Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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The New Life in Christ – Putting Off the Old and Putting on the New

March 14th, 2010 · No Comments

In this study Dr. Hartmann begins with a re-statement of the truth that believers have been justified by faith, on the basis of Christ’s death as the Sin-bearer, in which He substitutionally bore all the punishment, guilt, and shame of our iniquities. Our teacher stresses once again that this foundation gives us confidence that if God is for us, nothing can be against us, since God Himself is the One Who justifies.

Moving on from this Dr. Hartmann begins to discuss the notion of sanctification, based on the truth that Christ’s death was not just a death for sins, but a death to the power of sin (Rom 6:10). Christ in both death and resurrection acted as the collective representative of those He had come to redeem, so that His death to sin is their death to sin, and His resurrection into New Life their resurrection into New Life. This union with Christ in both death and resurrection thus becomes the foundation for the life of sanctification to which those who are “in Christ” have been called.

Paul in Ephesians 4:17-5:2 lays out his vision for sanctification in what might be called “an Old Man-New Man theology”. Those who are in Christ must not be as the unredeemed, who, “in the futility of their mind” pursue sensuality as that which brings meaning to their existence, which in turn results in blindness and hardness of heart that is “past feeling”, and, in the end, the endless pursuit of more and more impurity “with greediness”. Those who are in Christ must turn from this and be renewed in the spirit of their mind, to know who they are in Christ and what kind of life they are to live in accordance with what pleases God.

The basic paradigm is laid out in Ephesians 4:22-24. Those who are in Christ must “put away” or “lay aside” the former manner of life that was lived in accordance with the “lusts of deceit” that characterized the old man who was crucified together with Christ (v 22). They are to be “renewed in the spirit of their mind” (v 23), and “put on” the New Man that has been created in the image of God, in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (v 24).

Building on this basic paradigm of “laying aside” the old, and “putting on” the new, Paul in Ephesians 4:25-5:2 makes this paradigm very concrete in terms of its application to daily living. Those who are in Christ are to:

1) Lay aside lying and deceitfulness and put on truth-telling as a way of life, recognizing that they are “members of one another” (4:25)

2) Be done with anger that becomes sin. They must bring all anger under the control of the Spirit and not let the sun go down on their anger, which gives Satan opportunity to wreak havoc on their relationships (4:26-27).

3) Be done with stealing (if that in any way characterized the way they once lived) and become diligent in work, in which God will bless the labor of their hands. The motive for production and gain is never to be selfish but with a view to giving to those who are in need (4:28).

4) The tongue must be reined in and become an instrument of the new man (4:29). This is absolutely critical to walking in the grace and goodness of God. The standard is quite clear: no unwholesome words are to come out of our mouths. Our words, rather, are to be filled with grace, to bring edification and grace to the hearers.

Building on Paul’s instruction to bridle the tongue, Dr. Hartmann closes with a look at Psalm 34:8-14, which begins with an invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (34:8). God promises favor and blessing to those who take refuge in Him and fear Him. The psalmist teaches us “the fear of the Lord” in verses 11-14, and follows with the promise that those who practice righteousness (in the way he has outlined it in verses 11-14) will live in the blessing of answered prayer (34:15-19). The path which is here called “the fear of the Lord” begins with a simple exhortation to keep one’s tongue from evil and deceit, which makes a nice connection back to Paul’s instruction in Ephesians 4:29. Those who bridle the tongue actually can control their whole body (James 3: 1-12).

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