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Galatians 5:16-23 teaches that at any moment we are either walking by the Holy Spirit or according to the sin nature. Walking by the Spirit, enjoying fellowship with God, walking in the light are virtually synonymous. During these times, the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate our minds to the truth of Scripture and to challenge us to apply what we learn. But when we sin, we begin to live based on the sin nature. Our works do not count for eternity. The only way to recover is to confess (admit, acknowledge) our sin to God the Father and we are instantly forgiven, cleansed, and recover our spiritual walk (1 John 1:9). Please make sure you are walking by the Spirit before you begin your Bible study, so it will be spiritually profitable.

Sun, Apr 29, 2012

54 - Renewing the New Man [b]

Colossians 3:5-11 by Robert Dean
Series:Colossians (2011)
Duration:58 mins 12 secs

Renewing the New Man Col 3:5-11

 

We have focused on the aspect of a counterfeit spirituality. This is a problem that the Colossians church faced; it is a problem that we face today. And through all the centuries between the first and the twenty-first this has been a continuous problem in the church age. There are so many different counterfeits, so many different approaches that have been set forward as to how to be spiritual, how to live the spiritual life. There are a number of counterfeits that are all based on different types of religious mandates—using the term "religious" instead of Christian. Religion is the idea that man does something in order to gain the approval of God, whereas Christianity is based on the idea that God has done everything for us and all that we do is simply receive it. Everything that is done in the spiritual life of the church age believer, if it has any value, it is only that which is done in the power of God the Holy Spirit.

Note that in Colossians little is said about the role of God the Holy Spirit. The reason for that is not that the role of the Holy Spirit is not important, for we know that that is an emphasis that Paul has in other letters, but the issue with the Colossians believers was apparently two-fold. Fundamentally the issue was the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. That was where their battle was being fought—whether Jesus Christ, and Christ alone, was sufficient. It was not that they didn't have a problem with God the Holy Spirit but their focal point problem was really with the sufficiency of Jesus Christ and they were seeking to substitute many other things for Jesus Christ. They were substituting dietary regulations and eating restrictions, the observance of various feast days, and they were worshipping angels. They emphasised a pseudo humility, visions, and had a mystical element. Above all they had become basically arrogant. Whenever we reject the sufficiency of Christ then we are looking somewhere else for that which really empowers and strengthens us in the Christian life.

Today we have different things that we turn to in our culture to seek happiness, fulfilment and meaning in life apart from total dependency upon Jesus Christ and what He provided for us on the cross. We look to various forms of psychotherapy, motivational self-help techniques. We look in terms of churches and the establishment churches and what goes on in churches, to various trends in sociology, various other things that are going on in our culture as ways to find real meaning and happiness in life apart from Jesus Christ. We have done the same thing that happened in the early church, and that is cut ourselves off from Jesus Christ who is the head of the body of Christ. This is exactly the challenge that Paul has laid to the Colossians in 2:19 where he says that they have not held fast to the head. They have basically decapitated the local body and cut it off from the direction of that which sustained and formed, directed and led them, which is Jesus Christ.

What Paul addresses here is something that is not what we would normally get in many sermons or messages today as to how to have a meaningful life, a happy life, how to have a spiritually fulfilled life; but that isn't how the apostle Paul addresses it. He addresses the solution by going back to what happened at salvation in terms of what is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He talks about this is passages such as Colossians 2:20, "If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world." And then in 3:1, "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ," and these terms are related to the baptism by the Holy Spirit. This is his emphasis. That relates to something that happened positionally at salvation.

We have seen that one of the issues here, starting in 3:5, is the command to "consider the members of your earthly body as dead." We focussed first and foremost on the idea of death, that there are seven different kinds of death in the New Testament. One of these is referred to as operational death or sanctification death. In all of these kinds of death is the idea of separation. In operational or sanctification death this is separation from the life-giving power of God the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day living. One kind of death that is mentioned in the Scripture that goes along with the foundation of our Christian life is the identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection is called positional death. Our identification with Christ in His death is part of what is identified as the baptism by God the Holy Spirit. With that act of baptism we are given a new identification, a new identity. The trouble is we still live like we did before we were given that new identity and what is necessary is the process of change, living according to this new identity.

