Monday, May 9, 2011

Change (Ephesians 4:17-24)

After telling believers to walk in a manner worthy of their calling, Paul takes another perspective on the metaphor he is building and tells them to not walk as they formerly did. Even though our actions do not place us in Christ, being in Christ our actions will change. It is as though we are changing out of old, filthy, stinky clothes into a new outfit.

What does the old outfit look like?

Paul uses several words and phrases to describe a mental decline that he calls the “futility of mind.” The mind that has rejected the authority of the Creator has denied reality. They are “darkened in their understanding.” They have “hardened” their hearts against any divine help in seeing reality as it is and are trapped in the “ignorance” of their limited perspective, worsened by the fact that the begin with the assumption that there is no absolute. They are thus “excluded from the life of God.” They cannot allow themselves to see reality because it contradicts their presuppositions. Through repetition and practice, they become “callous” against seeing truth, instead inventing their own versions. What is most tragic, they are eventually “given over” to their lies as God ceases to confront them.

All of this leads to behavior that is harmful and detrimental to people, let alone dishonoring to the Person who has created it all for His glory.

Paul reminds us of this mental process that we all were slaves to at some point, and that we all are surrounded by our whole lives. To survive and function in the culture we find ourselves in, we need to constantly “maintain our outfit.” Keep it clean and repaired through regular doses of—and reflection on—the Truth.

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