Old life vs the New life (Ephesians 4:17-24) Part 2

…continued from Old life vs New life Part 1

Transition: BUT…that is not the way you learned in Christ!

In looking at this passage, it is important to note that these are not commands. Paul is not writing in a way where this is imperative. He is writing in a way that these are facts that believers will understand from knowing Christ.

3) Believers have been set free from the bondage of their sin and, by God’s grace, have been given a new spiritual body.

We’ve been talking a lot about the new body and new self. The question is: what is it more specifically? The term of new body or new creation is very common in Paul’s writings.

Galatians 6:12-15- “It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.  For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.  But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whichthe world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-18- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;”

Colossians 3:5-15 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.   On account of these the wrath of God is coming.   In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old selfwith its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,free; but Christ isall, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

Unbelievers behave in certain ways out of their values and believers should behave in others that reflect God’s kingdom values. Obviously, there is complexity. Many unbelievers are wonderfully nice people. They are involved in important charities and are otherwise gracious people in there lives. Some of them are devout believers of other religions that teach them to be kind and selfless.

Conversely, there are people who reflect Christ and do horrible things. There are those of us reading this post, who have this past week, struggled with one sin or another. We did engage in activities that were futile. We have acted as if we are darkened in our understanding. We have maybe at points felt alienated from God. If we have a new self given to us by the Spirit, then why do we still struggle?

Believers are indeed a new creation or self but we often go back and entertain our old self- the patterns and thoughts when we are free not to do so.

Metaphorically, this is akin to a believer going back to a graveyard, digging up their own dead body that was put to death and parading this body around town.  These actions would seem to be a more disturbing version of that 80s comedy “Weekend at Bernies”.

4) Believers should renew their mind which helps us embrace the new body.

One of the key elements in putting on of the new body that God desires for us is renewing our minds. Again, Scripture reminds us that the way we think is vitally important. Thoughts proceed actions.

Jesus taught this in the sermon on the mount. The commandment is not just adultery but to not think lustfully. The commandment is not just murder but also not hating other people. Jesus challenges us to get at the very root of our behaviors which are our thoughts.

How important than becomes the fact that we are being renewed in the spirit of our minds.

Renewing the mind is a continual process of the Spirit’s work. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6- “He who began a good work will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus”. This is an eschatological term. It means that the process of being made more and more like Jesus and being purged of sin is going to be a lifelong process. A believer fully fitting into the new self will be continual work.

What are some foundational elements to think about when renewing our minds?

Worldview= Who is Jesus Christ to us? This is foundational. Worldview determines the presuppositions by which we see the world. Jesus is God incarnate and is the Lord and Savior of the world.

Truth= What is our identity in Christ? This is encouragement in a very harsh world. Who are we in Christ? We are the people that He loves unconditionally died upon a cross for and rose again to free from the trappings of our own sin and folly. We are citizens in God’s kingdom and co-heirs with Christ.

Free= Free from shame and guilt. If someone has come to Christ, repented and been forgiven, there is no need to dwell on past sins any longer. The person has been freed. There is no need to beat oneself up.  Jesus says, “Go and sin no more”. He is the gracious High Priest. Guilt can destroy and rob us of joy. (Allow me to be careful here: guilt can be good in leading us to repentance but once we have repented, it should be there no longer).

Joy= We can live the lives we were created to live. We are given joy to fit into the body of Christ however we fit in with whatever talents and abilities we have. We are free to love God and love other people. Our focus should be on those two truths bringing enrichment to our lives and bringing God glory.

From these foundations of thought, we put on a new body. As we meditate upon God and His Word and seek to apply the principles and commandments to our lives, we will begin to drastically change.

Conclusion: God has chosen us. He came and died for our sins so He could change our lives. The way He changes our lives is giving us the Holy Spirit so the new creation that He has fostered in every believer will continue to grow and be made more like Christ.

