Pondering Ephesians 4:20-24
This Week’s Passage: 20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
The gospel is good news.
But I’m afraid that that one of the reasons that the church of the 21st century is in many ways shallow and anemic is because we neglected to share the bad news – or at least we have down played it so that the cross has become not much more than an iconic religious symbol rather than the means of our salvation.
Whatever happened to genuine repentance and to weeping over sin? Whatever happened to an awe inspiring understanding of the holiness of God? Our evangelism has focused so much on “God loves you” that we forget that “God hates sin.” And even when we do talk about God hating sin we dilute the whole notion by saying “God hates the sin but he loves the sinner.” This is not altogether true. God hates sinners!
- Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity,”
- Psalm 11:5, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”
- Lev. 20:23, “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.”
- Prov. 6:16-19, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”
- Hosea 9:15, “All their evil is at Gilgal; indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.”
God hates sinners enough to pour His wrath out upon them and to condemn them to hell. But the paradox is that yes God does indeed love sinners. Jared Moore put it this way:
“If you only tell people, “God hates sin, but loves sinners” or “God is not mad at you. He is mad about you” then you necessarily diminish the gospel and the awfulness of the cross of Christ. And thus, you indirectly diminish the wonder, grace, and love proven through the cross. Through the cross God saved people that He formerly hated; through the cross God hated His Son so that He could love sinners. God looked at Christ with all His hatred toward sin and sinners, so that He could look on sinners with all His love for His Son. The cross: what a horribly wonderful salvation!”
Is this what you were taught? When you understand this then repentance not only makes sense but becomes necessary. And then we can rightly understand Paul when he says, “to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Think on these things lest you believe a cheap gospel!
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 4:25-28