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Putting Off and Putting On

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2021 7:00 am

Putting Off and Putting On

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 15, 2021 7:00 am

You finish a long day of yard work and enter your house tired, sweaty and dirty. But after getting a shower and changing your clothes, you’re feeling as good as new. In this broadcast of The Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Boice will explain how the change that occurs in us through sanctification is a lot like putting on a new, clean outfit an outfit that clothes us in truth, forgiveness and the righteousness of Christ!

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You finish a long day of yardwork and enter your house, tired, sweaty and dirty but after getting a shower and changing your clothes, your feeling as good as new in this broadcast of the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will explain how the change that occurs in us, through sanctification is a lot like putting on a new clean outfit and outfit the clothes us.

In truth, forgiveness, and the righteousness of Christ and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

We've probably all received a Christmas gift of clothing be actually never aware. Maybe grandma bought you an ugly sweater one year, or someone with great intentions crow shaded neon green scarf for you, as Christians, we each receive a gift of a brand-new outfit, but this is one will wear for life. The fourth chapter of Ephesians.

The apostle Paul is beginning to talk about the Christian life kind of conduct that Christians should display simply because they're Christians, but is light into it indirectly began. First of all by talking about our previous life that is before we were converted when we were living use his terms as the Gentiles do that is in ignorance of God, and he described our situation there before our regeneration is being one of hardness of heart, which has resulted in ignorance of God, futile, thinking and alienation from God out of that has come a loss of moral sensitivity, sensuality, and all kinds of impurity we may protest individually that we are not like that. But our culture certainly screams the opposite, that is what the world is like.

Apart from Jesus Christ. And Paul has reminded the believers in Ephesus that that's the case then secondly he's talked about the difference that they're coming to know Jesus Christ is meant he bases his appeal on that I have come to know Christ. Christ is altogether different than the world. His conduct so he says, surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Christ Jesus because they have met Christ and I have learned from Christ.

They are to act like Christ is on that basis. Now that he's going to go on and talk in a very specific way about how Christians are to live. We would ask how is that debate what does it mean to be a follower of Christ. What is it that we learned from Jesus specifically does not mean that we are to do that we are not to do the whole remainder of the book answers that in one way or another, but in these verses concluding the fourth chapter August 5 examples of proper Christian conduct prefacing it by an illustration that is meant to teach how we are to put off one false kind of conduct and put on another image uses is the image of clothing says where to put off one set of clothes and put on another is the way he expresses it. 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 put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness then having established that contrast. The contrast between putting off one form of behavior like an old suit of clothes and putting on a different form of behavior like a new suit of clothes picks it up specifically and says therefore each of you must put off all solidity builds his examples on that contrast. We understand that today it's customary Ross, especially in American culture to dress casually. Most of the time we are almost consistently casual but well enough formal occasions we know the difference between pressing for example for funeral and dressing for a wedding dress in bright, attractive close for a wedding for funeral you dressed in somber close dress reflect something about where we are and this state of mind that were supposed to have all again. There are certain kinds of clothes are appropriate to certain professions, doctors and nurses have a certain kind of clothing they wear soldiers, sailors say have a uniform that they wear prisoners have a certain kind of uniform prescribed by the penal system and when they're released from prison. The one thing they want to do is get rid of that old prison attire and put on a new sense of normal closely understand that because it's common and often our experience and certainly that's what Paul is saying is a kind of behavior that was appropriate, never in God's sight, but at least appropriate with what you are apart from Christ in the world to get rid of that because now you're not the same. Your new creature in Christ. You are his disciple. You must follow him a little bit more to it than that, however, and let me just take time to explain what's involved. We read in verses 20 to 24 that we are to put off our old self and put on the new self, those infinitives in the Greek language are translated as imperatives.

That means were to put off. On the one hand, were to put on. On the other.

That's actually misleading.

