Commentary on Ephesians, 4:22-25

Ephesians 4:22-25

“22 [that] you take off, according to your former way of life, the old man, who is being destroyed according to deceitful desires,”  LEB

Regarding our former lifestyle, before we became Christians, we’re to throw off the old self who is rotting away according to its deceitful cravings. Our old nature is characterized by a sinful and worldly lifestyle, one that has no concern for the will of God. Like an old jacket, we’re to throw it off as an deliberate act of the will. In other words, we are to see our former life for what it is, in rebellion to God, and surrender fully to Christ as Lord and King.

That decision to bow before the authority of Christ is something we’re to do at conversion, but it’s also to be a continuous way of life for us as believers. We are not to give in to the “deceitful desires” of the old nature. Sin is deceitful, as the writer of Hebrews says (He 3:13). It lures us in with lies, and has us thinking that what we’re doing is not so bad. If we stay in a sin long enough, we will get very comfortable with it, to where we’re no longer feeling the conviction of it. Sin can be so easily rationalized and justified if we want it bad enough.

We must not allow sin to deceive us in such a manner. In order to stay sensitive to the truth about sin, we must stay close to the Lord. We must keep our eyes on Him and in the Word of God. We must focus on those things that are pure and holy. If we get into that practice, whenever we are confronted with that which is not pure and holy, then we will be able to see it and feel it within our spirit. We will not be fooled by it. We can only be fooled by sin and it’s false promises if we get out of fellowship with God. We must keep walking in harmony with Him.

Furthermore, sin is a deceiver in that it can lead us away from saving faith. When we get to the point to where we’re comfortable with sin, we are at that point unaware that there’s something seriously wrong with our faith. A lifestyle of self-centered sin, is an indication that a person no longer believes as he or she once did. True faith continues to walk with a sincere love for Jesus, and a sincere desire to please Him in all things.

We must realize that to live according to the old nature is senseless, considering that it’s “being destroyed,” or rotting away. Why give ourselves to something that has no lasting life?

“23 be renewed in the spirit of your mind,”  LEB

We are new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), and we are to be continuously growing according to our new self. This can only occur if we are being renewed in our minds (Ro 12:1,2). We are what we think. We will be and live according to the nature of our thinking. Our lives are molded by the type of thinking that dominates our mind. Therefore, we must stay in the Word of God. Rather than allowing the philosophies of the world to mold our thinking, and thus our lives, we must saturate our minds with the mind of God. As we’re taking in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit uses it to shape our thinking, which results in a God-ward direction of our lives, according to His power at work within us.

“24 and put on the new man (in accordance with God), who is created in righteousness and holiness from the truth.”  LEB

We’re to put on the new self, which has been created after the image of God. Our position in Christ is one of “righteousness” and “holiness.” We’ve been imputed with the righteousness of God. In Christ we are holy. We’ve been forgiven of our sins, and have been purified of it all. Our holy position in Christ is a result of the message of truth regarding Christ and what He did for us. It was through faith in Him that we obtained this holy and righteous standing before God.

However, in practical application, we’re always to be growing into our position in Christ. We do this by a continuous “putting on” of the “new man.” We “put off the old man,” and “put on the new.” This is a deliberate decision of the heart that we make before God. It’s a sincere surrender of our will to the will of God. Every day there should be a renewing of that surrender. Every morning of every day of our lives we should present ourselves to God in true humility (Ro 6:13,19). We must realize who we are in Christ, and who it is that we serve. If we lose sight of that, we will begin to slide away.

“25 Therefore, putting aside the lie, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are members of one another.”  LEB

Having cast aside that which is false as believers in Christ, we are to speak the truth to one another, as we are members of the same body (the Church). I’m not sure why Paul inserted this exhortation here, but the point is, we belong to the truth. Therefore, we should speak in a manner that represents that truth. Those who lie, do so because they’re characterized by that which is false. Thus it’s not appropriate for those of the truth to speak anything other than that which is the truth.

You will probably hear me say over and over, that we should always be aware of who we are in Christ, and to live according to who we are in Christ. Let’s be careful that we’re not living a lie. Or it may lead to the point to where we are eventually living according to who we have become.