Consider these admonitions from the New Testament:
- “Let us lay aside the deeds of darkness…and put on the armor of light.” (Rom 13:12)
- “In reference to your former way of life, lay aside the old self…and put on the new self.” (Eph 4:22,24)
- “Since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices; anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, and lying…and have put on the new self.” (Col 3:8-10)
- “Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness…receive the word implanted which is able to deliver your souls.” (Jam 1:21)
- “Putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander…long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to [your present] salvation.” (I Pet 2:1-2)
- “Let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Heb 12:1)
- “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ…and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Rom 13:14)
- Walk by the Spirit…and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16)
The New Testament summarizes the Christian life this simply: lay aside the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self with its holy practices. Or put another way, stop doing the bad stuff and start doing the good stuff. But is it that simple to just “lay aside” the sin that tugs at us? Simple may not be the right word, but impossible is not the right word either or why would we be admonished to lay aside the old self and its evil practices? It must be possible to do. Or why would we be encouraged to put on the new self and live in Christ’s resurrection power if it were impossible or nearly impossible to do so?
If we view or experience the Christian life as some kind of civil war with equally powerful forces for sin and good waging war in our soul, then we are missing the power implied in the verses to “lay aside and put on”. The victorious Christian life is not only possible, but should be the normal course for every believer. But there is a key to its power and we will talk about it next time.