But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:20-24
At first blush, you can hear a preacher pleading with his congregation to shed the old man and put on a new self. The power to do this does not come from personal resolve, as if you just need to buck yourself up and get it done. There’s one action that will get it done, and that’s accepting the truth about Jesus. From there he handles the rest. His presence in us is due to faith and marked by a new spirit coursing through our minds and hearts.
No, the sermon in these verses is all about the past, the transaction performed by Christ in “laying aside” the old man and installing the new. For computer geeks, it’s a complete new system install on a new hard drive, wiped perfectly clean by the “righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
But the new design continues to feature free will, and as such, even the new man is capable of manifesting ungodly behavior. Thus, the tweaking that Paul talks about in the following verses.
A saved soul acting like the Gentiles will be completely and utterly miserable.
A saved soul acting like the Gentiles will be completely and utterly miserable, because the spirit of God within him will commence convicting and rebuking until he gets his way. You can quench (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and grieve (Ephesians 4:30) the spirit all day long, but you’ll try to do so with uncalloused hands and heart, in the bright light of his word. Once convicted, all that will be necessary is a soft system reset.
One of my favorite verses:
I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. Psalm 32:5
The new man doesn’t need to be redeemed but renewed. Selah, i.e. pause and reflect.