Grace For The Journey
Thursday and Friday of last week we look at “The Life Christ Gives – A Changed life.” We saw from Ephesians 4:20-21 that there are there is a four-fold process of the beginning, continuation, development, and demonstration of this life that God gives us in Christ. Paul’s point in these verses is that the changed life stems from the transformation that God works in us through the gospel. When we meet Jesus Christ personally through faith, we are changed people! Yesterday we began to look at what exactly are the changes are that Christ brings into our lives. We will looked at Ephesians (4:22-24) to learn about three of these changes.
The changed life begins by coming to know Christ personally. It requires: (1) putting off the old life of corruption and deceit, (2) being renewed in the spirit of our minds, and finally,
(3) The changed life requires putting on the new man (4:24).
Again, I believe that the sense is that we did put on this new man once and for all at the point of conversion, but we must continue putting on this new man every day by making true in our experience what is actually true of us positionally. In other words, we must live by applying the truth of the new man in every situation that we face. Paul will make this very specific in 4:25-6:9 (i.e. When you face the temptation to lie (the old man’s way of acting), instead you speak the truth (4:25).
Note several things about this new man. First, while Paul is applying it individually here, it also has a corporate aspect. He used the phrase, “new man,” in 2:15 to describe the church as the new creation of Jew and Gentile in Christ. Whereas the old man lived for self, the new man considers others ahead of self. Whereas the old man was full of racial prejudice and pride, the new man erases those distinctions and views others in the body equally as brothers in Christ. This corporate aspect of the new man implies that if you are not involved with a local church, where you are being built together with other believers, then you do not understand a major part of the new way in which you are supposed to live.
Second, God is the creator of this new man. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” This shows that the changed life of the believer is not something that we must conjure up by our own will power. God created us anew in Him. But, at the same time, we must walk in the good works that He has prepared for us.
Third, God is the pattern of this new man. It has been created (literally) “according to God,” or, as Specifically, Paul mentions “righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Righteousness and holiness are aspects of God’s character in Deuteronomy 32:4 and Psalm 144:17. See, also, Luke 1:75; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Titus 1:8.) These qualities are essentially synonymous, but righteousness refers to living according to God’s standards, whereas holiness has the idea of essential purity. Both qualities are the result of the truth, namely, the truth as it is in Jesus. In other words, the truth of sound doctrine results in holy living.
We don’t all have a dramatic conversion, as the apostle Paul did. Many of us that were raised in Christian homes may not know exactly when we came to faith in Christ. But no matter what our experience of conversion, we ought to know that God has changed our hearts.
- Formerly, we did not know Christ, but now we do, however imperfectly.
- Formerly, even if we maintained an outward veneer of virtue, we lived for self. Now, we live for Christ, to know Him, and serve Him.
- Formerly, we were being corrupted by the evil desires of sin that deceived us into thinking that they would bring fulfillment. Now, we are new creatures in Christ, living for righteousness and holiness, which come from the truth that is in Jesus.
While it is a lifelong process of renewal, you should be able to see the distinct difference between the old person that you were and the new person that you now are in Christ. You should be able to relate to the old Black preacher who said, “I ain’t what I want to be and I ain’t what I’m gonna be, but praise God, I ain’t what I used to be!”
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”