John Stott Martin Lloyd Jones and other good commentators in their studies of these verses point that out misleading. For this reason, first of all, in Colossians 3 verses nine and 10. There is a parallel passage to this and in that parallel passage. What is here translated as imperatives. Is there translated as an heiress or passive tense. That is not something that we are to do something which is already been done. Colossians 3, nine and 10 reads this way you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge and the image of its creator is a that's a different idea that's referring to something that is already happened to us by the grace of God. Then again, there's this reason, notice that in verse 25 that demand put off falsehood is prefaced by the word therefore, therefore, makes a conclusion based on something that is gone before. Now if in the previous verses put off and put on imperatives. What you have is a string of three imperatives with the word therefore between the second and the third goes like this, put off, put on therefore put off viewing through that clearly you're aware that there's no logical progression of thought when you say therefore do something it has to be on the basis of something else that is different from what you're urging somebody to do. You see, because of a you should do be today and B are identical. Therefore is obviously out of place. For that reason the best commentators argue what I believe entirely rightly that what's involved in verses 22 to 24 is something past has to do with our conversion are being made new creature in Christ. It's not saying there put off and put on it saying you have put off, put on all of that is already happened. You're not the person you were. Therefore, because you're not the person you are, apart from Christ see that you really do in practice. Put off anything inconsistent with your new nature. That's a very important point using this is not mere moralism world is filled with moralists moralists who can tell you what you want to do you want to do this, you shouldn't do that. All very nice. Sometimes the advice is very good.

The problem is we can do it. What Paul is saying is, God is already done something with you. You're not what you were before. You are a new creature. You are regenerate. You have the Holy Spirit within any says quite rightly and inescapably. That is true of you.

Therefore not only short but you must live differently is on the basis that the gives these five examples. I would say as long as we're using the image of putting off and putting on that the situation is similar to what happened when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus was a corpse and he was dressed in grave clothes in the grave clothes were appropriate to his dead status were dead in trespasses and sins before God saves us when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, the first thing he said was take off the grave clothes when he was presumably clothes and something else. I would say we carry that over into spiritual terms that when we are made alive in Christ owes all grave clothes taken off and what we are clothed in this Christ unrighteousness fitting us for a great marriage supper of the Lamb because God is done that because it's something that is passed, something he is accomplished to behave ourselves like members of the wedding party, which is what Paul now begins to discuss how we use five examples and they're both negative and positive. For the most part that's because Susie speaks of them. It's corresponding to this image of putting off and putting on one hand or something. We are to put off in its place or something that we are to put on and here's the way he deals with them.

First of all verse 25 he says we must put off falsehood and instead put on truth were to be men and women of the truth and where to speak truthfully to our neighbors, because as he says we are members of one body. I work falsehood.

In verse 25 is actually the word for why it is prefaced in the Greek language by the definite article the lie but off the lot. He says makes us think of John's first epistle where John speaks in precisely the same way when he is talking about Antichrist and the aromatic Christ which is the put somebody else in place a price the grades why is the lie that denies that God is God and instead put something else perhaps ourselves, perhaps vital principles brought in place of God.

That is the lie above all other line is what Paul has in mind here. I'm not sure it is but if that's what Paul has in mind here when he speaks of the lie of the lie. What he may be doing is giving us a magnificent illustration of exactly what he's been talking about when he's made the contrast between the change that is already taken place, and as a result of that, the changes that are to take place. In other words, he would be saying if you are Christians you have already repudiated the lie in place of the law, you will find the truth, namely Jesus Christ described himself as the way the truth and the life. And then Paul would say because you've already repudiated the Liana found the truth quite obviously your speech is to be characterized by truthfulness always need to cultivate that in Christian circles. We have great sloppiness in many areas of our lives in one area in which we have great sloppiness is in our speech we don't speak accurately. We exaggerate on the one hand, we minimize on the other witness represents we filter things as we say through the grid of our own perceptions practice being accurate and our speech.

Dr. Samuel Johnson in one of his essays wrote to parents about the raising of their children, and he had section in it which he talked about the importance of teaching children always to tell the truth so much because they're deliberately lying because they're inaccurate. They said something happened in one way, and it didn't actually happen quite that way.

He says the parent should stop and work with the child to see that it tells the truth accurately. Then he gave reasoning for that.

Dr. Johnson said something like this. He said the habits of inaccuracy in speech far more than intentional lie is because of so much of the falsehood that is in our world. I don't know whether that's true of the world in general. I think the situation isn't quite that same line.

I think people in the world, often may be frequently lie for their own base motives, but probably is true when Christians are not that Christians deliberately set out not to tell the truth, or to misrepresent or to slander or whatever it may be, but they're just not accurate as they speak here is Paul encouraging us to speak truthfully to our neighbor and if were to do that. It's something that we need to cultivate noticing the reason he gives 40 says it's because we are all members of his body, one body, that is church which he's been talking about in the previous verses you look back over those verses you will find that Paul's great concern is that the body might be edified or build up the way answer happen he says is by Christians everywhere speaking the truth in love as his reasoning here. See if we are not in the habit of speaking the truth ever or if we are loose with the truth. Obviously the body's going to suffer whatever concern for the church and its upbuilding.