Paul recognizes that these believers in Ephesus among such diversity and difference of opinions could be unified on a foundation of Christ. They do this by putting away their old selves and striving for the new body. This new body is the element that loves God and loves other people. That seeks to serve and give and encourage others.

Believers are striving to rid themselves of futility in their lives. They are seeking not to be alienated from Jesus but to draw ever closer. God Himself has made this possible. He is going to ask us to change actions/habits/behaviors. More than that, He will ask us to change some of our thinking (renewing our minds).

When we do this, we are embracing the life we were intended to have in the beginning of time. In the garden, our mission was to walk closely with God. We sinned and fell short and were separated from God by our sins. Jesus has now made a way to restore us to that original state and not just us, but all of creation that has been affected by the fall.

This starts with Jesus redeeming us and making us His children. And then, we walk with Him, putting on the new self and striving to leave the old ways far behind.

This was a sermon originally preached at King’s Cross Church on December 2, 2012.  To listen to this sermon, click here: http://www.ourkingscross.org/resources/sermons/  and download “New Self vs Old Self”

-Dave

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About dangeroushope

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10 Responses to Old life vs the New life (Ephesians 4:17-24) Part 2

  1. Mishayah says:

    Hi There,
    You said: 3) Believers have been set free from the bondage of their sin and, by God’s grace, have been given a new spiritual body.
    How is this possible for the Christian? Sin is the transgression of the Law and yet the Christian has forsaken the Law of YHVH. I realize that Paul swapped the Law for faith but Yahshua never taught this nor did he even give hint that he would put away the Law in fact just the opposite. So how can a Christian ‘go and sin no more’ when the forsaking of the Law is an abomination to God. In fact an abomination that causes desolation.
    Rom 3:21 ‘But now the righteousness of God is made manifest without the Law, being witnessed by the Law and prophets.’ This is probably one of the greatest fallacies ever swallowed hook line and sinker by Christianity. Nowhere, but nowhere can this be found to be true in Law or the Prophets. Habakkuk 4:2 has not thing to do with the elimination of the Law, in fact it is the forsaking of the law that is the Prophets complaint.

    • Hi Mishayah-

      I’m guessing we have very different presuppositions here. I’m a Christian and believe that from Genesis to Revelation, God has inspired various authors from various cultures and backgrounds to write down His Word.

      Jesus said in Matt 22:37-40- “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and Prophets.” Thereby, Jesus summed up the entire Law and prophets as loving God and loving people. Furthermore, Jesus claimed in the Sermon on the Mount that He had come to fulfill the law (Matt:5:17).

      What do you believe? Do you believe the Law just stands to condemn us because who could ever keep it? Do you follow the Pentateuch Law line by line in your personal life? What do you think?

      • Mishayah says:

        Hi There
        You had quoted that Yahshua had fulfilled the law, however the word ‘fulfilled’ is in the Greek Pleroo and it means ‘to cause to abound or to overflow.’ It never has meant termination as it is commonly held by Christianity,’ Which of course carries the implication via Paul that because Yahshua fulfilled the law that means you or I don’t have to. However it is a complete fabrication that no one can keep the Law, this was never even hinted at through the Law the prophets and psalms, nor was it ever taught in any of the Gospels. The Jerusalem ‘church’ was noted for this ‘They were zealous or the Law.’ Yahshua had said ‘that not one jot or tittle from the law would pass till all be fulfilled.’ All has not been fulfilled, therefore the whole law stands and seeing as Yahshua commanded His disciples to keep and do the law, then anyone speaking or teaching contrary to this would in fact be an ‘apostate.’ The Law was never given to condemn that is a bald faced lie, regardless of who spoke it or taught or repeats it. It is also quite untrue that no one can keep the law. In fact Yahshua says ‘Then I will say to them, I never knew you, depart from from me you who without the law.’ ‘Iniquity’ is the Greek word ‘Anomia’ and it means ‘without Law.’
        You had also said ‘Thereby, Jesus summed up the entire Law and prophets as loving God and loving people.’ You can never reach the sum if you throw the parts that make it up. Further how do you ever expect to enter the New Covenant if you cast out or forsake the law.’ Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
        So you can see from this that those who are without the law are in no way shape or form even approaching the New Covenant.

