The good news of the gospel is that “God is not holding our sins against us.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, there is full forgiveness available from God. Furthermore, 1 John 1:9 tells that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  We need to know that and be reassured of that, otherwise when we do sin and feel guilty about it, the devil can try to attack us with accusation condemnation. But it is important to realize also that there is no permission or allowance for any sin in our lives. That is God’s call to us, that is the standard he has set, his will for our lives: zero sin. Now, that would be a crushing weight if we were depending on our own righteousness instead of Christ’s, but the call, the command from God is still there. Therefore, God’s grace and forgiveness is not a license to sin; it is the remedy and the help we need if and when we do sin.

In the meantime, we are called to “get rid of…” whatever sinful actions and patterns are remaining our lives to pursue and practice righteousness. (See references below) We get rid of the Old, we put on the New. It’s an ongoing process and it is called sanctification: where the Holy Spirit teaches, purifies, and transforms our hearts. We are not proving ourselves righteous, we are not trying to establish a righteousness of our own, but we are learning righteousness: being taught and equipped to do what is right in God’s sight. It is an ongoing process, and there is meant to be an increase, and continuing growth and maturity as we do this, (again being taught and led by the Holy Spirit.)

NT Lists of things to get rid of

Ephesians 4:31 + 5:3-4, Colossians 3:5-9, 1 Peter 2:1

NT Lists of things to put on and pursue

Ephesians 4:32 + 5:9, Colossians 3:12-14, 2 Peter 1:5-7

On the call to obedience and righteousness

Matthew 5:48, John 14:15, 1 Corinthians 7:19, Ephesians 4:24, 2 Timothy 2:19, 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 John 5:3

On God himself teaching us his righteousness

Psalm 25:4-5, Psalm 86:11, Psalm 94:12, Isaiah 54:13, John 6:45, John 16:13, Romans 8:14, Titus 2:11-12