Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The Lord has reminded us of the changing seasons once again. We are a little over a month away from the first day of winter, but we are in the midst of an early winter storm right now. The temperatures are not that cold, but we have had a fair amount of snow. The drifts in our yard are more than we had all last winter. The Lord is good. He blesses us with changing seasons and He gives us the moisture we need in various forms.
In our text we see in verse 22 that those who are saved and who are being taught to stand instead of being tossed about with every wind of doctrine, need to put off concerning the former conversation of the old man. The word translated as “conversation” here has the meaning of “manner of life.” God miraculously saves each one who is made a child of God. He has given the saints a new nature and a new desire. The saint needs to act on this and put off that old lifestyle. That foul mouth or that bad temper or that moodiness or whatever other sins of the past need to go. It is easy to try to make excuses for the past, but the true child of God has the love of God within and that love motivates the true child of God to become more Christlike all the time.
Paul wrote that the conversation of the old man is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. When we were lost, we were convinced that the old ways were right. We knew they were not perfect, but we assumed they were acceptable. However, now that we have been saved we know better. We need to be reminded that the old ways are not acceptable. They are corrupt. They are destructive and they are worthless.
In verse 23 we are told to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. Our minds need to be changed. As we spend time in God’s Word and as we are taught by those whom God has called, we will be exposed to the truth and we will be challenged to change by the truth. God does not allow His children to sit passively by. He expects His children to grow. He provides all that is needed to grow and He expects that to happen. A parent feeds his children good food. He expects them to grow through that. A parent would be quite concerned if their child was eating well but remained small and unable to function. They would soon be going to the doctor to find out what was wrong. Every person has some type of abnormality. Some are more noticeable than others.
Spiritually, no child of God has an abnormality.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Every child of God has been given the power needed to become a son of God. Every true child of God has the power to say no to sin and yes to God. We have the power to put off the old man and to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. The true saint has no excuse for sinning. That is why when we sin we need to confess that sin and receive God’s forgiveness. Every true child of God will sin, but we cannot live in sin. That is clear from our text and many other Scriptures as well.
In verse 24 we are commanded to put on the new man. What does the new man look like? Who defines that for us. Is it a matter of opinion?
God tells us in this verse what the new man looks like. The new man is created by God after the pattern of God. When God made man, He made him after His image. Adam chose to sin and thus he tarnished that image in his life. He did not tarnish God. God remained holy and righteous and just, etc. However, man became a sinner. In salvation, we are become new creatures in Christ Jesus. Now we need to act on that which we have been made to be. We have been made to be righteous and holy. That is defined in God’s Word for us.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
We do not make up our own standard of righteousness if we are saved. Jesus Christ is righteous and He indwells the child of God. We put on the new man which is after the righteousness of Jesus Christ. True saints hate sin.
Psalm 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
This is why faithfulness in a true church is so important. We need to be led in right Bible study. We need to be led by faithful men who will honour God’s Word. Today we are told we need to get together with a multitude of perversions and we need a facilitator who can keep things more or less on track, but we go around and share our opinions. In the end, everybody leaves feeling good about themselves because no one had an absolute truth and nobody took offence because every opinion had merit, but no one came away convinced of sin or encouraged to walk more faithfully with the Lord. That is man’s standard of righteousness, but it is not God’s standard.
The Pharisees hated Jesus because He was right and and they were not interested in following Him. They did not like Him because He did not endorse their false religion. That Pharisaical philosophy is still dominant today. Jesus condemned them and their philosophy then, and He has not changed His mind today.
If we are saved, we need to accept God’s Word as our authority and we need to get rid of the lies and deception of the past and we need to put on the new man. We can do that and it is exciting to be able to grow in the Lord and to be more Christlike. That is how we can help others to know the truth as well. The Bible says there is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety nine just persons who need no repentance. Think of the privilege and blessing you can know in helping some lost sinner to see the need to be saved, or some wayward saint to come to know God’s peace and blessing. That is worth more than all the opinions in the world. That should be your testimony if you are a true child of God. If not, why not turn to God today and be saved and begin to reap the blessings of a true child of God.