Then we will practice righteousness in this area Paul second example has to do with anger and he says don't be angry A case where he doesn't give a contrast in each of the others are is the contrast corresponding to putting off and putting on your to put off falsehood and speak truth. You're not to steal Richard work, and so on were going to look at each one of those, this one doesn't do that but the contrast is implied in the contrast is an interesting one, because Paul is saying here is not don't be angry but do whatever the opposite of anger might be, but he's really saying is, he quotes the fourth song first floor.

Don't be angry and a wrong way and what is implying by contrast, is that when you are angry. Make sure it's in a right way or a righteous way. That's an important distinction we know as we study the subject in Scripture that anger in itself is not wrong. For described again and again as being angry with the wicked Lord Jesus Christ was angry on several occasions when Paul quotes this Psalm in your anger do not sin is clearly distinguishing even for us between that which is a righteous anger and not simple and that which is an unrighteous anger is sinful. So there's an important distinction to be made.

One of the problems we have in the Christian church is that we are so tolerant of evil and injustice that we just sit back and are not angry when Christian people should be angry against the evil things are done in the world. That's a problem, but generally speaking, is not the greatest of our problems. The greatest problem is that we are angry when we ought not to be. That's to say we have our own pride, own self image her own self-esteem wrapped up the way we react other people and therefore we react wrongly and that is something that we simply have to deal with. We have to confess it, you have to seek forgiveness.

All of those things that Paul says I guess if you ask the question, how do you deal with your anger and many many things that could be said but it is interesting that one thing Paul says here is the way to deal with it as quickly.

I sometimes speak in the summer at the Bible conference ground known as camp of the woods in Speculator New York and sitting out in front of the main building glare at camp of the woods in Speculator New York. There is a large caboose of a train sitting on railroad tracks don't go anywhere just a couple tracks in the caboose.

Not great but thing is sitting there everybody you rise for the first I notices it, and most everybody asked the question how in the world did you ever get it there.

The answer is always very carefully now. That's sort of answer, Paul gives here when he's talking about anger you say how do you deal with anger. Paul says quickly, because his point is that anger is a dangerous thing. Anger is the sort of thing that grows in the malice, slander, and which, because it contributes to other sins inevitably provides a foothold for the double is a sense, so his point is that we have to overcome that and we have to do it quickly. Third example Paul gives has to do with stealing. He was been stealing the steel no longer, but must work doing something useful with his own hands out each of these examples cut in one way or another, be traced to the 10 Commandments because that's a basic code of law, and out of those 10 Basic Principles You Can Dr. almost everything else is to be set in some cases that's indirect but not in this case, there is Paul's restatement of the eighth of the 10 Commandments, you shall not steal. Paul turns to Christians in Ephesus and he says remember that eighth commandment, you're going to walk in the way of Jesus Christ and put off your old conduct. Make sure you do it in this area.

Don't steal. But, by contrast, work so that you might have something that you have earned with your own hands from which to give others ways in which we can steal when you begin to think about that commandment related to God or to others, or even to yourself.

Some say that we stealing all sorts of ways we steal from God when we don't worship him as we ought when we say things that are contrary to his will and way when we fail to testify to his grace. When we complain all those ways we steal from God's glory we steal from others when we don't pay a fair price for what they are giving when if we are an employee we don't put in a fair amount of time in working for our employer or as an employer.

When we produce a service charge more than it's worth. We don't deliver.

We steal from one another. If we slander another person we steal the reputation agreement steal from ourselves. If we squander the talents, gifts, well, whatever it may be God's given us. There are many many ways to steal what Paul is chiefly thinking up here is people who don't work and perhaps because they don't work literally take things don't belong to them and order to sustain themselves, saying that must not be characteristic of Christians the other end. Christians are to work and reason there to work is that they might have something to give others that interesting, but that's the way he provides justification and motivation is not of the world would side the world would say you need to work because that's what you get your own self-esteem you achieve something you feel good about yourself.

That's why you should work or the world will say well you know you want things you want the good life. The only way to have a good life. You don't inherit it is to work for it yourself and therefore that's worth doing so you work hard in order that you might have it easy in your old age bonus and get the kind of argumentation pulses.

