Put on the new man - Get a new nature; for in Christ Jesus - under the Christian dispensation, neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, hut a new creation. Therefore ye must be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Which after God is created in righteousness - Here is certainly an allusion to the creation of man. Moses tells us, Genesis 1:27, that God created man in his own image; that is, God was the model according to which he was formed in the spirit of his mind. St. Paul says here that they should put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, or, ὁσιοτητι της αληθειας, in the holiness of truth. Both certainly refer to the same thing, and the one illustrates the other. From the apostle we learn what Moses meant by the image of God; it was righteousness and the truth of holiness. See the note on Genesis 1:26. It is not this or the other degree of moral good which the soul is to receive by Jesus Christ, it is the whole image of God; it is to be formed κατα Θεον, according to God; the likeness of the Divine Being is to be traced upon his soul, and he is to bear that as fully as his first father Adam bore it in the beginning.
And that ye put on the new man - The new man refers to the renovated nature. This is called in other places, the “new creature, or the new creation” (see the notes on 2 Corinthians 5:17), and refers to the condition after the heart is changed. The change is so great, that there is no impropriety in speaking of one who has experienced it as “a new man.” He has new feelings, principles, and desires. He has laid aside his old principles and practices, and, in everything that pertains to moral character, he is new. His body is indeed the same; the intellectual structure of his mind the same; but there has been a change in his principles and feelings which malco him, in all the great purposes of life, a new being. Learn, that regeneration is not a trifling change. It is not a mere change of relations, or of the outward condition. It is not merely being brought from the world into the church, and being baptized, though by the most holy hands; it is much more. None of these things would make proper the declaration, “he is a new man.” Regeneration by the Spirit of God does.
After God - κατὰ Θεὸν kata TheonIn respect to God. The idea is, evidently, that man is so renewed as to become “like” God, or the divine image is restored to the soul. In the parallel passage in Colossians Colossians 3:9, the idea is expressed more fully, “renewed in knowledge after “the image” of him that created him.” Man, by regeneration, is restored to the lost image of God; compare Genesis 1:26. Is created - A word that is often used to denote the new birth, from its strong resemblance to the first act of creation; see it explained in the notes on 2 Corinthians 5:17. In righteousness - That is, the renewed man is made to resemble God in righteousness. This proves that man, when he was made, was righteous; or that righteousness constituted a part of the image of God in which lie was created. The object of the work of redemption is to restore to man the lost image of God, or to bring him back to the condition in which he was before he fell. And true holiness - Margin, as in Greek, “holinese of truth” - standing in contrast with “lusts of deceit” (Greek), in Ephesians 4:22. “Holiness” properly refers to purity toward God, and “righteousness” to integrity toward people; but it is not cerrain that this distinction is observed here. The general idea is, that the renovated man is made an upright and a pious man; and that, therefore, he should avoid the vices which are practiced by the pagan, and which the apostle proceeds to specify. This phrase also proves that, when man was created, he was a holy being.
Is created - A word that is often used to denote the new birth, from its strong resemblance to the first act of creation; see it explained in the notes on 2 Corinthians 5:17.
In righteousness - That is, the renewed man is made to resemble God in righteousness. This proves that man, when he was made, was righteous; or that righteousness constituted a part of the image of God in which lie was created. The object of the work of redemption is to restore to man the lost image of God, or to bring him back to the condition in which he was before he fell.
And true holiness - Margin, as in Greek, “holinese of truth” - standing in contrast with “lusts of deceit” (Greek), in Ephesians 4:22. “Holiness” properly refers to purity toward God, and “righteousness” to integrity toward people; but it is not cerrain that this distinction is observed here. The general idea is, that the renovated man is made an upright and a pious man; and that, therefore, he should avoid the vices which are practiced by the pagan, and which the apostle proceeds to specify. This phrase also proves that, when man was created, he was a holy being.