As part of the new idea that we have we have died with Christ. So we have been buried with Him, we have been raised to newness of life, as Paul says in Romans 6:4, and the Greek word used there for "newness of life"—there are two different words in Greek for "new." One means new in the sense of new in time, the other is a word that means new in the sense of new in quality—means that we have aqualitatively new life in Christ. We have a qualitatively new nature, referenced in Colossians 3:10. We have new life, Romans 6:4; we are part of a new family, the royal family of God, John 1:12; we are under new leadership, Christ is the head of the body, Colossians 1:18, 2:8; and we are to have a new way of thinking, Romans 6:11—we are to consider ourselves dead to sin. So we have a new code of conduct that is to characterise this new life. In terms of the language that is used in Colossians where we have this language and clothing, putting on and taking off, we have a new dress code as believers. Unfortunately, for many of us, we often slip and are living on the basis of the sin nature and we put on those old rags that characterised our former life before we were saved, rather than living on the basis of our new life and living according to the new dress code.

What often happens is that people don't learn how to walk by means of the Spirit and they try to counterfeit the dress code, and they put on this superficial morality, religion, legalism, asceticism; this was what was going on in Colosse. It was something that was simply external; there was no internal transformation which comes about only by means of God the Holy Spirit. It must be accomplished by the Holy Spirit and this is what Paul emphasises in passages such as Romans 8:13 NASB "for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." He is not talking in that passage about spiritual death or eternal death; he is talking to believers at that point about operational death. What Paul is saying in Romans chapter eight is that we basically have two options. We are either going to put to death the deeds of the flesh or the deeds of the flesh are going to create in us the walking dead. We don't lose our salvation but we live no differently than an unbeliever. Galatians 5:16 gives the solution. We are to walk by means of the Spirit and we will not fulfil or bring to completion the lusts of the flesh.  

At the beginning of Colossians chapter two Paul says, "and in Him you were also circumcised." Paul uses another metaphor for describing the baptism by God the Holy Spirit, that is spiritual circumcision there is a positional removal of the power of the sin nature. This is what he means by using the phrase "putting off the body of the sins of the flesh." We still have a sin nature but that tyranny that was there prior to salvation has been removed. Then in Colossians 3:10, 11 Paul says, "and have put on the new self [man]…" We put off the old man, the sin nature, and at the same time we put on the new man. The language that is used in 2:11, 12 as well as 3:10, 11 is language that speaks of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That is what happened at the instant of salvation. There is a death that occurs there that is positional that also has to be activated in our own lives in terms of our experience.

We see that there is a recurrence of a reference to death in this passage. Colossians 2:11, 12 talks about our positional death, buried with Him in baptism. Then in 2:20 Paul says, "If you died" (and you did at salvation); 3:3 builds on that, "you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God"—again, positional death in terms of our identification with Christ. Then he says in verse 5, "Therefore put to death." You died but now you have to put something to death. In other words, there is something positional that happened, that is a death, a death to the power of the sin nature, but then there is an experiential reality that engages our volition on a moment by moment basis—we are to put to death our members which are on the earth (NASB "Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead").

The synonyms that are used in this section for the death idea is the idea of removing clothes. When we were spiritually circumcised we put off the body of the sins of the flesh. That is the removal of clothes. Then in 3:8, "But now you also, put them all aside…" It is a different Greek word but it is a synonym, and one (vv. 11, 12) of that positional removal, and then in 3:8 there is the mandate that we are to do this on a day-to-day basis. We are to put off all of these because (vv. 10, 11) we "have put on the new self/man." That is the foundation. Verses 10, 11 go back to the positional reality that because we put off the old man at salvation and put on a new identity at salvation we are now on a moment-by-moment, day-to-day basis to live in that reality. So Paul goes back to this whole doctrine, the whole idea of the baptism by the Holy Spirit as the foundation for understanding the Christian life.

