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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

The New Birth

Elder F.A. Chick

December 12, 1916

The following article was written by Elder F. A. Chick, and was first published in the Primitive Monitor of February 15, 1890, and was copied on the editorial page of THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST of September 13, 1894. Elder R. W. Thompson was editor of the Monitor when the article appeared in that paper, and is still the editor of that paper. This article shows what position our father occupied at that time, and what this paper stood for then. This was before Elder W. E. Brush became a corresponding editor, and is what the paper stood for when his name was put on the staff; and it is where we stand, and where this paper now stands. What man in Texas or Tennessee objected to the sentiment contained in that article in 1894? We never heard any kick against it in our country then. Who has changed? We hope the brethren may see the error of the way they are going and the wrong in waging the present war and cease the strife. C. H. C.


And now, as I take my pen to write upon this subject embraced in your question, I only wish to kindly and candidly express my views, with some of the reasons for them, and I trust what I may say will hurt the feeling of no brother or sister, even if they feel compelled to differ with me. First, you ask me what I understand by the terms old man and new man. These terms occur but twice in the New Testament. In both cases they are the language of Paul. In (Ephesians 4:22); (6:24 )he says, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lust, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Here he says to his brethren at Ephesus, that the teaching of Christ is that they should put off the one and put on the other. In ((9) (Colossians 3:9-10), he says, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him." Here he declares that his brethren have already put off the one and have put on the other, and upon this fact bases some admonitions to the conduct of his brethren. First, I desire to call attention to this one consideration, viz.: that the "new man" is not addressed and told to put off the old man, neither is the "old man" addressed and told to put on the new man. But Paul is addressing his brethren, saints at Ephesus and saints at Colosse, just as I am now addressing you, Brother Thompson, and the readers of the Monitor. And he says to these believing men and women that they should do this, or that have done this, viz.: have put off the old man and have put on the new. Here, if I may so speak, are three men instead of two. But, indeed, the expression, old man and new

man, are simply figurative expressions for the two opposing principles which every believer finds dwelling in his own heart and waging ceaseless warfare there. We are not to suppose for a moment that the apostle means that we are to understand by these terms two fully developed men, with soul, body and spirit in each, and both dwelling in us, you and I, who constitute a third distinct man or woman. It seems to me that anyone who has the slightest acquaintance with the use of figures of speech would see at a glance that the apostle had no such meaning as this. Neither does he mean by the "old man" the body and by "new man" the soul. When told to put off the old man he does not mean that we shall commit suicide. In (Romans 7:23), we read, by the pen of this same apostle, "But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members." Here we have Paul speaking of the two men, but under the terms, "Law of my members" and "law of my mind." Notice again, here is Paul the speaker, and in Paul are the two laws, or the "old man" and the "new man." The figure of speech has changed, but the idea presented is the same. In (Galatians 5:17) Paul says, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Here he calls the "old man" the flesh and the "new man" the Spirit. And here again, notice that he says these are contrary the one to the other, - so that "ye" believers cannot do the things ye would. All the way along he addresses men and women, and tells them that in them are two opposing and enduring forces, the one of which they are to put off, and the other to put on. Sometimes this "new man" is called "the hidden man of the heart." But by whatever name they are called, Paul always means the same thing. On the one side he means that tendency to evil which grace makes manifest in every child of God; and on the other he means that disposition to serve God which grace implants in every heaven born soul. The one he calls "the flesh," the other "the spirit;" the one, "the law of the members," find what all these things mean. And every narration of Christian experience tells the simple truth about all these things. No one ever heard a child of God say, my old man, or my new man, felt, said, or did so and so. But always I saw, heard, or acted so and so. We all say when we are telling the simple story of our experience, and we have no axe to grind: I saw myself a great sinner; I could do nothing to save myself. I grew worse and worse, and at last Jesus was revealed to me as my Saviour. We never say, Amy old man, or Amy new man, felt all these things, but I myself. When in (Romans 7)., Paul says, AI sin, straightway he says, Yet not I, but sin that dwelleth in me. It is I, and yet not I, and yet it is I all the time. And so, on the other hand, when Paul says, AI labored more abundantly than they all, immediately he corrects himself and says, Yet not I, but the grace of God, which was with me. His language appeals to all our feelings on both sides. I do not know that a volume would make it all any plainer. I labor, but yet I must be humble, for it is not I that labor, it the grace of God. How humbling this is! In one place Paul speaks of the Spirit crying, Abba, Father. In another place he speaks of the Spirit by which we cry, Abba, Father. Now, both are most blessedly true. The Spirit cries Abba, Father, but it is, after all our cry. We are not left out. I have introduced these texts for the purpose of showing the terms old man or Anew man do not shut out the believer, but that in every child of God is found the warfare caused by these two men, or laws, or principles. It matters not by what name they are called. I do not understand that the old man is the Adamic man, but a law or principle in the Adamic man. And the Anew man is also a law or principle in the same Adamic man. The old man is not redeemed, and neither is the new, but the Adamic man is redeemed from the dominion of the old man and to the dominion of the Anew man. -The old man is not born again, and neither is the Anew man, but the Adamic man is born again.

And the new birth is when this new man comes in and abides, to go out no more forever. The old man is sin and death, the new man is life and righteousness. From the one we are redeemed and to the other we are redeemed. Neither the old or new man are redeemed. The one needs it not and the other is that from which we are redeemed. The Anew man is indeed an entirely Anew man, and his origin is God. He is a Anew man so far as we are concerned, but he is elder than the hills. This new man is the law of truth and holiness, and they are eternal. But we receive this in our hearts when born from above, and so it is new to us. With us that which is natural is first, and then that which is spiritual. But in reality the spiritual world is first, only we do not see or enter it until we are born again, or born from above. No greater mistake was ever made than when the two terms, old man or Anew man, were supposed to present two literal, whole men, in a literal sense. Out of this grew all that absurd theory about the sinner of Adam's race not being born again, but a spirit of some sort or kind. I have read and heard much about this last named theory, but have never got a clear conception of the theory in my head, and my heart rejects it at once.

Again you ask, Who is the new creature? If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, etc. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. What you have written about on your letter seems to me more satisfactory than anything that I can write. I certainly think the subject of the Anew creature is the Anew creature. Of the Anew creature Paul says, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. The apostle says here we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, etc. If, therefore, we are created in Christ WE must certainly be Anew creatures. I did not know that it was claimed that any other being than a renewed, quickened sinner was called the Anew creature. There is a text in the eighth chapter of Romans which seems to me to bear upon the same matter, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Mark it is in Us. Now he goes right on to talk about the same under the name creature, saying, For the earnest expectation of the creature (the same new creature, the man in Christ) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God, and so on in the verses that follow, all along in these verses in (Romans 8). The new creature is indeed meant, but it is the Anew creature which we ourselves become as the workmanship of God, created in 'Christ unto good works. We are never called new creatures, except as we possess the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of Jesus is not called a new creature, except as it is one of the sinners where it dwells.

Indeed, the term A creature could not belong to an eternal spirit or being of any sort. But it may well belong to us who have begun to be. Naturally and spiritually the sense in which the man in Christ is a new creature is seen as we glance further on in the text: Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. A wondrous change has happened to him. He is not yet the same man he was before in many ways. And to be born again and renewed in the spirit of his mind is all that will avail him. Circumcision or keeping the law avails nothing. Rejecting circumstances avail nothing either. To become a new creature is the essential thing; and to be a new creature is the result of the work of God in us. All is done for the sinner, all is done in the sinner. There is no Anew creature but the saved sinner. What a wonderful contrast -between the old creature and new creature.