VB068 Putting On The New Man (Eph 4:20-24)

There comes a time when you step out in faith and tell your old self (your senses), “Shut up, I’m going to believe what God says about me.” After saying and believing God’s Word several times, your mind begins to know that it works! …VB068

Putting On The New Man – Eph 4:20-24

[4:20-24] But you have not so learned Christ, [21] if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: [4:22] that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, [4:23] and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, [4:24] and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

It is a shame that the RSV, NIV, ESV, and others have translated this phrase, “you have heard about Christ,” since there is no preposition in the Greek. Paul figures that through the Christian teachers, they have actually heard Christ’s voice (you have been taught by Him).

Paul did not say, “learned about Christ.” You can learn about Christ and never be saved. To “learn Christ” means to have a personal relationship with Jesus, so that you get to know Him better each day.1

I can collect books about Henry Ford, even read his autobiography, and never learn Henry Ford, because Henry is dead. Jesus, on the other hand is very much alive! I have a personal relationship with my Lord. I can learn Him, hear Him and be taught by Him. Glory to God, the truth is alive!

The Ephesians learned Christ, not only learning about Jesus, but continuously learning Him. This means a living, abiding knowledge of Jesus will keep us from the kind of sinful conduct Paul mentions. Just knowing about Jesus isn’t enough to keep us pure. Even the devil knows about Jesus.

You don’t need to live like the Gentiles. In Christ, you have a different principle of living, a different way of thinking. You find the truth in Jesus Christ: About life, about yourself, about the world, about the makeup of science and nature, about human behavior. “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” (Col 2:3). The truth in Christ is the acid test that you can check everything else against.

Jesus said, “If any man follow me, he shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life,” (Jn 8:12). That means a Christian does not need to walk in uncertainty about things, or be in lack of knowledge. In Christ we have the truth that reveals. It is popular today to think that nothing can be known for sure. That is part of the futility of the world’s thinking, to think that there are no sure answers, no ultimate knowledge, no absolute truth.

Jesus said to his disciples, “If you continue in my word… you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” (Jn 8:31-32). Truth, even though it is difficult at times, is realistic and it sets us free, tearing away the veil of illusion and confusion.

In these last days we must test what we hear, and our thinking had better align with God’s Word. There is so much deception in the world.

You “no longer live as the Gentiles do,” in the emptiness of their minds, since you “learned Christ.” You discover resources in Him far greater than any earthling every dreamed of. When fruitfulness, glory, and grace begin to manifest in your life, your neighbors and friends will notice. “What does this person have? “What kind of faith is this? “Who are these people, and what makes them able to live like this?”

In the rest of this letter Paul gives us details and specifics, bringing it right down where we live. As we go through this, we will see that what we do is itself witnessing, telling what we are. Therefore what we are must be what Christ is, for that is the only life that captures, changes, and challenges men.

Now that we have been instructed in who we are in Christ, and what we have, what must we do?

v. 4:22 – Put off… the old man… put on the new man: This is like changing clothes. God will not do this for you. You must put off and put on. The idea is to “change into” a different kind of conduct.

Think of a prisoner who is released from jail, but still wears his prison clothes and acts like a prisoner, instead of a free man. He wants to fit into society, but still feels like he’s a prisoner. The first thing you would tell that person is, “put on some new clothes.”

Putting on different clothes will change the way you think about yourself and see yourself, and putting on different behavior will begin to change your attitude. We shouldn’t wait to feel like the new man. We put on the new man by faith.

Basically, Paul says that there must be a break with the past. Jesus isn’t merely added to our old life; the old life dies (it’s a separation from the old) and He becomes our new life.

v. 4:23 – Renewed (same word Rom 12:2), in the spirit (attitude) of your mind.

By faith the Word renews the mind, and the desires gradually come into alignment to live a godly life, while we occupy a sinful world. The new man says, “Blessed are they that have seen not, and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29). There comes a time when you step out in faith and tell your old self (your senses), “Shut up, I’m going to believe what God says about me.” After saying and believing God’s Word several times, your mind begins to know that it works! The new inward man is strengthened; the outer man is put off. We do it, not God. We just use what He has provided – His Word.

There is a battle in your mind. You have the new man on the inside warring against the old man on the outside. The old man, obviously, is the desire of the body, the nature of the flesh (Rom 6:6; 12-13; 7:18). The mind is the battle ground (Rom 7:22-25).

v. 4:24 – Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness: The new man is the new creation (2Cor 5:17) created in us at conversion. It is the person created according to the image of Jesus, which is truly righteous and holy.

That is in contrast to the old man, who is the person we inherited from Adam and naturally rebels against God. We put on the new creature, who super-naturally operates in righteousness by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:

Father, I think you for my friend listening today. He has been a child of yours for some time now, but he still does a lot of the things he did before the new birth. Bless him Lord as he puts off those grave clothes and begins to wear Your righteousness and life.

Father bless my sister today with the faith and boldness to change the way she thinks as she looks to you for holiness and healing. She is your workmanship and is eager to show others the beauty she has from learning You.

Lord, we all thank You for your word and the grace to abide in it. We are truly blessed as we learn more about our position in You. With authority we continue with the direction and comfort of Holy Spirit. Amen!


1Wiersbe, Warren. The Weirsbe Bible Commentary: New Testament (Colorado Springs: Cook, 2007), 609.

God bless you my friend,

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