Be Renewed and Put On the New Self
Be Renewed and Put On the New Self
Living the New Life - Part VI
September 1, 2007
“And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:23-24
1. When a person becomes a Christian, God initially renews his mind, giving it a completely new spiritual and moral capability—a capability that the most brilliant and educated mind apart from Christ can never achieve (1 Cor. 2:9–16).
2. This renewal continues through the believer’s life as he is obedient to the Word and will of God. (Rom 12:1–2)
3. The process is not a one–time accomplishment but the continual work of the Spirit in the child of God. (Titus 3:5)
4. Our resources are God’s Word and prayer. It is through these means that we gain the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5; Col 3:16; 2 Tim 1:7) and it is through that mind that we live the life of Christ.
5. The law is written upon our hearts and when Paul uses the terms righteousness and holiness it relates to the Law of God. Righteousness relates to our fellow men and reflects the second table of the law (Ex. 20:12–17). Holiness relates to God and reflects the first table (Ex. 20:3–11). The believer, then, possesses a new nature, a new self, a holy and righteous inner person fit for the presence of God. This is the believer’s truest self.
6. So righteous and holy is this new self that Paul refuses to admit that any sin comes from that new creation in God’s image. Thus his language in Romans 6–7 is explicit in placing the reality of sin in the flesh.
7. He says, “ Do not let sin reign in your mortal body ” (6:12) and, “ Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin” (6:13) In those passages Paul places sin in the believer’s life in the body.
8. In chapter 7 he sees it in the flesh. He says, “now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (v. 17), “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (v. 18), “ it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (v. 20), and “…law of sin that dwells in my members” (v. 23).
9. In those texts Paul acknowledges that being a new self in the image of God does not eliminate sin. It is still present in the flesh, the body, the unredeemed humanness. But he will not allow that new inner man to be given responsibility for sin. The new “I” loves and longs for the holiness and righteousness for which it was created.
10. Paul summarizes this with these words: “ So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind [synonymous here with the new self] am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh [synonymous here with unredeemed humanness contained in our sinful bodies] the law of sin ” (Rom. 7:25). It is this struggle that prompts the anticipation for “ the redemption of the body ” described in Romans 8:23 (cf. Phil. 3:20–21).
11. We are new, but not yet all new. We are righteous and holy, but not yet perfectly righteous and holy. But understanding the genuine reality of our transforming salvation is essential if we are to know how to live as Christians in the Body of Christ to which we belong.
12. Many county jails have a delousing room, where derelicts who have not had a bath in months discard all their old clothes and are thoroughly bathed and disinfected. The unsalvageable old clothes are burned and new clothes are issued. The clean man is provided clean clothes. This is a picture of salvation, except that in salvation the new believer is not simply given a bath but a completely new nature. The continuing need of the Christian life is to keep discarding and burning the remnants of the old sinful clothing. “Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness” Paul pleads; “ but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God ” (Rom. 6:13).
13. The many therefores and wherefores in the New Testament usually introduce appeals for believers to live like the new creatures they are in Christ. Because of our new life, our new Lord, our new nature, and our new power, we are therefore called to live a correspondingly new life–style.
14. Transformation begins in the mind and results in renewed behavior. How then are believers “to be renewed in the spirit of their minds”? They must: (1) Be involved in activities that renew their minds (Philippians 4:8–9) (2) Desire to pattern themselves after God, not the world (Romans 12:2); (3) Study and apply God’s Word so that it changes their behavior from within (2 Timothy 3:15–16).
“However holy or Christlike a Christian may become, he is still in the condition of “being changed.” - John R. W. Stott
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050