Ephesians 4:20-24 – The Process of Change

This idea of exchange permeates Paul’s discussion on change. Not only must the sin cease, but righteousness must fill its place. If you thought change was hard only when it demanded you to stop the wrong, try adding the right as well. The job just got a ton harder. When is a thief not a thief? Look in verse 24. If you If you say when he stops stealing, you’re wrong. A thief who is not stealing is just a thief between jobs. That’s not good enough. When is a liar not a liar? When he stops lying? No, when he tells the truth.

When it comes to change there is not only something that must stop, but there is something which must fill the void left by the wrong which was done. What Paul describes here is not just a simple addition or subtraction, but a complete exchange. There has to be a radical transformation. Change comes not only by the removal of the old, but the addition of the new. God doesn’t repair the old self, He exchanges old self for a new one. God doesn’t reform, He transforms; He doesn’t redecorate, He replaces.

Wedged in between the putting off and putting on is what is to be happening now. The old self has been put off and new self has been put on. The trouble is, you and I keep reaching back into that closet where that old vermin infested sweater is stored and we slip it on. We keep hugging a decaying corpse. What must happen now is that our thinking must be renewed. Real change will occur when you daily interchange the thinking of the decaying corpse for the resurrected life. There is a new attitude, literally when the spirit of your mind is made new. What drives you is different, what motivates you is altered.

So how does this renewal take place? The truth, the Son of God, Jesus Christ is the only one who will ever set you free from that which drags you down. When we struggle with sin, so often we run from the cure. We look for anything other than what is best for us. Paul takes us back to the Cross. It is there that our thinking is renewed. God gives us means of grace to change us, the Word and Sacraments to take us back to that which is the only cure. When you struggle with the need to change, latch hold of the Cross through the Word as well as through bread and wine. It is to the Cross we must come if we desire change. We cling to the work accomplished for us by Christ and that is where real change will come.

Chris Vogel

Read Ephesians 4:20-24 and consider where you are struggling to put off the old and put on the new. What are ways that you can practically walk out renewing your mind?

He Will Hold Me Fast by Matt Merker

Posted on: February 20, 2020 - 10:00PM

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