The Bible says that we must “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That sounds like a wonderful thing, but how can it be accomplished, and why is it important?
There are numerous descriptions in the Bible of victorious, godly lives that, to many people, seem out of reach. Even people who desire to live a victorious life find themselves unable to attain what the Bible describes as the new life we were created for.
How can we experience the new life—not just for a moment, but for the rest of our lives? This study will strive to answer this question.
The Old Man
Before we can put on the new man, something has to be discarded first. The Bible says, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:9, 10).
The old man must die first before the new man can be experienced and enjoyed. Jesus said, “…no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved” (Luke 5:37, 38). To enjoy the life of the new man, the old has to go. That is why God promised: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26).
God does not offer to fix the old, stony heart. No, No, He promises to “take away the stony heart.” Only then will the new heart be realized. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23, 24). Denying self and taking up the cross means a person will “lose his life.” Until you realize that your old life is not worth trying to save and fix, that you need an entirely new one, you will not be ready to be born again into the new life God has prepared for you.
Faith in God’s Promises
Notice what the Bible says, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2_Peter 1:2-4).
Please take time to read that over, and over, again several times and catch the magnitude of what is written. God has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” We have been given everything we need to live a victorious, godly life. There is nothing missing! We have it all! Where can we find these riches? In the “exceeding great and precious promises”! God’s word is filled with promises by which we can live a victorious life and escape the corruption of worldly lust.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16). Let His word into your mind richly, and keep it there. Let it dwell there. Meditate on it, believe it, digest it. The Bible says, “the word of God… effectually worketh… in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). For God’s word to work in you, you must first believe it, then let it in to do its work. I encourage you to listen to the Bible in mp3 format on a phone or audio device so the word of God can be continually pumped in to work in you “mightily” (Colossians 1:29).
God’s promises were given “that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,” and escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). God’s promises are that powerful! They can “keep you from falling” (Jude 1:24).
How Do His Promises Work?
God’s promises “effectually worketh… in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). We must first believe them. What is that? Believing and having faith go hand in hand. Faith is the noun form, and believing is the verb form. They both indicate trusting in God’s word. Jesus saw a man who said, “speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matthew 8:8). Jesus marveled at this and said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10). Jesus defined great faith as trusting in the word of God “only” to do what that word says. Nothing more is needed! God can speak the word only, and it will be done. Believing that is great faith!
For God’s promises to effectually work in you, you must believe they have the power to accomplish what God says. God says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
God’s word itself will accomplish what He says, “For the word of God is living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV). That is why it is “impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). The reason it is impossible for God to lie is because as soon as He says something that is not so, it becomes so! God “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17), and when He does, boom, they are. When God said, “Let there be light,” immediately, “there was light” (Genesis 1:3). When Jesus said to a leper, “be thou clean” “immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (Matthew 8:3). Trusting the raw, plain, word of God, only, to do what it says is “great faith.”
Take all of God’s promises that way. Believe them as real for you, right now! Believe them in spite of your circumstances. The word of God is greater than all your problems. Peter trusted the word of Christ when He invited him onto the water by saying, “Come.” Peter was able to walk on water as long as he trusted the word. Sadly, Peter noticed the waves, and what he saw became bigger than his trust in the word, so he began to sink (Matthew 14:28-31). Don’t let that happen to you! Believe His word even in the face of challenging circumstances that seem to tell you otherwise. We need to get above see level, so that we believe God even when what we see with our natural eyes tells us differently. Moses lived his life “By faith… as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). You can do that too!
Putting Off the Old Man
My friends, the following verse is more true now than it has ever been: “…knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:11-14).
Here we are told to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. We put off the old man, and put on the new, which is Jesus Christ. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26, 27). We cast off our old life and put on Jesus Christ “by faith.” We put off the old man, by faith, and we put on the new, by faith. There is no other way this can be done. It is entirely a faith journey. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2_Corinthians 5:7).
When you read in the Bible a description of the old life, then by faith you accept that is not you. That may have been you in the past, but that is not you anymore, regardless of what circumstances or feelings tell you otherwise. If you have asked God to give you a new heart, and invited Jesus to live in your heart, than you are not the same person anymore. You are brand new! Reject the old life, and accept the new, by faith. Believe that you are new. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God…” (2 Corinthians 5:17, 18).
