PFOA: Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
“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… 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”
Eph. 4:17, 20-24 (ESV).
Quite often “head knowledge” is contrasted with “heart knowledge”. The criticism goes along the lines of describing someone as having just head knowledge and not heart knowledge. Perhaps this is a false dichotomy. For a child learning the multiplication table, where do you draw the line? He does not “know” it until he can recite it by “heart”. Paul here is saying something similar – when you heard about Christ and were taught in him, that is, you had “learnt Christ”, your old self must be taken off so that you can put on the new self. In fact, Paul insists (NIV) that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do.
As mentioned in previous reflections, Paul, in this letter, gives a total of five before-and-after contrasts, and this is the fourth. Life before knowing Christ is described with words like sensual, impure, lustful, deceitful, greedy and corrupt. Sounds like advertising for a movie or TV series, doesn’t it? This is what the world is attracted to, what the worldly person wants. And this is what the believer must put off. In the workplace, on the streets, in buses or trains, on Internet blogs and comments we find impure, rude language. The LGBT community demands, even coerces acceptance of their way of life. More and more nations are voting to recognise same-sex marriages. And churches are going along with them. The follower of Jesus Christ who put off the old self and put on the new self of righteousness and holiness is no longer just ignored or ridiculed. She now faces overt condemnation and hostile opposition.
One does not become a Christian just by walking down the aisle in an evangelistic meeting, or saying the Sinner’s Prayer. He is saved when he believes in his heart, and confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:9). And what do you think is a true confession? Jesus told the parable of the two sons in Matt. 21:28-32. Which of the two did the will of the father? The era of the Christendom is over. The post-modern world does not tolerate people who claim to have the truth.
The church as a community of followers of Jesus must prayerfully support and encourage one another to seek after righteousness and live holy lives.