JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…put on the new man, created according to God…”
January 1, 2011, 3:17 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

This blog is a continuation of my previous one ( since the rest of Chapter 4 seems to be Paul’s description of how we learn Christ, by hearing Him and by being taught by Him, because “truth is in Jesus.” This putting off and putting on process involves the body of Christ, it is how we are “fitted together and are brought together” by Christ Himself, who said “I will build my church!”

When we were made “alive in Christ,” having believed in Christ Jesus our Lord, and have Christ as Head in our gatherings we will by faith begin to hear Him, that still small voice in our inner being. Others will have learned to hear Christ and are “quick to listen” to Christ. Others will be in process. Others will not be hearing at all. Our flesh will be revealed for what it is and we will have to respond. Others who have learned to hear Christ will be “slow to speak, and slow to be angry.” Others not so. Spiritual conflict is the result. Others having learned to hear Christ and taught by Him will “be completely humble and gentle; (with) patience bearing with one another in love.” Others not so. When we sense the “old man” we must hear Christ and do what He says. This is spiritual sight. This is getting to know Christ better. This is being taught by Him. Will we believe the truth that the old man is gone and the new man has come? as Paul told the churches in Galatia, his first letter that he wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Also Paul told the church in Corinth: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” We no longer need to respond in the old man, because according to God it has “been crucified with Christ,” it “no longer” lives, “the old has gone.” Do we really believe that? Do we believe that “truth is in Jesus”? Do we believe that Jesus is “the truth”? We must “be renewed in the spirit of our mind.” “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” it is having spiritual sight. When we have spiritual sight “we have the mind of Christ.” Let us together ask “the Father of glory” to give us “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in a full knowledge of him, having our eyes of our heart enlightened.”

When we hear Christ, taught by Him, since “truth is in Jesus” we will learn Christ together, we will be fitted together, we will be built together into a spiritual dwelling, a place of rest for Christ Jesus our Lord. This fitting together involves putting off the old man and putting “on the new man, created according to God in righteousness and holiness of truth.” We will not be living a lie, living in deception, we will be living openly and freely, according to how God created us as His new creation. The New Man is Christ Jesus, He is our life, He is our righteousness and holiness and truth. When we hear Him, are taught by Him we will know truth and we will live truth, because He is truth. Paul then goes and shares a number of examples of what this can look like, what the expression of Christ can look like, in the life of living together in the body of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit:

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Christ in us, who is our life, who is truth desires to manifest Himself through us. We must hear Him and be taught by Him, since “truth is in Jesus.” When we are “quick to listen” to Him as we share life together, as we live our daily lives with family, friends, and co-workers, whoever it may be, we will express Christ, there will be fruit of the Spirit. We will “speak truth” because truth is our reality, it is our life, we no longer need to live a lie, an alternate reality, because Christ is our reality. So when we are wronged by a brother or sister, who are still in process of learning to hear Christ, we must speak truthfully. So if we are wronged by someone, our neighbor, who may not be in Christ, we must speak truthfully “in love,” because that is who we are, we are a new creation, “created according to God.” This is in contrast to being angry with our brother or sister, or someone not in Christ, perhaps our next door neighbor. While Paul seems to advocate that anger may be something that occurs in the life of the follower of Christ,e.g. “in your anger do not sin,” let us not use it to think anger can be a part of our lives. James points out that “man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” and in fact Paul says later in the letter to the church in Ephesus: “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…” If we respond in the old man, the flesh, we will “give the devil a foothold.”

We will share with those in need, we will speak “only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen,” giving “grace to the ones hearing.” My brother Alan Knox made a very astute observation. Often times he has found that when someone gives a word of encouragement, another may receive some other measure or gift of Christ, benefiting that other brother and sister according to their specific need. I have found that true also. Isn’t that the way of Christ? The riches of Christ displayed when Christ is Head of His body and everyone able to freely function together by His life!

We will be kind and compassionate to one another. Because everyone is in process, some are hearing Christ, some are learning to hear Christ, and some are not hearing Christ, then things will be said and done that offend a brother or sister, or is taken wrongly. The fitting together occurs when we put off the old man and put on Christ and “with patience bear with one another in love” and “forgive “each other, just as in Christ Jesus God forgave you.” Brothers and sisters if we do not learn Christ by listening to Him and being taught by Him, through “the measure of the gift of Christ” given to each of us, then we will “give the devil a foothold” in our midst, we will “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” who indwells us and is our life. “Bitterness” will result, “slander” can occur, “along with every form of malice.” We will not have a clear conscience. That is not learning to live by the life of Christ, this is displaying the old man and we will be lying to the world that Christ is our life. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to be angry.” Let us “put on the new man, created according to God in righteousness and holiness of truth” as a “new creation.” Jesus said “settle matters quickly.” Good advice! The old has gone the new has come! It is all about knowing Christ better and displaying the truth of His life in and through us to one another!


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