Knowing what Christ has done for you, enables you to walk in a worthy way. Theology without practically and loving obedience is hypocrisy. In Christ we are called to put off the old man and put on the new man and walk in a way which honors the Lord. How is your walk? What do you need to put on or put off?
- 4.17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity (futility, folly, emptiness) of their mind, 18. Having the understanding (both moral and mental) darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness (hardness) of their heart: 19. Who being past feeling (having lost all sensitivity) have given themselves over unto lasciviousness (unbridled sensuality), to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Know this beloved, the church has not been redeemed by the precious blood of The Lamb Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit of God in order that we might peacefully co-exist with sin or fit in with this fallen world system.
I believe that one of the reasons why the church as a whole is not being as effective as we should be is because we are either afraid or ashamed of the consequences of being holy, or different than the world. We need to be willing to be separate like Daniel and the 3 Hebrew children were in Babylon.
The word therefore here is a connecting word. Having established what God has done for us and who we are in Christ, The Holy Spirit now proceeds to tell us how we are to walk with Christ in a fallen world.
We see in these Scriptures that the Christian man or woman has been redeemed by Christ to live differently than they did before they were saved. We cannot be salt and light if we are not living differently than we used to. No longer are we to be conformed to this fallen world’s image and values; the Holy Spirit is transforming us into the image of Christ.
- 2 Cor 3.17 Now the Lord is that Spirit:and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord
The gospel of Jesus Christ redeems us from a self-centered, self-seeking life of vanity to a God centered, Spirit filled life of meaning and purpose.
When Paul speaks of fallen man being ignorant, this is a condition that stems from a heart that is born “in Adam”, hardened and alienated from the life of God. This is why we need a new heart and a new spirit that comes from God.
Listen to a description of unregenerate man’s condition. Verse 17 says that unsaved man is walking in vanity. Empty. Just like the conclusion arrived at in Ecclesiastes. A companion word for vanity is the word futility. Unsaved man is pursuing a love affair with the fallen worlds values and pleasures. Only Jesus Christ and the regenerating power of God can rescue us from the futility of living for and enjoying this present evil world.
Darkness – there is within each and every one of us a deep darkness that swallows up our understanding, and keeps us from seeing the glory of the gospel or the excellency of Christ. This is true whether I am a college professor or a high school dropout. A brain surgeon or a drug dealer. Only God’s light and grace in Jesus Christ can deliver us from this power of darkness.
Past feeling has the idea of one’s skin becoming callous and no longer sensitive to pain. Until a person is born again, there is no conviction of sin. They call good evil, and evil good.
Blindness can also be understood here as hardening, and this ancient Greek word “is used medically to denote the callus formed when a bone has been fractured and reset. Such a callus is even harder than the bone itself.” (Wood) Apart from the regenerating power of God my heart is hardened against God. I am like a stone toward all that is holy and spiritual. It does not move me, attract me or delight me.
Licentiousness is sin that flaunts itself, throwing off all restraint and having no sense of shame or fear.Until a person is born again, a licentious person will make his goal in life something other than God. It may be the unbridled gratification of his body in sex or drink or drugs or food. Or it may be the gratification of his ego with more refined intellectual and cultural pursuits. Anything but God, and everything apart from God is the idea behind the word licentiousness.
Uncleanness is a broad word, mostly with reference to sexual impropriety. It speaks of moral impurity. James tells us that true religion keeps itself unspotted from this fallen world’s influences.
With greediness- In other words, the motivating factor in life for the unsaved person is rooted in greed and selfishness. It’s all about me. My feelings. My happiness. My dreams. My pleasures.
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:
How does one escape the futility and greediness that I speak of this morning? It is by hearing the voice of Jesus and being taught by Him. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
The truth is in Jesus- What truth did Jesus teach? Love one another, even as I have loved you.
There are two powerful motivators in the world today that move men. You are moved by one of the two motivators. Men are either motivated by love, or they are motivated by greed. The man apart from Christ is motivated by greed. More fame. More money. More material things. More recognition. More God forbidden pleasures and lusts. And you and I see the devastating results that greed has wrought in the world around us.
On the other hand, the man who is in Christ is motivated by love. What they do they do in the name of Christ, what they do they do for Jesus Christ, for the love of Christ constrains me. And thus, they are serving and giving and going the extra mile to bless others because they are motivated by love, whereas those that are motivated by greed are only interested in getting.
- 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 and man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The phrases put off and put on have the same idea of putting off or putting on a set of clothes. In other words, now that we have been redeemed out of the prison of sin and this fallen world system, it is time to put on the garments of righteousness and true holiness. The idea is to “change into” a different kind of conduct. The present tense used with each of these commands, indicates continual action. Meaning that that we are to be doing this continually.
To put off the old man is another way of saying don’t look back on the old life. Jesus isn’t merely a spiritual addition to our old way of thinking and living. Once you are in Christ, the old life dies and Jesus becomes our new life. You are now a new creature in Christ Jesus.
Know ye not that the old man was crucified with Christ, that the body of sin should not reign as king over you any longer? Put off that old man that is corrupted because of his deceitful lusts. So the old person is the old bundle of attitudes and emotions and practices that I used to be. That’s who I was before I was called out of darkness. Yes, there is the tension between the flesh and The Spirit when you put off the old man and put on the new man. When you become a Christian, you do not go from war to peace; you go from a battle that you could not win, to a battle that you cannot lose.
In verse 23 we see a very important ingredient to walking in newness of life. Being renewed in the spirit of your mind. Why do we need to renew our minds? Because by nature we are not spiritually minded. Our minds are worldly, carnal and corrupt, and when your mind worldly, carnal and corrupt, you can even love to drink poison.
