Summary: We have something to put off, to put on, and to put away.
Walking in Purity, pt. 1
This chapter begins talking about walking in unity, and now advances to walking in purity. Walking in unity applied directly to our relationship with the church, our fellow members. Walking in purity applies more directly to our relationship with the lost world around us. We are in the world but not of the world.
We have something to put off, to put on, and to put away.
vv. 22, 24, 25
Living the Christian life right does not happen by accident. Our nature will never find the right way on its own. We have to make changes on purpose. And Christians must be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. This is why the key word in this section is 'walk', because we are translating our talk into a practical walk. Doctrine is becoming daily practice now.
8 times in this new section we see the words wherefore and therefore. Because Paul is saying that we learned this doctrine, and soooooo, we act it out in this way.
We only truly believe that which we 'behave.' In other words, only what we put into daily practice becomes a part of us. Head knowledge does nothing for us if it doesn't lead us to change.
ill.--2 preachers argued about the best translation of the Bible. It was the NIV vs. the KJV. They went round and round. An old, wise preacher chimed in which was the best translation: "Neither...for the best translation is when you translate it into daily practice!"
Our problem isn't knowing what to do...it's doing what we know.
v. 17 'walk not as other Gentiles' = the lost world. Saved people ought to live like saved people. There should be a distinct difference that the world can see. And it's not that we think we are better than them, or come across 'holier than thou', but you can't be saved from so much by such marvelous grace and it not make a difference...we are to walk worthy!
Notice that this command is made in the negative. 'Walk not...' As believers we are supposed to be positive people. I like to think positively...why it CAN be done, and look on the up side of things.
ill.--a man was too positive...floods came, and he was on top of his roof awaiting rescue. A neighbor came by in a rowboat and said, "Looks like all your chickens drowned." He said, "Yes, but my ducks are fine since they can swim! "Oh, but your corn crop will fail now." "Yes, but they said it was gonna be a very poor one anyhow." "Look man, the water is up over the windows of your house!" "I know it, praise God, they shore did need a warshin'!"
That's a little too positive. And part of the gospel making a positive change in us is facing some negative challenges at times, like what to do away with, and what to give up, and what not to do!
'Walk not as the lost world...'
It all begins in the mind.
v. 17c 'walk...in the vanity of their mind'
Wrong thinking leads to wrong living. Every sin is preceded by a process of wicked thinking.
Several times our passage uses the word 'mind' or 'understanding', and talks about ignorance and learning. Get the point?
If we want to walk differently then we must think differently.
Vanity = futile, without direction, full of empty illusion. Doesn't that describe our world today?
Henry David Thoreau, "We are constantly seeking improved means to unimproved ends."
All this technology and it is killing us and our schedules. All this transportation and yet we still bite off way more than we can chew...we can't get there on time because we're going too many places. So many time saving techniques that we run out of time using them.
ill.--Greyhound driver drove tour group for several days without a word, then came on the intercom: "The bad news is, I have no idea where we are...the good news is, we're making great time!"
Our world is on a treadmill to nowhere...futile, empty illusion!
v. 18a They think and walk in darkness. And funny thing is, they think they are enlightened, by ignoring the archaic teachings of God's Word and seeking after the latest philosophies of the day. In actuality he is groping in darkness. And so he doesn't think clearly, and can't really understand the world around him. He is not rational nor coherent spiritually, but in his mind he is going far...but it's a road to nowhere.
Sin gives us spiritual brain damage. That lobe of the brain is born in dysfunction. This doesn't mean we can't think intellectually, but it DOES explain why some otherwise brilliant people can come to believe the far fetched ideas that they do.