The first verse of today’s reading echoes the first verse of the chapter – live like your calling. We have been given, and re-born into, God’s wonderful grace; so now live in the light of grace. Live a life worthy of your calling.
Don’t be like the Gentiles – as in those who don’t believe.
- Futility of thinking – what nonsense people believe!
- Darkened understanding – preferring to think about things that belong in the dark rather than in the light;
- Alienated from the life of God;
- Giving themselves up to sensuality, greed and impurity, in the same sense as, in Romans 1, God’s wrath is giving people over to what they really want.
That’s not who we are anymore! Not what we have heard about Jesus, or learned about him. Paul wants us to live in the good of our new identity. Put off the old self (which is dead anyway, so why wear it!) and put on the new self.
When we became a Christian, by trusting in Jesus’ death and resurrection, our old self died and we became a new creation – born again. That’s true of us. Our spirit which was dead because of sin is now alive in Christ. Our minds need renewing so we make the right choices with our bodies. That’s what Paul is speaking to now as he tells us to put off the old self and put on the new:
- Speak the truth;
- Don’t hold onto anger – things make us angry, but don’t let that become sin and don’t hold onto it overnight. Get the issue sorted quickly so it doesn’t settle into an opportunity for the devil to make the issue bigger or turn it into bitterness and unforgiveness;
- Stop stealing;
- No corrupting talk that drags others down;
- Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit – he has sealed you, walk with Him, doing things in and through and with Him rather than things that grieve Him;
- Bitterness – get rid of it, don’t let anger fester;
- Be kind and tenderhearted towards others;
- Forgive others quickly;
- Imitate God;
- Walk in love – just like Jesus who is a fragrant offering;
- No sexual immorality;
- No keeping up with the Joneses (coveting!);
- No crude joking.
Keeping hold of the old stuff means we lose some of our inheritance in the age to come (v.5) – note we can lose reward not our salvation.
Paul spent the first two thirds of the letter expounding God’s wonderful grace and the glorious church; now he is showing us what it looks like to live in the good of it.
Put off the old, put on the new!