Verse of the Day – Ephesians 4:24
…and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Salvation starts to unfold here before us as Paul continues to explain the difference between the lost and saved and the way that they live and think. Salvation, from our perspective, starts with the conviction of sin as the Holy Spirit convinces us that we are sinners and as such need a Savior. The response is that we first repent of our sin. We repudiate our sin, we turn from it, we reject it. This is the putting off of the old man and our former way of life. The next logical step then is that we are renewed in the spirit of our mind. The last step in explaining this process of conversion then is that we put on the new man. We are renewed and turn away from our sin and to Christ in faith and we are now living a new life as we are transformed and made more and more to look like Christ.
As we have studied what it means to put off and be renewed, now we pick up in verse 24 where Paul tells us that if we have heard Jesus’ call to salvation and have been taught the truth by Him then we will indeed put on this new man. Where does this new man come from – and who is he?
The new man is the person that we are once we have been called to new, eternal life. This is the inner man revived from death. And we note by the word used that this is not a renovation of the old man. This is not the old man remade, it is a new man. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. Completely new. Where once we were dead in sin now we are alive to God. Where once we walked in the futility of our mind now we have the mind of Christ.
The old man has been put off. Not changed, but put away forever. We are not who we were! We are indeed new. Born again. Alive. Redeemed. And this new man belongs to Jesus Christ having been purchased by His blood (1 Cor 6:19-20).
We further see that this new man is created by God. It is not something that we will into being. It is not something we create by decision or choice. Our salvation and who we are in Christ is not something we determine or cause. Salvation is all by grace through faith and it is God who creates us and makes us new.
And as God creates this new man, we see that the new man is created “according to God.” This means that the new man is created to be like God. Where once we were dead and lost and only able to sin, now we are alive, and new, and able to obey! Now we are new – new hearts, new minds, new lives.
Further, this new man is created in true righteousness and holiness. This means that the new man is created with the capability and inclination to be right with others and right with God. True righteousness is the state of being in a right relationship with others and with God. And holiness here is the sacred observance of all duties to God. In other words, where we were incapable of obedience to God’s Word now we are able, empowered by the Spirit, to keep the Law. Not that keeping the Law saves us – but it does prove that we are saved. Remember, we are saved by faith alone without works, but saving faith is always a faith that works.
As we look at the Law of God we see that the first 4 of the Ten Commandments deal with the things that are necessary to be right with God and fulfill our duty to Him (holiness). And the last 6 of the Ten Commandments deal with what is necessary for us to be right with others (righteousness). So now we are in this new man able to obey God.
It is interesting to me that before we are saved we have a fallen nature and sin originates in that fallen nature. We are bound in sin and indeed, as has already been stated, before Christ we are unable to not sin. We are sinners by nature.
However, once we have been called to new life, we are now a new man created to be like God through righteousness and holiness. So now, as Romans 6 puts it, we are slaves of righteousness. Where before we were capable only of sinning, now we are capable of righteousness – and we have the ability now to NOT sin. We can resist the devil and overcome temptation. What changed?
We are new. The old nature is gone. It has been put off. And we are a new creation. Old things have passed away and “all things have become new.” Some question this and would like to think that we can still blame sin on our old nature – but the old nature is clearly gone (see Galatians 2:20; 5:22-23; 2 Cor 5:17; Romans 6:6-14; etc). “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
So where then does sin originate for the believer? James 1:14 makes it all clear. Each one, that is each believer, is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Where do these desires come from? His nature? No. His flesh!
It is not that we still have a sinful nature that can only sin. No. We have a new heart, a new mind, and a new nature. Now we partake of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:2-4). But what is the one part of who and what we are that has not been changed yet? Our bodies! That is one of the reasons we have been given the Holy Spirit. He seals us for the Day of Redemption. He empowers us to battle sin. He indwells us. And when is our redemption complete? When we are glorified. And what happens when we are glorified? This corruptible body puts on incorruption (1 Cor 15:50-58). That is why we say that we are saved (justification and conversion), we are being saved (sanctification), and we will be saved (glorification). And thankfully, in God’s eyes, it is a done deal that is played out in time as we are born again, converted, sanctified, and then one day will be glorified.
Without the Holy Spirit we see that we would fall and fail and own flesh would dominate us. But because we have been given the Spirit we are constantly being equipped and empowered to stand firm, to grow in grace, and to be conformed to the image of Christ. The Spirit makes it possible for us to deny the flesh. He gives us gifts that enable us to have self control and longsuffering. He fills us – and Paul wrote to the Galatians that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Walking in the Spirit is the antidote for being enticed by this fallen body into sin.
We see then that when we are saved there is indeed a radical transformation that takes place. We put off the old man through repentance. We are being renewed in the spirit of our mind by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. And we put on the new man created according to God in true holiness and righteousness as we trust Christ. Of course as we outline this step by step we must not forget that this happens in an instant. The instant we cry out in repentance and faith and Christ saves us.
But we also must see that if we do not put off the old man, if we are not being renewed, and if we do not put on the new man and then begin to live differently – that is, if there is not a change from death to life, from the walk of the Gentiles to the Walk of the Saints – then we have not been saved! If there is no conviction there has been no conversion. If there is no repentance then there has been no regeneration. If there is no renewal then there has been no salvation.
That is why we must make our calling and election sure. Because if we think that salvation is simply a matter of God accepting us as we are then we have believed a false gospel. God does not accept us just as we are. Just as we are we cannot inherit eternal life (1 Cor 6:9-10; 15:50; Gal 5:19-22; Col 1:12). That is why salvation is all by grace. He gives us grace, life, repentance, and faith. He empowers us to put off the old man, He renews us, He enables us put on the new man. And we are from that point forward walking in NEW LIFE (Romans 6:4).
Today, thank God for the great transformation that He has accomplished in your salvation. And if you are unsure about your salvation having read this, then I would encourage you to read Romans chapters 6-8 today. If there is no fruit and no evidence of salvation in your life, today, call out to Christ in faith, turning from your sin and to Him in faith – and He will save you!
Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)
Bible Reading For Further Study
1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Galatians 2:20; 5:22-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:6-14; James 1:14
2 Peter 1:2-4; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-22; Colossians 1:12; Romans 6:4