Galatians 3:27 explains this where Paul says, NASB "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." This verse uses this language both of baptism into Christ or identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and connects to the idea of having put on Christ. This happens at the moment of salvation. It is not experiential, not something that is indicated by some special feeling, by speaking in tongues, or some of the other things that have been suggested down through the ages; it is a positional, legal reality, not an experiential reality. As a result [28] "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Colossians 3:11 NASB "{a renewal} in which there is no {distinction between} Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all." We see the similarity in the language between Colossians 3:11 and Galatians 3:28. That tells us that Colossians 3:11 is talking about this new identity we have in Christ whereas in the Old Testament under the Mosaic Law access to God and spiritual closeness to God was impacted by racial distinctions. Because God had a special relationship with Israel in the Old Testament and that covenant under the Mosaic Law meant that God was working exclusively through Israel you could not have intimate access with God unless you entered into the temple, into the inner chambers, unless you were Jewish, free or male. These are no distinctives in the church age; we all have equal access to God by virtue of our position in Christ. So we have all put on Christ at the instant of salvation.

By baptism by means of the Holy Spirit we have put on Christ and we have this new quality of life in Christ. That is who we are; that is the identity on our identity card. But so often we fail to live up to that identity. Our day to day experience should be described as being filled by means of the Spirit, or walking by the Spirit. In Colossians the terminology is putting off the old man and putting on the new. It uses the same kind of language it uses for the positional reality but it uses it in a different sense. Because we have put off the old man we are to put off certain behaviours, and because we have put on the new man we are to put on certain behaviours. However we often fail and we are no longer walking in the light, as the apostle John describes it, and so we are out of fellowship. We are walking like we walked before we were saved, walking in darkness; and the Bible describes that as being carnal, being under the power of the sin nature, walking according to the sin nature. And the only way to recover is to confess our sins. Then when we confess our sins—which simply means to admit or acknowledge them to God—we are restored to fellowship. We are back in the light. That is fulfilling the ongoing command to put on Christ.

In Romans 8:12, 13 Paul says, NASB "So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh [not to the sin nature]—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die…" But remember he is talking to believers, those who are already saved. He is not talking about eternal condemnation or physical death, he is talking about the living dead: alive in Christ but walking like a spiritually dead person. "… but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live."

The lust pattern of the sin nature speaks of the key motivation that is at the core of every one of our natures. We are motivated by lust, by desire, by different kinds of lust. It may be sexual lust, monetary lust, materialism lust, lust for power, lust for approval; there are many different kinds of lusts. Those lusts are going to move us in one of two directions and we all have trends in either of these directions, even though we may major in one or the other. Some have a major trend towards asceticism and legalism. These are basically extremely moral and upright by character. Don't confuse that by being the fruit of the Spirit. There are a lot of unbelievers who are very moral who are very good in an overt sense. Then there are others who have a trend towards licentiousness, lasciviousness and antinomianism. They just don't care too much about the various mandates of God in one sense because we are all saved by grace and so they have a tendency to perhaps overlook the commands of Scripture because they know that they can always confess their sins and God will forgive.

If the trend is toward asceticism and legalism is carried out it leads to moral degeneracy. This is what happened in Israel during the first century AD. There was the dominance of the Pharisees who were extremely moral but it led eventually to a lot of division and bickering, and the entire culture just fragmented between the zealots and the Pharisees and a number of other parties. Eventually the whole society imploded upon itself and they were unable to produce a solid front against the Roman empire, which is why Rome was able to defeat them in the war of rebellion between 66-70 AD. The trend toward licentiousness and lasciviousness is the idea of taking a licence with sin—I can do whatever I want to do because God's grace will cover it. This leads to an immoral kind of degeneracy. This is a picture of the sin nature and it gives the basic ideas.   

