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Devotional - week of August 14, 2005


A CLEAR WORD FROM JESUS

 

… if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus … Ephesians 4:21

 

The words “if indeed” should be translated as “since.” The Ephesian readers had heard Jesus and had been taught by Him. This seems a strange thing to say since none of Paul’s readers had ever seen Jesus in the flesh or heard His voice. So what does Paul mean?

 

The statement “you have heard Him” seems to indicate an audible hearing of the words of Jesus. However, Paul must be saying that he himself taught them the words given to him by Jesus.

 

Paul is referring specifically to the truths in 4:22-24.

 

… that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

 

The word “that” appears twice in this passage and it should be translated as “to.” Through Paul, Jesus taught his readers to put off the old man, to be renewed in the spirit of their minds, and to put on the new man.

 

Both our old man and our new man can be pictured as trees. The root system of our old man is our sin nature, and the branches are those things produced by our sin nature. The root system of our new man is the Holy Spirit. The branches of the tree picturing the new man are the characteristics produced by the Holy Spirit who lives through us.

 

According to Romans 6:6, our old man was crucified and according to Ephesians 4:22, we are commanded to put off our old man. The crucifixion of our old man is the work of God. Putting off the old man and putting on the new man daily is the believer’s responsibility.

 

We do both at the same time. When we obey the five commands of Romans 6:11-13, we experience our crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. In that experience, we put off the old man. We also put on the new man because we are immediately filled with the Spirit.