22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Application needs to be both negative and positive. It needs to exhort people to ‘put off’ the old, and encourage people to ‘put on’ the new. This is a call to repentance: turning away from sin, Satan and the world, and turning to God (1 Thess 1:9). It is also a call to faith: rejecting faith in false gods and idols, and putting our faith in the one true God, who has revealed himself in Christ Jesus (Acts 17:22-34).
I think Ephesians 4:22-24 gives us three very useful categories for application:
- The way we think, our worldview;
- Who we are, as individual Christians, and corporately as families, churches and communities; and
- What we want, our desires.