In Colossians 3:5 Paul gives a basic command: we are to put to death our members. He uses this physical sense of the body because that is what gives expression to the sin nature. In James chapter three James uses the term "earthly-minded" as a synonym for worldly-minded. What Paul means here, "Therefore consider the members of your earthly [earthly oriented] body as dead." Earthly-oriented: oriented to those who are living a time-bound existence related to only that which is happening here and now and not with reference to eternity. Paul uses the word nekroo [nekrow], which was used at that time even by medical people to refer to flesh or to parts of the body that had been rendered useless. So the idea here is ti kill off, to assassinate, to destroy, that which is oriented to earthly pleasure, that which is a distraction to our spiritual life. Notice there is no mention in Colossians of the role of the Holy Spirit. This is seen in places like Romans 8:11 NASB "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Again, this is not talking about eternal life or regeneration. If we follow Paul's reasoning in Romans we see that he talks about how to have life or justification back in Romans 3 & 4. Then beginning in Romans 5 he begins to talk about a transition to: now that we are justified how do we live as a justified believer? The newness of life that he talks about in Romans 6:4 he comes back to in this section of Romans chapter eight—that it is through His Spirit. It is through the walk by the Spirit that we realise that fullness of life that Christ promised us.

So Colossians 3:5 says we are to put to death those areas of our life that give power to the sin nature, walking by the flesh. Then he lists a series of sins. Most of these sins that are listed in Colossians chapter three are sins that are related to some sort of sexual licentiousness. This must have been a major problem in Colosse because he is focusing on this. "…to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry."             

The first word, usually translated in English as fornication ["immorality" in the NASB], is the Greek word porneia [porneia] from which we get our word "pornography" and refers to any unauthorised sexual conduct, i.e. sexual conduct outside of marriage. In Scripture sex is to be restricted to the marriage between one man and one woman. Another word Paul often uses in conjunction with porneia is the word for "uncleanness," akatharsia [a)kaqarsia], a word usually referring to any form of sin that separates a person from God. But Paul often links it with porneia, so it takes on a certain sexual overtone here in terms of immoral or illicit sexual activity. The third word mentioned is "passion," the Greek word pathos [paqoj], and it has to do with unrestrained or no self-discipline in terms of emotion, especially in relation to sexual lust. The fourth term he uses, "evil desire," epithumia [e)piqumia], a general term for lust. It is used in the Scripture to refer to the desires of sin in Romans 6:12, the desires of the flesh in Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:16, 24; Ephesians 2:3. That is, the lust of the sin nature. He uses the phrase "deceitful lusts" in Ephesians 4:22. In 2 Timothy 2:22 he speaks of youthful lusts. In Titus 2:12 he speaks of worldly desires or lusts. In Titus 3:3 he speaks of being slaves to lusts. So this is primarily a negative word that the apostle Paul uses. The last word he uses is the word pleonexia [pleonecia], translated "covetousness." Usually this is thought of as greed in terms of financial or monetary greed, but it was also used to refer to any kind of insatiable desire from anything from consuming ambition to insatiable avarice. It is the idea that you are putting anything in front of God as the source of meaning for your life. It is when you are in hot pursuit of anything where you think you will find happiness for you then that is covetousness and putting something in front of God. It is saying, If I only had that I could have happiness, and only God can be the source of our happiness. 

Then Paul warns that we are to put to death these things because it is because of these things and because of living in these sins as dominant in our life that the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, Colossians 3:6. When we read this, even in the English, we can give this a future sense: the wrath of God is coming soon, eventually. In some cases the idea of the coming wrath is reference to God's judgment at the end of time at the Tribulation period which is known as the wrath of the Lamb and the wrath of God, but this word does not necessarily refer to an end-time judgment. In a number of passages, especially in Romans, it refers to the present time judgment of God in the life of a person—believer or unbeliever. The word "is coming" is a present middle indicative in the Greek, the present tense can be translated with a future sense but it can also be translated as a present, that it is coming now in a continuous sense. Or it can be translated as what the grammarians called a gnomic sense, i.e. something that is a general or universal principle, a timeless characteristic, and in that case it would be translated "the judgment of God comes." This indicates that this is a normal procedure throughout history. Colossians 3:6 NASB "For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience." Other passages support this present tense sense. Romans 1:18, "the wrath of God is revealed…" This is something that is currently going on. In Ephesians 5:6 we have a parallel with our passage in Colossians 3:6 where Paul says: "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." He is emphasising the sins of the tongue. Notice the translator of Ephesians, unlike in Colossians, took the same verb and translated it as a gnomic, the idea that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Who are the sons of disobedience? This is identified in Ephesians 2:2 where Paul is talking about the way we were before we were saved, the ways in which we once walked according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. In Hebrew idiom sons of disobedience is simply a way of talking about people who are disobedient. This is talking primarily about unbelievers, as those who are disobedient to the gospel, the command to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. So the warning is, don't live your life as if you are still a son of disobedience.

