22 …to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22–24 (ESV)
In light of what believers in Christ have learned, heard and been taught concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:20-21), God sets forth some directions for each believer, and for each church comprised of believers. Today, we examine the first directive: put off your old self.
To put off (ἀποτίθημι; aotithemi) means to stop, to cease and to put sway. The verb phrase refers to stop and to get rid of somethings which has had prior entry into one’s life (Rom. 13:12; Eph. 4:22, 25; Col. 3:8; Heb. 12:1; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1+). This ceasing is to be done with all of the believers mind, emotions and will. It is also to done infinitely.
What is the believer in Christ to put off, stop, cease, and/or put away? The answer is your old self (παλαιός ἄνθρωπος; palaios anthropos). This is a designation of one previous unconverted life. Paul describes the old self as belonging to your former manner of life (πρότερος ἀναστροφή; proteros anastrophe). This refers to the believer’s previous conduct and behavior prior to their conversion to Christ.
The former manner of living was characterized by corruption (φθείρω; phtheiro). This is a life of depravity, perversion and ruination. It is a striking image of those whose Christ less life is hell bent upon self-destruction.
This corruption and depravity is because of the unconverted sinner’s deceitful desires (ἀπάτη ἐπιθυμία; apate epithymia). Deceitful means that which is untruthful and misleading. Desires refers to lust, cravings, and evil covetousness.
Belonging to Jesus Christ involves rejecting one’s old way of living. This was life and living without Christ as Savior and Lord.
Dr. Don Carson writes, “The believer in Christ is to put off the old man/humanity corresponding to your former manner of life … and to put on the new man/humanity’. In other words, the readers were taught that Jesus embodies the truth, and that if they wished to live in it they needed to put off their former life and embrace one like his. According to Barth, the ‘old man’ to be put off is Adam and the ‘new man’, to be put on is Christ (as at Rom. 6:6; 13:14; cf. Gal. 3:27b).”
What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you regarding what is found in your present life in Christ, which was part of your old life without Christ? Whatever it is, repent of this deceitful desire and strive to be holy as Christ is holy (I Peter 1:16).
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!