“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 mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
As we were learning these verses at my Wednesday night youth group, I couldn’t help but think, “Am I truly putting off my old man, and walking in my new man.” I believe this is a question we as Christians need to ask ourselves every day. When we wake up every morning we have a choice either to walk in the flesh (old man) or walk in the spirit (new man). Let’s start off with the exodus story: When the Israelites moved to Egypt, they started to expand and become a bigger nation (Exodus 1:7). A Pharaoh rose up who did not know why the Israelites were in Egypt and for fear of the Israelites overtaking them He put them in hard bondage (Exodus 1:8-14). But God heard the cry of His people and delivered them by Moses, who was a Hebrew himself, and God brought them to the desert (Exodus 13-19). Now after wandering in the desert for over forty years God finally led them to the promised land, Israel (Joshua 1:10-11).
Why do I bring in this story, because we can see the gospel message throughout it: We, as sinners, are in bondage to sin, but when we cry out to God to save us and to be our Lord and Savior, He sent Jesus to be our Savior and our Mediator, and we will go though the wildernesses and trials before God brings us home, to our promised land. Romans 6:6 says, “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Once we accept Christ as our Savior, our old man is crucified with Him, and just like the exodus story, we should no longer be slaves to sin. Now you may be asking, “How do we walk in our new man?” The best answer is to reflect Christ in our lives.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” Our old self has passed away, we have become a new creation, created to reflect Christ in everything we say and do. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” We are called to live by faith in Jesus especially in trials; because it is in those trials we are sanctified. Now what is sanctification, in the simplest form it is God molding us to be more like Him. Consider the analogy of silver: Silver is purified by fire. When the silversmith puts the silver in the fire, all the impurities rise to the top, and the silversmith wipes away the dross, now let’s see this analogy in real life: The silver is us, the fire is transformation through trials, and the Silversmith is God. How does the silversmith know when the silver is completely purified? The silversmith knows when the silver is purified of all dross when he can see his reflection in the silver. It’s the same with us and God, God knows when we are fully sanctified when we reflect His Son, Jesus. Colossians 3:8-10 says, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” We can see that the new man is according to the image of Him who created him. Now you may be going through a trial right now, whether temptation or the world hating you because you are Christian, do not be afraid, Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” Jesus has already overcome this world, so trust in Him, knowing that we find peace in Him alone. Jesus also said that the world hated Him before it hated you and the world hates you because He chose you out and just as He suffered persecution, we will also (John 15:18-20). But knowing that Christ is our everything, and that we find perfect peace in Him, we can rest in Him, knowing that He alone is our Rock. Also know that through these trials and tribulations, this is the time God sanctifies us to be more like Him. One thing we have to remember: we cannot just take off our old man in front of people and put it back on when we are alone, We have to crucify it every day, because God says that if we are lukewarm, He will spit us out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). May we truly crucify our flesh every day and walk in Christ forever, absolutely surrendered to Him and Him alone.
Five Smooth Stones