So what are we supposed to do? The solution that Paul gives is in Colossians 3:8 NASB "But now you [you yourselves] …" This is emphasising that it is our personal responsibility, our volition, to be engaged in applying the Word. We do this by the Holy Spirit. If we are not walking by the Spirit then we are going to be doing it according to the flesh and it is just a pseudo morality. We do it by means of the Holy Spirit but that doesn't mean the Holy Spirit overrides our volition and just makes us do it right. We still have to engage our volition and say, I'm not going to do what I'm not supposed to do.

So now we get another list of sins. We are to put off all of these things. "… also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, {and} abusive speech from your mouth." He uses the word apotithemi [a)potiqhmi], a word that not only Paul uses. James uses it and Peter uses it in the same sense in terms of removing sin from our life as we grow and mature as believers. We are to put off or take these things off. It is the imagery of someone removing clothes. There are two different groups of words here in this list. The first group is all based on a Greek verb duno [dunw], which means to set something in place or to dress. There were various forms of this word, depending on the prefix—ekduo [e)kduw (ek = off)], the idea of undressing; apekduomai [a)pekduomai], also has the idea of undressing or stripping; apekdusis [a)pekdusij] is a noun indicating laying aside something. But enduo [e)nduw] means to dress or clothe, and ependuomai [e)penduomai] is another verb for putting something on over something. apotithemi and apothesis are from the same word and mean to put off or to remove clothing. This is the clothing section of Colossians showing how we as believers are to be clothed with the designer clothes that God the Holy Spirit has established for us.

Colossians 2:11—we are to put off the body of sins; 2:15—Christ at the cross disarmed or disrobed the principalities and powers; 3:9—Don't lie to each other because you have put off, removed positionally the old man with his deeds; 3:10—because you have put on the new man. Acts 7:58 NASB "When they had driven him out of the city, they {began} stoning {him;} and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul." The witnesses against Stephen laid down their clothes, and that is a literal use of that word.       

This is used in a number of important passages related to the spiritual life. Almost every spiritual life passage in the New Testament uses this word apotithemi. Romans 13:12 NASB "…Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." He is talking to believers, so this isn't terminology for salvation; this is talking about we are now positionally, according to that new ID card, sons of light. But he says that now what we have to do is remove the works of darkness, i.e. the activities related to the sin nature, and put on the armour of light. Ephesians 4:22 NASB "that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit." The path thereof is just death, you won't experience the abundant life that God has for you. You have an eternal destiny in heaven but your life here on earth will be characterised by death and corruption. Ephesians 4:25 NASB "Therefore, [after] laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE {of you} WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another." You have to remove one thing before you put something else on.

There is an interesting grammatical structure that is used in three passages: Hebrews 12:1; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1. This is called a participle of antecedent circumstances. Antecedent means before. What the participle does is simply describe actions that must take place first before you can fulfil the main command. There are certain grammatical structures here. There is a participle followed by an imperative verb and there is the same thing in each of these passages. It is the idea that first of all you need to lay aside something and then you need to fulfil this command. This begins with confession of sin. Confession of sin doesn't move us down the road spiritually, it just reorients us back to walking in the light. It is the walking that moves us forward in terms of our spiritual life. Confession of sin just means that we are not going to continue to walk in darkness and live according to the sin nature. We are going to get back in fellowship but then we have to walk in the other direction. A lot of people never walk forward in terms of spiritual growth.

