Friday, May 26, 2017

Putting off the Old, Being Made New

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.   Ephesians 4:22-32

Paul has written earlier in his letter, concerning the eternal inheritance  of the Christian, the strength and power belonging to those in Christ, and salvation as the gift of God's grace. He begins in chapter 4 with the subjects of unity and maturity in the body of Christ and actually outlines how we are all members of the one body.  The body only grows when each part is functioning properly.

When Paul's writings in chapter 4 reach the verses we have printed above, he is talking about each individual's life, contrasting  the before and after Jesus has brought about eternal changes. Notice we are to put off the old self, and be made new in the attitude of our minds' and to put on the new self. Especially notice Paul's description of the new creature in Christ, "created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

Let that sink in a bit and make some application to yourself. Is there any wonder that Paul used similar words when writing the Roman Christians? "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come."

The rest of Ephesians 4, (verses 25-32) give us the short version of those things associated with being like God in true righteousness and holiness. These verses are revealing the inward and outward evidences of lives that have actually "put on Christ."  Read them again and see the areas where you may excel, and the areas where you need to grow.  The ultimate goal is to become like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

While we still recognize sin and neglect in our lives, God's grace and love keep us pressing forward, striving to become more and more like Jesus. The journey is an exciting one, designed  by God to keep us in relationship with him, and sharing the good news with others.

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