Our past Walk and Present Witness
March 30, 2008
INTRODUCTION: The Apostle Peter would have seconded Paul's motion to discard our past walk.
1 Peter 4:1-4, "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you."
In Col 3:8, Paul uses an imagery of clothing, reminding us that before the garments of righteousness can be put on the old rags of sin must be discarded. The verb "put off" calls for decisive, immediate resolution (aorist middle imperative). Just as a runner must "lay aside" (same word) every weight to run a successful race (Heb 12:1), so the believer must put off the garments of sin in order to live the Christ-adorned life.
This is a vivid demand. Paul is calling for radical surgery. He is saying that we are to put to death every part of our being which is against God (some parts die hard). The truth is that we can't perform this surgery ourselves. This is where the power of the Holy Spirit comes into play. The Christian life is no do-it-yourself, make-yourself-right, lift-yourself-by-your-own-bootstraps religion.
It is a relationship of the heart in which all that we are is yielded to the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
The supreme reality for Paul was the union of the believer with the Lord. This is a reality, a status of position, not fully worked-out in experience, in practice.
Lloyd J. Ogilive
"Believers are like immigrants to a new country, not yet completely habituated ...
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