2 Corinthians 5:17: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
We are well into Chapter 4, learning about God’s calling concerning a “lifestyle” that is worthy of the gospel. Paul refers to it as a “worthy walk”. It is based on:
· Unity in Christ
· Being One Body together with Christ as our head
· Being individual members of that body, gifted by the Spirit to specific tasks that support the body
· Following Christ’s plan for building His Church in truth and love
SCRIPTURE READING:Ephesians 4:17-24, ESV:
Born A-New – Event Or Process?
Paul reveals that when one is found to be “IN Christ” a foundational, once for all occurrence, has taken place. That person has Become a NEW Creation!
The “New Birth” experience is an event. God, by His Spirit:
· convicts us of sin
· convinces us about Jesus
· provides faith to believe
· draws to repentance and faith, bring us into His family and kingdom.
The “New-Birth” experience however, is not the end goal, but rather the means to the end goal. The end Goal is our conformity to the likeness of Christ Jesus.
Before that can happen, we must be raised from spiritual death to the eternal life of Christ. Once we have the life of Christ, we can begin our journey to becoming like Him.
Christlikeness – Event Or Process?
Whereas New-Birth takes place in a moment, our transformation toward the likeness of Christ takes a lifetime of process. A process that Paul likens to our taking off old clothes and putting on new ones.
Put off Your Old Self
What do believers need to “put off”? The “life-walk” of the Gentiles.
It centers around a way of thinking which he classifies as FUTILE. VS17 Romans 1:21
VS18-19 give us 4 examples of the unbelieving mind:
1. Understanding is Darkened: this does not mean that the unbelieving are incapable of intelligent thought. It means that it is incapable of understanding Spiritual realities. 2 Timothy 3:7
2. Cut off from God’s Life: God’s life is eternal life, whereas man’s natural life is temporal. God gave Jesus so that the door to eternal life could be opened. John 3:16
Man in his natural condition will never be able to attain to eternal life because he is spiritually ignorant and his ignorance is cemented because of his hardness of heart.
Hardness of heart is what stands between judgement and forgiveness.
3. Callousness: Think of it like this: what happens when you rake your yard without gloves? Get blisters. What happens if you continue doing that over and over again? Develop callous. The tender skin that was sensitive to the rubbing of the rake handle, becomes hard and unaffected by the rake handle.
It’s the same with sin. Unbelievers have a conscience that pricks them when they do wrong, but when the conscience is stuffed, ignored, pushed aside repeatedly, its voice diminishes and the soul becomes calloused.
4. Slaves to Sensuality: People often think of “sex” when they hear the word sensuality, but there’s more to sensuality than sex.
Sensuality has to do with the physical senses: touch, taste, see, smell. The natural way of the unbeliever is to be a slave to their body If it feels good, do it!
This is the natural way of the unbeliever. Their thinking about what is true, right and good is futile… focusing on the temporal, the fleshly, the rebellious. It wants to see SELF as most important and self-actualization as the ultimate goal of life.
Catch this: It is a pathway that the believer can continue in as well.
This is why Paul says: …put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,…
Put On The New Self
Having defined the futile thinking of the unredeemed mind, Paul reminds his readers …that is not the way you learned Christ! The call of Jesus is one of repentance, a choice to turn one’s back on the old way, to embrace and travel a new way.
The message of repentance of sin is the foundation stone Jesus laid when He first began His public ministry. Matthew 4:17
Truth Point: The Gospel calls us to turn from our old self to embrace a new self that is born a-new in Christ Jesus.
Having been born a-new our “mind,” which has known nothing but the old life, must be renewed in the truth which is the new life… be renewed in the spirit of your minds,… VS23 That is how you “put on the new self.” By choosing to withhold from your mind that which reinforces the old self and opening your mind to that which builds up and nourishes the new self.
Truth Point: The new garments of Christlikness do not fit over the old garments of Adam-likeness.
Practical Point: Look at VS25: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Take off lying speech – Put on truthful speech
· Colossians 3:23: Stop working hard only with the boss is looking, work hard at all times remembering that you are actually laboring for The Lord.
· Ephesians 4:29: Stop communicating with a potty-mouth, speak communication that is uplifting and Christ-honoring.
This could also apply in what kind of communication we allow to enter our minds. Look at the content of the entertainment you allow access to your mind… movies, tv, music, books… is the content corrupting or that which builds you up in the righteousness of Christ?