Putting on the New Man

July 14, 2021 at 12:30 PM 1 comment

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Previously we talked briefly about Matthew 5:43-44 when Jesus said, “You have heard it said…” and then immediately corrected a blatant error that was circulating during His day regarding hating one’s enemies. I noted in that article I’d get to what Paul meant in Ephesians 4:24 (see also Romans 13:14 and 2 Corinthians 5:17) separately and I’d like to address that in this article.

But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mindand that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:20-24 NKJV; emphasis added)

Keeping it within the context of verses surrounding it, Ephesians 4:24 commands us to “put on the new man” and Paul notes that this new man (or new creation), was created by God and fitted within each person who becomes authentically saved. Paul also notes that we need to “put off” our former conduct. We are to turn our backs on anything that does not glorify God. Why? Because of the new man or creation within us that is designed to bring God glory by helping us live a life that thinks, says and does what is right and true.

In essence, Paul is saying that it is our responsibility to do away with or put off sinful things. This can only be accomplished by putting on the true things that bring God glory. There is no contradiction in what Paul is telling us in Ephesians 4 (and echoes in Romans 13 and 2 Corinthians 5), and what I discussed in my previous article about Jesus telling us to love our enemies.

We noted in order to live correctly (thought, word and deed), there must be a change in us first and foremost. Scripture tells us (and Paul states in the above three passages), that this change has already occurred within us when we became Christians. While God did not remove our sin nature (which won’t happen until after this life), He did place within us the new man/creation and it is on this new creation we must seek to live in unity. We must allow this new creation to live its temperament out in our lives.

Paul’s use of the phrase “put on the new man” is Paul saying that we must develop the habit of deferring to that new creation within us, instead of automatically deferring to the our sin nature. Prior to our salvation, we did not have that option. Only after we received salvation did we gain the ability from within to choose to live the way God wants us to live.

So to “put on the new man” is another way of saying what I was discussing “You’ve Heard It Said.” To actually put on the new man, we must learn to grow in our fear of (offending) the Lord so that we more naturally live the life that God wants us to live.

Our feelings can work for us or against us. If we are sad or feeling blue, we don’t necessarily want to do certain things. We’d rather sit around and contemplate things. We might not have the energy to do many things. Conversely, when we are overjoyed or ecstatic about something, it is far easier to find the motivation to do certain things. In fact, the exuberant feelings themselves act as our motivator, don’t they?

Here’s a short “Wretched” video in which Todd Friel comments on the problem of so many professing Christians in Christendom today, who are deceived into thinking that because they repeated a few formulaic words, that – poof! – they magically became Christians with no concern for the actual cost involved in being a Christian.

This common belief today is so radically removed from the truth of the Gospel and leaves people with no discernible motivation to even try to live a life that God can say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)

Paul emphasizes the fact that actually living the Christian life means two things: we “put off” and we “put on.” Putting off refers to all those things throughout the Scriptures that God hates and finds repulsive. Putting on refers to only those things God is glorified by.

Scripture passages like 2 Timothy 3:1-5 seems to be Paul specifically talking about the lost of this world. However, in reality, there are many within Christendom who profess to be Christians who live in the same self-serving way. Are they saved or not? Only God knows, but the fruit of their lives seems apparent.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Jesus, Paul and others often spoke out against error within Christendom and those who dress up as Christians and perpetrate falsehoods and lies. Any professing Christian (or authentic Christian for that matter), who lives as the above described people, should be avoided at all costs. This is not to say that we should hate those people. It simply means that if we avoid them, there is less danger of living as they live, which is anathema to God.

So HOW does the authentic Christian “put off” the bad and “put on” the good in plain English? Here’s where I start to repeat myself again because the following is the actual starting point of doing both.

As Christians cultivate the fear of (offending) the Lord, our focus will be increasingly changed from ourselves to God. As the fear of (offending) the Lord continues to grow, our awe, respect and love for God grows and our desires for our self and selfishness dims.

We will begin to stop looking at Christianity as a bunch of “dos and don’ts” or “rules to obey,” and start seeing living the Christian life as the growing desire to live for God and His glory. This newfound understanding provides a new freedom from the sin nature (though never perfectly in this life). Put another way, it provides the proper motivation to live the life we are called to live.

The daily ability of actually living the Christian life is presented by writers of the NT in various ways, but all of it points to the same thing – the Christian must understand that the actual motivation to live it from the heart (desires, will), starts from within the Christian. This can only happen when we understand the true underlying foundation that is supposed to exist within each Christian because of salvation that has been received. Without this understanding, we are destined to live failed lives.

That correct foundation is built on one thing and one thing only: the fear of (offending) the Lord. Anything other than this is purely self-effort. For me, this newfound realization appears to still be mainly in my head, not yet in my heart. In other words, I am constantly thinking about the ramifications of the fear of (offending) the Lord, but I’m not yet seeing any consistency in living it from my heart. As my focus is on increasing the fear of (offending) the Lord, the result will be to live a life that pleases God more easily because of that inner foundation. Increase our fear of (offending) the Lord in order to live a life that coincides with His will in all areas. The focus is not on living the life. The focus is on increasing our fear of (offending) the Lord, which results in living to please Him. I’ve been doing it wrong for too many years.

It takes time to develop the habit of “putting off” the “old man” and “putting on” the “new man.” Don’t let these phrases confuse you. I’m convinced this only occurs as we grow in our fear of (offending) the Lord. What better motivation to not sin?! What better motivation to actually live the way God wants me to live? Fear of (offending) the Lord is deeply seated in a profound love for Him and a growing desire to live in a way that pleases Him and brings Him glory.

I’ve spent a good deal of my life trying through self-effort to think, say and do things that God considers right, true and honorable, bringing Him glory. I can see many times in my life where I simply did what I thought I should do based on my own inner strength instead of being empowered by a fear of (offending) the Lord, which would have made things much easier and far more natural.

Joseph so feared offending the Lord if he slept with Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39), that fear kept him from going there. It was the fear of (offending) the Lord that prompted him from within  to do what was right.

Do you want to “put on” the new man, the new creation that God has given you when you received salvation? Do you want to walk in the new path that God has defined for you? Do you want to do so through a more naturally internal empowering or do you prefer to use your own self-effort to bring about what only God’s Spirit can produce? If none of this is appealing to you, then may I suggest you may not actually and truly be saved? You need to deal with that.

If you are truly saved, the new man is already in you. The thing that keeps it from rising to the surface and guiding thoughts, words, and deeds, is an absence of a fear of (offending) the Lord.

The goal for the Christian is to live more like Jesus, correct? The only way to do that is to do what He did. What did He do first? He learned to delight in the fear of (offending) the Father (Isaiah 11:3). That was His goal! Successful fruition of that goal resulted in Jesus walking in a way that always pleased the Father. How much more do we need to do that?

I truly believe the fear of (offending) the Lord is the missing piece or key that keeps so many of us Christians from living lives that bring Him glory and wallowing in our own frustration, creating one failure after another. As we focus on growing our fear of (offending) the Lord, the results are seen in the way we more naturally live to please Him.

So how to do this in our lives in a practical way? Here’s one example: next time you are tempted to think, say or do something you know to be against God’s will, start praying that God would allow you to fear (offending) Him so that you do not give into that temptation. We’ll plan on expanding on this in a future article.

Again, if someone knows a better way, please let me know.

Entry filed under: 9/11, Agenda 21, Atheism and religion, christianity, Communism, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Cultural Marxism, Demonic, Eastern Mysticism, emergent church, Emotional virtue, eternity, new age movement, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

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