Not Living as We Used To
Not Living as We Used To
Living the New Life - Part I
July 22, 2007
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds”
1. Christians are God’s holy people who must strive for purity. Christians are to live holy lives, not just because morality is good in itself (though it is) or because it promotes happiness or success or anything else (though it does), but because we should live as God wants and requires us to live.
2. We are called to “be in the world but not of it.” We are "not of" the world (Identification), but Jesus does not want us removed from it (Isolation)
“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:14-15).
3. We do not find our Identity in the world, we do not allow it to define us, and we do not allow ourselves to be forced into its mold
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.(Rom. 12:2).
4. So far as the nature of this present world system is concerned, Paul describes it in these words: (1) “the futility of their thinking,” (2) “darkened in their understanding,” and (3) “separated from the life of God” (vv. 17–18).
5. God has revealed himself to people in nature so that no one is without blame for failing to seek him out and worship him. He says, “What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them” (Rom 1:19).
6. In spite of God’s revelation of himself in nature, people have rejected or suppressed the revelation. Paul says, they “suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom 1:18). That is, they try to hide it and deny it. They sense rightly that if they acknowledged the truth about the existence and nature of God, they would have to change their thinking and living. Rather than change, they suppress the revelation.
7. Because their ignorance of God is willful and blameworthy and not a natural failure, God’s wrath is upon them (Rom 1:18). That is, he is not favorable toward them but rather judges them for their sins. And here is not so much of the final judgment, though there will be one, but that God judges people by an inevitable working out of sin. Saint Augustine once said, “The punishment of sin is sin.” That is what is implied here.
8. Therefore, having spoken of the revelation of the wrath of God against men and women for their rejection of the truth, Paul writes of the consequential darkening of their intellects and their moral lives:
“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity … to shameful lusts … [and] to a depraved mind” (Rom 1:22–24, 26, 28).
9. The world is a dreadful place. It has information, but it lacks true knowledge—the only knowledge that ultimately matters, the knowledge of God—and, lacking that knowledge, it becomes increasingly wicked. We are not to envy it. We must recognize the spiritual blindness with which the world operates. It is a blindness due to a willful hardening of the heart.
10. What is wrong with the world in which the Ephesians (and all other Christians) find themselves is that it has hardened itself against God. The very one who is the Christian’s joy and glory is the world’s enemy. So we are not on the same team as the world. We do not have the same goals or tasks or loyalties. If we are going to get on with anything like a vigorous Christian life in this world, we need to see and act on it.
*Boice, James Montgomery: Ephesians : An Expositional Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Ministry Resources Library, 1988, S. 157
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050