“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.” Once they were corrupt, degraded, enslaved by lustful passions; they were drugged by worldly opiates, blinded, bewildered, and betrayed by Satan's devices. Now that they had been taught the truth as it is in Jesus, there must be a decided change in their life and character. 5T 172.1
The accession of members who have not been renewed in heart and reformed in life is a source of weakness to the church. This fact is often ignored. Some ministers and churches are so desirous of securing an increase of numbers that they do not bear faithful testimony against unchristian habits and practices. Those who accept the truth are not taught that they cannot safely be worldlings in conduct while they are Christians in name. Heretofore they were Satan's subjects; henceforth they are to be subjects of Christ. The life must testify to the change of leaders. Public opinion favors a profession of Christianity. Little self-denial or self-sacrifice is required in order to put on a form of godliness and to have one's name enrolled upon the church book. Hence many join the church without first becoming united to Christ. In this Satan triumphs. Such converts are his most efficient agents. They serve as decoys to other souls. They are false lights, luring the unwary to perdition. It is in vain that men seek to make the Christian's path broad and pleasant for worldlings. God has not smoothed or widened the rugged, narrow way. If we would enter into life, we must follow the same path which Jesus and His disciples trod—the path of humility, self-denial, and sacrifice. 5T 172.2
Ministers should see that their own hearts are sanctified through the truth, and then labor to secure these results for their converts. It is pure religion that ministers and people need. Those who put away iniquity from their hearts and stretch out their hands in earnest supplication unto God will have that help which God alone can give them. A ransom has been paid for the souls of men, that they may have an opportunity to escape from the thralldom of sin and obtain pardon, purity, and heaven. 5T 172.3Read in context »
The rich should consecrate their all to God, and he who is sanctified through the truth in body, soul, and spirit, will also devote his property to God, and will become an agent whereby other souls will be reached. In his experience and example it will be made manifest that the grace of Christ has power to overcome covetousness and avarice, and the rich man who renders unto God His entrusted goods, will be accounted a faithful steward, and can present to others the fact that every dollar of their accumulated property is stamped with the image and superscription of God.—The Review and Herald, September 19, 1893. CS 28.1Read in context »
I have waited anxiously, hoping that God would put His Spirit upon some and use them as instruments of righteousness to awaken and set in order His church. I have almost despaired as I have seen, year after year, a greater departure from that simplicity which God has shown me should characterize the life of His followers. There has been less and less interest in, and devotion to, the cause of God. I ask: Wherein have those who profess confidence in the Testimonies sought to live according to the light given in them? Wherein have they regarded the warnings given? Wherein have they heeded the instructions they have received? 2T 484.1
I saw that great changes must be wrought in the hearts and lives of very many before God can work in them by His power for the salvation of others. They must be renewed after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness. Then the love of the world, the love of self, and every ambition of life calculated to exalt self will be changed by the grace of God and employed in the special work of saving souls for whom Christ died. Humility will take the place of pride, and haughty self-esteem will be exchanged for meekness. Every power of the heart will be controlled by disinterested love for all mankind. Satan, I saw, will arouse when they in earnest commence the work of reformation in themselves. He knows that these persons, if consecrated to God, could prove the strength of His promises and realize a power working with them that the adversary would not be able to gainsay or resist. They would realize the life of God in the soul. 2T 484.2Read in context »
Many falter and fall because of the indulgence of a perverse temper. Alexander and Caesar found it much easier to subdue a kingdom than to rule their own spirits. After conquering nations, the world's so-called great men fell, one of them through the indulgence of appetite, a victim of intemperance, the other through presumption and mad ambition. 4T 348.1
God calls upon you to yield pride and stubbornness, and to let His peace rule in your hearts. A meek and quiet spirit must be cherished. Carry Christ's meekness with you in all your labors. An excited temper and cutting censure will not impress the people or gain their sympathy. If we have the truth, we can afford to be calm and unexcited. Our language should be modest and elevated. The spirit you have cherished within has left its impression upon the countenance. Christ, enthroned in the soul-temple, will efface that fretful, peevish, unhappy look; and as the cloud of witnesses look upon a man reflecting the image of Christ, they will realize that he is surrounded by a pleasant atmosphere. The world will see that amid storms of abuse he stands unmoved, like the lofty cedar. That man is one of God's heroes. He has overcome himself. 4T 348.2
The largest share of the annoyances of life, its daily corroding cares, its heartaches, its irritation, is the result of a temper uncontrolled. The harmony of the domestic circle is often broken by a hasty word and abusive language. How much better were it left unsaid. One smile of pleasure, one peaceful, approving word spoken in the spirit of meekness, would be a power to soothe, to comfort, and to bless. The government of self is the best government in the world. By putting on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, ninety-nine out of a hundred of the troubles which so terribly embitter life might be saved. Many excuse their hasty words and passionate tempers by saying: “I am sensitive; I have a hasty temper.” This will never heal the wounds made by hasty, passionate words. Some, indeed, are naturally more passionate than others; but this spirit can never harmonize with the Spirit of God. The natural man must die, and the new man, Christ Jesus, take possession of the soul, so that the follower of Jesus may say in verity and truth: “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” 4T 348.3Read in context »
But man was not abandoned to the results of the evil he had chosen. In the sentence pronounced upon Satan was given an intimation of redemption. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” God said, “and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This sentence, spoken in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. Before they heard of the thorn and the thistle, of the toil and sorrow that must be their portion, or of the dust to which they must return, they listened to words that could not fail of giving them hope. All that had been lost by yielding to Satan could be regained through Christ. Ed 27.1
This intimation also nature repeats to us. Though marred by sin, it speaks not only of creation but of redemption. Though the earth bears testimony to the curse in the evident signs of decay, it is still rich and beautiful in the tokens of life-giving power. The trees cast off their leaves, only to be robed with fresher verdure; the flowers die, to spring forth in new beauty; and in every manifestation of creative power is held out the assurance that we may be created anew in “righteousness and holiness of truth.” Ephesians 4:24, margin. Thus the very objects and operations of nature that bring so vividly to mind our great loss become to us the messengers of hope. Ed 27.2
As far as evil extends, the voice of our Father is heard, bidding His children see in its results the nature of sin, warning them to forsake the evil, and inviting them to receive the good. Ed 27.3Read in context »