You [all] must lay aside from you all that pertains to your former conduct from the old man corrupted according to the covetousness of its [self-]deceit and [instead] be [completely] refreshed in the Spirit in your outlook and instead clothe yourself entirely with the new man, according to what God’s fashioning has created with right-standing and genuine holiness. In which case you will put off and shove away from you the lie, with each person speaking truth to his neighbour, because we are indeed members one of another. - Ephesians 4:22-25/transliteration by Bruce C Wearne

New clothes

Those who follow Christ are called to put aside their old selves and clothe themselves "entirely with the new man". PICTURE: Kai Pilger/Unsplash

What has been effected by Christ Jesus is so momentous, so thoroughly all embracing with its renewing power; that one will simply have no option but to leave behind what has been taken-for-granted in one’s former way of life – deeply flawed as it is by a presumptuous outlook, conversation and conduct by which one had attempted to live.

Instead, Paul tells his readers they must take on the "New Person", the one God has fashioned by raising Jesus from the grave. This is all about what God has created – a new outlook, conversation and conduct as a way of life with right-standing and integrity through our intimate association with God’s Son. The lie is simply that one has no need of this right-standing and integrity, or that one can have it apart from God’s redemptive work.

The commandment decreed, “You shall not bear false witness!”. Paul is saying that without one’s outlook being “spiritually renewed and refreshed”, without being entirely clothed with God’s “New Man”, one is simply living “the lie”, remaining in the self-deceit of one’s former conduct. Without putting on this “New Man” completely, one is left condemned by the law because one’s life, in its entirety, is a denial of God’s promised gift of right standing and holy integrity.

The term “one” as I have used it above can, if we are not alert, deceive us. Actually the “you” in “you must” (verse 22) and “your outlook” (verse 23) and “we are” (verse 25) are all collective, all plural. Because God has acted in Christ as He promised, and because we are members one of another, the appeal is to the entire body of believers (ourselves centuries later included) to clothe ourselves in the New Man. It is precisely because each person has to become a living expression of right-standing and genuine holiness that Paul addresses his readers as a collective, as a body – we are members one of another.