“So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn about Christ like this, if indeed you heard about him and were taught in him, just as the truth is in Jesus. You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image — in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.”
(Ephesians 4.17-24, NET)
Yesterday we talked about the call to no longer live as the Gentiles do: simply, there needs to be a change in us when we put hope, faith, and trust in Jesus. Today let’s continue through the wider passage.
We read that before believing people are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. Very simply, our sin separates us from God. This is not to say that any kind of intellectual achievement is beyond those who do not believe in God and the Lord Jesus, just that the pure power of thought and understanding will never take us from death to life.
Living this way, practicing every kind of impurity with greediness will never lead us to learn about Christ. Living our own lives for ourselves and being saturated with sin will never lead us to learning about Jesus. We can try, we can scratch the surface and study the stories, but the deeper connection will be missing. Someone, something, somehow broke into our lives and taught with reference to [our] former way of life to lay aside this old way of living with our deceitful desires.
The expectation and the exhortation now is to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image — in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth. We have a pattern to follow in Jesus who shows us a life lived in God’s image (Philippians 2.5-7). We have the power to do so, too (be renewed in the spirit).
I would encourage you today to think about how this change came about in your life:
Who or what broke in and convinced you to lay aside your old way of life?
How are you putting on the new self, modelled after the Lord Jesus?
If you’re willing to share, leave a comment!