The New Year is here. And whether you made a New Year’s resolution or you think they are a waste of time, you should seriously consider Paul’s instruction in Ephesians: “that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
For the unsaved, to obey Paul’s message in Ephesians 4 means to come to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died on the cross, rose on the third day, and “who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Peter 3:22). None of us are perfect. We are all sinners, corrupt in our nature and deceived by lust, as Paul speaks of in Ephesians. We all need Jesus Christ’s blood atonement to be applied to us in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. So the “New Year, New Me” should put away that old man, with its corruption and deception, by seeking “first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33a) instead of the false righteousness of our sinful nature. This new year, God desires to see the sinner come to Christ in faith so the old man can be replaced by the righteousness of Christ.
And what is the Christian to do with Paul’s command in Ephesians? Believers, those who have their roots in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are “risen with Christ,” should “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). The Bible tells us plainly, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Genuine yet backslidden Christian who have returned to these sins should heed this warning to the unsaved and immediately put off these corrupt and deceitful remnants of the old man. Believers who sin are still heaven bound, but their heavenly reward will not be as great as those who can say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
So sinner, “repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). And backslidden Christian, it’s also time to repent. It’s time to ask, along with David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” and to remember that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalms 51:10,17).
To both the unsaved and the saved, the Father awaits your repentance. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:17).
The above article was written by Jonathan Thornton. He is a member of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at email@example.com.
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