“…and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Eph. 4:24)
This is a two-part operation. We, humans, have a part and God has a part. No question but that God has taken care of his part. So the real question is related to our part.
God’s part was creative. Only God can create. We can’t make things new, and we can save our selves and so forth. God is the creator, and he is the recreator. Notice that Paul explains the new creation as being done in righteousness and holiness of truth. Here again, we know that man cannot achieve righteousness on his own. Only God is righteous and only God can make something or someone righteous. Nor can we make ourselves holy. That too is a God thing. We certainly can’t do holiness in truth. We don’t have truth either. Truth is a God thing. Man is a liar. The truth is not in man and never has been.
So there is the possibility of a new man, a new self. There is the possibility of a recreated person made more like God. God has made that recreation possible through Jesus Christ, his son. Right away we know that there is an old self because that is the only way to get a new self. The old self is the man of sin whereas the new self is the man of righteousness. To be the new self is to be in Christ. Notice, “If any man is in Christ he is a new creature.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Now here’s the big question, how does one put on the new self? How does one acquire the new man, the new creature status? There are lots of ways to answer this question. For instance, we might say, it happens at the new birth, and we would be right. Or, we could say, it happens when one becomes a child of God, and we would be right. I would like to answer it a different way. I would like the Bible to answer the question.
In our text Paul suggest that the Ephesians should put on the new self. That really is the idea of putting on clothes. We are clothed, in a sense, in the new self. So where does the Bible tell us how to do that putting on. The answer, of course, is in Gal 3:26-29, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” NASBU
The King James Version has it put rather than clothed, but we understand they are the same idea. We put on the new self when we put on Christ. We put on Christ when we are baptized. Baptism is the new birth and baptism is the point at which we become children of God.
Task for today: Make sure you are wearing the new self. God has provided newest of life in his son, we have to put it on. Have you put on Christ? Wear the clothes of righteousness and holiness of truth as you walk about today.