Ephesians 4:22-24 – “…in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (NASB)
When someone puts their faith in Jesus Christ, there is an assumption of grace to empower a new way of living. Sometimes Christians have been so neurotically careful to teach justification by faith alone that they don’t move on to its implications. We can sometimes give the impression the Christian life just naturally falls into place as the result of being justified by faith. In this passage, the Apostle Paul makes clear that enablement to live the Christian life does not automatically mean transformation into the likeness of God. Participation in the life of Christ is required. H. Orton Wiley says it this way, there is ‘the initial ‘making clean’ and the continual ‘keeping clean.’ Within this framework it’s also important to say Christ does not make carbon copies of us. He frees us within our own unique expression of personality to the Christian ethic.
In yesterday’s devotion, the Apostle Paul referenced the ignorant, darkened, and useless mind that is separated from the life of God. Today, he references the enlightened mind that needs to be continually renewed in its spirit to approach life as Christ did. As we continue in Christ’s Word, we have a new attitude of mind regarding how we speak about others and to others who we now see as loved by God, made in His image, whom He died for. As our attitude towards life and its priorities changes through the Word of God, we prayerfully begin to learn how to put on new attitudes, outlooks, and actions that reflect being a child of God. This is not automatic! The nature of Christ within us is creating a hunger to learn of His Word so we can live according to it, but we must participate in giving ourselves over to His means of grace.