Let go of the old man by faith. That is how you put off the old man. You must believe that you are not that old person anymore. No matter how nice that old life may have been, it does not compare to the new life, which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Let the old one go, and believe God for the new life He has created you for.
Putting on the New
Just as putting off the old man is a faith journey, so, putting on the new life can only be done by faith. Believe you are new and walk as if it is real for you. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). Your old life is dead, let that sink in and be a reality for you. You are no longer what you were, you are brand new.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:4-8). All of this old man description is dead to you. This does not describe you, you have a new life.
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: …Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:9-11). Here we are told not to lie to each other. Rather, we should be “speaking the truth in love,” so that we “may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25).
We should speak truth of the new life to others so they can be reminded of their identity as a new creature in Christ. Do not speak lies from the old life. Instead, speak the truth in love.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:12-17).
Again, we are told to put on something, put on mercy, kindness, humbleness, longsuffering, forgiveness, godly love, etc. These are things that we cannot generate or acquire on our own. These are all characteristics of a godly life that cannot be successfully faked. These things reach our feelings, which cannot be changed on our own. Yet, they can be changed by faith—believing what the word of God says about you in the new life. We put them on by faith.
It is important to know that faith always comes first, then the reality follows. First you believe you have these things, then continue to believe it regardless of what circumstances tell you otherwise. Just keep believing you have them, and soon the reality will be experienced in your life. Peter believed he could walk on water, then his legs stepped out of the boat and he walked. Too often we think “I will believe it when I see it.” With that approach to the new life, we will never see it, because believing always comes first.
All of these attributes are characteristics of Christ, which we will experience as a result of Christ coming into our hearts. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). I love that verse! Christ cries out to His Father from inside your heart. He shares His feelings with you. The next chapter explains: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:22-24).
Make sure you grasp the depth of these verses. Our affections and desires are changed when Christ comes into our hearts. This is all yours by faith, just believe what is written, and accept it as your own. Be “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19). Let that sink in!
Keeping the New Life
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:22).
Notice the old man is corrupt because of deceitful lusts. We read that the affections and lusts are crucified with Christ (Galatians 5:24). Does that mean we can no longer be tempted? It does not mean that! The Bible says, “…every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14). Temptation comes even to those who have been born of God into a new life. Jesus Himself “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was tempted, but He overcame every time. He had a power stronger than His temptations, and He gives us that power too (John 1:12).
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). You are free from falling into sin (Jude 1:24). Sin does not have to rule you now that you are a new creature. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). “…reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:11-14).
You are a new creature, you are free from sin, so do not let it rule you. You are free! “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31, 32). Let those words sink in, and believe them for you right now.
Continue to believe everything God says about the new life in Christ. Claim those things for yourself and do not let circumstances, thoughts, or feelings, take the new life from you. You are free from sin! “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness…. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:18, 22).
From Sinner to Saint
One of Satan’s biggest lies is to convince people to view themselves less valuably than God views them. Most people carry with them an imagination of God’s disapproval. They think God doesn’t like them very much. I know, because that was me several years ago. God surprised me when He showed up, uninvited, at my drug party and revealed His love to me. That changed everything! (For an explanation of how this happened, request a free copy of Rescued from Addiction.)
The prodigal son carelessly wasted all his inheritance and began to starve in a famine. He reasoned that his father had servants who were eating better than he, so he decided to return to his father, ashamed, and ask him to make him a hired servant. When he was a great way off his father surprised him by running out to meet him with open arms. The son began explaining that he was no more worthy to be a son. The father interrupted him, lavishing upon him tokens of his approval as his son. The father would not allow his son to devalue himself to the level of a servant.
The father in this story represents God, who views us much more valuably than we see ourselves. Do you want to know your worth, look what God paid to buy you back from the enemy—He gave His only begotten Son (1 John 4:9). You are worth it (John 17:23; Romans 8:32). God thinks He got a good deal for His payment.
A trick that Satan uses to keep God’s people viewing themselves with little value is to get them to identify themselves as sinners. People say, “I am a sinner, saved by grace.” What they don’t realize is that once a sinner is saved, they are no longer a sinner. Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Jesus came to transform sinners to saints, and He is well able to do this.
I used to be a drug addict. There is a popular program to help addicts called AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). I never used this program, but I know they teach their followers that if they were once an alcoholic they will always be an alcoholic. They are told to continually view themselves as a “recovering alcoholic,” even if they have been sober for 30 years. I am sure this program has had a lot of successes, but it has a major flaw. God can transform a person from an alcoholic to a sober person, and once they are changed they are no longer an alcoholic.
