Saturday, February 03, 2007


Ephesians 4:24-32

There is a third thing Paul says about how we are supposed to live our lives. With our minds being renewed we put off the old man and put on the new man. The new man is the new creation that was born when we were brought to God by faith in Christ. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Paul says we were “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” As we already saw in 2 Corinthians 3:18, we are being transformed into the image of Christ. In verse 13 of this very chapter Paul said that God’s purpose for us is to “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” In short, we Christians are supposed to continually grow in holiness until we are the reflection of Jesus Christ! How do we do that? We put off the old man and put on the new! We say “no” to the sinful things we used to do and we replace them with deeds of righteousness.

This is exactly what Paul goes on to show us in verses 25-32. He gives us examples. He shows us the sinful deeds of the old man which need to be put off and then points to the Christlike actions of holiness we can put on.

Do you struggle with the sin of lying? What is in your mind that leads to your lying? Do you think you need to project yourself to others as being something different than you really are? That is pride. Do you want to cover over something you were supposed to do but didn’t because you are lazy? Do you want to get away with something you did wrong? All this is the old man. Put off lying and put on truth. Think about what makes you want to lie and be rid of it. Think about what is true and only say what is true.

Do you have a problem with anger? Are you an angry person? Do you lose your temper with your family? Does your anger cause you to bear grudges against people? Do you nurse your anger until you explode and spray it all over the people around you? It is possible to be angry without sinning. It depends on what you are angry about and it depends on what you do with it. What is going on in your mind when you sin in anger? “He can’t treat me like that! How dare she speak to me like that!” Again, pride. In fact, sinful anger is almost always related to pride! Inconsiderate drivers make us angry because they inconvenience us. Parents make us angry because they don’t let us do whatever we want. Who do they think they are anyway? People who disagree with us make us angry because they make us reconsider if we might be wrong. With renewed minds we put off such pride and selfishness and we put on quick reconciliation. We don’t let the day end without making peace and restoring our relationships. This is the new man!

Do you steal? We must be careful here. It would be too easy to limit this to robbing banks, breaking into houses, or shoplifting. There are many ways people can steal. One of the most common kinds of stealing is not giving your employer a full hour of work for an hour of pay. Another common form of stealing is cheating on your taxes. Or fudging on your expense reports. Downloading movies or music you haven’t paid for. Trying to get a child’s price for your twelve-year-old. We could go on and on. What goes on in your mind when you steal or cheat? Save myself money. Not have to work so hard. This is the old man! Put him off and put on the new man who willingly works hard for what he is paid and then gladly shares with others!

Paul turns to subjects of conversation. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” The word “unwholesome” is literally “rotten, worthless.” Do you have a problem with dirty language or dirty jokes? Do you find yourself talking just like the other people at work? Do you enter into the sexual joking and conversation? What is going on in your mind? Are the things you are watching and reading filling your mind with rotten language and immoral sex? This is the old man! Put him off! Put on purity and holiness. Work hard to say things that will bless others and build them up or draw them to God.

Finally, Paul lumps together all kinds of sinful attitudes: bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice. All of these things are the result of a prideful selfishness and meanness. They are the behaviors of people whose minds are not renewed. They are the actions of the old man and they must be put off once and for all! They are to be replaced with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. We are being conformed to the likeness of Christ! We can’t even begin to imagine him with bitterness, brawling, or malice. We see him being kind to the needy, compassionate to the fallen, and forgiving even those who nailed him to the cross! That is the mind we must have! We need to fill our minds with ways we might show kindness, compassion, and forgiveness! This is how we learn to live as followers of Christ!


At 7:35 PM, Blogger Doulos Christou said...

Great challenge, Shiloh!

What good is outward conformity without inward reality? God help each of us, by his grace, to be transformed - and live lives that prove what we profess.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Feb 3? Where are you - snowed in?


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