What does Ephesians 4:24 mean?
ESV: and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
NIV: and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
NASB: and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
CSB: and to put on the new self, the one created according to God's likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
NLT: Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy.
KJV: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Verse Commentary:
Believers are to put off the "old self" (Ephesians 4:22). Prior verses have explained this as the deceptive, corrupting influence of sin which marks a life of unbelief. Making this change is impossible without Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9), and requires a Christian to be renewed in their thinking by God (Romans 12:2, Colossians 3:10). The contrast to the "old self," and the result of being transformed by Christ, is to "put on the new self."

In Colossians 3:10, Paul notes that "the new self" is being "renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." In other words, the new self is the life which grows to become more like Christ. This is "created after the likeness of God." Two aspects are noted to explain how the new self is being created as a reflection of the Creator.

First, Paul mentions "true righteousness." This exact phrase is found only here in the New Testament. However, righteousness is a common biblical theme. In Ephesians 6:10–18, Paul will develop the famous "armor of God" analogy, which includes the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). The Lord is righteous and expects His followers to seek to do what is right as well.

Second, the new self is being created like God in "holiness." Believers are to control their bodies "in holiness and honor" (1 Thessalonians 4:4). Holiness is contrasted with impurity (1 Thessalonians 4:7), indicating holiness means to be set apart, clean, and distinct from what surrounds it. Believers are to live holy lives as followers of Christ.
Verse Context:
Ephesians 4:17–32 is a valuable, highly practical explanation of how to live out a Christian life. Paul notes the difference between a life wallowing under the power of sin, as opposed to a life thriving in the power of Christ. Christians are called on to ''put away'' the things which entangle unbelievers. This includes sins such as malice, slander, commotion, and bitterness. Instead, we should demonstrate a Christ-like attitude of love and forgiveness.
Chapter Summary:
Truly understanding saving grace, as Paul explained in prior chapters, is the Christian's first motivation for living a godly life. Here, Paul encourages believers to live in way which honors that gift. All saved Christians are part of a single, unified family, part of the ''body'' of Christ. At the same time, different believers are given different talents. Some are called to positions of leadership and authority. All Christians should turn away from the ''old self'' we were prior to being saved. Paul's explanation of the ''new self'' includes some basic, practical steps.
Chapter Context:
The first half of Ephesians focuses mostly on doctrine, setting up ideas related to the Christian faith. The last half, beginning in chapter 4, puts those theories into practice. Paul begins by emphasizing the ultimate unity of all Christians, regardless of individual spiritual gifts. Paul also begins to explain how knowledge of the truths should translate into action. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 feature specific, real-world applications of Christianity to daily life.
Book Summary:
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
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