Sicut Christus – The Conduct of the New Man

Sicut Christus = Christlike in Latin

SEE’koot ˈkrɪs.tʏs


We have talked about the character of the old man and putting on the new man so far. In Ephesians 4:25-32, Paul speaks about the conduct of the new man. He says, “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Paraphrased, Paul is saying: don’t lie, forgive and do not let your anger fester, don’t steal, build up others with your speech and don’t tear down with corrupting talk.

Last week, I talked about George Costanza doing the opposite of everything he had ever done and getting better results ( Putting on the new man feels counterintuitive, because the old man, that old sin nature, comes naturally to us. That is why we must clothe ourselves in Christ daily. When we take off those old prison clothes and dress like a free man, we begin to act as if we were free and our attitude and conduct soon follow.

Paul tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Charles Spurgeon said this regarding grieving the Spirit, “I think I now see the Spirit of God grieving, when you are sitting down to read a novel and there is your Bible unread…You have not time for prayer, but the Spirit sees you very active about worldly things, and having many hours to spare for relaxation and amusement. And then he is grieved because he sees that your love worldly things better than you love him.” He goes on to say, “The Holy Spirit’s grief is not of a petty, oversensitive nature. He is grieved with us mainly for our own sakes, for he knows what misery sin will cost us, he reads our sorrows in our sins. He grieves over us because he sees how much chastisement we incur, and how much communion we lose.”

Pretty rough, isn’t it? That quote will hurt your feelings. At the heart of it, clothing ourselves in Christ is not just about appearances, it is about relationship. If you never talked to your wife or spent time with her, how would that work out? In the same way, when we do not talk to God through prayer or spend time with Him through His word, it grieves Him. He wants a relationship with us.

I want to make another point about the conduct of the new man. In seminary, we had a lecture called Assurance, Evidence, and Security of Salvation. A summary of the lecture was this: You can know you are saved and have assurance, you can have a reasonable assumption someone else is saved by their fruit which is evidence of their salvation, and have security through the work of Jesus on the cross.

So the question is this….As you clothe yourself in Christ, can other people see it? Would people make a reasonable assumption you are saved by your clothing?

Just for today, meditate on these questions.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Six……

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