Hebrews 12:1 NASB "…lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us…" That is the removal so that we can then run the race. James 1:21 NASB "Therefore, putting aside [remove] all filthiness and {all} that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls." This looks at sin in our life as something that is just excess baggage and we need to remove it. It doesn't contribute anything to our new life in Christ and we need to just strip it off and get rid of it. This is a necessary precedent to "receive with humility the implanted word." So it is confession of sin so that we can receive the Word, but it also implies an ongoing removal. 1 Pet 2:1 NASB "Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander." Then the next verse says, "… long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation." So first of all we have to confess our sins to lay the sin aside before we can receive the word implanted (James 1:21) or desire the sincere milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2).

The focal point is that there has to be the reception of the Word for there to be forward momentum in terms of growth. In the list in Colossians 3:8—"anger, wrath, malice, slander, {and} abusive speech from your mouth." Anger is self-explanatory. This has to do with a mental attitude of resentment, anger, hostility, that doesn't rise to the level of the second noun, "wrath," which is more explosive. Ephesians 4:31 links them both NASB "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." Several of the words used in Colossians 3:8 are used also in Ephesians 4:31. James 1:19 NASB "…But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak {and} slow to anger, [20] for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." This is the word orge [o)rgh]. The second word thumos [qumoj] has to do with a much more explosive anger. Again, this is part of the sin nature, Galatians 5:20, and we are to set this aside, Ephesians 4:31.

Malice is doing something with evil intent for the purpose of destroying someone, usually related to sins of the tongue. This is to be removed also, Ephesians 4:31; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1. Blasphemy is a sin of the tongue and it is translated as "evil speaking (Eph. 4:31)." It is essentially reviling (1 Tim. 6:4) either people or God. The last word which is translated in some versions as "filthy language," a rather vague concept, is only used once in the New Testament. It seems to be explanatory or appositional to blasphemy, disrespectful, intended to harm, intended to offend someone. So it is not just what it appears in some English translations.

In Colossians 3:9-11 we tie this together. NASB "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside [put off] the old self with its {evil} practices." That is positional. We are not that person anymore, we are not to lie to one another because of our new identity in Christ. Both the phrase, "have put off" and in verse 10 "have put on" are causal participles which means they should be translated: "Do not lie to one another because you put off the old man and because you have put on the new man." But the new man is being renewed in knowledge.

The emphasis we get in Colossians isn't as much on the Holy Spirit as it is the sufficiency of Christ and knowledge. Here we have the emphasis that we are to be renewed in knowledge, and then when we get down to Colossians 3:16 the emphasis is on "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you." In the parallel passage in Ephesians 5:16 the emphasis is on being filled by the Spirit, but here the emphasis is on letting the Word of Christ dwell within you. The problem with the Colossians was that they were ignorant biblically; they were ignorant doctrinally; they were looking somewhere else for the solution to their problems.

We have parallels in Ephesians 4:23 that we are to be "be renewed in the spirit of your mind, [24] and put on the new self, which in {the likeness of} God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." Adam was originally created in Genesis 1:26, 27 according to the image and likeness of God. But that image of God is defaced by sin. When we are saved there is a new image created in us that is being renewed according to the image of Christ, i.e. the image of Christ is being formed in us through God the Holy Spirit. That is seen by the fruit of the Spirit. This is done by renewing our mind with the Word. Romans 12:2 NASB "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." 2 Corinthians 4:16 NASB "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." But it is only renewed day by day if we are taking in the Word. It is supposed to be day by day, not week by week or month by month—studying the Word, letting God the Holy Spirit transform us on a day to day basis.

So what Paul is focusing on here is: a) We have a new identity; b) we still live like we have the old identity and we need to, under the power of God the Holy Spirit and the study of God's Word, start living on the basis of that new identity in Christ. That means we have to understand all that is involved, how the dynamic works with God the Holy Spirit, and what that is supposed to look like. The only we learn that is through studying the Word. We learn who Jesus Christ is and what He did for us and we live on rhe basis of that sufficiency in Christ, then and only then are we going to see the kind of abundant, rich, full, happy life that the Lord Jesus Christ promised us on this earth—not just eternal life in heaven but qualitative life here on earth.