"…put off…the old man, which is corrupt… " Ephesians 4:22
The raising of Lazarus from the dead is most striking portrayal of what occurs when one who is lost and dead in sin is given life everlasting through faith in Christ. We are told that when Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth," he who was dead emerged from the tomb "bound hand and foot with grave clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin" (John 11:44). Here was a wonderful miracle, and yet he who was raised had his hands and feet bound like a mummy, and his face wrapped about with a cloth. What a picture of many who indeed have been brought to life through faith in Christ, but who still are not fit for service because of certain hindering remnants of the old life must first be removed.
Note that Lazarus’ face was bound, implying that his mouth was covered! This is symbolic of those who, although spiritually alive, still have their mouths gagged by the "grave clothes" of worldly habits. In many ways they may be eloquent, but in spiritual things they are silent. Lazarus’ hands and feet were also bound. This speaks of restricted service. Many believers do very little for the Lord because they are still inhibited by selfish attitudes and the distracting cares of this life. They are hampered in their Christian walk by those things which characterized their "former conversation." How important it is to get rid of those bindings of the world with their "deceitful lusts" (Ephesians 4:22).
Removing the grave clothes means putting off the hindrances to spiritual power such as "anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, (and) filthy communication out of (out) mouth" (Colossians 3:8). Only after we have thus "put off…the old man" of sin and carnality will we be "meet for the Master’s use" (2 Timothy 2:21).