to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
(Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV)
In this passage Paul is reminding the believers in Ephesus that they are not to be like those who don’t believe. Apparently some of the members of the Ephesian church were still living the same lifestyle they were before they believed.
But Jesus is not something to be added to our life. Rather, our lives should be completely transformed as a result of our salvation. Our behavior should reflect the fact that we now belong to Jesus. Today Paul begins to explain a three-step process to make that happen.
The first step, Paul tells the Ephesians, is to put off your old self. The word image here is to change clothes. A man who is a police officer puts on his uniform to identify himself with his occupation. It tells everyone who sees him who he is. He takes on a new role and responsibilities as a result of wearing that uniform.
In the same way, children of God should leave their former manner of life behind. That is not our identity any more. What we were is no longer who we are. We are now children of God and we should live like it.
if a king saw a dirty, ragged, homeless child on the street and brought him home to live in his castle, that child would take on his new identity as a child of the king. He would be cleaned up. He would wear nice clothes. He would eat fine foods. It might take a while for him to adjust, understandably. But eventually he would no longer live like he was on the street.
Similarly, those who believe that they are sinners and that Jesus’ death is 100% sufficient to atone for those sins have been rescued from a life that is corrupt. This is a fact and God wants us to live in accordance with this truth.
But many Christians struggle to adjust to this new reality. We still allow ourselves to be corrupted by deceitful desires. These desires are deceitful because they promise something that can never happen. Sin is enticing. It deceives us into thinking that it provides freedom and fulfillment, but that is a lie. Sin only corrupts, enslaves, and ultimately destroys.
Just like a released prisoner no longer lives in prison, children of God should not live in the prison of sin. We are free. That is a fact. But it is our responsibility to appropriate that freedom and live according to our new identity in Christ.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.