“…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lust of deceit.” (Eph. 4:22)
Paul is addressing faithful saints in Ephesus. These are people who were once darkened in their understanding and led in the path of sin. These are people who walked according to the world and in the world and with the world but who found the saving grace of Jesus their Lord and were repentant to the point of putting Jesus on in baptism.
That former way of life was corrupt and to continue in it would mean to continue in corruption. That former way of life was filled with lustful things which were contrary to the plan of God. As we shall see in a later verse that life was filled with lies. The deceit that was a result of lust blinded and deafened them to the truth. That old way of living was a living to self and a pursuit of personal satisfaction of the flesh. God had no place in such a life and because God had no place in it neither did God’s creation.
That former way of life had built up a wall of partition between the Ephesians and God. It was a wall of sin, and that wall was maintained by a spirit of closed ears and eyes and hearts so hard that God’s blessings could not penetrate it. God is a God of light and walks in the light. The former way of life was in darkness and had no light. They were without God and because of that without hope in the world and the world to come.
Only when they left the darkness of lies and sin and came into God’s glorious light could they see the path of salvation. Their sins and evil deeds had separated them from the God of light and his saving grace. Finding grace meant one thing. Change.
Now, the writer says, lay the old aside. Like a blanket or cloak toss that filthy garment aside. Do not be covered in that old body but use the new body you were given when you experienced the new birth. Old things should be gone, and all things should be new. Get rid of it. In your mind bury that old self in the watery grave of baptism and come out to walk in newness of life.
Lay aside the old, put on the new. Forget the past, walk into the future. Let go of the world grasp the hand of Jesus. Sins washed away, the body of sin destroyed, walk in the light and not the darkness.
John says “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light we have fellowship.” (1John 1:7) Can’t walk in darkness and have fellowship. Can’t wear the old way of life and have forgiveness. Cast it aside and leave it to corruption.
Task for today: Think about who you were, what happened to you, and who you are now. Is there any way you would want to go back and live the old life of sin. Anyway, who would want that corruption, that darkness, that pain, that suffering?