Today’s guest blogger is my friend and former ministry partner, Pastor Bruce Roeder.  Bruce Roeder is the associate pastor at Missio Dei Fellowship in Kenosha, WI. He oversees many key ministries at Missio related to discipleship and counseling. Bruce is a biblical counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC). Bruce has a ministry blog titled Church, State, Faith and Culture, and also writes a History blog titled: History Stuff that Interests Me and has another titled: Church, State, Faith and Culture

Ephesians 4:22-24 is the most common passage that
is used to describe the process of biblical change.
“…to put off your old self, which belongs
to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to
be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created
after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians
4:22-24 ESV)
Paul follows the passage with some practical
examples of what the change looks like:
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each
one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of
another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and
give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let
him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something
to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may
give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom
you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and
anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be
kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ
forgave you.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved
children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a
fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or
covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let
there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of
place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 4:25-5:4 ESV)
Col. 3:-4:1 follows the same pattern as to what
the change looks like.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek
the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For
you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is
your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:
sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is
idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once
walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away:
anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to
one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and
have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image
of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and
beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving
each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above
all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And
let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in
one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching
and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do,
in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to
God the Father through him.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in
the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children,
obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not
provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in
everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as
people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you
do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord
you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord
Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and
there is no partiality.
Masters, treat your bondservants justly and
fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 3-4:1 ESV)
Taken together the passages expound on what is
meant by Eph. 4:24….and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of
God in true righteousness and holiness.
In other words, as one man put it, change isn’t
change until it’s change.
To be recreated in the likeness of God in true
righteousness and holiness means to actively put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s not enough to stop lying, or to remain
bitter, or stop stealing, or stop looking at porn and all the other sins the
Scripture lists.  Genuine, repentant
change occurs when sinful habits of the hearts are replaced with
Christ-honoring habits that speak the truth in love, practice forgiveness, give
instead of steal and reserve sex for the marriage bed just to name a few
examples from the passages.
The change is therefore an active process that is
obeying Christ in order to become like Him. James 1:22-25 describes the active
process like  this:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he
is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks
at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who
looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer
who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James
1:22-25 ESV)
The process of change is perhaps summed up best
with this line from Jim Berg’s Changed Into His Image:
The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and
changes us to become like the Son of God.

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