Paul continues in Ephesians 4:17 – 24 to admonish his readers about their walk with God. He discusses the way they used to walk, and how it should look now. Between the two, he talks about how they learned “Christ”. We learn Christ through hearing Him speak and responding. His Spirit leads us as we put off the old life and put on the new.
Learning Christ is very personal. He speaks to individuals. To know Christ is to have heard His voice and responded. In addition, His Spirit is our teacher and guides us into all truth. The truth is in Jesus just as He proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” His truth teaches us to put aside the old man and put on the new man. The new man is created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.
“You should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk.” Paul tells them. He is referring to a life without God, where thinking is futile, barren, without purpose or fruit. As a result, their thinking has darkened their understanding and alienated them from the life of God. They have become ignorant because they hardened their hearts. Too many times they have closed the curtain of their mind to the light of God’s truth. Now they no longer can tolerate it. The consequences of a life shut off from God is death. There is no longer any feeling. They live without restraint, with their hearts and minds full of greed and their lives unclean. They grow corrupt as they follow deceitful lusts; those desires that promise a satisfaction they can never deliver. Such is the life Paul tells his readers to put off.
In contrast, he tells them, “Put on the new man.” Then he explains how it is possible. “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” he says. In other letters Paul says it differently. To the Romans he says it this way. ” … present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” It is an active process. There is a putting off and putting on. It happens in our thought life. “Take every thought captive.” Paul tells the Corinthians.
We are new creations in Christ Jesus. We eat spiritual food, which will give us life. It is a life of gratitude to the God and Father who has redeemed us from the stench of death and dying. In addition, we experience the life of God working in us. We long to please Him and be close to Him, so we put off the old ways, and look to His Spirit for guidance. How did you learn Christ? Was it by hearing and answering as He spoke to your heart and your mind? Stay close to Him through reading His word and prayer. Spend time with fellow travellers. Your life’s walk will become a living out of your love for Him.