As noted last time, the Apostle Paul declares, This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk . . . the old man (Eph. 4:17a and 22a ). Because the old man is dead, the last thing the Christian should want is to cling to any of the characteristics of the old man.”
Back in 4:1 Paul simply said, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you,” but now he uses two words: say and testify. Say is lego, which underlies the word logos. Prior to the 5th Century B.C.), legō meant to denoted the “activity of collecting, carefully selecting, cataloguing in succession, and arranging together in an orderly sequence.” This developed into the meaning “to lay before, i.e., to relate, recount” and finally “to say, speak, i.e., to utter definite words, connected, and significant speech equal to discourse.” Paul’s readers, therefore, knew that he had something definite, connected, and significant to tell them.
But that was not enough; Paul adds, and testify in the Lord. Testify is marturomai, which is from martus (English, “martyr”). The original setting of both these words was the legal matters, just as today. The witness gives solemn testimony to that which he knows and gives evidence. What Paul is saying, then, is clear: he is about to give a solemn declaration, give clear evidence concerning what the old man was and what the “new man” is. In other words, based upon all that I have said, I want you to listen carefully to the evidence I am about to give and allow it to sink into your mind and dictate how you live.
Additionally, Paul says that his declaration will be in the Lord, that is, it will not stand out as his own personal declaration, rather the authoritative pronouncement of the Lord Jesus Himself. This is what true preaching is all about. The Biblical preacher never declares his own opinion, authority, or ideas. Rather his responsibility is to testify of Christ, to declare solemnly, as if he were in a courtroom, “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
What then does Paul declare? That as we walk through life, we no longer conduct ourselves, we no longer order our behavior in the ways of the old man. In other words, the true Christian does not live like the sinful old man. As we’ll see in verse 22, we are to “put off concerning the former [conduct of] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” In other words, we take off the old man, all that we were in Adam, as we would take off an overcoat when we come in from the cold. Yes, the old man is dead, but it is up to us to take off the behavior, the characteristics of the old man that still exist. Positionally, the old man is dead, but behaviorly the attitudes still exist. We must not be conduct ourselves according to that old behavior.