Today's Reading: Ephesians 4:22-28
Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
The Christian life of repentance is a life of putting off and putting on. Putting off the old sinful nature, drowning it in the water of Baptism through daily contrition. God has declared us dead to sin. In Baptism, He buried us into the death of Christ. We are officially, forensically dead by the very Word of God that declares us to be dead. When God says it, it is so.
Our “former way of life” is the way of the old Adam, our sinful flesh. Even if we were baptized as tiny babies and have always known and believed Jesus Christ, we still have a past, a former way of life. That is the way of disobedient Adam and Eve and all of humanity who came before us, including our own fathers and mothers. We were conceived and born into this mess, and we carry with us the baggage of this former way of life - the lusts, the lies, our sin-filled thoughts, words, and deeds.
But baptized into Christ, we now have a new identity and a new set of clothing. In Christ, you now have a new nature, a “new you,” created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. God has done an extreme makeover on you, declaring you dead to sin, but alive to Himself in His Son Jesus, rebirthing and renewing you.
Who wants to wear smelly, dirty, filthy rags when you can have a new set of fresh, clean, designer clothing? You’d be a stubborn fool to turn down something like that! Put off those filthy rags or your own righteousness, and put on the clothing Christ gives - His true righteousness and holiness. There! You look simply marvelous!
So use it well! You are made new -
In Christ a new creation!
As faithful Christians, live and do
Within your own vocation,
Until that day when you possess
His glorious robe of righteousness
Bestowed on you forever!
(Lutheran Service Book #596:6)