Put Off and Put On (Eph 4:20-24)
The two verbs “put off” (Eph 4:22) and “put on” (Eph 4:24) are not about obtaining salvation because the work of salvation is entirely from God. We cannot obtain salvation by our own efforts. Ephesians 4:20-24 is about the evidence of our salvation.
Ephesians 4:20-21: How have we “learned” from Christ? Does our life reflect Christ? If we say that we have heard and accepted the gospel, we should have “learned” Christ, as the truth is in Jesus. He bore our sufferings on the cross on our behalf in order that the garment of righteousness can be given to us. God has already given this new garment (the garment of righteousness) to everyone who is born-again. It is freely given in Christ. If we say that we are born-again in Christ, we must then “put on” this garment of righteousness, and our life will reflect Christ.
Ephesians 4:22: But before we can “put on” this new garment of righteousness, we must “put off” our old corrupt garment. Our old garment has to be permanently put off and disposed of. Our former way of life of the old man is corrupt and full of deceitful lusts. When we become a believer, we also have the mind of Christ, but we need also to put away the mind of the world. The love of Christ will help us by constraining us.
Ephesians 4:23-24: The “spirit of your mind” refers to the way you think, reason, evaluate, etc. And it has to be renewed. Only the Word of God can renew the “spirit of our mind.” Our old ambitions have to die and we have to live for the glory of God. Once the “spirit of our mind” is renewed, our desires will change because our mind controls our desires. We can then “put on the new man” and others will be able to see Christ in us.
The new garment of righteousness is given to believers only. We must have the desire to put off our old man and to put on this new garment of the new man given to us. This is the evidence of our salvation.