Waking with The Word | Ephesians 4:21-24
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 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 man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (KJV)
The pendulum has swung from verses 17-19 on the hinge of verse 20 "But Ye have not so learned Christ;" Paul continues to say"If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:"
I want to point to something in this first verse we're looking at today and that is the punctuation at the end of the verse, a colon. This colon here indicates that what follows it are the contents of what precedes it. Maybe better said, the colon tells us what comes after it is expanding on what was already said. (Example: These are the needs of the Church: Permanent property, spiritual growth, faithful servants.) We see colons used most often when there is a list of things, as in our example above. What comes after the colon[:Permanent property, spiritual growth, faithful servants.] is an expansion/details of what comes before it[These are the needs of the Church:].I've said all that to point out what I believe Paul was trying to point us to, under Holy inspiration. That Jesus is our ultimate example in this area of putting off the old man and putting on the new. Verses 22-24 are expanding on verse 21. We could say it like this: The truth that is in Jesus is this: put off the old man, be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man. Paul gives us a 3 part list of the truth that we have heard and been taught in Jesus.
First I think we should recognize the contradiction that is within every believer, the old man and the new man. This is not an issue for the lost person because there is no new nature to contradict the old but one of the first thing a believer runs into shortly after their conversion is the fact that there is still the whispers and lust of the old man who once controlled us. Paul said in Galatians that the Spirit lusts against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit. This is the very conflict we are reading about in our verses today, but Paul isn't simply telling us about this conflict here but is going to instruct us in how to overcome this conflict. The overcoming of this conflict is answered in the example of Christ. Jesus also had this very same conflict, being tempted, Satan whispering to him turn these stones into bread, His flesh feeling every weakness that ours feels, being tempted in all points such as we are, yet without sin. Jesus is the perfect example of putting off the old man. He dealt with all the same temptations and problems we do and He yielded Himself at all times to the instruction and will of His Father. The Book of Hebrews also reminds us to look to Christ in this area overcoming temptations.
2Looking unto Jesusthe author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Jesus endured this same contradiction that we endure, but how many of us have resisted unto blood in this fight of putting of the old man and putting on the new? I dare none of us have endured to point which Jesus did in Gethsemane. His flesh was weak to the point of collapsing, His mind was perplexed to the point of hematohidrosis(sweating blood). This sweating of blood is something that happens when a person is under such great stress that the blood vessels around the sweat glands contract to the point of rupture and the Blood mingles with the sweat. Jesus, our ultimate example of putting off the old man. Forty days without food and He refused to turn the stones to bread, Silent as the crowd mocked and scoffed, He opened not his mouth but was lead as a lamb to the slaughter, Obedient unto to death. It was His Death and Resurrection that saves us but it is by His Life and overcoming of sin and the old man that we learn sanctification.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
The point we want to drive home is what I believe Paul was pointing to in our verses today. Christ put off the old man, Christ was renewed in the spirit of his mind and Christ put on the new man. If He did it, then He would have us to do it. Furthermore I would say that it is by Him that we can do it, not in our own strength but in His. He is able to succour those that are tempted!
Paul tells us about these two natures, The old man and the new. Paul says this about the old man. "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;"
The word conversation indicates two parties, a comment and a reply. The best thing we could do is to never reply to the comments or temptations of the old man. If you've ever dealt with a salesman you know how convincing they can be, they can take an ordinary thing and paint it such a light that you are ready to sale the family farm and give all your worldly possessions for this thing they are selling. I've known people to take up payments on vacuum cleaners, or spend their weeks salary on some oil that will supposedly change your life. It isn't that the item their selling is so grand, most times it is quiet ordinary. What has happened is that the salesman is working on our desires with deceit. Either they have deceived themselves into believing what they are saying or they are just outright deceptive. They say if you have this your health will be better than it has been in years or some how this new item is going to revolutionize your life. Many people fall for these deceitful schemes and it all could have been avoided if they would have simply shut the door in the salesman's face. Our old man is a very deceitful salesman and he will have us convinced that we would finally be happy if we just made a little more money, only to find out that when we get what He sold us we still have that same gnawing hunger for more. He presented you with some younger, seemingly more beautiful women and says your life would have spark and flare again if you could be with her. The best thing to do is slam the door in the face of that old man. Don't enter in to that deceptive conversation, don't entertain his deceitful lies and old sales gimmicks. Rather be renewed in the spirit of your mind. After that old salesman is gone you begin to think more clearly and see things for what they really are. While he was there presenting his new vacuum he almost had you convinced that this thing will change my life and make me a new man, you didn't consider the cost; you were blinded by the deceptive conversation you were having. After He's gone sanity enters in and you realize the cost of this conversation. You've just spent your child's grocery money, your rent money and the money for utility's on some thing that wont feed you, shelter you or keep your lights on. When He's gone reality sets in and then you can think clearly, your mind or sensibility is renewed. That is precisely what we should do and is what Christ done when He was tempted. He was tempted by that old sales man the devil, His only reply was "it is written". At each temptation He rejected the subtle whispers of Satan and exposed him for who he was, a deceptive salesman of souls. Afterward he was ministered to by the angels. Satan offered his solution and afterward God offered His. Jesus put off the old man and His deceitful lust and put on the new man which was created in righteousness and true holiness.
James said it like this:
7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
This issue is not of you being the old man or being the new man but rather who you give attendance to. Put off , kick out, slam the door to the old man and clear off a spot for the new man. The Old man wanted you to trade the eternal for the temporal, Gold for lead, Family for fornication. The new man wants to trade you the temporal for the eternal, your lead for His Gold, Your sins for His righteousness. Give attendance to Him. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"-Jim Elliot
If you have heard Him and been taught by Him then let us follow the truth He has set before us. Slam the door in the face of that old salesman be renewed in the spirit of your mind and open the door to the new man who was created in righteousness and true holiness.
According to the riches of His Grace!!