Yesterday we talked about taking off the old self and taking our thoughts captive to Christ. As we are now in Christ, we are changed by the grace of God. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places, where all things are beneath the feet of Jesus, and us as well. We have the power in Christ to victoriously take off our old sinful selves. A changed life is one that has been transformed from the old life, reformed into a new life, and conformed to the character of Christ. That is the “God-fashioned” life.
Not only are we to “take off the old self” but we are to put on the new self. What does the new self look like? “You lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” (Eph. 4:22b-24)
First we are to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”, which as we said yesterday, means to take every thought captive to Christ (see Warning: Take Off The “Old” Self). In our sinful nature, we are prideful, which is the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven. We need to remember that everything we have and all that we see is from God, not from ourselves. In our pride we point others to ourselves; we are to be the light of the world and point others to Christ. “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
Secondly, we are to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth”. Jesus Christ is the likeness of God! “Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all, and, in fact, Christ Himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can’t; the spirit world with its kings and kingdoms, its rulers and authorities; all were made by Christ for His own use and glory. He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together.” (Col. 1:15-17 TLB) Jesus, who is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” and who has “all things in subjection under His feet” is our righteousness. He is the example for our conduct to join in God’s holiness. To put on the “new self”, we are to put on Jesus!
And thirdly, we are to lay aside falsehoods and speak the truth. In our sinful nature, we speak the devil’s language, “for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). In our PC world today, we are encouraged to accept everyone’s sins and even slap them on the back and say “well done” when they publicly announce their sin. Political correctness is a tool of the devil, the father of lies, to conform us to worldliness. If we proceed on that path, we are not putting on the new self, we are wallowing in worldliness, which is sin. “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Rom. 1:32)
When we are conformed to the character of Christ, we are set apart from the world and are seated in Christ, who is the truth (John 14:6). In his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster wrote, “As we travel this path, the blessing of God will come upon us and reconstruct us into the image of Jesus. We must remember that the path does not produce the change; it only places us where the change can occur.” We must make the choice to submit ourselves to the Lord, and allow Him to change us from the inside out. We cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24), so we must choose whom we will serve (Joshua 24:14-15). Will you serve Satan and wallow in worldliness and glorify sin, or will you “put on the new self” and follow Jesus?