I know this from experience! I asked God to give me a new heart 30 years ago while I was high on drugs. I have not taken drugs since. I am not a recovering drug addict, I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). In my new life I have never done drugs, so drugs do not identify me. It is what I was, but it is not what I am now.
The Bible says, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
This distinction is important when we consider the topic of sinners. Children of God should not view themselves as sinners. Notice what the Bible says about sinners:
“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalms 1:5). Sinners are set in contrast to the righteous. If you have given your life to God, which side are you on? The righteous!
Paul wrote, “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles…” (Galatians 2:15). Paul claimed that “We… are… not sinners.”
The Bible says, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just” (Proverbs 13:22). “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:18).
Jesus told a story of a tax collector who prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus said. “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified” (Luke 18:13, 14). Jesus explained, “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10). When a sinner repents and gets justified is he a sinner anymore? No! He is a just person, also known as righteous or a saint.
There is one verse used as an excuse for people to identify themselves as sinners after their conversion, but it does not provide a valid excuse. Here it is:
Paul says he “was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:13-16).
Was Paul claiming to still be a sinner? Notice He said he was before a blasphemer and persecutor. Was he that anymore? No! He “obtained mercy.” He was not a sinner anymore. He was a chief example of what God can do to a sinner by transforming him into a saint. I encourage you to read every place the words “sinner” or “sinners” is used in the Bible. This verse is the only excuse Christians can use to apply that title to themselves, and it does not give such permission.
Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:13). Paul learned to let the past go, and press on to the new life. He wrote, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God…” (2 Corinthians 5:17, 18). Since “old things are passed away,” we should let them go and forget about them. We are new creatures not identified by our past, but by the word of God for our present and future.
Instead of saying, “I am a sinner” as an excuse to walk in the flesh, try, “I have been born of God” as an excuse to walk in the Spirit. If you continually identify yourself as a sinner, then what you believe about yourself will manifest in your life. Remember, belief comes first, then results follow. If you view yourself as a sinner, then you will sin by faith. You will live out what you believe about yourself. Believe you are new, that you have been born again, and then walk in that new life.
Is it Possible for a Saint to Fall?
Some refuse to claim God’s identity of “saint,” “just,” or “righteous” because they have fallen after committing themselves to God. What does the Bible say? “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief” (Proverbs 24:16). A just man falls, and rises again each time, proclaiming, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise…” (Micah 7:8). You may fall, but if so, you don’t have to stay down. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
Don’t be discouraged if you fall, just get back up and walk in the new life again. My children never successfully walked the first time they tried. They fell many times, but eventually they got to the point where they very rarely fall. You can have this experience in your Christian walk as well. Don’t let the old life define you, but let God’s description of your new life be what defines you.
Peter spoke words directly from God the Father (Matthew 16:16-18), and a few minutes later he spoke words from the devil (Matthew 16:21-23). Jesus next instructed His disciples to reject their old life and walk in the new (verses 24, 25). If you ever find your old life manifesting in you, turn from it, repent, and “walk in newness of life” again (Romans 6:4).
WARNING: I am NOT encouraging anyone to view themselves as something they are not. If you have never asked God for a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26, 27; Psalm 51:10-12), invited Jesus to live in your heart (Revelation 3:20; Ephesians 3:16, 17), and sincerely believe this in your heart (Romans 10:9; Mark 9:23), then don’t think you are a new creature. The new life is only available by believing what the word of God says. There is a grave danger in thinking you are a new person when you are not, then excusing sin in your life as if you are a new creature who can do no wrong. Don’t fall into this trap. Faith is only genuine if it is linked to, and dependent upon, God’s word. Godly faith will be manifested in a righteous life. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11).
Put on the Armour
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1). Did you know you can be armed with the mind of Christ? “…we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). That is incredible!
This is how we can experience real love. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV). This is what the mind of Christ is like. You have that by faith! Believe it is yours and you can have it. I know from first-hand experience that belief in this chapter changes how you feel about things. Try it for yourself. I know it works.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
We are to put on the whole armour of God. We do this by faith. Believe you have it, and it is yours, now. Putting on the whole armour of God is putting on Christ (Galatians 3:27). You “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth” you (Philippians 4:13). Praise God for what He has done in giving His Son for us.
