Rom 12:3-4 Old Man vs New Man

Dec 27, 2020 // By:Dave // No Comment

last week, in verse 3-4, we brought out the idea in Paul’s writings, that thinking to highly of oneself, was a form of insanity, compared to rightly thinking of oneself (i.e. seeing yourself as God sees you and how you are to fit into the body of Christ)

we also discussed how the idea of being a living sacrifice and being a transformed one at that, was essential for what follows in verses 4 on …

This week, lets look at how the sacrificial transformed life (of Romans 12:1-2) expresses itself in the body of Christ.

we start by backing up to verse 3

3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

“think” actually shows up three times in this verse in the root word phroneō

[NIV Greek]

5672   [5252]   ὑπερφρονέω, hyperphroneō, v.  [5642 + 5856]. to think too highly of oneself

[NIV Greek]

5858   [5426]   φρονέω, phroneō, v.  [5856]. to think, regard, hold an opinion; to set one’s mind on; to have a (certain) attitude

[NIV Greek]

5404   [4993]   σωφρονέω, sōphroneō, v.  [root of: 5405, 5406, 5407, 5408, 5409; cf. 5856]. to be in a right state of mind, have sober judgment; to be self-controlled

the word sophos = wise, skilled, cultivated, learned

(every usage seems to carry with it the notion of having been trained/taught by another

Don’t estimate yourselves as to be more than you actually are in reality, but let your opinion of yourself be the result of a sound understand of reality, the facts.

Paul’s context here is to have a sense of humility, not an overinflated sense of self or pride.

and connects the idea of not thinking to highly of oneself with “as God has allotted to each a measure of faith”.

while some think this “measure of faith” refers to spiritual gifts, others think something a little different.
(especially when one notices that it is “a measure” allotted to each with no difference in allotment implied)

the word for measure is   μέτρον, metron, n. . measure, limit, what is apportioned, all require a  standard of measurement 

The NT uses this word in three of the Gospels: “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Mt 7:2; Mk 4:24; Lk 6:38). This is both a warning and a promise. The judgmental person will be judged by others. But the person who forgives will be forgiven.

the gospels all use this word as “standard”

if this same meaning of metron is applied in verse 3, we see that Paul is referring to a common standard, given to us by God, to trust in.

(a standard that prevents us from having a hyperphroneo of ourselves)

what is the standard given to each ?

What has Paul been writing about ?

after Paul lays a foundation of man’s fallen state before God (chapter 1-2)

he goes into and stays in an outline of God’s righteousness and how God makes us beneficiaries of that righteousness

(a righteousness with includes in its very definition, “being in right relationship with Him”)

I. Paul’s Greeting (1:1-15)

II. The Power of God for Salvation (1:16-17)

III. Mankind’s Fallen Condition (1:18-3:20)

A. God’s Wrath Revealed (1:18-32)

B. God Shows No Partiality (2:1-29)

C. None is Righteous (3:1-20)

IV. God’s Righteousness and Justification (3:21-5:21)

A. Righteousness Received Through Faith (3:21-31)

B. Faith Counted as Righteousness (4:1-25)

C. Peace with God (5:1-11)

D. Adam and Christ (5:12-21)

V. God’s Righteousness and Sanctification (6:1-8:39)

A. Freedom From the Dominion of Sin (6:1-23)

B. Freedom From the Law’s Condemnation (7:1-25)

C. Not in the Flesh but in the Spirit (8:1-17)

D. The Glory to be Revealed (8:18-30)

E. The Love of God in Christ Jesus (8:31-39)

VI. God’s Righteousness Extended to Both Jew and Gentile (9:1-11:36)

A. The Sovereignty of God (9:1-33)

B. Israel’s Apostasy Explained (10:1-21)

C. Salvation for Both Jew and Gentile (11:1-36)

1. Has God Rejected Israel? (11:1-10)

2. Salvation to the Gentiles (11:11-24)

3. The Gifts and Calling of God (11:25-36)

VII. God’s Righteousness Practiced (12:1-15:13)

A. Not Conformed, But Transformed (12:1-2)

B. The Body of Christ (12:3-21)

C. Be Subject to Governing Authorities (13:1-7)

D. Put on Christ (13:8-14)

E. Fellowship of the Weak and the Strong (14:1-23)

F. Follow Christ’s Example (15:1-7)

G. Hope for Jew and Gentile (15:8-13)

VIII. Paul’s Plans and Final Greetings (15:14-16:24)

A. Paul, A Minister of Christ (15:14-33)

B. Paul’s Greetings to Roman Christians (16:1-16)

C. Warning Against Divisive Persons (16:17-20)

D. Paul’s Companions Send Their Greetings (16:21-23)

IX. Closing Grace (16:24-27)

Paul is now saying that only an insane person willfully rejects a God centered view of themselves

and that a sane person rejects a self -defined view of themselves , the over inflated one as well as the under inflated one

and embraces the real identity of themselves

Remember back in Rom 7, old nature is opposed to God, fighting against the new nature

(Paul describes the old nature as a “law operating on it’s own”, independently …)

He separates old from new, ensures that we understand that we are a new creation.

2 Cor 5:17 

therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old has gone, the new is here.

new (178x)  G2537 (44x)

  καινός, kainos, . new, latest, anew;  (does not mean regrouped, reassembled, revised, repaired)

creation (15x)  G2937 (20x)

  κτίσις, ktisis, n.  [3231]. creation, created thing, creature

(often overlooked implication here is that since the people using this word believed in a Creator, this usage meant “created by God”)

Gal 6:15

For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

Eph 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Eph 4:17-24

and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

new self  = καινός ἄνθρωπον = literally new human

(which has been created by God in right relationship with Him and separated for Him  according to His truth, His reality)

Col 3:1-11

look at

Col. 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you stripped off the old self with its evil practices,

Col. 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created it—

old self =   παλαιός ἄνθρωπον = old human

new self  = καινός ἄνθρωπον = literally new human

renewed to a true knowledge according the image of the One who created it

renewed =   ἀνακαινόω, anakainoō, v.  [324 + 2785]. to renew, make new in turn

mirrors Rom 12:2 “be transformed by the renewing of your minds”

our identity takes on damage in this fallen world

(like someone walking through a radioactive fallout zone)

God creates a new us, and offered to repair the damage done each day by renewing us back to that καινός νθρωπον

John 3:3 unless a man is born again (conceived, created from above)

same idea of a new creation, coming from the mouth of Jesus Himself.

Our new self, the new man, does not sin, it stays in right relationship with the Father

(the old self, only knows how to sin, and opposes being in right relationship with the Father)


when you catch a thought in your head wanting you to sin,

remember that this is not your new self, it is your old self.

(reject the old self, rather than trying to debate the degree of sin or how much fun it will be)
(what do you think Paul meant by “throw off the old self and put on the new” ?)

He is saying stand in your new identity and reject everything that is not coming from this new identity

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