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Our New Clothes

ClothesIn my last post I started talking about the new man that God created us to be. We saw that it’s something that we must choose to do. But it’s a path that few believers seem to want to take.

I think it’s because of the ramifications of the action.

It’s a total transformation of our lifestyle. It will radically change what we do and how we look to the world. Paul puts it this way…

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Romans 13:14

The new man is Christ, Himself. He’s the One we’re to put on. It’s His nature and character that will be seen manifesting in us. This means that we want Christ to be the only thing that the world sees in us.

Therein lies the problem. Is this true of the church in general? Is it what the average church member wants?

It doesn’t seem to be the case in practice. A look at how the church lives out its faith today proves my point that putting on Christ doesn’t just happen because we receive Christ as our Savior. There’s more to it.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:26-27

If you’ve placed your faith in Christ Jesus, then you’re part of the family of God. In this series of posts, I’m not talking about whether you’re saved or not. If you’ve trusted Christ then you’re saved and going to Heaven. That’s beyond question.

What I am talking about, is the outward manifestation of that salvation. I want the world to see Christ in us. In the book of Acts we’re told that the Jewish religious leaders took note that the Apostles had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). They saw the same lifestyle and ministry that Jesus had when He walked the earth.

Look closely at what Paul says in the above verse. He starts with the group of all believers, those with faith in Christ. Then he moves on to a smaller group. He talks about those who were baptized into Christ. This group, according to Paul as inspired by the Holy Spirit, has clothed themselves with Christ.

We already know from previous verses that this doesn’t happen by accident. So we have to ask ourselves; what’s this baptism that Paul is referring to in this passage? The Bible talks about many baptisms. We can’t just assume that we know which is meant in this verse.

All of the people who I’ve heard preaching on this verse say that it refers to water baptism. Now that the Holy Spirit has had me study it deeper, I no longer see it that way. Whenever water baptism is mentioned, it says that the believer is baptized into the name of Christ. That’s a baptism into the family.

A baptism into Christ, Himself is a different thing. This baptism literally clothes you with Christ. The original Greek text of this verse reads, “For all of you who were immersed in Christ have sunk into Christ as into a garment.

When I was young, there was an iced tea commercial on TV. A man came home from a long tiring day at work. His wife hands him a nice tall glass of iced tea. As he tips his head back to drink it, the camera pulls away for a wider shot. As he continues to drink, he falls straight backward into a swimming pool.

That’s the kind of thing that Paul is talking about here. We must let everything else go and fall backward (by faith) into Christ. We need to be immersed in Christ. This is what the modern church needs to attain to.

Question: How would the church look if we were truly immersed in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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The New Man

 

MirrorI’ve been posting about the teachings that Paul referred to in his letter to the Ephesian church.

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.
Ephesians 4:22-24

I’ve talked about the putting off of the old self and the renewal of the mind. The final piece that these early believers were taught was how to put on the new man that was created to be like God.

This process can take place slowly or quickly, depending upon our obedience and understanding. In looking at the modern church, it seems like this is the step that we know the least about. We definitely have very little experience with it.

But, before I get into the “how” of putting on the new man, I need to warn you. What I found in Scripture, as I studied it, totally changed my perception of how God works in us. As I got deeper and deeper into the Word, I found that my definition of the words I was reading was inadequate and, in some cases, inaccurate.

As we go along, I will have to redefine some words that the church has watered down over time. It wasn’t done maliciously, but it’s had a negative effect on us none the less. Please keep an open mind as you prayerfully take in what the Word of God teaches us.

Keep in mind that this is what the early believers were taught, at least under Paul’s ministry. Through prayer in the spirit, they overcame and put off the old man. They won the war against the flesh and its misdeeds.

Also through prayer in the spirit they were able to grasp and retain the mind of the Lord. It caused their minds to be renewed in the process. They no longer thought the way they used to.

Now there’s a need to put on the new man. The old is gone, but we must replace it with something better. God wants to give a new nature that’s been manufactured, fabricated, to be like God.

What’s the sign of this transformation? According to the Scripture, it’s true righteousness and holiness in the lives of those who accept it. I’m not talking about positional righteousness and holiness. As important as these are, they don’t always manifest in the lives of believers. They must be laid hold of by faith.

I’m talking about the actual, physical walk of righteousness. It’s living out the holiness that God has for us. When this happens, the world sees something different in us.

Unfortunately, based upon this definition of the new man, much of modern Christianity has missed it. What we have is a church that can’t get out of its own way. God’s people are too busy chasing after the world and its pleasures. All the while we’re confessing Scripture and believing for the blessing of God. Any talk of commitment or devotion to God is seen as condemnation and we avoid it.

The simple truth is that we’ll never be like Jesus until we put on this new man. The phrase put on literally means to sink into like a robe. We must be immersed in it.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Romans 13:12

It’s clear from this verse, and many others, that putting on the new man is a matter of our choice. It’s not automatic. Why would we be exhorted over and over again to do it if it would just happen by itself? It’s another step in our Christian growth.

For the next few posts I’m going to share what I learned as I looked deeply into the Scripture concerning this truth.

Question: How does the modern church compare to the life that Jesus Christ exemplified for us?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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