We have moved from the need for cleansing of the inner and outer self…to the reality of the cleansing work of Christ…to the results of the cleansing work in creating a new self which is a temple for God to live within. So what are the implications of the new self belonging to God as His sanctified space (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)?
Well, most of Paul’s epistles contribute answers to this question when he reaches the ethical and practical sections (often in the 2nd half of the letters - passages like 1 Thessalonians 4, Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 6, 2 Corinthians 6, Colossians 3, and Ephesians 4-5). Each of these sections of Scripture provide an angle of how the new-creation-holy-temple-of-God-life should look. But I ask you to consider some thoughts from another of these passages - Romans 6.
This chapter opens with a rhetorical question about whether the life now lived in the flesh should remain the same as it was before (when under the reign of sin and death - Romans 5:21-6:1). The thoughts which follow take us deeper into our baptism experience, which is:
1. A death, burial, and resurrection to allow for the creation of a new self.
2. A movement from solidarity with sin to solidarity with the resurrected Christ.
3. A change of masters in the life of the new self. Unrighteousness is the master of the old self. The righteousness of Jesus is the master of the new self.
Now the rest of Romans 6 (and continued into Chapters 7-8) is an elaboration of how the specific members of the body of the new self can (and must) submit to their new master. Oswald Chambers is fond of the expression of “working out what God works in” (which he sees as the implication of Philippians 2:12). I would apply that expression even more definitively to Romans 6. Our previous discussions have highlighted the effects of sin within and without. So the cleansing, redemption, and sanctification of the new self must begin within with a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). But the purpose of a new heart is to radiate outwards to infect every part of the body with the righteousness of Jesus - my hands, my feet, my tongue, my eyes, etc. We must ensure that each of these body parts are now in submission to their new Lord, or they will revert back to their previous master of sin. This is taking what only God can "work in” and allowing it to be “worked out” into the actions of every piece of my humanity. Thus I become a new self in the thoughts and intentions of the heart…and in the actions of the body.
Cleansed. Redeemed. Sanctified. Inward. Outward.
To His Glory,