Brief Notes

God Gives
the Growth (10):
The Defeat of
the Old Man

20 April 2024

While our “old man”
has already been crucified,
he still urges us to live
for ourselves rather
than for Christ

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
— 1 Corinthians 3:6

Before Boaz could take Ruth to be his wife, he had to confront a “close relative” who had the right to claim her before he did (Ruth 3:12-13). As we saw in the previous Note, this “close relative” is a picture of our “old man,” who seeks to prevent us from joining ourselves to Christ. (See “God Gives the Growth (9): Dealing with the Old Man, the Flesh, and the Self.”)

So, how did Boaz deal with his “close relative”?

When Boaz first told him that he, the close relative, had the right to purchase Naomi’s land, he replied that he would; but then Boaz also explained that, to do so, he would have to acquire Ruth as well in order to raise up seed for her deceased husband. At this point the close relative replied,

I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”
— Ruth 4:6

Instead of caring for Ruth or the memory of her deceased husband, this close relative only considered what was in his own interest; as soon as he was confronted with the need to sacrifice himself for the benefit of others, he was not able to fulfill his obligation to do so.

This shows us a real secret for dealing with our old man. While he has already been crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6, Gal. 2:20), he still attempts to express himself in our living. He does this through our “self,” which always seeks its own profit; he is simply not capable of seeking the profit of others, whether of Christ or of the saints.

We do not need to deal with the old man directly, for the Lord has already dealt with him on the cross; but, we do need to deal with his attempts to express himself in our living, that is, with his attempts to cause us to live for ourselves, rather than for Christ.

And so the real dealing with the self, which brings us into the experience of our crucifixion with Christ, takes place when we care for others and not merely for our own profit. This was Paul’s exhortation to the saints in Rome:

I urge you, therefore, brothers, by the compassions of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well-pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service; and do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, that you may prove what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God.
— Romans 12:1-2

And it is very important to note the point in Romans where Paul makes this exhortation: it is at the beginning of the section where he speaks of how we need to live as members of the Body of Christ (12:3-21). This is because, it is only in such a living that we truly experience what it means to be a “living sacrifice” on behalf of others, namely, on behalf of Christ and the church, which is His Body.

In brief, it is by giving up ourselves to the Lord as such a “living sacrifice” that we deal with our self-life.

That is the real dealing with the self, and it is how the old man is defeated in our experience.

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— 20 April 2024 —