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What does it mean when Paul says to put off the old self and put on the new self?


Ephesians 4:22 - 24

NLT - 22 Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 12 2017 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The fundamental nature of humans was corrupted when they first made the free-will decision to sin by disobeying God's commands (Genesis 3). This meant that humans became naturally predisposed to sin, and incapable of achieving the perfect holiness required to remain in God's sinless presence.

Every human since then (except Jesus, who was both truly human and truly God) has been born with this corrupted nature (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12). This is the "old self" that Paul says must be put off by Christians. 

Christians do this by faith in the salvation gained by Jesus through His sinless life, substitutionary death, and subsequent resurrection, rather than in their own imperfect works or goodness.

This faith then allows Christians to have Christ's perfect righteousness imputed to them by God, and to be filled with God the Holy Spirit, who alone (as Paul says) is capable of renewing their thoughts and attitudes, so that they now have within them a "new self" that can perform good works that are acceptable to God.

Unfortunately (as Paul also noted), the "old self" remains with Christians in this life, even after they have received Christ. (Paul described his continuing struggle with the "old self" in Romans 7:15-25.) Therefore, Christians must endeavor every day to "put off" this "old self"; to be guided by the Holy Spirit in their daily words and actions; and to acknowledge and seek God's forgiveness in Jesus' name for those occasions when they yield to the lustful and deceitful promptings of the "old self" by sinning.

July 12 2017 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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