Friday, March 14, 2014

Ephesians 4:22 comments: your religion

22  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Conversation refers to our behavior and not just our manner of speaking. It encompasses who we are and what we think.

Galatians 1:13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

1Timothy 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

And this one makes it very clear that conversation is behavior.

1Peter 2:12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

The “old man” is who you were before you believed in Christ and began to be taught by Him. He is still present and it is he whose influence must grow weaker as the Holy Spirit’s influence in you grows stronger.

Romans 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Colossians 3:8 ¶  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Our old man, our natural man, is still a part of us. We have to deal with him or her until we experience biological death. That person is wholly incapable of understanding the things of God.

1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The old man leans heavily on his or her feelings and the yearnings of their heart.

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Examples of speech that come directly from the old man begin with, “That’s the way I was raised…I was born this way….I think….In my humble opinion…I want…I don’t see anything wrong with…I’m not hurting anyone…Hey, it’s a free country…That’s just the way I am…I have a right to....etc. etc.”

Even the natural man’s religious impulses are determined by his flesh, his hatred, and his paranoia.

John 16:2  They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

(Just remember as Oliver Cromwell put it so clearly in the Putney Debates that much of what we call faith is just human reasoning and imagination.)

The man or woman of the Spirit relies on God’s word to form the dictates of his or her conscience, opinions, and desires. He or she is willing to be ruled by Christ from inside. Christianity was never meant to be a self-help organization or a political action committee. It was never meant to be a movement or a religion, as defined by human terms. It was to be an individual relationship with a risen Saviour and a church was meant to be a small group of believers uniting together for worship and accountability and reflection on God’s word on a regular basis.

In fact, the Bible defines religion very clearly as the acts of mercy a Christian performs and their commitment not to adopt the values of the world.

James 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

The values of the world are clearly listed in God’s word.

1 John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Loving pleasure, regarding appearances, and holding temporal things as supreme are not to be a Christian’s way. Jesus made a definitive statement about His opinion concerning what man holds in high regard.

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

The corruption of deceitful lusts is clearly exemplified in behavior.

Galatians 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

In the brief summation of human history’s spiritual impulses that Paul gives in Romans the corruption of deceitful lusts is evident;

Romans 1:29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Even in the institution of the church these deceitful lusts become apparent in religious doctrines;

1 Timothy 4:1 ¶  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3  Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

And in the behavior of the apostate church.

2 Timothy 2:1 ¶  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

But, the evidence that you do indeed have Christ’s Spirit in you is clear.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

The corruption of deceitful lusts is a natural to humanity. It is, unfortunately, also common among modern Christians. A recent study entitled, “The Bible in American Life,” revealed that a very small minority of Americans read the Bible daily. The Bible is the principal way God speaks to His people. It is the surest means by which His people are changed and live a life victorious over sin. Without God’s word in your heart your, “good intentions,” are just humanistic wishful thinking, the changes you desire are temporary, and defeat and bitterness are your earthly rewards.

Psalm 119:11  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Come to God’s word believing it is literally true and being willing to be changed by it….

No comments: