Our passage today is Ephesians Chapter 4 verses 17 to 32, which contains a lot of material, so you might like to take a couple of days to read it and reflect upon it.
I think the basic message from the apostle Paul is that when someone comes to faith in Christ, they need to live radically differently, in the way that they think and speak and act. ‘You must no longer live as the Gentiles do…’ (v.17), and the change always begins in the mind, in the way that we think (vs.18-19).Because of what Jesus has done for us, we are changed, we think differently about ourselves and the world around us.
Now we are ultimately changed by the work of God’s Holy Spirit living inside each Christian believer, He is the One who strengthens us, who empowers us, who makes us more holy. But we too have a responsibility to play our part, and Paul uses the phrases “put off” and “put on”, which implies definite actions from us, think of the picture of getting dressed, putting on and taking off different items of clothing.So he urges us to ‘put off your old self…’ (v.22) and ‘put on the new self…’ (v.24).
Then there are a number of specific and practical examples of this in verses 25 to the end of the chapter, where the ‘putting off’ and the ‘putting on’ are twinned together, so we are not left in a vacuum.So put off falsehood, but put on speaking truthfully (v.25); put off stealing, but put on useful work (v.28); put off unwholesome talk, but put on talk for building each other up (v.29); put off bitterness, rage and anger etc, but put on kindness, compassion, forgiveness (vs.31-32).
As I said, lots of things to think about, you might like to take one of these specific examples at a time, and ask the Lord to help you as you make a decision to put off and put on.As I mentioned yesterday, I am off to Norfolk again later this morning for a few days, and will return with the Daily Email next Wednesday, as we then seek to finish this important letter to the church.
In our prayer cycle, let us remember in our prayers 2 who have started worshipping with us more recently,- Jeanette- Ben