Ephesians 4:17-24 ESV
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. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Not Like Before
We who are followers of Jesus Christ are not supposed to live like we did before we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. Sin and Satan used to have control over our lives, but no more! Now we belong to Jesus, and now he is the ruler of our hearts. Now our lives are to be given over to him, to follow him in his ways, and to do what he says to do.
Our hearts are no longer to be hardened toward God and toward his righteousness. We should no longer be resisting God’s voice, stopping up our ears, or closing our eyes to the truth. We should no longer be claiming ignorance or acting as though we don’t understand what God commands of us, when we do know.
Sensuality and seductiveness should have no part in our lives. Our lifestyles, our minds, and our hearts should be given over to purity and to morality, instead. We shouldn’t be watching or looking at TV shows, movies, videos or still pictures which are seductive or lewd in nature. And, we shouldn’t be allowing ourselves to be entertained by adultery, fornication, or romantic extramarital affairs in movies, on TV, or in books, too.
And, we should not be practicing any of these things, either. We should be faithful to God and to our spouses, loving God above all else, and keeping our marriage beds pure. We should be honoring God with our lives, too. And, we ought to be honoring our marriage vows, as well, not cheating on our relationships with God or with spouse, and then lying about it and faking righteousness in order to cover up our sins, hoping we won’t be found out.
The Truth in Jesus
We can’t assume that everyone who calls himself a believer in Jesus Christ really is one, though, or that he understands what it really means to be a follower of Christ. And, that is because not everyone is being taught the truth that is in Jesus Christ, our Lord. For many are being told lies which are a twisting and an altering of the truth for the purpose to deceive naïve minds and to lead them astray to a flesh-driven gospel of men, instead.
So, this is why the scriptures keep repeating the truth of the gospel over and over again to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. They do this to reinforce the truth, to expel the lies, to remind wandering minds to stay on course, and to instruct those who have been taught wrongly in the right way, the way of the truth that is in Christ Jesus.
And, that truth is that faith in Jesus Christ, the kind of faith that saves us from our sins and that promises us eternal life with God, puts away our old lives of living for sin and self, when we believe in Jesus. True faith in the true gospel does not hold on to our old lives of living in sin, claiming that we can continue in our sinful practices now that we are “saved,” and that God’s grace covers all our sin (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
The truth that is in Jesus is that, when we put off that old sin nature, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we are renewed in our minds of the Spirit of God away from living in sin to now living in holiness and righteousness, by the power of the Spirit now living within us. And now we put on (not in fakery) our new self, which is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. And, now, by the Spirit, we are able to walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
A Heart Transformation
When we have truly believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, and we have been crucified with Christ to sin, and we have been resurrected with him to our new lives in him, to be lived to his righteousness, a heart transformation of the Spirit of God takes place in our lives.
Now our desires begin to change. The things we used to enjoy, we don’t enjoy like we used to. Now we feel convicted about these things. Now we are not comfortable doing what we did before, and living like we used to. Now our desire is for Jesus, to do his will, and to do what is pleasing to him.
But, this transformation is continuous. It is ongoing. We have not arrived. We have not already been made perfect. We still live in this world. We still live in flesh bodies. We still have a propensity to sin against God. And, we are still tempted to sin against God, too, in our flesh. So, every day, by the Spirit, we must put to death the deeds of the flesh, and every day we must choose to follow our Lord in obedience.
Daily, by the Spirit, we take up our cross and we follow Jesus. And, if we fail, we repent of our sin, and we get right back up and we keep following Jesus in a forward direction. And, we grow in the Lord and in our faith, and we keep changing and maturing. And, we don’t keep recycling our old lives of living for sin over and over again.
Our habits begin to change. Our patterns of behavior are now not what they used to be. We are now being conformed to the likeness of Christ instead of being conformed to the ways of this sinful world. Telling lies is no longer what we practice. Now we are truth tellers. We are honest and trustworthy. We don’t talk nasty anymore. We don’t laugh at crude jokes. And, we don’t get even with people who mistreat us, but we forgive them, instead.
Guard Your Hearts
But, since we still live in flesh bodies, and because we still live in this sinful world, we are still tempted to sin. And, if we are not careful, we can fall back into sin if our hearts and our minds are not guarded against such things, by the Spirit. We can become spiritually lazy, too, if we are not zealous about our walks of faith, and if we get slothful about our relationships with Jesus Christ and time spent with him in his word and in prayer.
And, things are going to happen to us, too. And, we are going to get hurt by people, especially the closer we walk with Jesus. And, Satan is going to do everything in his power to try to get us back, and to try to trip us up, and to try to discourage and dishearten us so that we will give up, and so we will retreat back into our old sinful patterns of behavior.
So, we have to walk by faith and not by sight every day. And, daily we have to resist Satan and flee temptation, and draw near to God, and continue to do what the Lord says to do, and not lose faith. And, we have to put on that armor of God, too, with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes and his attacks against us. And, we must forgive those who hurt us always. And, pray for them, too, and be kind to them, as well.
So, this is why we need to be encouraging one another in our walks of faith and in righteousness and holiness, too, because there are so many things out there in this world, and in the worldly church, too, that will pull on us and which will try to draw us back into our former lifestyles.
And this, too, is why we should not assume that everyone knows the truth of the gospel, either, and why we need to be telling them the truth, for far too many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are believing that God’s grace gives them free license to continue in their sinful practices, and so they are not free from their slavery to sin, and they are not bound for heaven (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-24; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, know the truth that is in Christ Jesus, and live that truth in the power of God and for the glory of God, and you will have eternal life with God.
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.