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. We have examined the first two directives: put off your old self and be renewed in the spirit of your minds. Today, we examine the third directive: to put on the new self.
How many of us consciously think about the clothes we are to put on any given day? Whether its work clothes, wearing something casual, or perhaps getting dressed up for a special occasion, most people give particular thought and care as to how they appear in a given situation. On the other hand, others do not give any thought at all as to what they wear.
This discipline and observance was impressed upon me as a young child, adolescent and adult. My grandfather was a tailor. I remember his basement where he had all of his equipment for making a men’s suit of clothes. I remember him making my dad a custom made suit. He impressed upon me the importance of investing in quality and not purchasing something on the cheap. Quality lasts.
With this thought and image in mind, the Lord instructs believers, through the Apostle Paul, regarding their spiritual clothing. Ephesians 4:24 guides believers to consciously and wholeheartedly put on (ἐνδύω; endyo) or to clothe themselves with the new self (καινός ἄνθρωπος; kainos anthropos). The new self is the new creation (2 Corinthians; Colossians 3:10) a believer in Christ has become due to regeneration by the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8) and justification in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26; 5:1-11).
The new self is in the likeness (κατά; kata), resemblance or the facing toward the character of God. God’s character, and consequently the believer’s, is one God exclusively created (κτίζω; ktizo) in true (ἀλήθεια; aletheia) or real and factual righteousness (δικαιοσύνη; dikaiosyne) and holiness (ὁσιότης; hosiotes). Righteousness is what the believer in Christ does. Holiness is what the believer in Christ dedicates themselves to be.
This daily and personal discipline unto righteousness and holiness is for the believer’s lifetime. It is never ending until physical death.
Dr. Don Carson writes, “Paul’s original teaching was probably cast in the indicative—in union with Christ your old sinful humanity was crucified, and you were raised to new-creation life (cf. Rom. 6; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 2:11–12, and most obviously Col. 3:9–10, the direct parallel); but such indicatives imply corresponding imperatives (as here; cf. Rom. 6): we are responsible to live out with all seriousness and energy what God is doing in us (cf. Phil. 2:12–13). Failure to do so would precisely be to live in the ‘deceit’ (22) of the old creation rather than in ‘the truth’ of the new (24; cf. 21).”
Let each of us whom claim Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior to dress ourselves in the truth of the reality of our new self, and no longer in the deceit of our old self. May each of us seriously and energetically live out what God is doing in us (Phil. 2:12-13). So, what are you wearing today?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!