        Thanks
        Michael

      • Mishayah says:

        Hi there:
        I don’t think I answered all of your questions. So to say one loves YHVH with all their heart soul mind and strength means what? Yahshua said if you love Me you will obey Me. How can we say we love the Father if we have other gods we have placed before Him? Neither the Father nor the Son ever gave even a whisper of a hint that the Torah/Law was a dispensation as taught by Paul, and yet Paul says that Rom 3:21 ‘But now the righteousness of God is made manifest without the Law, being witnessed by the Law and prophets.’
        I challenge any and all to prove this statement, but before you attempt it read carefully Gen 26:5 Abraham had the Torah/Law long before it was given again in the wilderness. As a matter of fact YHVH chose Abraham because He knew Abraham would teach the Law to his family and household.
        Do I follow the law line by line? What’s that? Have you confused ‘Levitical law with common law?
        Why do you say that no one can keep the Law? Only Paul ever made such an outrageous claim, no one else ever did. But then again Paul was a master at perverting and taking completely out of context any word he could find, especially Hab 2:4 and Psalm 14. Paul claims the Law was given in the wilderness on account of transgression. Again another bald faced lie from Paul, read Gen 26. The Law was not given to impose bondage on Israel to prove to them that they were incapable of righteousness. What a farce? The Law was and is the wisdom of God. It’s not a difficult thing to do the Torah, Yahshua said ‘take my yoke upon you and learn of ME..’ How can you possibly learn of Him if you cast out the law. That’s all that Yahshua taught. Isaiah says of the Messiah ‘That YHVH is pleased for His righteousness sake. He/Messiah will magnify the Law and make it glorious and honorable.’ Which He did, which is why it was written of the Jerusalem Church that they were zealous for the Law. It’s only in Pauline Christianity that the Law and it’s giver has been slandered
        So how could Paul possibly be a light to the gentiles as he claims? When the Bible clearly says that the Law is the Light. So Paul usurped the title ‘light to the gentiles’ and brought gross darkness instead.

        If you would like to debate the subject further I would invite you to ‘truthseekers.co.za, bring your friends anyone you’d like. If folks are as confident in Paul as they like to think, then it should be no problem to prove or disprove his veracity. but I have found that folks are not as confident as they seem when it comes to Paul.
        Thanks
        Michael

      • Hi Michael,

        You are stating terms and not defining what you mean by them. What is the difference, in your view, between the “Levitical law” and the “common law”? Do you think levitical law is only relegated to priests while the other is for the lay person?

        Of course the law condemns us. Has there ever been anyone alive (besides Jesus) who has perfectly kept every bit of the law? That is why we need Jesus as the Savior. He is perfect and I should trust in Him, not the law. The law was certainly given by God and certainly is inspired. In a simple way, I think it points to the need of a Savior because we are lawbreakers by nature and action.

        Do you reject all Pauline (or apparent) Pauline letters? If so, then as stated before, our presuppositions in approaching the Bible are very different. Which books of the Bible do you trust and why? I believe Paul was a sinful man (by his own admission) but he was inspired by God in his epistle writing. His epistles and all 66 books of the Bible. The unending task of theology is investigating how these diverse books from a plethora of cultures fits together into the whole of God’s story.

  2. Mishayah says:

    Hi There
    Yahshua did not come to deliver you from the Law. There was plenty of forgiveness available before the advent of the Messiah, As to those who kept the Law, how about Daniel, Jeremiah, Hosea, Isaiah, how about Abraham and of course Paul claimed that he was without sin under the law, but then again I guess Paul did not consider murder as a sin.. The Law was known as the Torah which defined means the ‘Instructions of Life. Aside from Paul who ever said that the Law was now null and void? Or that you were to be delivered from the Law?
    The cross did not deliver us from the Law, otherwise we make Yahshua a hypocrite and a liar.