By contrast, look of your Christian you should work so you'll have something to give to those in need of people just won't work on fit that category necessarily like good work and I could have. They just don't do it and not necessarily just to be given handouts, but there are many people really are in need and if we are sensitive on the one hand, it should not make disincentive. On the other should be sensitive to those who have real needs.

And we should work hard so that out of our abundance, which we do have. We might have the wherewithal to give others. Paul is talking about that here in this important list of what it really means to be a Christian and conduct ourselves as Christian in this world the fourth of his items is in verse 29 where he says don't let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but instead speak things that are helpful for building others up that word unwholesome is interesting.

It's crossing Greek and it means corrupt and corrupting its use of fruit. For example, in what is used to fruit it would be proper to translate it is wanting Paul is saying here is that there is talk that is corrupting talk that rots things away destroys things he says that's what loose talk is that's what sinful talk is it harmful talk.

It tears down.

It doesn't build up the same. By contrast, Christians are in the building business as God is God is edifying his church. It means building up his church so he says that's what you're doing when you speak.

Make sure that when you speak you're not using your words to somebody else or criticize something else is going on, but rather using your words to build up something to edifying to point to Jesus Christ. What he is doing through his people in this world. Some of the commentators question why it is at this point in verse 30 that the apostle Paul brings in a reference to the Holy Spirit grieve not the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. I suppose the reasoning is twofold. For one thing that could be set anywhere doesn't relate anything particularly so the question is why here. And secondly, it does seem like an interruption. Certainly, in terms of these parallels put off and put on. It comes in is a bit of an interruption. I think the reason why Paul mentions Holy Spirit at this point is that it is the Holy Spirit's chief job to build up the church by developing the character of Jesus Christ within his people, and furthermore the chief way in which the Holy Spirit does. That is, through words ever thought of the Holy Spirit's ministry in that way. One of the great things the Holy Spirit is done is to give us the Bible the old and new Testaments words, God's words and human language, and moreover Holy Spirit is that word is preached.

Work through it to accomplish his purposes. Spiritual purposes of the lives of other people. That's how men and women are converted to the preaching of the word. That's how Christians are build up the teaching of the word that's the case, will, then it must grieve the Holy Spirit, particularly when words which are meant to edify are actually used, to tear down any rate, he says do not grieve the Holy Spirit and then finally, in verses 31 and 32.

There is a contrast which is somewhat of a catchall number of things are put together here also is on the one hand, put off bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice five vices, but on the other hand, he says we kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you three virtues I noticed that in his commentary. John Stott. At this point has an interesting observation which is the point with which I want to close. He said question of course is directed Dawson you noticed in this passage. When Paul urges godly conduct upon Christian people. He does so always in reference to the Trinity on visit again and again we seen earlier in the book. The first chapter very explicitly in the second chapter as well, but he doesn't hear what is beginning to speak of ethics. He speaks of the father.

He speaks of the sunny speaks of the Holy Spirit, and each one of those references is meant to motivate us notice of the very next verse, Ephesians 51 says be imitators of God, that is God the father. This is God's character is what God is like to be God's people. We must be like God. There's a great motivation. Secondly, refers to Jesus Christ versus preceding this talk about our learning of Christ. How we know Christ and the truth that is in Christ, he saying Jesus teaches us differently and in addition to all that Jesus is the great model of what this kind of characters to be when it puts itself in the practice so there's that great motivation and then thirdly, as we just seen a speaks of the Holy Spirit. He says don't grieve Holy Spirit Holy Spirit's task analysis to make us like Christ legs imitators of God to build us up for the teaching of the word is not supplied personally in a convincing supernatural way to our heart, so he says that is not happening is grieving the Holy Spirit you really are God's child should be troubled by that desire something better. It's really for God's sake that where to live this way.

That's really what Paul would say we say it eloquently, but he would say live like Christians, for God sake, literally, for God's sake, and in the power of the sovereign God as well. Spring our father. It's much easier for us to discuss great abstract theology because in the bearing upon what we do now we come to a passage like this every bit as important to Paul as the great doctrinal passages. We recognize the difficulty and so we find our selves throwing ourselves upon you for the help we need father gives grace to live like this because we're gracious. People were not worth kind of people that Paul described as being part of heart and futile in our thinking and darkened in understanding but because you have made us new creatures in Christ. It was grace to live that way. Difficult as it may be for the praise of the glory of Jesus Christ who accomplishes these things in us. We pray in his most blessed holy name. Amen. You are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888.

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