The New You
God doesn’t save us just so that we can escape hell and go to heaven. Wonderful as our rescue is, His plan for us and the world is much grander than that! In Christ, God is working to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
One element of that reconciliation is the righteous and holy living that God calls His people to put on. But as we “put on the new self,” we must also “put off [the] old self.” What does that look like from a practical standpoint? Paul doesn’t leave us searching for answers. He says we are to “put away falsehood” and “speak the truth,” because we all belong to each other and are united to each other (Ephesians 4:25), and when we lie, we short-circuit the nervous system of Christ’s body. If we’re prone to anger, we must not let it drive us to sin; rather, we put our anger to bed before we let ourselves rest, lest we give the devil a foothold in our lives (v 26-27). If we’ve taken what is not ours, we must instead begin earning our own keep and sharing instead of taking (v 28). We do not allow our tongues to utter anything that tears others down but only what graciously builds them up (v 29).
Startlingly, when we behave in line with our former way of life, we distress the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). To avoid grieving Him, we must put away bitterness, rage, anger, quarreling, slander, and malice (v 31). Just as God is with us in Christ, we are to be kind and tenderhearted, pushing ourselves to forgive, however difficult that is, because God in Christ forgave us (v 32).
The apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that anyone who is in Christ “is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Still, putting on the new person requires hard work. But as we work, we do so knowing that God Himself works in us, enabling us and empowering us to look more like Christ (Philippians 2:13).
If you are in Christ, God has already begun His restorative work in you, and He will complete it (Philippians 1:6). What better assurance could there be? What better motivation to put on the new self while forsaking the old? What will that look like for you today?
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
20But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to put off your old self,6 which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotionals by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, 2022, The Good Book Company.
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