A New Man

The program committee for a national barber’s convention came up with a way to demonstrate the effectiveness of their profession.  They found a homeless man on skid row with long, dirty hair.  His face was unshaven, and his clothes were ragged and filthy.  His body reeked with odors of alcohol and filth.  The barbers gave him a good cleaning.  They gave him a bath, shampoo, shave, haircut, and manicure. They liberally sprinkled talcum powder and cologne on him.  They dressed him in a new suit and presented him before the convention as a new man.  But when the man left the convention, he returned to his old manner of life on skid row and was soon back to the condition he was before the convention.  The barbers had changed his outward appearance, but they did not change the inward person.  They put the man in a new suit, but they did not put a new man in the suit.

God does not judge us by the standards of men.  When He sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king, Samuel thought he had found the right man when he saw Jesse’s son Eliab.  But God said to Samuel “Do not look at his outward appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:6-7).

Like the program committee, God wants to make a new man out of us; but His focus is changing the inner man.  That is why instead of starting with our hair, He starts with our heart, “for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).  Instead of a new coat, He says we need a new conduct: “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).  God changes us, not by adding cologne, but by adding Christ.  As Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

So how do we become a new man in Christ?  In Romans 6:4 we read, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Anyone can put a man in a new suit, but it takes Christ to put a new man in the suit.