Reflections: September 4, 2020
Friday of the 12th Week after Trinity
By Mark Buetow
. . . that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Old man. New Man. Bad you. Good you. God-hater. God-lover. Self-worshipper. Worshipper of the Lord. That's our battle. That's our struggle. Within us are two natures. One is the sinful flesh, corrupted by the lusts of sin and the lies of the devil, wrecked and ruined by the Fall and inherited by each of us since Adam and Eve. The other is the new man, the new creation, born in us from above by water and the Spirit, the renewed self who is made alive by Christ through the gifts of His forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Paul is not just giving us a holy pep talk here! This is the language of the life of Baptism! Each day our old man is drowned by our Baptism. Each day our new man loves God and others. Of course, the two are constantly battling it out.
This is why the catechism says to begin each day and end each day with the sign of the holy cross in remembrance of Baptism. In the morning we pray, "Lord, put to death this nasty person in me so that he doesn't cause trouble and wreck someone's life. Let my new self go forth and love and be good to others, always reflecting Your light and love."
At the end of the day we say, "Lord, forgive me all the mischief and sin this old creature in me has done today and let my new self fall asleep peacefully in the confidence of your love and forgiveness."
That's the pattern of our baptismal life, made possible by the blood of Jesus that He shed on Calvary, and the power of His resurrected triumph over death. Paul isn't just giving some directions on how to be a better person. He's telling you that this is who you are in Christ, made new and truly righteous and holy in Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
In Baptism we now put on Christ--Our shame is fully covered With all that He once sacrificed And freely for us suffered. For here the flood of His own blood Now makes us holy, right, and good Before our heav'nly Father. ("All Christians Who Have Been Baptized" LSB 596, st. 4)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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