"The Hidden Man"
by Lorraine Ezell
This month I want to talk about “the hidden man of the heart”. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.” (1 Peter 3:1-5) In context we know that these scriptures are talking to married women giving them instructions on how to win their husbands to the Lord. But the subject “hidden man of the heart” found in the verses above also relates to husbands, single men and women, young and old alike.
When we talk about the “hidden man of the heart” what do we mean? We are a trichotomy, we are made up of three parts- spirit, soul and body. When the Bible talks about the body, it uses the term- the outward man. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16) The term “hidden man of the heart” refers to the regenerated person. It deals with the person who has been “born again”. Remember when God placed Adam in the garden and told him that he could eat of every tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He also gave him a warning. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) You know that Adam disobeyed God and ate. Did he die? He did not die physically, but he did die spiritually. The spirit in man died. But God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross so that the spirit of man that had died could be reborn. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) This is what Jesus meant when He told Nicodemus that you must be born again. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:5-7). The regenerated man or “the hidden man of the heart” is also referred to in the scriptures as the “new man”, the “inner man”, the “spirit man”. The unregenerate man, the one who has not experienced the “new birth” is called the “old man”, “carnal”, the “fleshly man”, the “natural man”, “worldly”. So when we talk about the “hidden man of the heart” we are addressing those who are born-again.
Now that we know who He is speaking to in these scriptures, what is He saying to us? What is it about the “hidden man of the heart”, or the “inner man” that we need to know? As we read these verses we find a comparison between the “old man” that we were before and the “new man” that we are now. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (verses 3,4) In verse three He is telling us that it is not about the “external” any longer, but the “internal”. Before we had this “inward” change take place in us- which is what happens at the new birth; “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) - our attention was focused on self. It was all about what I wanted, what made me happy, it was about doing my own thing. It was about materialism, more and more, bigger and better. It was about wanting it all and wanting it now. It was all about fame, fortune, prestige, popularity, only going around once in life so grab all you can and can all you grab. Our affections were set on worldly things. We were laying up treasures on earth instead of in heaven. We minded worldly things, lusts and pleasures. It was all about “my will being done”. We were more concerned about the outward appearance like the Pharisees who took care of the outside of the cup but not the inside. “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:26) We spent time “adorning” the outward man and our own personal desires without giving thought to what was on the inside- the real us.
In verse four we are told that since we are now a “new person” our emphasis should be placed on the “inner man”- the “hidden man of the heart”. “BUT let it be the hidden man of the heart.” This means that our attention needs to be focused on “adorning” it and on doing those things that will cause it to grow and mature. The emphasis has to change. It can no longer be on the natural man, it has to be on the spirit man.
Since we are told to stop putting the emphasis on the natural man and put it on the spiritual man, it must mean that this is what’s important to God. Why is it important to focus on the “hidden man of the heart”? There are many reasons but I want to talk about four of them from these verses. “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (verse 4) The first reason is because your spirit man is of great price to the Lord. Earlier we talked about how Adam’s disobedience brought sin and death into the world. We also talked about what it took so that we could have life again. It took Jesus’ death on the cross. Therefore, it cost God everything for you to have eternal life. It cost Him the life of His Son. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1 Corinthians 6:20) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18,19) That word “price” also means “precious” in the Greek. You are precious to Him because you cost Him so much. And on the flip side of that, He paid the ultimate price because you are precious to Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
The second reason why the emphasis should be placed on the “hidden man of the heart” is because it shows your trust in God and not in self. “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.” (1 Peter 3:5) In our example of the women of olden times, they didn’t trust in what they could do to win their husbands, they trusted in what the Lord could do. Paying more attention to the outside is symbolic of your ability to make something happen or to change the situation. When we try to make it happen, whatever it is, through our own strength, our own abilities, our appearance, our education, etc., then we aren’t trusting God, we are trying to do it ourselves. If we will “work” on the inside, God will take care of the rest. I think I need to interject something here. I am not talking about neglecting your appearance and not taking care of your body. The Bible calls us the temple of God, therefore, we are to take care of this temple. But what I am saying is that if your attention is focused more on the outside than on adoring the inside, you have misplaced the emphasis and are still trusting in the arm of flesh to meet the need. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Thirdly, the emphasis is to be placed on the “hidden man of the heart” because it is a witness to the world that will glorify God. “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” (1 Peter 3:2) The work that is being done in us is being done on the inside and is “hidden” from view on the outside. The process and transformation is happening in the heart. It is not one that is seen by the natural eye. The word conversation here in the Greek means your manner of living. Even though this change is taking place on the inside it’s effects should be reflected in our lives. Through your manner of living people should be able to tell that there is something different about you. The meek and quiet spirit that is talked about in verse four is not something that you see on the outside like you see a piece of jewelry, but others should be able to “behold” it in your lifestyle and through your character. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) God never says anything without having a purpose behind it. He doesn’t just make small talk and conversation like we do. Each word is significant. In this verse He is talking about what happens to us at the “new birth”- we become a new person on the inside. In saying that He uses the word, “behold”. What He is wanting us to understand is the fact that what took place in our lives happened on the inside not the outside, but when people look at our lives they ought to be able to see something on the outside that is proof of what happened on the inside. There should be something in our lives that gives evidence to our profession.