The Ten Commandments
Did you know the Ten Commandments are written as promises you can claim for yourself? Notice how most of them start with “Thou shalt not…” (Exodus 20:3-17). That is a promise of what you are like with your new life in Christ. You shall not steal. That is not an instruction of what you should do, but an expression of what you shall do. “Shall” and “will” are different. “Will” means you desire to do something, you want to do it. “Shall” means it will happen for sure. Shall is a positive statement, it is going to happen. It is a promise! This is what you are like in Christ, and you can claim each command as a promise for you.
There is something very interesting about the Tenth Commandment. It says, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s” (Exodus 20:17). What does it mean to covet? Paul wrote, “…I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7). Covet and lust are the same thing—to desire something.
Notice the commandment says you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or any thing that belongs to him. God had already commanded “Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:14, 15). Then He adds the Tenth Commandment, “Thou shalt not lust after” “thy neighbour’s wife,” “nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” Now, wait a minute, that is going pretty far! Is this something anyone can do on their own?
I could tell my son, “Do not touch the glass of orange juice on the table.” I could enforce that rule, and he could refrain from touching it. But what if I said, “Don’t WANT to touch the glass of orange juice”? Could I enforce that? Could he obey that command? No! He could try not to want it, but if he really wanted it, trying not to want it won’t change anything.
You see, the Tenth Commandment illustrates our utter inability to keep the law in our own strength. Even if you keep all the others, you cannot keep this one on your own, and you are guilty of breaking them all (James 2:10).
Now, this knowledge should not be discouraging, for, remember, they are promises of your new life in Christ. You shall not covet. It is not going to happen. Try all you want to change your desires, but they cannot change without God stepping in. When He does, everything changes. He puts His law in your heart, and it becomes a delight to do His will. “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalms 40:8). This is the new covenant (Hebrews 8:10), the new birth (John 3:3-7; Ephesians 3:16; 1 John 3:14). (For a study on the new birth, request a free copy of You Must be Born Again.)
Accept the Ten Commandments as promises to you for your new life. Don’t look at them as chores that you must live up to, but as promises of what you are in Christ.
Lusts Are Crucified
We have seen how lusts can be crucified. That is a good thing, because they can certainly be a problem. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed us to view God’s law in a new light. Jesus magnified the law, and made it honourable (Isaiah 42:21). He showed us that there is more to the law than just outward conformity. He said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…” (Matthew 5:21, 22). Unjust anger is a crime as much as murder.
Jesus also said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:27-29).
Here, again, Jesus magnified the law by showing that God’s “commandment is exceeding broad” (Psalms 119:96). Many had thought they could look lustfully at a woman without a problem, but Jesus identified this as sin. The Tenth Commandment already did that, yet Jesus applied it even to the Seventh Commandment.
If a person has a problem with this, Jesus said it is better to pluck out an eye than to let it lead you to hell. We will see in a moment that this can be done without doing it literally.
Peter spoke of people who “walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness,… Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin…” (2 Peter 2:10, 14). This is a description of someone who is fully given over to the lusts of the flesh. They are at a place where their eyes cannot cease from the sin Jesus warned about. Is this a condition that can be changed? Is this a description of the new life in Christ, or the old life of sin? It is the old life, of course! So what would it say for the new life? “Having eyes without adultery, and that have no sin.” The new life with Christ in your heart has eyes that are not looking at others in greed, but in unselfish love. You can have those eyes that see others as potential candidates for heaven rather than potential fulfillments of ungodly lusts. How does this happen? By plucking out, or putting off, the old eyes, and putting on the eyes of the new man who see others with the mind of Christ full of unselfish love (1 Peter 4:1; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Mark 10:21). This can be done by faith. Ask God to make it a reality for you, and then believe His promises, and you will have it.
Here is a promise for your new life. “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:14-17).
Fathers and young men, you have “overcome the wicked one,” because “the word of God abideth in you.” You are not overcome by “the lust of the eyes,” because you have the love of the Father in you. You were born of God so you overcome the world (1 John 5:4; 18). You are free from sin. Don’t ever forget what you are in Christ. Let God define you, not your past, nor the opinions of others. (For deeper insight into this topic request a free copy of Finding Your Identity.)
Never Forget Who You Are
When I first realized my need for a new life and the hope of having it as a reality, it was because I read this promise: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). When I read that, I knew it is exactly what I needed, a new heart. I had been trying to live a victorious life without it, and I was failing over and over.
