Gracefully Truthful


Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Luke 12:16-21

16 Then He told them a parable: "A rich man's land was very productive. 17 He thought to himself, 'What should I do, since I don't have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,' he said. 'I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. 19 Then I'll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”

20 But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared-whose will they be?'

21 That's how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

The Original Intent

1) How does ignorance and hardness of heart exclude us from the life of God? (verse 18)

In Ephesians 4:18, Paul warns we can be excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in [us] and because of the hardness of [our] hearts.“ In our ignorance, our natural, sin-nature shuts God out. We easily default to thinking that our selfish, worldly pursuits will fill our emptiness (Ecclesiastes 1:14), when in reality, only God can truly satisfies our deepest longings (John 6:35).

Curtis Vaughan explains it “is not that unregenerate minds are empty. It is that they are filled with things that lead to nothing.” Apart from Christ, we chase after futility and perpetuate our ignorance. We unknowingly, or stubbornly, run away from the only thing we really need, which is life with God.

David Guzik suggests, “Ignorance and lack of understanding of man is a heart problem. It is shown not only in a foolish denial of God, but also in his moral failures.” When we harden our hearts, we can’t hear God or acknowledge God’s power or His Truth. (Matthew 13:15)

Leon Wood explains that the ancient Greek word employed in this passage for hardness, porosis, “is used medically to denote the callus formed when a bone has been fractured and reset. Such a callus is even harder than the bone itself.” A hardened heart will embrace sin’s deceptions (Hebrews 3:12-13) and will refuse God’ offered gift of complete forgiveness of sins. (Romans 6:23)

A humble, willing, receptive heart is required to accept the Gospel message that leads us into right relationship with the Lord. God can turn our hearts toward His precepts (Psalm 119:36) and enlighten the eyes of our hearts (Ephesians 1:18) so we recognize His sovereignty and are freed to enjoy a life lived with Him. Let’s plead this for ourselves and our lost friends and relatives!

The Everyday Application

1) How does ignorance and hardness of heart exclude us from the life of God? (verse 18)

A passage in Jane Eyre reminds me of Paul’s description of the unrighteous who “are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts” (verse 18)

This moment occurs when Jane returns home to visit the deathbed of her Aunt Reed, who had treated Jane cruelly in childhood. Aunt Reed confessed something to ease her conscience before she died. Though upset by the disclosure, Jane forgave her aunt, offering to make peace with her. Even as she lay dying, Aunt Reed could not relinquish her long held dislike of and prejudice against Jane, though Jane offered her love and more kindness than her own beloved children displayed as she slipped away.

Jane’s goodness was evident in the tender care she provided, even after years of abuse, but Aunt Reed stubbornly clung to her ingrained opinions of Jane’s unworthiness, refusing to let Jane’s love soften her heart. Considering this scene in the light of hardening my own heart towards God is uncomfortable because I see more resemblance to Aunt Reed than to Jane.

I see the times I have ignorantly clung to dark, or even harmless, things that kept me from God, all the while hardening my heart to His invitation to release them and follow Him. (Romans 6:12-14) As Liz Curtis Higgs explains, “My inclination is to tuck such [sins] into the deep recesses of a drawer. Just in case I need them later. Just in case I miss them.” God graciously offers to take those sinful hindrances from us and replace them with His loving care. (1 Peter 5:7)

It is an amazing offer, to give up what can never fulfill us (Ecclesiastes 1:8), instead, taking hold of the One who can satisfy all our longings! (Psalm 145:16)

The Original Intent

2) How do we take off the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires? (verse 22)

Paul urges his readers “to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires.” (verse 22) David Guzik suggests, “This has the same idea of putting off or putting on a set of clothes. The idea is to change into a different kind of conduct.”

Paul wants us to change out of our old ways of thinking, acting and believing. One way to change out of the old self is by neglecting it, allowing it to shrivel up and die for lack of attention by no longer feeding its cravings or fulfilling its desires. (Romans 13:14) This may mean no longer frequenting places or hanging out with people who pull you toward sinful thoughts, actions, or attitudes. To abandon our former godless way of life requires us to dismantle and destroy those things which are unhealthy and don’t honor God. (Galatians 5:24)

Paul does not suggest we do this in our own strength, but with the help of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:2) Andrew Murray asserts, “If you are willing to come entirely away out of self, and to allow Jesus Christ to become your life within you, inspiring all your thinking, feeling, acting, in things temporal and spiritual, He is ready to undertake the charge . . . He asks but one thing: Come away out of self and its life, abide in Christ and the Christ life, and Christ will be your life. The power of His holy presence will cast out the old life.”

