“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24
God has not done more for any man than others. He has offered Himself in the same abundant measure to all those who seek Him (John 10:10). Whenever it looks like a believer is struggling to grow, to express the New Life and to shun the old ways, it can only be one thing: Wanting to live the New Life while retaining their freedom of choice, i.e. the classical case of “spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.
What is Freewill?
Freedom of choice is not necessarily bad. God gave it to us. It is the freedom to decide whom to serve and follow, what will be our fate in this life and eternity, as well as everything in between. Without this freewill, God cannot have children/sons; He can only have robots. Hence, freewill, in its original, uncontaminated state, is the freedom to choose what God wills. Adam lived in what we can call a duration of probation until he violated his freewill and it became freedom to sin rather than freedom to please God.
He would have been perfected if he had used his freewill to shun the tree of knowledge of good and evil and eat of the tree of Life that was not forbidden. Perfection, in this case, is a state of being beyond the possibility of sin because freewill has chosen the ultimate gift, the LIFE of God; therefore, the Life that is chosen becomes permanent. This is exactly the same way sin became permanent in human experience because of the wrong choice of life by the first Adam, until redemption brought a way of escape to humanity through the last Adam, Jesus Christ. Please read Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, Romans 5:17, 1 Corinthians 15:45)
Freewill is not freedom to sin, because sin was not yet a possibility for man when God made him; rather, it is the freedom to please God.
Since the introduction of sin into the world, freewill exercises and expresses itself as a liberty to do “anything”, especially that which is forbidden. Nobody is able to master that tendency except they have come to New Life in Christ and have submitted that freewill to God as a living sacrifice. Only those who are yielding to the “Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus” can experience freewill as a freedom to please God, rather than pleasing oneself.
The spirit of the mind is the place of change
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” Ephesians 4:22-23
We put off the former way of life by knowing that sin can no longer have dominion over us (Romans 6:11) and using our freewill to turn down every emotional appeal to report or return back to our favourite sins. Something must happen to the mind for the victory to hold in our practical experiences. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” Both in putting off the old and putting on the new, there must be a transformation in the mind. The mind has been used to a certain way of life and by the repetition of certain behaviours, we have taught ourselves to act and react in a very predictable way.
One of the meaning of the word “spirit” in that scripture is “mental disposition”. The spirit of the mind, therefore, is the behavioural direction of a person’s mind in any given situation. This is understandably set as a principle, a fixed way of working that our mind has been accustomed to. To change that, we must know that we already have comprehensive victory in Christ Jesus, and because of this, we can choose to live above sin, in newness of life. The next thing will be to change the patterns of our behaviours or the settings of our mind.
The spirit of the mind must be renewed or else every effort to live out the New Life will be sabotaged by the accustomed thoughts, feelings, attitudes and habits of your mind. This is what makes a person to know the Scriptures, quote it, pray and fast, and still end up falling into sin again.
Resetting the mind
Another scripture that speaks about the renewing of the mind is Romans 12:1-2, and it gives us a proper understanding of how this resetting can be done.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The only way to deal with the old man is to present your bodies a living sacrifice. The old man is the man of sin that you received at birth from Adam (Psalm 51:5). This man can only sin. It cannot be improved or rehabilitated. That was why it was crucified with Jesus on the cross (Romans 6:6). You will understand that if you know that Jesus was not on the cross for Himself, but for us, because He was never a sinner (John 14:30, Hebrews 4:15).
Let’s look at Romans 6:6 briefly: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Once you know this, that the man that sins, that produces sin in you have been crucified with Jesus, then you need to know the reason why it was crucified. There are two “that”s in that scripture and we can summarize our conclusions thus: You must know that the reason why the “old man” was crucified is to (1) destroy the “body of sin” and (2) to take you out of the “civil service of sin”.
What is the body of sin?
It is the entire history you have with sin that has become a psychological complex. It is the recollection and memory of sin. This body of sin makes you to think that you are still enslaved to your peculiar sins. Meanwhile, it is just a memory but it can force itself into your thinking until you believe the lie that, that is still who you are. Remember, the old man is the sinner, and it has been finished on the cross. And it was so dealt with such that you can be armed to destroy the body of sin, and then live a life that is no longer subservient to sin in any way.
How do you destroy the body of sin?
That’s what the second part of Romans 12 is dealing with (in verse 2). The renewing of the mind is the resetting of the lifestyle of the redeemed man. It is the deliberate removal of ALL memory of sin from your mind until they are no longer the active agents of your behaviour. However, we remove these memories of sin by replacing them with promises of righteousness. This is a work of faith because the just (-ified) shall live by faith. You need to locate ALL that God says about you in Christ and let them dwell richly in you. Knowing and praying the promises of God is what makes you partake of the divine nature (righteousness) and elevate you above the corruptions that is in this world (2 Peter 1:4)
It is also a life time work that is focused on ONE kind of life, the LIFE of Jesus. The New Man we are putting on is created like God, that is, it is the very life of God installed into the created being called man (Genesis 1:27, 2:7, Romans 6:4-5). (NOTE: Always remember that God is the uncreated Creator)
How will you know that your mind is being renewed?
When you begin to prove the practicability of the will of God in your own life. When the will of God is no longer a demand you are seeing in the pages of Scriptures, but a living experience in your own life. So, what happens to your own freewill? It has been offered with your bodies (“bodies” meaning every part of your being) to God as a living sacrifice. Which means ,it has undergone death, the death of the experience of freewill as freedom to sin. And then it has been resurrected, the resurrection of freewill as freedom to please God.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” Romans 6:5
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.
Photo Credit: Pinterest