Ephesians 4:17-24 … Allen Koop, son of Ronald Reagan’s Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, is a godly man and example in the community as well as a college professor and pastor of two local churches. Allen wrote a book called Stark Decency on the relationship of a little town in northern New Hampshire to German prisoners-of war who were confined and worked in the town of Stark, New Hampshire during World War II. This portion of Ephesians 4 could be called “stark differences,” because that’s what we’re called to demonstrate in the way we live life. We’re given a description of the old life … the unsaved life and it’s a true and stark picture. Too often we want to put a good face on everything, but we need to face reality: here, the reality of the old life is that it’s futile (v.17), darkened and excluded from God (v.18a), because of ignorance and callousness (v.18b) that results in sinners themselves given over to greed, sensuality and pride (the promotion of self … which is greed … v.19). That’s a stark description of reality. But the good news is, that’s what we lay aside because we’re renewed (born anew) and put on the new man (woman) in Christ (v.24). That’s the great exchange of Christianity! The old man (sin and death and the influence of Satan) is out … the new man in Christ is in. That’s the renewal of Romans 12:2 (being transformed by the renewing of your mind) and the exchange of Galatians 2:20 … “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” That should result in a stark difference between the believer and the rest of the world. The issue is, as we leave our churches each Sunday, we typically blend right in with society. Oh that we might display the difference of the reality of Christ to a needy world!
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