Ephesians Day 15: Your New Self
“put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires…put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (4:22-24)
The change Jesus works in us is marvellous and radical. It’s completely transformational, to the point where the Bible can talk about an ‘old self’ and a ‘new self’. This goes way beyond superficial change or even a personality transplant – this is a new spiritual entity and a new spiritual identity.
But it’s not a one-time thing, it’s an on-going process. Jesus may have paid for our sins once for all (Hebrews 7:27), and Paul can rightly say in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that ‘if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’, but it’s not so clear-cut that we need do nothing else. It’s no contradiction to say that we must continually choose to reject our old way of life.
The language Paul uses here is of clothing, we’re to ‘put off your old self’ and ‘put on the new self’ as if we were swapping one outfit for another. That might sound trivial, but if think of those outfits as how we choose to live, how we conduct ourselves and the everyday choices we make, it becomes quite serious. We need to choose to live for God and not for ourselves everyday. What good is it if we live for God yesterday but for ourselves today?
We’re still imperfect, still perfectly able to sin. We’re saved from the penalty of sin, but not yet from the presence of sin. That means we have a choice to make each and every day. Reject the grubby old outfit, which is soiled with selfishness, and take hold of the new one, which is cleaned continually by God. The more we wear that one, the more like God we become.
So every day let’s choose God and not the world, let’s live out this new self relentlessly until the old self finally disappears once and for all. God has given us a beautiful new outfit in keeping with our new forgiven identity – why wouldn’t we wear it?
To take away: What tell-tale signs do you see in your life that you might still be wearing parts of the outfit of your old self? Ask God to help you spot them, and to empower you to wear the gleaming new outfit of your new self.
This is the 15th post in a 31-day walk through Ephesians. I’d love for you to join me in exploring this amazing book of the Bible for the rest of the month of May. Every day you’ll find a new post with fresh encouragement from God’s word. I hope this series blesses you, and if it does, please share it with others. Thank you.