The Bible calls it the “hidden man of the heart” because it is hidden from the world’s sight. They can’t see inside us, they can’t see what God is doing in us, they can’t see the transformation that is happening, they can’t watch it happen with their eyes, it’s hidden from view. I liken it to a woman who is pregnant. The baby that is in her womb is hid from sight, yet all along it is developing and growing. After a few months what is going on inside of her begins to show up on the outside in her appearance. Let me ask you, “Where is love being developed in your life?” It’s being developed inside, not on the outside. Therefore, the world can’t see the process that is taking place in you, but they should be able to see love reflected in your life- through your attitude, through your actions, through your reactions, through your speech. It’s the same with all the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), and with holiness, and righteousness, repentance, and all other godly attributes, they are manifested through our lifestyle. “For out of the heart proceed...” (Matthew 15:19a) “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45)
How does this glorify God? When the emphasis and priority is placed on the “hidden man” then as we said it will be reflected in your life. What is being perfected in your “hidden man” is the nature and character of Christ. As others “see” Him through your behavior, through your works, through your good deeds, through your speech, it will glorify Him. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) I want to say something that might shock you, but please bear with me. Our goal as Christians is not heaven. Let me explain. Heaven is our home. When we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord we then have a citizenship in heaven. Heaven is no longer our/my goal. It is the place where I will go when I finish my work here on earth. Jesus is up there preparing a place for me. I have a mansion that awaits me when I get there. And after I finish my course here, I will go there to my home. So if heaven is not my goal, what is? Our goal is to be transformed into the image of Christ while we are here on earth so that others might be able to taste and see that the Lord is good through our lives and desire to have Him in their life. Have you ever had anyone say to you, “There is something different about you.”? They can’t put their finger on it, they don’t understand it, you don’t look very different but there is something that “stands out” about you to them. That “something” is Christ being formed and revealed in your life from your “inner man”. This is how He is glorified. Remember Jesus told His disciples when they wanted to see the Father, that they were seeing the Father when they saw Him because everything He did was what He saw His Father do, and everything He said was what He heard His Father say. We too should be able to say with Jesus, when you have seen me you have seen the Father. Now, I am not taking about this “little gods” and “you are god” teaching. I am saying that because of the change and transformation that is happening on the inside of you, they should say, “Even though I don’t know what Jesus looks like, you look just like what I imagine He looks like.”
Lastly, why the emphasis on the “hidden man”, after all, no one can see it? Shouldn’t we be spending more time on what others can see? Well, it’s not altogether about others, it’s about God. The inner man is where He makes His abode in us. “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:17,23) “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:38,39) If the inner man is the dwelling place of God, then shouldn’t our priority be to make it a place where He is comfortable, a place where He feels welcomed, a place where He has liberty, a place that is holy and pure because He is holy and a place where He has control and rule?
Now that we know what the “hidden man of the heart” is and why it is important to put more emphasis on him instead of on the outside man, how do we go about doing that? How do we “adorn” the inner man? What must we do in order for him to grow and mature? “[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.” (Ephesians 4:13- Amplified Bible) The answer is still found in 1 Peter 3:3,4- “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Again we want to look at the comparison between the old man and the new man from these verses. Before we came to Christ we were taught, or thought, that in order to achieve anything we had to do something. Girls think that in order to attract a man they have to be beautiful. They think they have to have a Barbie doll figure or look like Miss Universe. They think that if they wear the right kind of clothes, perfume, makeup or fix their hair a certain way “Mr. Right” will pick them. Men who are in the world tend to think that if you want to get to the top, you have to lie, cheat and steal; you have to step on others and make someone else look bad in order for you to look good. That’s just the way of the world, they think that if they are pretty enough, smart enough, educated enough, rich enough, say just the right things, etc., that things will happen for them. In short, it’s all about the “outside”- what “I” can do. This is the world’s thinking. So the answer to how to go about placing emphasis on the inner man so that it can be adorned and mature is this-- you have to change your way of thinking. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7a) We have to change our way of thinking and this comes by renewing our mind. What do we renew our minds with so that the inner man can grow? “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2) I thought it was interesting that the word “adorning” found in 1 Peter 3:3 is the Greek word “kosmos”. This word has a twofold meaning- adorn; world. The word “kosmos” as it relates to the word “world” means the world’s system of doing things; the way the world thinks. The example in verse three showed us that we have to change our way of thinking like the world thinks and start thinking like Christ thinks. That’s why Peter was addressing these women in such a way. What he was saying to them was this: Before you were born again you tried to win your husband through external things- making sure you looked good and were dressed to a “t”, and it was natural that you thought that way because you were “of the world” and this is how the world (kosmos) thinks. But now that you are a “new person” you have to change your way of thinking- you don’t do things the same way you used to do them. Your thinking now needs to line up with how the “Spirit” does things. Another interesting point was that the word “adorned” in verse five doesn’t mean “kosmos”, it’s the Greek word “kosmeo” which means- to put in order, arrange, adorn, embellish with honor. “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.” We are told here that the holy women of old had their thinking “in order”. They knew that the way to win their husbands was not through external avenues but through subjection and a godly lifestyle. They won their husbands not through adorning their physical bodies with jewels but by adorning their inner man.
There is a reason why we are told repeatedly in the scriptures to renew our minds and guard our thoughts. The things that we think about and dwell on either adorn the “flesh man” or the “inner man”. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philipians 2:5) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
In conclusion let me ask you, “Where is the emphasis being placed in your life? Is it on the outside or the inside? Is it on the old man and what he desires? Or is it on the “hidden man of the heart” and making its adorning your priority? “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.” (Ephesians 4:23,24)