Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
What happens to someone who is “alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18)? The resultant “ignorance” produces naturally that “hardening of their heart.” It happens all the time, as it did long ago in Paul’s day. Gentiles went to the games in the amphitheaters to watch men kill each other, and they enjoyed watching Christians, men and women, thrown to the lions. The people loved the excitement and the flirting with death, so they would watch it. Human hearts today have become so hard that they could someday watch Christ being crucified and laugh.
“But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:20-24).
Thank God, here comes that wonderful word, “But …” God so loved the world that He sent His Son into this cesspool of iniquity. We “learned Christ” like we learn a new language. It is He Himself who has been teaching us. Like a tree shedding leaves in autumn, we drop these worldly ways one by one as the Holy Spirit convicts us of this and that. Hearts as hard as granite are “renewed” and become human again. The very mind has a new life; you stop and think a moment and you realize, you are a new creation! You discover that “true holiness” is the only way to live a happy life. You repent that you so often shied away from it, and resisted it.
Let’s count up what Paul is asking these people to remember:
1. Stop walking like the other Gentiles do. You have a new heart now.
2. Put off your former conduct, like you put off a worn-out, shabby, last year’s coat. Just put it off! Don’t pull it out of the garbage can again.
3. “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” In other words, stop resisting the Holy Spirit as He renews your mind. Constantly He is trying to give you “the mind of Christ” (Phil. 2:5).
4. “Put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.” Put off your old, put on the new. Putting on the new is easy once you have put off the old; that’s the only struggle you have. Once you see how “the world” crucifies Christ afresh, you can’t be enticed any longer to follow its ways.
Jesus tells us that He is sending the Holy Spirit to us, each one, individually and personally. The Lord has untold billions of people (and angels) to care about, but no matter, He attends to you as if you were the only one He has on earth. He is infinite; but because He is, He can attend to the finite, which is you.
--Robert J. Wieland
From: Ephesians: You've Been "Adopted," 2005.
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