Reflections: October 20, 2020
Tuesday of the 19th 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. Okay, the Old Man has got to go. Your Old man's conduct and behavior are terrible. Your ignoring God's Word, treating His Name like a cuss word, dishonoring your parents, killing others with your words and thoughts, your lust and desires for what isn't holy marriage, your taking what doesn't belong to you, your trash-talking others, your discontent with all that God has given you: It all. Must. Go.
Then the New Man will get busy! The New Man lives in true righteousness and holiness. The New Man has not even a speck of sin in him and wants to do nothing but glorify God and serve others. The New Man wants to live joyfully as a member of the Body of Christ and happily carries out his vocations and callings, whatever they may be.
So how do you get from one to the other? The truth is, as long as you're in this life, you are both. And so this work of putting off the Old Man and putting on the New Man is not for you to do in an epic display of self-discipline and willpower. It's the Spirit's work to do in you by delivering to you exactly what you need.
To the Old Man, the Spirit delivers the death-dealing, crucifying, killing Law to crush the Old Adam, to drown and put him to death. And to the New Man He delivers the Good News of forgiveness for the sake of Jesus, who was crucified and risen for you. To the New Man is given the promises over and over of Baptism, Absolution, and Jesus' Body and Blood. It is by this daily putting down of the Old Man and the daily renewing of the promises to the New Man that the Holy Spirit is actually working in you to put off that old conduct and live in righteousness and holiness.
In Jesus, you can't be anything other than a dead Old Man and an active and alive New Man. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Fruitful trees, the Spirit's sowing, May we ripen and increase, Fruit to life eternal growing, Rich in love and joy and peace. ("Fruitful Trees, the Spirit's Sowing" LSB 691, st.1)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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