In today’s sermon text (Eph 4:17-24), we’re told to put off our old self, which is corrupt, deceitful, futile, dark in its understanding, alienated from the life of God, hard-hearted, callous, sensual, and greedy to practice every kind of impurity, & put on the new self, which is renewed in the spirit of our minds, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness & holiness.
And even though we only see 2 persons in view here, I would argue that the church contains 4 such types of persons:
(1) There are old self people living old self lives. They live their own life in their own power and their quite content to remain in their sin.
(2) There are old self people trying to live new self lives. They live life in their own power, apart from the Holy Spirit.
(3) There are new self people living old self lives. They believe they’ve had some point of conversion, they’ve had some noticeable fruit, but they continue to rely on themselves and ignore the Holy Spirit’s demands on their lives. They have in some effect hardened their hearts.
(4) There are new self people living new self lives.
And all but the last one lives in their own power. They have in some form or fashion alienated themselves from the life of God. They’re understanding has been darkened. And what I hope you will consider is what category you fall into. Are you an unbeliever—an old self person whose either trying or not trying to do what the Bible calls you to? Are you a new self person who refuses to let God, through the Holy Spirit work on you, who constantly thinks that the pastor is talking about someone else when he’s preaching, or who is just generally ambivalent about the things of God? Or are you a new self person who lives out your claim?
And the point is: you are to put off the old self—alienated from God—and put on the new self—made in the likeness of God. How can you do that? Look at Ephesians 4:25-32 and see how you measure up.