Following the pattern established in his letters to the churches in Ephesus, Philippi, and the region of Galatia, Paul now turns to the application of the doctrinal principles he has just explained.
In light of the doctrine, this is the reasonable response of the Spirit-filled Christian, because the doctrine taught is not Paul’s doctrine but the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will lead and guide every born-again believer in exactly the ways Paul lays out for the Church here.
Application of Biblical doctrine begins for the born-again Christian with the acknowledgment of who you are now – and in the Spirit-filled anticipation of what you are becoming. The old ‘you’ has died by you reckoning it dead. The new ‘you’ is now alive by the Spirit of Christ. The ‘new you’ is exactly that: a new you.
The new you is unrecognizeble from the old you.
While this may be observable to those who have known the old you – and now seeing the new you – the most important principle is that you recognize it in yourself. (You could possibly fake being a ‘new you’ for other people. You cannot fake it to yourself. It is either a genuine conversion or it is not – and so recognizing the transformation in ourselves first is paramount.)
(If this has not taken place in your life, make it so. Be born again by faith.)
In light of what has happened, we now have the opportunity to be conformed to the image of Christ we have never had before – even if we had knowledge of the ways and the teachings of Jesus Christ – and even if it was our desire to be a ‘good person.’ Now that the Holy Spirit is alive in us, He presents within us a new set of desires and aspirations based upon His Holy standard, and not our interpretation of what His holy standard may be. (Even assuming it was our desire to be Holy in the first place.)
The opportunity is, with true conversion by faith, we must also continue to walk by the same faith with which we came to Christ in the first place and were converted. The reason is something we all recognize. The ‘old man’ is still alive in us. We made a decision to reckon our ‘old man’ dead when we chose to receive the ‘new man’ by faith, and we must continue to make that same choice by faith with every decision we make.
We were willingly slaves to sin. We had no choice in the matter. We have seen where that led. Our willpower was incapable of fully impeding the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Now, being born again of the Spirit of God in Christ, we can choose to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit alive in us, rather than continuing to give in to the the flesh unabated. Once we decide to “put off’ the old man, we must likewise choose to “put on” the new man, and in the instant of the decision to yield to the conviction of the Holy Spirit we also receive His divine power to drive temptation away, whatever that temptation may be, and whenever that temptation may be.
Reckoning the old man dead decision-by-decision is an act of the will. Receiving His divine power to overcome temptation to sin is His will according to our will to receive it.
In this is the power of the transformed life in Christ Jesus our Lord.