New Life in Christ

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Ephesians 4:17-32

You were taught to put away your former way of life . . . and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds. (vv. 22-23 NRSV)

The contrast in this passage is stark. Illusion and reality. Futility (emptiness) of mind and renewal of mind. Old life in Adam and new life in Christ. A former way of life and a new way of life.

The main metaphor is also instructive. Take off and put on, like changing one’s clothing. Indeed, Paul explicitly says “to clothe yourselves with the new self” (v. 24 NRSV)—the one created according to God, the one who embodies true righteousness and holiness. It all sounds so easy: take off the shirt and put on the sweater. But Paul reminds us that this is not easy. Old habits die hard, and our renewal is something God has to do in us.

What does this new way of life look like concretely? Paul tells us. Put away falsehood, speak the truth. Be angry but do not let your anger stew; do something creative with your righteous indignation. Be honest. Share with the needy. Speak words that build up rather than those that tear down. Put away bitterness and malice and replace them with kindness and forgiveness. There is much practical wisdom in these verses. May we be renewed in the very core of our being and thus enabled to live as renewed people.

PRAYER

Living God, renew us in the image of your Son.