The Righteous Nature of the New Man (The New Man Series Book 4)

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Coming to Christ, as Paul believed and practiced, was not just an experience. It was learning.

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It was learning Christ. Is Christ only a man, or is He also God? The difference is of great importance, and it is only from learning the doctrines of Christ in the Scriptures that we will know the answer. I wonder how biblical our evangelism is, compared to that which we find in the Scriptures. When Jesus evangelized, He taught. Everywhere we find Jesus speaking in the gospels, He taught. There is a reason why faith in Christ and learning are closely related. Jesus is not just a teacher; He is even more than the teacher.

Jesus is the truth. To come to Him in faith is to come from death to life, from condemnation to justification, from sin to sanctification, and from ignorance to true wisdom. You cannot come to faith in Jesus Christ without changing your thinking. This is what true repentance is all about—changing your mind, and coming to see things as God does.

And so it is that Paul links evangelism and discipleship. Coming to Christ by faith is the result of learning about Him see Romans , just as it is also the beginning of learning. Our relationship to the world and to our own flesh is simply the outworking of the gospel which we should already have learned in coming to Christ. If, as may be the case today, some have not learned these general things of which Paul speaks in verses , then the gospel has not been fully or faithfully proclaimed.

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In the first verses of Ephesians chapter 2, Paul described the unbeliever as being subject to the world, the flesh, and the devil. In most instances, the devil exercises control over lost men by means of the external pressure of the world and corresponding internal inclinations of the flesh. In Ephesians Paul has instructed the Christian to turn from the corrupting influences of the world in which we live our culture.

But here Paul is dealing with our manner of life in principle, in general terms. Our fleshly behavior is the outgrowth, the expression, of our inner fleshly nature, just as Christian conduct is the outgrowth and expression of the inner man, created and empowered by the Holy Spirit:. Paul persists in emphasizing the continuity between our conversion to Christ and our conduct in Christ, which should be evident in our manner of life.

Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? How shall we who died to sin still live in it? In Christ, our old man has been crucified, put to death. In our daily conduct, we should crucify the flesh daily, and put aside the conduct which springs forth from fleshly desires. In Christ we were made alive, raised from the dead and seated with Him in the heavenlies see Ephesians We should therefore walk in newness of life, manifesting the work of the Spirit of God in and through us.

It is by His power that we are both motivated and enabled to live in a way that pleases God:. Romans , Lust promises pleasure, but it ultimately produces death see Romans , especially verse Deceit is lustful in that it never seems to be satisfied, it always wants more victims see Proverbs Jesus warned of the danger of attempting to remove evil, rather than replacing it see Luke While the old nature is continually being corrupted by the lusts of deceit, the new nature is renewing us, in accordance with the nature of God and His righteousness and truth.

The old nature is being corrupted, the new is being renewed. The old is deceitful, the new deals in truth. The old is sinful, the new is righteous. The old is driven by lusts, the new by the character and purposes of God. Christ did not save us in order that we may live any way that we choose. He saved us to live godly lives, and thus to live in a way that is radically different from our lifestyle as unbelievers. Our conduct, as Paul has indicated in verse 1 of chapter 4 is to conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of our calling in Christ.

The conduct which God requires of Christians should not come as a surprise to them after they have been saved. The gospel, as preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles, called men to repentance as well as to faith in Christ. Men were required to turn from their sin to Christ, and it was clear that this meant a new way of life.

It is as though we fear that men will be receive Christ if they know what is involved. The irony is that the gospel, the true gospel, is the power of God unto salvation. We then rely more on our cleverness and deceit than on the power of the Holy Spirit to convince and convert lost sinners. When we share our faith, let us tell it like it is. God is sovereign in the salvation and spiritual growth of those whom He has chosen.

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Let us not leave this text with a passive view of our spiritual life. God has made every provision for our sanctification, and we are to obediently make use of them, for His glory and for our good. It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of the truths conveyed in the passage before us. While the verses which follow it will spell out specific conduct which befits the Christian, this text speaks of the basis for our conduct in general terms.

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It is our commitment to the general exhortations of this passage which will greatly affect our compliance with the commands that follow. The Christian lifestyle will not be lived out by those with a pagan mindset. It is the Christian mindset of our text which works itself out in the conduct which befits our calling in Christ. Our pagan culture believes that the past is the key to the present.

What we think and how we act, we are told, is the result of our past. It is only by understanding our past that we can live as we should in the present. In other words, the past controls the present. The Bible reverses this. Paul teaches us that our thinking and conduct in the past was the outworking of our unregenerate thinking. Paul insists that we refuse to allow our past to control us in the present. Instead, Paul teaches us that what we now are, in Christ, is what should override and overrule our past thinking and behavior.

What we now are in Christ should cause us to put away what we once thought and did as unbelievers. Our past should not be resurrected, analyzed and dwelled upon, it should be buried in an unmarked grave. It is not what we were that matters, but what we are.

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Let us ponder what we are, in Christ, and not what we were without Him. In our culture, what you believe seems to have taken second place to how you feel.

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What we feel is often a far cry from what is true, and even from what we believe. Faith, as I understand it, calls upon men to act on the truth God has revealed in His Word, not on how we feel. Neither did he feel like offering up his son, Isaac, but he was willing to obey. Let us act on what we know to be the truth as revealed in the Word of God, more than on how we happen to feel. If the renewing of our minds is so vital to our Christian life, how is it done?

The Bible is not a book of formulas, but I would like to focus your attention on one key element: the Word of God. When a person wants to learn a foreign language, what is the most effective way to do so? It is to enter into that culture and language and become saturated with it.

Putting Off The Old Man

This is how our children learn to talk and to think as we do. I dare say that most Christians spend more time in front of their television sets, radios, magazines, and books than they do in their Bibles. Even many Christian stations and publications contain much that is secular thinking sprinkled with a smattering of spiritual jargon. This is the renewing of the mind which Paul calls for. It is what A. Just as bad thinking leads to wrong conduct, so wrong conduct leads to bad thinking.

Solomon is an example of this. Although the wisest man in the world, Solomon disobeyed God in several ways. Among these was his marriage to foreign wives. I believe that as his moral conduct deteriorated, so did his mental acuity. What results is a downward cycle.

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  5. An illustration of this cycle can be found in Romans chapter 1. Questions About the Old Testament Law. Is it okay to involve an unbeliever in church ministry? What Denomination Does Bible.