“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; NASB
If someone were to ask you what you see when you look in the mirror, would you even think to say righteousness and holiness? Chances are your response would be something that had to do with your looks or personality. Whether you see something good or bad in those areas actually has nothing to do with who you are in God’s eyes. It doesn’t surprise God that you have doubts about yourself, about Him, or about anything else. He’s not mad at you for not praying enough, or not doing something good for your neighbor yesterday.
In Old Testament times, God gave the Israelites rituals that had to be performed for various reasons. If those things were not done, God would make His displeasure known, generally through His prophets. The people would then have the option of being obedient and doing the things they knew were right in God’s eyes, or they could ignore the warnings. Unfortunately, most times they chose either to ignore the messenger, or worse, kill or imprison him. Think about that for a minute. Rather than choosing to listen and obey the word of God, knowing it would bless them as a result, they did it their way. Sound familiar? It should. Every one of us has followed that path at different times in our lives with varying degrees of consequences. Still, we choose the way of rebellion when we think it will better serve our needs.
Jesus ushered in a new age, the age of grace. Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior makes you new (see 2 Cor. 5:17). Putting on that new self is an all-encompassing endeavor. It means laying aside your right to be right and obeying God’s Word. It means denying your worldly impulses and fleshly desires. Speaking truth, even when it hurts to do so, not using filthy language, or allowing anger to cause you to think poorly of someone need to become second nature. Being kind to others and forgiving anyone who has offended you, even those you feel don’t deserve your forgiveness, should become a lifetime goal. Bitterness and lingering anger should be a thing of the past.
Righteousness and holiness are what the Father has given us because we accept His Son, Jesus Christ. This is God’s doing, not ours. Stepping into that righteousness and holiness is something we should strive to do every day through the way we live our lives. But realize that you and I will never be righteous or holy by how perfectly we live our lives. We are sinners saved by God’s grace only, not by our actions. Embrace that you are righteous in His eyes because you have accepted His Son. It will free you from the fear that God might have something against you. He is not mad at you and will never leave you. Be confident of your calling to live eternity with Him. Put on your new self and let fear be a thing of the past.
Have a great week and God bless.