(the way you learned Christ is) 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 (Eph. 4:22-24).
Heaven has a dress code. Scripture makes clear that you cannot enter the wedding feast of the Lamb without the wedding garment. We don’t have what we need to wear by nature. We wear, by nature, shame, guilt, sin, unclean and polluted hearts and flesh. We wear, unlike Adam and Eve who were created in the image of God before their rebellion, Adam’s image and likeness – his death and deceitful desires and rebellion and lack of full/true knowledge of God. But you are clothed with Christ (27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27). You wear white robes of His holiness, washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7). You can and will stand in His presence and feast in celebration forever and ever because of this gift – dressed in Christ, the wedding garment.
This is quite practical. It calms your conscience today. It will grant peace to you in the hour of your death and in the Day of Judgment.
But the text today isn’t specifically talking about judgment and the new heavens and the new earth. You see, after death and in heaven and before God isn’t the only time and place and Person that has a dress code. Your today with its family, friends, work and interaction with others along with your tomorrows and its places, people and things has a dress code from God Himself as well.
Our Lord warns us against wearing the wrong attire. That’s not, after all, how you learned Christ.
Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (Eph. 4:22)
The deceit is real, though. It’s quite tempting to think that this clothing makes us look good or protects us from harm or danger. Our text will list three deceits. 1.) The deceit of falsehood, put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth his neighbor. 2.) The deceit of anger, be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity for the devil. 3.) The deceit of wanting or taking something that hasn’t been given to us perhaps because of laziness or lack of contentment in our lot of life or confusion about why it is that God has given us something, 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.
We too often dress ourselves in anger, thinking this clothing makes us looks powerful and protects us from harm. Anger, including long-term grudges, gives opportunity for the devil to work on your heart and mouth. Connecting truth, which is good, with anger, is a dangerous and harmful combination. Speak the truth in love, Scripture admonishes. We too often also dress ourselves in our lies, thinking we can hide who we truly are and make ourselves look much better than reality. Our lies become even more dangerous when we believe them ourselves. We are prone to believe lies from politicians and preachers when they tell us what we want to hear about the world and about ourselves. Finally, we prone to laziness and lack of contentment. Sharing can be quite scary because it could mean that we stop looking out for ourselves first in trust that God is looking out for us.
Take that off, dear saints. Jesus says it doesn’t look good on us. Like mold on clothing, our sin infected old self infects others, hurts others. Our Lord in telling us things like put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:10-11) reminds us that His protection will be the only protection against the attacks of the Evil One both in holy living and holy faith in protecting our conscience against guilt and despair.
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 (Eph. 4:23-24).
Today, and everyday we receive His Word and the gift of Baptism, every time we wake up or go to bed and pray or every time we cross ourselves and call upon Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit renews our minds. We learn Christ again (Eph. 3:20). We grow in the knowledge in the Son of God (Eph. 4:13). We get connected to the life source, renewed. Knowledge of God, His true love, the goodness of His commands and promises, His grace and peace and joy that surpasses all understanding and He alone can give, was exactly what Adam and Eve had in being made in the image of God, is exactly what was lost for all humanity, and is exactly what is beginning to be renewed in you as Christ puts Himself on you.
The Christian is called to actively be holy, actively put on Christ, actively put off the unclean deceitful desires. Complacency about sin and complacency about who we truly are in being Christ like with love, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience (Col. 3:12) is incompatible with the Gospel.
But hear again that the source of the Christians’ activity in being renewed in God’s activity. Christ himself, who was clothed with all power and majesty, clothed Himself with our flesh, humbled himself, and chose to be clothed with our sin and death and shame and thus was stripped, mocked and hung naked on a cross. His blood, though, his precious, living, resurrected, ascended, life-giving flesh and blood, clothes you with His righteousness and holiness. Through His Word, He renews your minds of what is true and what is deceptive in this life.
Regarding the dress code, hear that 1.) God promises that you do look good dressed in Christ, 2.) God promises that you will look good dressed in Christ, keeping you in the faith as you continue to hear His Word, pray, and receive Christ’s body and blood, so and thus 3.) God demands that you shall look good dressed in Christ, putting off the old self and putting on the new self.