    You had said ‘ I think it points to the need of a Savior because we are lawbreakers by nature and action.
    James said ‘1: 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

    20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

    21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the inborn word, which is able to save your souls.

    You can see here that it is ‘obedience to the inborn word of Truth’ that saves our souls and not divorcing the law.
    Here’s a couplet for you Psa 119:142 ‘Thy Law is the Truth’ and John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth ‘Thy Word is Truth.’

    The Word of Truth and the Law are synonymous. They are the same thing. Is the Word of Truth null and void or is it a temporary dispensation? The Holy Spirit is theSpirit of Truth, which in turn is the Spirit of the Law.

    But you asked which Books do I hold as inspired? All that agree with the Torah the prophets and the Psalms. These are the ones that testify of the true Messiah.

    But let me you a question, where is it prophesied in the OT that righteousness apart from the law would be manifest. Paul said this was verified by the Law and prophets Rom 3:2

    If you go to answer this I would only ask that quote in context, something that Paul was incapable of.

    If this can not be verified then Paul has born false witness against God Himself, so it’s important for you to be able to prove this assertion.

    Thanks
    Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      With some of your comments, you are painting with a broad brush I think. Not all Christians are dispensationalists from the likes of Darby or Scofield. I haven’t met many people who believe the Old Testament is irrelevant or completely null and void. An example is the ten commandments. Of course, virtually all Christians recognize these as commandments to live by. They are also commandments that we have broken and need forgiveness from God/Jesus for breaking.

      What was Jesus’ primary mission in your view? The gospel of John has John the Baptist recognizing that Christ is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. How specifically does he take them away? By dying for them. He died on the cross for the sins of the world. How do we know what sin is? People have broken the law of God. Therefore, they miss the mark of God (harmtia in greek) ie they sin. Christ delivers us from the effects of sin. Paul teaches this as well. Christ died for sinners and because he is demonstrating the great love of God (Romans 5:8).

      Here is what Paul says at the end of Romans 3: “31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” Christ died for sinners who break the law of God. Keep in mind that Paul was a pharisee. He was self-righteous. He believed in his own justification by his works…not by the works of God in his heart.

      Another question for you: do you make animal sacrifices to God still as which is described in the OT? Do you where a cord of blue tassels on each corner of your garments? (Numbers 15) Do you stone disobedient children to death in the back yard? Do you offer a goat if you sin unintentionally? These are all OT commands.

      I completely agree with the verses you laid out. The task of theology is looking at the Bible, the Word of God, studying it, meditating on it and asking what God has for me to do today. How does His Word apply today in my life and my culture?

      Dave

      • Mishayah says:

        You know it’s an interesting thing about animal sacrifice in Jeremiah 7:22 YHVH says He did NOT command blood sacrifice. So that leaves Leviticus where? There are several other paces in the prophets where the same thing is re-iterated. As for stoning children in the backyard, no I didn’t have to do that to mine. I was tempted though during his teenage years 🙂 As for Christians keeping the commandments, yeah I know they say they do, but I haven’t met any except SDA that keep the Sabbath. I have not met too many that keep the first either ‘You shall have no other gods before Me. I haven’t met too many that hear and obey Him. But most I’ve met do hear and obey Paul even though Paul consistently derides the Torah as something that was only temporary and is the cause of sin. Not only the cause but the power of sin. So remove the Torah and supposedly sin goes with it. Is that what YHVH said? Did any prophet including Yahshua ever state that the Law was the power of sin? No, you won’t find it anywhere. I think I already wrote this maybe not ‘but when Yahshua says I did not come to destroy the law and prophets, I came to fulfill. It seems you have a Greek dictionary, look up the word for ‘fulfill’ it is ‘pleroo’ and it means to ’cause to abound, to cause to overflow’ it never has meant termination or bring to an end. Yet that is what is commonly taught. So Christians use this passage for an escape hatch and to justify Paul declaring that obedience to the law is falling away from the truth.
        AS a matter of fact when Yahshua said you will know the tree by it’s fruit then the fruit of Paul’s teaching is apostasy from the Torah, let’s face it most Christians are utterly ignorant of what it is. Deu 13 says in a nutshell that it doesn’t matter if one prophesies and it comes to pass or one dreams a dream and it comes to pass, but that prophet that leads the people away from the Torah in that they won’t do it anymore then that prophet is false and you are not to hear him or fear him. No wonder Paul was stoned, he even had the gaul to boast about it. He was stoned because he was false prophet.
        But look the Jews have been just as flagrant in blowing off theTorah as the Christians, which was why they hated Yahshua so much and still do.
        Funny thing about the Law/Torah if one chose to pray about it or even meditate upon it they would quickly see that the essence of the Law is really physics, cause and effect. It’s how the whole creation works. So when folks are claiming that it is no longer in force cuz now of course everyone is under grace. It is really quite laughable. That’s like saying the law of gravity is no longer in effect because some professor had a revelation. I wonder if said professor ever jumped off the top of a building to test his theory.
        The thing is, is that once you receive the real Holy Spirit you actually have a great desire to do the Torah, to understand it, to walk in it, it’s actually very liberating.

