GOSPEL APPLICATION

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 4:20-32

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another…Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”  (Ephesians 4:25,28)

When we become followers of Christ, we are given a new power and a new ability to make changes in our sinful habits.  As we rely upon the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and as we develop a new affection for Christ in our hearts, we are able to put off our old selves and to put on the new self which has been given to us by God’s grace — “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (vs. 22-24).

Paul gives some examples.  First is a man who constantly tells lies.  He becomes a Christian and now has a new ability and power.  He has been renewed in his mind.  The affections of his heart have changed — He now loves Jesus more than he loves himself.  He becomes convicted of his sin of lying and thus begins to apply the gospel by putting away his habit of lying and by speaking the truth to others.

Another person has developed the habit of stealing.  He becomes a Christian and now has a renewed mind.  By the power of the indwelling Spirit, he quits stealing and instead goes to work so that he can be generous with others.  He began to apply the gospel and was able to get victory over his sinful habit.

In both cases, it was not an act of sheer will; it was the power of a new affection in the hearts of these individuals that gave them the power to change.  By that power they replaced an old sinful habit with a new habit.

Lord Jesus, I cannot win by battle against the sinful habits in my life without Your power.  Give me strength and perseverance to make the changes in my life that are needed.  Let me honor You by putting off my old self and by putting on the new self.

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