes to be around an angry person. No one feels like helping an angry person.
  6. So why be angry? Maybe you really don’t want your problems solved. Maybe you just want to complain and wail and gnash your teeth.
  7. Take stock of yourself. What do you want?
  8. You should smile more. Your face won’t break.
  9. Anger is a weed; hate is the tree. -St. Augustine
  10. Anger makes a rich man hated and a poor man scorned. -Thomas Fuller

Yield to temptation. 27 Neither give place to the devil.

Place or room, opportunity and scope for acting in and through you. Stopping the activity of the devil demands vigilance and self-control. The devil always tries to get a foothold in your life.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Don’t go looking for sin. Draw boundaries for yourself. Get help though a friend or mentor to whom you can be accountable.

One of our members gave me this example from his experience in construction: When working on a platform three feet off the ground, safety belts were not needed. When working on a platform 30 feet high (even though the chances of falling off were theoretically the same), safety belts were required; all workers had to be attached by rope to something secure. When working on a large flat roof, safety ropes were not required unless the worker was within 12 feet of the edge. In other words, the requirements were adjusted according to risk and the seriousness of the consequences.

The safety rules were particularly interesting for working on a large domed roof. At the top of the roof, where the surface is nearly level, the chances of falling down are practically nil, and the chances of injury are low. One could even go 20 feet out from the center, and the slope would still be quite gentle; even if somebody tripped and fell there would be no danger.

However, one could go about halfway out and still stand up, but there, the roof has a steep slope and a small stumble might cause a person to fall off the building and die. But there was no identifiable point where danger started. Consequently, workers had to be safety-roped no matter where they were on the roof. No specific “edge” made the dome dangerous, because no one could see where the danger zone started. Lives were at stake, and the only sensible precaution was to require everyone, even people on the flat part of the roof, to be safety-roped.

Stealing. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Corrupt communication. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Grieving God. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Contention. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

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Reader Comments (1)

This made me laugh because it's true:

"So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of the back end of a horse."

Thanks for that one. Great illustration. =]

I would like to see you do a whole blog on "lying" that builds on what you wrote in this entry.

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

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