        Thanks Michael

  3. Mishayah says:

    Hi DAve

    I just wanted to add something here: You had said ‘Here is what Paul says at the end of Romans 3: “31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”
    That pretty much proves the hypocrisy of Paul doesn’t it? No Christian today uphold the Law. Why? Because Paul also vilifies the Law. Gal 5:1 Paul referring to Covenant of Sinai as ‘Yoke Of Bondage.’ So on one side of his mouth he makes a claim for the law but on the other side he condemns it. I will also remind that the Covenant of Sinai was the Ten Commandments. It was also the Marriage Covenant. Are we to believe that YHVH inflicted via marriage 1500 years of bondage? So not only does Paul discourage anyone from doing to law, at the same time he commits blasphemy against YHVH.

  4. Hi Michael,

    But Leviticus DOES teach blood atonement. So by the logic that you are applying to Paul…would that logic also suggest that Jeremiah is denying the Law of God in Jeremiah 7:22?

    And you didn’t really answer the question regarding “stoning children to death” (which is in the Law). You’re children may have been well-behaved and that’s great. But if someone’s children were not…should they be stoned to death? That is also in the law.

    And the blue tussells on garments?

    My point on all of this is NOT to say the Law is not applicable today or that it is void or anything. Christians believe the OT was inspired by God. It is profitable. Its a question of whether we spiritualize some of these commands. In context, were some of the commands for a national theocracy where Christ declared His Kingdom not of this world?

    You are right about Christians falling short of the 10 commandments. But falling short and into sin does not mean that the 10 commandments are not authoritative. Christians can believe they are authoritative while struggling to uphold them. Everyone has idols they should cast aside and repent of in order to follow the true God. The 10 commandments are the direction that Christians should go toward (among other Scriptural commands).

    “So remove the Torah and supposedly sin goes with it. ” Christians don’t say this and neither does Paul. Paul never says remove the Torah and then sin is removed. The law is the law of God. People fall short of the law of God which is why they need a Savior (Jesus). I don’t know how much more clearly I can say this. I have broken the law of God. So I need Jesus to forgive me, move me toward repentance so I can obey God and love Him more.

    We obviously have real differences of opinion. I don’t think we are going to convince each other so this will be my last comment.

    To simplify my argument and broad interpretation of Pauline theology, I will say this:

    1) The law is holy and the standard of God.
    2) All human beings (except for Jesus) have broken the law.
    3) If we have broken the law, we are lawbreakers and sinners whose relationship with God is interrupted because of the sin. Sin is our nature.
    4) Jesus (if we believe and trust Him) can forgive us of breaking the law and restore us back to God. He helps us to be mindful of God’s commandments because our desire should be toward his Word and commands.

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