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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Put off Your Old Self and Put on Your New Self

Put off Your Old Self and Put on Your New Self
How Christ’s followers are called to live
As a person takes off dirty clothes and puts on new clean ones, so we Christian are called upon to renounce our sins and to try to live according to Gods’ laws. Scripture says: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.  And to be made new in the attitude of your minds: and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  (Ephesians 4:22-24) 
“When we believe in Christ as Savior and Lord and want to follow Him, the Bible proclaims that a miracle happens and we become a “new creation”.  Scripture says: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are gone and the new things have come.!”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  
Scripture also says: “Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you (your old self) has died, and your life is now hidden in Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, you will also appear with Him in glory. Therefore, put to death whatever belongs to your old earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”  (Colossians 3:1-5)
What a mystery!  Our lives have been raised with Christ and hidden in Him!  We will appear with Him in glory!  (Colossians 3:1-5) We can only imagine what all of this means! These glimpses behind the curtain between here and eternity are all so glorious.  It is more than we can understand!  But since we believers have been given a new life in Christ and such a high honor by our heavenly Father- the honor of being “raised with Christ”, we are asked to do our small part.  To take off the old and put on what is new. 
We are asked to do some housecleaning.  To leave behind old sins: any sexual immorality or greed or lust. The list goes on.  Scripture continues saying: “Now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to one another as you have taken off your old self.”  (Colossians 3:8-9)
Paul, inspired by God, writes: “You must no longer live as the Gentiles (non-believers) live in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for even more. You did not come to know Christ this way.” (Ephesians 4:17-20) 
The list of sins goes on.  “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 own 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…and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you are sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:26-31)
New believers in Christ are given more rules too.  Christians are commanded to forgive those who sin against them. The Ten Commandments are also meant for God’s people to follow.  You can find them in Exodus 20:3-17 Briefly they command us to: (1) Put God first and love Him most.  (2) Do not make any graven images (idols) and worship them. (3)  Do not take the Name of the Lord in vain.  (4) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Rest on the Sabbath and worship God. (5)  Honor your fathers and mothers. (6)   Do not kill. (7) Do not commit adultery. (8) Do not steal. (9) Do not give false testimony against your neighbor. And (10) Do not covet what others have.  Covet means “lust after”.  When a person becomes a Christian he or she is called on to follow Christ and to turn away from sin and try to keep God’s laws. 
And after we have taken off our old dirty clothes we can put on our robes of righteousness. (Matthew 22:1-14) (Jesus is our righteousness) (Isaiah 61:10) Scripture says: “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all of these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. “ (Colossians 3:12-14) 
The instructions concerning our new clean clothing continues: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, such as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ live in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  (Colossians 3:15-17)   All through Scripture Jesus promises us that He will give us His peace.  But we need to be willing to clean out our junk and make room in our lives to receive Jesus’ promised special peace. 
Because we believers receive the Holy Spirit into our lives, we can also receive what the Holy Spirit wants to give us. And Scripture says the Holy Spirit has nine “fruits” and He wants to give us these “fruits” or gifts when He comes into our lives.  But of course, we can reject these fruits the Spirit has for us. We always have free will.  Scripture says: “The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. “ (Galatians 5:22-23)
Scripture goes on to say: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)   How does a person “keep step with the Spirit”? I have known Christians who don’t show much love or joy or peace.  They don’t seem to have grown much in the faith or be “keeping step with the Spirit.”  And I have known many other Christians that radiate Christ’s love. Their faces are changed. They show Christ’s peace and joy and they live good and faithful lives. How does a Christian “keep step with the Spirit”? Or put on their “new self”?
Scripture answers this question with these words: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24) To “crucify our sinful nature” that sounds pretty radical, doesn’t it?   We must kill it – not feed it – resist it, not play its game. It isn’t always easy to take off our old dirty clothes.  The Holy Spirit will give us the strength to turn from our sin, but we have to be willing to let it go.  It’s an on-going battle.  But Scripture says that in the end we will be victorious in Christ.      

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