For Lord’s Day, August 4, 2013
(Image source: http://www.lsctc.org)
Not infrequently, we turn to Ephesians 4:22-24 for motivation on how to grow in grace and walk in the light: … put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And … put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Notice that in the middle of these verses is the transitional element, to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”. This is similar to Romans 12:2, where we are told not to be conformed to this wicked world anymore. How does Paul there say that we do that? By the transformation of our mind. Or as one counseling program has put it, “Stop the stinking thinking.”
We learned last week that the Greek word for “transformed” in Romans 12:2 is the word where we get “metamorphosis”. We considered this connection after watching the creation video on the butterfly that we will finish in tomorrow’s Sabbath class before worship. Do you remember how the caterpillar comes out totally changed in form from its cocoon? By totally dying inside through a molecular break down that provides material to then be recycled into completely new and different parts for an amazingly different animal! It’s one example among many that disproves the theory of evolution. But the caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly also serves as a powerful lesson about what Jesus did for us in our justification. What’s more, the chrysalis transformation also shows what we need to do for and with the Holy Spirit in our ongoing sanctification.
In my devotions this week, the Lord blessed me with a helpful insight into “putting on the new” of Ephesians 4. Sometimes, I imagine our conceptualizing of this idea could be vague. We know what the old looks like, but we need help with how the new should tangibly come into being. We need it to be modeled for us. The image of a butterfly “metamorphosizing” from a caterpillar in Romans 12:2 helps. Still, Romans 13:14 gets more direct: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
To put off the old and keep it off, we must have the mind of Christ. And in particular, we must have our mind on Christ. He not only saved our skin by saving us in His skin, but He shows us how to love God and our neighbor in His living (summarized in John 13:14). Paul also describes how we should model Christ: “make not provision for the flesh”.
As you seek to put on the new man, make sure your “new man” is Jesus Christ Himself (Galatians 2:20). Dress yourself with your Deliverer every day. Study Him and His ways in the Scriptures and make them your own. Such as how He handled the temptations of the Devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4 and Luke 4). Ask your Savior to help you keep putting on His holy robes. Meditate on Jesus, and mimic Him. This is how to put on the new you and keep him on while incinerating the old you before he burns you. The old you is Satanic. The new you is Christ. Remember that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). So be sure to surround yourself with Him, thinking His thoughts after Him and following His example of how to live out His Law of love.