God instructs us to be done with the former, lesser things that have kept us from Him, and then He graciously offers His Holy Spirit to empower the choices He asks us to make as He leads us by His Spirit into a life that sets us free to dance in love and righteous living!

The Everyday Application

2) How do we take off the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires? (verse 22)

My Dad has a radical salvation story similar to the apostle Paul’s. (Acts 9:1-9) One minute he wanted nothing to do with Jesus, and the next minute, he was on his knees, repenting and accepting Jesus as His Savior!

While his conversion was dramatic, he still needed to learn to “take off [his] former way of life, the old self […] corrupted by deceitful desires.” (verse 22) He recounts how his first prayer after his salvation contained curse words, and how one of his first visits to adult Sunday School class raised quite a few eyebrows as he shared some decidedly un-Biblical opinions about marriage and relationships.

Each time his old way of thinking and behaving clashed with what he was learning in the Bible, he had to make a choice: keep doing things the old way or leave the old way behind. Eventually, his vocabulary changed from prolific cussing to never cursing. He sought out mentors who helped him change his outlook on marriage and the role of a husband. And because most of his spiritual input had been from secular music lyrics, he got rid of his record collection (even the Beatles albums!) and did not listen to anything but Christian music for a decade as he let go of his unrighteous practices and made way for God to renew his mind. (Titus 3:5)

This challenging practice is vital for new Christians, but it is not limited to those who recently professed faith. All Christians experience times of reverting back to old habits or unrighteous practices. (Galatians 5:1) In those times of temptation from past desires and habit, this verse can remind us to slough off those corrupted ways and striving forward toward a life like Christ’s. (1 Peter 1:14-15)

The Original Intent

3) How do we put on the new self that is created according to God’s likeness? (verse 24)

The Apostle Paul exhorts Christians to “put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.” (verse 24) Paul isn’t just suggesting we only follow the example of Jesus on occasion, but that we take on His character and His image, actually becoming like Christ in everyday life and all our relationships.

David Guzik explains, “Jesus isn’t merely added to our old life; the old life dies and He becomes our new life.” When we put on the new self, we start to look and act like Jesus. Our speech becomes like His, full of love and kindness. (Isaiah 50:4) Our faith becomes like His, strong and unwavering. (Mark 11:22-24)

We should try to be like Jesus in every way, but we also must allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, conforming us to His image; this is His job! (Colossians 3:10) Liz Curtis Higgs notes, “When we are in Christ, and He is in us, we are transformed. God doesn’t just clean us up, fix us up, straighten us up. He recreates us in the image of His Son. He starts from scratch. He makes us new.”

We can take steps to become more like Jesus every day by living like Jesus lived, but we don’t need to try on our own strength alone. God not only shows us how to live rightly by pointing us to the life of His Son (Philippians 2:5), but He also empowers us to live that life through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). His abundant grace supplies all our needs!

The Everyday Application

3) How do we put on the new self that is created according to God’s likeness? (verse 24)

It amazed me that when the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 2022, players and coaches had already donned championship gear for the post-game interview immediately following the football game.

Their victory was minutes old, but they already had hats and shirts declaring their new status as Super Bowl victors. Loyal fans immediately formed lines out the door at sporting goods’ stores, impatient to obtain new garb declaring their team as the best of the best. They had a new, elite title, and they wanted everyone to know.

Paul urges Christians to do something similar when they come to faith in Christ, telling them to “put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth”. (verse 24) Paul wanted Christians to put on the new self to exemplify a victorious life in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Now that they were Christians, Paul wanted the church to put on the life of Christ (Romans 13:14) so they would authentically represent Jesus to everyone they met. Becoming a Christian represents a radical change in the believer, who God calls a “new creation”. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

John Piper suggests, “In the school of grace, God creates the new person—and that includes all the new attitudes and emotions and practices that we are supposed to put on.” Christians can be just as excited and enthusiastic as a Super Bowl team in their championship gear when we put on the new self, because it represents the new, purifying work Jesus is faithful to complete in each believer who has surrendered their sinful selves in exchange for freedom that comes from complete forgiveness from God! (Philippians 1:6)

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