#DailyDevotion We Are Given Salvation Unmerited But We Have Been Called To Live Holy
Eph. 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
You have been saved by grace through faith in Christ, freely, without works or any merit of your own. Your salvation is completely God’s work. But you haven’t been saved to continue your past life outside of God. Paul gives some understanding of that past life. It was one of futility of mind. Our minds were darkened in understanding. We were ignorant of God’s will for us due to the hardness of our hearts. That is we did what we wanted to do no matter what, even against conscience till even our conscience couldn’t recognize the wrong we did.
In our lives outside of the life of God, we were callous to our spiritual calling. We gave, gave ourselves to sensuality and were greedy to practice every kind of impurity. Those who have suffered the torments of addiction probably realize this the most. They start with a number of decisions we know aren’t good but make us happy, fulfilled in some sense, make us feel normal even, and then they take over. Christians can find themselves even being deceived and starting out on a path that isn’t ultimately good for us because we justify some behavior as fulfilling our happiness or some other perceived need. We may ignore the Spirit’s prompting and do the behavior anyway and then we find ourselves trapped in it. It becomes our idol and we harden ourselves against the will of God.
But you haven’t been saved to practice immorality—sexual, greed, drunkenness, anger, selfishness, gluttony, hate, unforgiving, unmerciful and the like. This is not what we learned in Christ. Christ forgives us but also tells us to sin no more. He calls us to put off the old self which corrupt through deceitful desires. If you have been a Christian your whole life but have adopted the patterns of selfishness and self-centeredness, if your happiness is what matters most, if you have picked up resentments, hardened yourself to those who need mercy, you may need to go to confession and drop those unchristian ways at the altar and receive Christ again or hear the words of his unselfish, you centered words of mercy from the pastor’s lips.
We continually need to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. We never reach perfection in this life but we are called to reach for it. We daily need to put on Christ who is our new self. We put on his mercy, kindness, love and forgiveness that we may be Christ to those we encounter today. We are created now after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. This likeness to God starts with faith in his love to us in Christ and then extends that love to others. It starts with forgiving others as God in Christ forgave us. It continues with love and mercy to our enemies because that is what God has shown us and given to us.
Gracious and Merciful God, grant us faith to turn from the ways of the world and to clothe ourselves with the life of Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.