17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Explain / Examine
Here Paul is talking to the church at Ephesus. Reminding them that in their new life in Christ, it takes a person to renounce their former life. When Jesus went to the cross, He willingly laid down His life. He took the place of our animalistic nature on the altar willingly. He did not “lose” His life, it was given to each of us as a display of God’s perfect righteousness and holiness. And He is the only one who can take up what was laid down. So through His power, as believers, we too can lay down our animalistic nature on the altar. Then we must renew our thoughts so as to not take up something that should be dead on the altar. And through our obedience to renounce our old self and pick our new self, we too, display God’s righteousness and holiness.
How do I apply this to my life?
What am I not laying on the altar? Where do I refuse to take off my former self? What am I not renouncing in the name of Jesus? We cannot serve two masters. We will eventually pick a side and if we are still in love with our sin, which side do we think is going to win? I am thinking back to the fact that the law wasn’t given for about 2500 years. Even then it was given to the Jews. So, everyone not a Jew is a gentile. Yes? So with our God’s boundaries set in our lives, and even with a borrowed morality from God, gentiles are futile in the mind. Gentiles are corrupted in accordance with the lust of deceit. Sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity. We are a broken people who are not good without the Holy Spirit living in us, which happens through confessing and believing. And after confessing and believing we are still prone to follow our flesh, which has to be laid on the altar to be slaughtered daily. We have been given the capability to live in a new life through the power of salvation and being in Christ. And yet we fall short constantly. Why? We are lovers of self! We are desperate and choose poorly to fill that desperation. Thinking that we are so significant that we can solve everything on our own. Truthfully, we can do nothing apart from the Father.
What is my response?
Father, I am a broken man. I strive in my own old flesh to seek comfort and significance. But I need to be striving toward You. I need to renew my mind daily in a way that puts You first in everything. It takes effort and conscious thought to want to control thoughts. To place them under the control of my savior. I must humble myself, admit I am unable to do anything on my own, and lay down my flesh on the altar so it can die. I fear the problem is I lay it down and it doesn’t die. And then unconsciously I take it back off the altar. This is the battle until I meet You face to face. How will I do? How many battles will I lose? My favor is that grace will always be there when I lose. Patience and longsuffering will be there waiting for the battle to end. How will I live the rest of my life on this earth? New or old? Amen.