If you are a Christian who doesn’t have their life right with God, now is a good time for you to straighten that out with the Lord. You not only hinder yourself by living in sin, but you also hinder the entire church. Paul has been talking about church unity in Ephesians 4, and he says that as part of being unified we need to live a just and morally pure life. Living in sin will yield lasciviousness; in other words, a small amount of discord or sin in the church will fester into an enormous amount of sin. In Ephesians 4:22-24, Paul tells those who are in this state to turn their life back to God. Look first at verse 22.
Ephesians 4:22 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;”
I’ve heard this verse preached as though someone were saved by “putting off the old man”. I don’t think that is what Paul talks about here. Paul is talking about Christians who are in sin putting that sin off of and living for the Lord. Notice that Paul qualifies how we are to put off the old man: “concerning the former conversation” or in other words, in relation to the way we formerly lived our lives. This is clearly speaking of someone who is a Christian and fallen into sin. A person is not saved, or justified by putting off the former self concerning his way of life. It is by the grace of God that a person is justified, not by anything that the person themselves do.
If you are a Christian that has fallen into sin, it is up to you to change your ways. You will not have peace till you do this. Look at the consequences of changing your ways, in verse 23.
Ephesians 4:23 “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;”
When you became a Christian, your spirit was new. You were like a newborn child, full of vigor and energy for the Lord. When you put off the former self, your spirit is renewed. You will have a new found vigor for the Lord that you had before. God is the one who provides this renewing. Note the wording in verse 23, which I find interesting. It doesn’t say to renew your spirit. It says for your spirit to be renewed. There is a difference. When you put off the “old man”, you allow God to work in your life. You read the Bible and allow God to talk to you, and guide you. This cohesive walk with God is what renews your spirit. By putting off the old man, open ourselves up to God for Him to work in us. We become the clay in the Potters hands. Remember, in and of ourselves we can do nothing. God is the One Who provides peace and comfort.
There are many people today looking for satisfaction. People pursue all kinds of things in the world today to try to obtain this inner peace. The only way one can obtain true inner peace is allowing God to renew their spirit. It is God Who heals our wounds. Look at Hosea 14:4-7.
Hosea 14:4-7 “4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.”
We yield. God heals. We cast off the old man. God provides the renewing of our spirit.
Now that God has healed us, it is up to us to walk with God.
Ephesians 4:24 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
After we’ve forsaken our sinful life, we put on the new man, and walk with God. This new life which we live comes down from God. God provides this new man which Paul says for us to put on. In verse 24, it says “put on the new man, which after God…” The word after means “down from”. God provides this to us. Through this new man, we are able to live our lives in a righteous and holy way, pleasing to God.