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 NIV)
…you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Col. 3:9b-10)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
Understanding our identity as born-again children of God is key to overcoming all our trials. In fact, coming to know and apprehend who we actually are according to God’s word is key to overcoming our old self. We do so by abiding in the living and active Word (the double-edged sword which divides our soul from our spirit) AND by receiving the discipline of the Holy Spirit (which He graciously brings via our day-to-day circumstances as well as our trials in order to sanctify us) (see John 15:7; Heb. 4:12; Heb. 12:5-13).
Of course, as emphasized in the last series, we must habitually choose to abide in Christ – the living Word – in order for our minds to be renewed. Paul exhorts, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Ro. 12:1b-2) See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Col. 2:8).
And yes, as Part 4 emphasized, we must choose hourly to receive the discipline the Holy Spirit brings via our outward circumstances. In a nutshell, this is choosing to repent of living by the old self, putting it off, and putting on our new self in Christ; it is choosing death to self in order that the resurrected Lord may live His righteous life through our branches. It is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Man who overcame the old Adam on our behalf, through whom we are now one in Spirit with God, that we can do this.
Another one of my favorite Scriptures addressing this dual process of dying to the old self and living from the new self is this passage from Second Corinthians:
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away [our old selves, the sinful nature], yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day [our new true selves in Christ]. For our light and momentary troubles [discipline from the Holy Spirit] are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen [the old self AND the world], but on what is unseen [the new self one with God in Christ AND its heavenly home]. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor. 4:11; 16-18).
Now, here is a new point: understanding that we Christians have two selves – a sin producer which cannot be improved (that’s why God crucified it via His only begotten Son!), and a sinless one which IS perfect for it is a member of Christ Himself – we can now apprehend some key Scriptures which previously may have been beyond our understanding!
In preparation for next time, I recommend you seek the Lord for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, then read First John. In particular, I suggest you ask the Holy Spirit how to reconcile this word
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1:8-9)
with these three:
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (3:6)
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God… Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (3:9, 10b)
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. (1 John 5:18)
God will bless you abundantly as you do so!
[To be continued…]
Rejoicing with you in Christ the Resurrection and the Life, your sister deanna