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Put on the New Man
Paul is writing to the gentile believers in the Ephesian church. In chapter 4:17-19 he gives a contrast between them and the rest of the gentiles. These walk in the futility of their mind, with their understanding darkened and alienated from the life of God. They are ignorant and have no feeling for the things of God. They have given themselves over to lewdness and the resulting uncleanness and greediness.
Paul then gives a contrast of the believers new life in Christ and their former way of living, saying:
Ephesians 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ,
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
These Ephesian believers were blessed because they had heard and responded to the gospel. They were now new creations in Him, old things having passed away and all things having become new (II Corinthians 5:17). When they met Jesus, they recognized that His words were eternal truth. Thus they didn’t think the way they used to think, nor did they go to the same places that they used to go to. They adhered to the Lord’s instruction to be a separated people who would not touch the unclean thing (II Corinthians 6:17).
Ephesians 4: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Now that they had become partakers of God's divine nature they had escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (II Peter 1:4). They were no longer conformed to this world but had been transformed by the renewing of their minds. Because of this they were able to prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).
Ephesians 4: 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Even though these believers had left the world of sin, Paul found it needful to to remind them that true holiness requires constant vigilance. Just as much for us as for them. True holiness is simply reflecting the life of Christ within us.
We read the description of the lewdness of the gentile world of that day and realize that things haven’t changed much except for the worse. Everyday we are confronted with in your face coarseness and lewdness and rebellion against the things of God. This is just as the word says it would be.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
While we don't like the old legalisms that some of us were raised with, I believe the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. I believe that good advise for practical holiness is what we learned in Sunday School. Don't say or do anything that Jesus wouldn't say or do, and don't go anywhere that we couldn't take Him along. I think nowadays they call it W.W.J.D. (What would Jesus Do).
Thus the admonition to the Ephesians to forsake their former conduct and to be renewed in the spirit of their mind applies to each and every one of us. For this we have a pattern. His name is Jesus. Although He was God, He walked in this world as a servant. His obedience to the will of His Father led Him to the cross of Calvary. He never sinned ( I Peter 2:22) and He never complained (Philippians 2:5-8). He was a friend to the outcast without ever partaking of their sin (Luke 7:34).
Here is one of my favorite scriptures:
"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
Because he wanted to use some of the stories he told that night in his speeches the next day, he asked the reporters to omit them from their articles.
One article that came out the next day, written by a cub reporter, concluded with this line: "Reverend Smith also told a number of stories that cannot be printed."
"Morality is moral only when it is voluntary."
Keep Looking Up!
Don and Marie Spooner
About Him! Ministries
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