Christian living – Ephesians 4: 17 – 32
The Old Life and the New
17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19 They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 That is not the way you learned Christ! 21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Rules for the New Life
25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
What does the passage say?
V. 17-19 Paul urges the people of God to turn away from the way of the Earthly living. Repent has a meaning of turning away from our sinful acts. In the same way, Paul is asking the believers to turn away from the lifestyle of being ‘separated from the life of God’ (v. 18 NIV)
V.20-24 Accepting the Gospel means to have Christ to be the Lord of our lives, not ourselves. There is a question that emerges from this statement. Does it mean if I accept Christ and do not turn away from the worldly ways of life, I am not saved? I do not think it is a matter of salvation. God’s love is higher, and wider, and deeper than we can ever comprehend. However, if we do not become a new being, we will not be able to fulfill the purpose God has for us in this life.
If we aren’t able to achieve the purpose to ‘Love God and Love Other,’ darkness in the world does not go away. That is why Paul is urging the people of God to turn away from all evil.
Eugene Peterson says, “everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” v. 22-24
V. 25-32 Paul suggests some ways to live. He says do not be angry, do not steal, do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth. Get rid of bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. In one word, he urges Christians to live a lifestyle of loving others.
Let me just add one thought. When Paul says, ‘do not steal,’ not only does it means not to steal, but it also means not to take money that is not yours. I want to raise an awareness of the recent “Powerball.” hype. I believe, as a Christian, we should not participate in this hype. Even though we win the ‘Powerball,’ we are stealing other’s money with no labor. And we need to know that this whole hype itself if stealing money from us. For more thoughts, please read John Piper’s blog on Powerball
What does this mean to me/us
According to the Message, Paul says, “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself.” v. 30 The Message
If we don’t turn away from our worldly living, Paul says that we break the heart of God. Why? Because, we are not living according to the purpose of our Lord. When we live for that purpose, we can shine the light to the world, but when we do not turn away from our sins, the darkness prevails.
New Year’s is always the great time to turn around our Spirituality, to be fit for God’s purpose. That is why we are preaching about a ‘Fresh Start.’ (if you missed our worship, last Sunday, please join us in the sermon by clicking this link.)
What are the worldly ways we need to turn away from?
What does this MEAN to you?
Click to subscribe to our Daily Devotion.
You will receive a devotion in your inbox every morning.