But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 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.
Here lies the real purpose of Christ. The “good news” of the Kingdom is that Christ has made a way for every obstacle between them and God to be removed. Christ has granted all of humanity with an access point to however much of God’s power is necessary to become everything He created us to be. Not just in the hereafter, but in the here and now! There are at least two identities by which a person chooses to walk in. There is an identity we are born into in the “flesh and blood”. Our scripture above refers to that person as the “old-man”. Then there is the identity of the person Christ came to redeem. This person is what we call the “new-man” created according to God when a person is born-again.
The thing that catches my attention here is that God is not the one who chooses which of these identities a person lives out. God left that choice completely up to you! Now, that is such a powerful love that it’s hard to comprehend. God, the creator of the universe, is not forcing anyone to live for or with Him. You are completely free! That is not meant to be misunderstood to think that God allows us to do whatever the old man wants and still walk in His promises. The scripture teaches that we must “put off” the old-man, and “put on” the new. We make our own choices. Now, if one wants to walk in the new man it doesn’t mean we just have to buck up and fly straight. We can only get so far that way and it usually doesn’t last.
This is what Jesus meant when He told Nicodemus in John chapter 3 that; “you must be born again.” You see, we can follow rules, try to act religious, or adapt to some moral code or creed of doctrine. We can learn to participate in church, give to the poor, and even give up those bad habits even when it means attending a self-help group to get there. But those things, while they may be good, are not what makes us righteous or holy in the sight of God. So, if we try to put these thing on or off without doing it in God’s way we will end up tired. Or hopeless and frustrated. It is so much easier God’s way! It’s almost as if He always knew what to do and how all along. We cannot “do righteousness and holiness to get to God! It never has worked that way because those things can only come from God. This is why Ephesians 4:24 says “that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” And this is why 2 Cor 5 says; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ…” Each of us can be recreated in Christ and then empowered to become that new man who is renewed according to the image of Him who made us.