The fact that we are born again through faith in Christ does not mean we automatically live like a new creation. If it did, the overall conduct of Christians would be much better than it often is. Walking in the newness of life available to us is a matter of choice.
In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he appeals to the believers there: “Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22, KJV). In other words, cease and desist from allowing your former ways to govern your life.
When we became a Christian, we didn’t forget how to behave as we used to. Regrettably, some Christians have chosen to do exactly that. Being born again does not make us quit our past; it empowers us to do so. Hence, what Paul instructed the church at Ephesus to do was possible. The same is true about us. Through the Holy Spirit, God has given us the wherewithal to walk in newness of life. But it will happen only if we choose to “put off the old man.”
How? “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Paul continued (verse 24). “Put on” denotes choosing to allow the character of Christ to govern our life. We can do this because the “new man,” or new creation, we have become is righteous and holy. Again, the newness of life that’s available to us through Christ won’t be ours merely because we are a Christian.
God didn’t have to leave us so conflicted. When He saved us and changed us, He could have made us off limits to our carnal ways of the past. He could have made us so spiritual that we never looked back at the ways of our past. But that’s not God’s style. He always gives us freedom of choice, along with the consequences. We must choose to put off the old man and to put on the new man. The old man tends to the death of our past; the new man to the newness of life.
God wants us to put on the new man daily because we want to and not because we have to. He wants us to do so because we love Him. Because we are passionate about living for Him. Even in the days of Adam, in the garden, God gave Him freedom to choose. As Paul enjoined the Ephesians, let us choose to put on the new man—daily.
Copyright © 2017 by Frank King. All rights reserved.