Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Out with the old, in with the new.

It’s hard for me to believe that it has been nearly a month since I last wrote on this blog. It has been an extremely busy stretch of time for us, but most of the pressures and time constraints have eased and I’m hoping to get back into the discipline of writing. I don’t know how many readers are out there. If you come upon these entries and are inclined to do so, I would enjoy hearing from you. My main goal is to be an encouragement to my brothers in Christ as well as to challenge myself to stay in the word and really think through and meditate on what it says.

The last time I wrote about the cross and its power in our lives I spoke about the fact that Scripture speaks very clearly about what our natural heart is like. Even if Christ saved us at an early age, all of the propensities of the sinful nature of our natural self were there. I won’t repeat all of that but I do encourage you to go back and read through it before you continue.

The purpose of salvation is not just to provide us with a home in heaven some day. The purpose is to save us from our sins. Mary and Joseph were told to name him “Jesus” because He would save His people from their sins. The verses we looked at last time list for us sinful characteristics that were part of the old man but which now in Christ are to be put away. If you go back and review these passages you will see that many of these traits are repeated over and over. If we consolidate the lists and admonitions, we have something like this:

The following attitudes and behaviors should not even be hinted at among the people of God. They belong to the old life and we have spent enough time in the past living like this. These are the kinds of things that are the cause of the wrath of God that is going to descend on the world and so they have no business being a part of the Christian’s life. I’m speaking of things like fornication, lewdness, uncleanness, filthiness, covetousness (a.k.a. idolatry), foolish talking, coarse jesting, evil desire, passion. These things should be put to death in your life and should be replaced by things such as love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, thankfulness, etc. (Summarized from Ephesians 5; Colossians 3; I Peter 4)

This list aims at the heart of what dominates most of our thinking as men. Even we who are Christian men struggle with many of these natural, sinful tendencies. The secret to overcoming is in reckoning ourselves to be dead, buried and risen with Christ and learning to reshape our thinking to be in accordance with the truth of God’s Word.

More on that next time.