My dad gave me the most valuable advice I had ever gotten. He said, “Ask God for a new heart, and invite Jesus to live in your heart. When you do this, you will not feel anything happen, but believe it because God promised. When you leave that prayer, don’t stop believing that you have a new heart, and after a few days you will notice there has been a change.” I did this, and it happened just like he said.
After a few days I noticed I was responding to people differently. Before, if someone mistreated me I would immediately want to get even, but after God gave me a new heart, that feeling didn’t even come up. Instead, I felt sorry for the person and wanted to help them. I could relate to Jesus praying for God to forgive the people who were nailing Him to the cross.
It is very important that you believe God’s promises before you see or feel the results. Faith always comes first. I have experienced this fact on many occasions. God wants you to have all that is available for you to walk out this new life. It is a growing experience in learning all about the new life and claiming the promises for each step and stage of development.
Peter wrote, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Peter 1:5-12).
Notice that these amazing things are available for those who remember who they are in Christ. Those who have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins, will go back to the old life. Those who always keep in remembrance that they have been purged from the old life of sin, will “never fall.” The problem people have that causes them to fall back into sin is that they have forgotten, or may have never known, how thoroughly they have been delivered from their old life. The solution is to always remember who you are in Christ.
We have learned some amazing things from God’s word. You can have the life of Jesus manifest in your flesh (2 Corinthians 4:10, 11) so completely that your life is hidden (Colossians 3:1), and Christ is living in you (Galatians 2:20).
We put off the old man with his deeds (Colossians 3:9) by faith. Believe that the old man is crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). Reckon, consider it a fact, that you are dead to sin (Romans 6:11).
Put on the new man by faith. Believe that you have been created brand new and your old life is passed away. Remember every moment that you have put on the new man. Just as faithfully as you put on clothes in the morning, put on the Lord Jesus and keep Him on every day. Before getting out of bed, make sure you have on the new man. You may not have put off the armour, so you may just acknowledge and remember what you are wearing. Walk throughout the day by faith in God’s promises. Believe every one of them.
When you read in the Bible a description of the old life, reject it, put it off, do not believe any of those things for you. When you read in the Bible a description of the new life in Christ, believe every part for yourself as a description of you in Christ. If you find a description of the new life that does not seem to express your current experience, ask God for it to be manifested in your life, then believe He is doing it in you. Belief always comes before the experience.
Never, ever, forget what God has done for you and who you are in Christ. Let God define you, not your circumstances, feelings, nor the opinions of others. Keep remembering who you are in Christ, and walk by faith in that reality. Do not view yourself as a sinner, but a saint.
Some of the things the Bible says about you are: You are a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). You have put on the new man (Colossians 3:10). You have new knowledge (Colossians 3:10). You are armed with the mind of Christ (1 Peter 4:1; 1 Corinthians 2:16). You have overcome (1 John 4:4). You have a greater strength inside you than is in the world (1 John 4:4). You have been born of God (1 John 5:1). You are strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). You have been given power to be a child of God (John 1:12). You have been given the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57). You are rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17). You are filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). You have the Spirit of the Son of God in your heart (Galatians 4:6). You have the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23). Your affections and lusts have been crucified (Galatians 5:24). You are free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). You are dead to sin (Romans 6:11). Sin shall not have dominion over you (Romans 6:14). You are free from sin (Romans 6:18, 22). You have no condemnation (Romans 8:1). You are spiritually minded (Romans 8:6). You are not in the flesh (Romans 8:9). All things work together for your good (Romans 8:28). Nothing can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:38, 39). You are washed (1 Corinthians 6:11). You are sanctified (1_Corinthians 6:11). You are justified (1 Corinthians 6:11). You are a saint (Ephesians 2:19). You are righteous (Matthew 25:37). God’s ears are open to your prayers (1 Peter 3:12). Your prayers avail much (James 5:16). You are no more a servant, but a son (Galatians 4:7). You are a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). You are beloved of God (Romans 1:7). You are Christ’s friend (John 15:15). You will sit on Christ’s throne (Revelation 3:21).
God’s love has reached to the depths (Hebrews 7:25) to do abundantly above all that we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Whatever hardships you are facing, the gift of Christ is more than able to give you the victories you need. Use all of the temptations that come your way as a springboard to draw you closer to God. When you are tempted, praise God and thank Him for creating you new in Christ and giving you the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).
I pray that you will believe and walk in the new life you were created for. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).