Now I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to 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. Ephesians 4.17-24
There is a fundamental dichotomy between the way of the world and the way of Christ such that those who are truly in Christ are so radically transformed that their distinction from the world is unmistakable. Paul leaves no room for one who would claim Christ and continue walking in his former manner of life. Such inconsistency meets the stern warning, “I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do.” What glory would it bring God if the salvation He has worked for His people in Jesus did nothing to transform them? What praise would it demand if Christ’s death and resurrection was ineffectual in cultivating and sustaining a new manner of life? What obedience would it call forth if the gospel were not the immeasurably great power of God unto a salvation that brings the dead to life?
For the life of love that flows from God himself and is present to build up the church is at work to oppose and undo our former manner of life. Where the world is darkened in their understanding of God, we have encountered God himself in Jesus. Where the world is alienated from the life of God, we have come by his grace to inherit his eternal life. Where the world is ignorant of Christ, we have been taught the truth in him. Where the world is unwilling and unable to see and savor Jesus because of their hardness of heart, we have been made into a dwelling place where God’s presence is an exhaustible well of unending joy.
Is this not the riches of his immeasurable grace—that we who once laid dead in the burial cloths of sin have been made alive and given to wear robes of righteousness in the likeness of God?
Can we in view of such things remain callous, giving ourselves up to the deceitful desires of sin that lead to death? Can we in remembrance of the grace we have received that called us out of deadly enslavement to sin return to our former master? Surely not! For this is not the way we learned Christ! We need only to call Christ to mind and he will will renew our minds so that we are no longer held captive to the former self decayed by sin but compelled to take on the new self sewn with the righteousness of Christ himself. Is this not the riches of his immeasurable grace—that we who once laid dead in the burial cloths of sin have been made alive and given to wear robes of righteousness in the likeness of God? Marvel at the dress bestowed upon you! And walk in a manner worth of such dress.