Christians often find themselves so busy in their daily affairs that they forget that all things are become new (II Cor. 5:17). Today – right NOW – and from now on all things in the believer’s life should originate from God. There is no room left for the old man and his corruption. That is a truth that we must embrace, and look to God for grace to realize it.
The types of things that were done by a Christian before he was saved are without profit. The admonition of the Spirit to the saints at Ephesus was to avoid the manner of life of other Gentiles (i.e., the unsaved) because it is vain or empty (v. 17). When we see how this vain mind drove the unregenerate even deeper into darkness, we can see how dangerous it is for a saint to return to that way of life. The ability to really think – exercise wisdom – is diminished, and an estrangement is developed between the believer and His God (v. 18). The result of dabbling in this vain manner of life is the giving of oneself to lasciviousness, and all sorts of self-serving defilement (v. 19).
We may be tempted to say this is for the lost, but not true Christians. That is vain thinking, for the Holy Spirit continues in verses 25-29 to encourage the saints to “put on the new man, …created in righteousness and true holiness,” and “put off…the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (vv. 24, 22). The old way of life is full of lying, and we would justify ourselves. Are we still justifying lies? Ill-will, anger, and grudge bearing are of the old man. Surely all of us have put off all these things. And how is our speech now that we are saved? The old man spewed forth corrupt communications; the new man will speak that which is good in order to build up the saints.
Every believer has been regenerated (v. 20-21). Perhaps we are in need of renewal (v. 23). As we look at verses 30-32 we are given a picture of how the old man working in us affects God the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. The way of life the old nature brings forth is grievous to the Spirit (v. 30a). But if there would be some who claim that the salvation of a carnal believer is in jeopardy, God declares that each Christian is secure – even until the day the old man is eradicated (v. 30b). Now, the exhortation is to be yielded, moment by moment, to the Spirit, resisting, through the power of God, the old man, and living in righteousness and holiness.