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Archive for February, 2020

Putting on our new self in Christ

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“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

My fellow pilgrims in Christ,

In his New Testament Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul sometimes refers to our natural human persona as “our old self” and our baptismally reborn persona as “our new self” or, depending on the translation, “our old man” or “our new man”

The new man, Paul refers to is your inward man which, after conversion and baptism is now being transformed into a new creation in Christ. His spiritual nature is sacramentally placed in us by the Father so that the same spirit of righteousness and true holiness that is in Christ may be manifested in us to bring us into union with Him.

This is all the work of the Holy Spirit renewing our spirit in knowledge after the image of Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of the Father. This is the “new man” created when you are born again of God’s Spirit. The new man is not physical. It is our spiritual DNA in Christ Jesus. For as God’s children we are predestined to be conformed into Christ’s image. So that as the Father’s adopted children we may be His instruments in the building of His Kingdom of Love on this Earth.

Our progression or growth in the New Man depends on our cooperation with the Holy Spirit as He works in us to conform us to the image of “Christ in us, the Hope of Glory”. The progress of our conformance is not automatic after Baptism, it requires that at some point in our lives we freely yield to the Spirit, so that the holiness to which our new nature aspires is not forced on us but we willingly yield ourselves to partake in God’s work in us! In this manner we continuously give ourselves to the Father in through true Agape Love!

Here is Paul’s exhortation for just this purpose, “Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.…” (Rom. 12:1-2)

Once we intentionally consecrate ourselves in this manner the Holy Spirit will begin the process of conformance in us. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit has not been with us or around us – it is only because He respects our freedom that He does not work “in us” (our inner man) without our willing submittal to Him!

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Rom 8:12-17)

From the very beginning our progress in being conformed to Christ is strongly resisted by our “Old Man”, which is basically our fallen fleshly nature. Therefore
we are called to resist our fleshly nature with the spiritual nature that dwells in us!

That is why the Father also empowers our spirits with His Sanctifying Graces at baptism so that we can “put off” the flesh and instead “put on” more of the Spirit of Christ that He has planted in us. The very fact that scripture uses the words “put on” and “put off” indicates the need for our will to be active partners with God in the process of conformance. Putting On the New Man, therefore, is our decision to cooperate with the Spirit to empower us to walk in the Spirit of Christ in us!

Letting Christ live in us and Through us

Walking in the Spirit essentially entails letting Jesus live in us and through us,

We moderns have trouble understanding this and therefore have trouble having the faith to truly understand what walking in the Spirit involves. Paul understood this and that is why he made sure his communities had at least the basic understanding of this principle, a principle that is Key to “entering” the Kingdom of God!”.

Paul taught the Galatians (and us) about walking (ie., living) in the Spirit saying… “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:16-25)

Remember that Jesus himself urged His disciples that in order to remain in Him they must discipline themselves to follow the narrow path in loving obedience to leadings of the Holy Spirit just as He did. Indicating that if they let themselves be conformed to the world they are taking the broad road to destruction

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14).

Jesus Christ himself is the Narrow Way and the only way to enter the narrow gate is to intentionally yield ourselves to be conformed to the spirit of Christ that is in us so that the Holy Spirit can carry out our transformation!

You can also be sure that the enemy will do everything in his power to keep us from making that commitment. The only way to ensure that we do not get mis-routed in our walk is to partake of the Sacraments and ensure ourselves that we enter into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus and the Word. And, using the spiritual gifts, avoid the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. In order to do this, our commitment must include crucifying the flesh so the tempters have no power over us.

This is in line with Paul’s exhortation, that…
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Gal 5: 25)

Therefore my fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus, if we are to be HIS true disciples it is essential that you consecrate your lives entirely to Christ, and Him only, keeping in mind that … He IS the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE …. No one can come to the Father but Through HIM! Amen and Amen!

Your Fellow Pilgrim … Bartimaeus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2020])

Recommended / Related Links …

Responding to the Spirit’s Call

 Hearing God’s Voice and Obeying it!

Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

 Growing in the Spirit

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