God’s church is comprised of His redeemed children through faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Just as the church has characteristics, the saints of God should individually be representative of the church of God by their godly character and devotion to their Lord and Savior.
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: Ephesians 4:17-21
Beloved we are called to turn from our former life and live a life well-pleasing to God in all holiness and righteousness of the truth. Unbelievers follow a path of willful sin because they are blinded by their evil lusts; they follow a path of greedy uncleanness looking for greater opportunity to indulge their lustful cravings. Notice what God tells us through the apostle Paul, those who have learned Christ, those who have heard Him and been taught by Him through the truth of His Word will not follow that path exemplified by lost sinners who are ignorant of Christ and His life. They instead will follow a path of righteousness that glorifies their God and Savior. They have the power and promises of God at their disposal for the life of godliness they are called to.
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
Since the old man is still extant, whom we must put off, it will only corrupt us through deceitful lusts unless put off with the concurrent putting on of the new man through the renewing of our minds through knowing and believing the Holy Scriptures of God. God has created this new man in true righteousness and holiness; we can put on the new man as we understand all that God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ which has procured for us all the power and wisdom necessary to live this holy life. This putting off the old man and putting on the new man may sound somewhat esoteric, but we are led right into the practical steps necessary for the outworking of godly living.
25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor;” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:25-32
We see the practical putting off the old man and putting on the new man. Don’t lie, speak the truth; be angry, but do not sin, don’t let the devil establish a stronghold through heated displeasure; don’t steal, work and share with others; don’t engage in evil speaking, only say those things that are good and helpful for others; don’t grieve the Holy Spirit through the works of the old man, but put them off. Don’t allow any resentment or strident disgruntlements disrupt the unity of believers, rather let forgiveness, love, kindness, and consideration draw all into loving unity centered on Christ Jesus.
The body of Christ is built on the cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and the interaction between believers can either strengthen or weaken the witness and reputation of Christ’s body. Precious promises have been given to us that we may be partakers of the divine nature since we have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. We can put off the old man and put on the new man through the promises of the Holy Scriptures and presence of the Holy Spirit who applies these promises to our lives as we walk in obedient faith. When we walk in these precious promises we individually honor the Lord Jesus Christ and together as the body of Christ bear witness to the truth that Jesus Christ is sent by the Father as Savior of the world. If we want to see progression of the gospel we must live by God’s precious promises and so fulfill the love of Christ.
1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:1-8
Lord Jesus Christ may we be careful to walk in holiness and righteousness of the truth to bear fruit for your kingdom and glory, doing what is well-pleasing to you, being united in love and righteousness for the glory of your gospel and kingdom. Amen!