Paul wrote to the Romans, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world:but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
To walk in newness of mind means that we are to be a Psalm 1.1-3 kind of a person.
- 25. Wherefore putting away (lay aside; strip yourself) lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
The old man was accustomed to lying it’s way in and out of situations. That all changes in Christ. The new man tells the truth. The motive for doing this is because we are members of one another, therefore there is no place for lying. Your physical body can only function properly if it tells itself the truth. If your hand touches something hot but your hand tells your brain that the thing is cool, your hand will be severely burned. That’s why telling the truth is so important, because we are members of one another.
- 26. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun (not the week, not the decade, but today’s sun!don’t go to sleep at night holding a grudge) go down upon your wrath: 27. Neither give place to the devil (leave no such foothold for the enemy).
Commentator John Trapp wrote: He that will be angry and not sin, let him be angry at nothing but sin. There is a place for righteous anger in the Christian life. Jesus displayed that when He turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple. Would you please note that when you allow anger to brew and stew in your heart and mind, you are opening the door for the devil to come in and steal, kill, destroy and devour you and those around you. Brothers and sisters in Christ, when we harbor anger in our heart towards others, we are on the devils payroll and are actually doing the devil’s work for him.
- 28. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
The new man does not steal, but he works with his hands. He does this not only to provide for his own needs, but also to have something to give him who has need. In other words, the kingdom purpose for working is not to build up my own kingdom on earth, but that we should work so that we can give. The purpose for getting is not to build a bigger and better kingdom of barns here on earth, but to invest into heavenly things by giving unto others for the glory of God.
You see beloved, it is not Christian just to stop stealing. It is not Christian just to work honestly in order to have things. It is Christian to work to have in order to give—to meet needs. All our work is to be a display of giving grace of God.
- 29. Let no corrupt (unwholesome, foul, rotten) communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good (helpful) to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30. And grieve not (vex, offend) the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
- 31. Let all bitterness, and wrath (rage), and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking (slander), be put away from you, with all malice (ill will, spite):
Bitterness- the resentful spirit that refuses reconciliation.
Wrath- sudden outbursts of anger due to personal displeasure.
Anger– this is a settled disposition. Some of the angriest people have the faces of angels, quiet voices, but the tongues of serpents.
Clamour- loud expressions of grief and shouting.
Evil speaking- blasphemy; slander.
Malice- an evil or wicked disposition.
I grieve the Holy Spirit when filthy communication is in my heart or comes out of my mouth, for He is pure. He is holy. I grieve the Holy Spirit when I speak to someone in anger. I grieve the Spirit of God when I slander others. I grieve the Spirit of God when I use the Name of Jesus flippantly or carelessly. I grieve the Spirit of God when I hold a deep brewing, malicious attitude in my heart towards someone. I grieve The Spirit of God when I criticize and put someone down instead of making the effort to build him or her up in love. How many of you know that it is much easier to criticize than edify?
A Christian is a person whose rotten root within has been made new by grace through faith in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The grace of God has taken the hate and anger and resentment that spill over in mean and vulgar and irreverent language, and has covered them with the blood of Christ and killed them along with the old unbelieving self.
When it comes to the language of the child of God, the question is not that I am not using vulgarity like I used to. There are unsaved, moral people who refrain from swearing. The question is this: Am I building the faith of others by what I say? Is my mouth a means of grace? Or is my mouth the proverbial corrupt spring spoken of in James 3?
What is the day of redemption beloved? It is the day when the long battle with sin will be over. No more groaning with imperfection; no more waiting; no more frustrated longings. It is the day when the deepest longings of our heart will be satisfied with the sight of the glory of the grace of God in the face of Jesus. Our redemption will be complete.
Having learned what grieves The Spirit of God and damages relationships. Let us now see what bless The Spirit of God and strengthens relationships.
- 32. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (readily and freely).
- Romans 12.10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.
- 1 Cor 13.4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind.
- 1 Peter 3.8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
Forgiving- In Matthew 18, Jesus taught us that we are to forgive others the way God has forgiven us. Forgiveness of others is not a matter of mathematics. Forgiveness of others is not a matter of emotion or feelings. Forgiveness of others is a mater of Lordship and obedience. God’s forgiveness is real and ours should be too. When God forgives, we are really restored. Nothing is held over our heads for later blackmail. It is gone: “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). And so we fall short of our divine pattern if we “forgive” a wrong but secretly plan to keep it in the back of our minds for a later touché. When we forgive, let us really forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave us. To not forgive is tormenting and to some extent, the person you refuse to forgive is holding you spiritually hostage.
- 1 John 2.12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
Just as the altars of old testament had two flesh hooks to keep the sacrifice from slipping off, we have two hooks that keep us abiding in Christ–discipline and devotion. Are you disciplining yourself and devoting yourself as a living sacrifice to the glory of God?
The Gospel sets you free.
Jesus said, “The hour is coming, AND NOW IS, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (John 5:25).
This is a description of the person who is no longer alienated from the life of God. Jesus Christ has spoken in the truth of his Word. He has diagnosed our disease, and now He gives Himself as a cure and as a teacher to everyone who hears His voice and becomes His disciple. A person who is living apart from the life of Christ is living a life of frustration, and futility because like the woman at the well, all of their hopes, dreams and pleasures are wrapped up and bound to this world and this life.
- John 4.13,14 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The gospel is not a message that makes bad people good. It is a message that gives dead people life. I invite you to come to Jesus and drink the water of life freely.