And we continue…
From verses 25 to 32, we find what we should be doing, what we should be striving for. Yet, each of these directives is impossible to achieve unless we go back to verse 22 and 23.
“that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,”
Where do we go to renew our mind? To the Word of God, the Bible. Can you see why it is so important that you read your Bible each day? It is God speaking directly to you through His Word, giving direction on how to live, what to watch out for and finding His promises to each of us. Our understanding is in our mind and that understanding and the beliefs we develop are shown in our behavior (see Col 3:1-2; 10)
We can say we are a Christian but if we continue to live in the world, doing as the people of the world do, our behavior speaks loud and clear that we are not truly walking with Christ in the renewing of our mind.
Oh, I can hear some of you right now making an argument that living as a Christian is no fun. Well, let’s continue on with the passages we are looking at today. We can start seeing that living with a renewed mind can be challenging but it is also exciting. Our fun becomes focused on something different…not alcohol, or drugs, or immorality or the emptiness of life but of the fullness of Christ and our longing comes in doing what He has called us to.
When we continue on to verse 29, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (NKJV) When we look to the New American Standard and the New International Version, they use the words, “unwholesome talk”. Whether using corrupt or unwholesome, the meaning is the same. It means foul and stinking in every way and should not be said by a person who takes on the label of Christian. For as you read the Word, you will see that such talk it totally out of character as we walk this new life in Christ Jesus.
Verse 29 also tells us that a Christian’s speech should be filled with goodness that is encouraging and helpful to those who are listening.
Verses 20-32 are continually reminding us how we are to live in our new life in Christ. I read it often and pray for obedience to Christ in not only my words but also my behavior.
Finally, we have made it to the end of Chapter 4 and press on to Chapter 5 for further instruction on how to live our lives in this new walk with Christ. The first verse, “be imitators of God as dear children”, is a good start. How can we live a different life from our former ways unless we imitate the One who Chose us?
If we “walk in love as Christ…”, it changes our perspective on how to care for and love those around us. Christ gave His life for those He loves, are we ready to do the same?
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:6 NKJV) John MacArthur points out in his commentary in “The MacArthur Study Bible” that “no Christian will be sinless in this present life, but it is dangerously deceptive for Christians to offer assurance of salvation to a professing believer whose life is characterized by persistent sin and who shows no shame for that sin or hunger for the holy and pure things of God. They are headed for wrath (2:2) and believers must not partner in any of their wickedness (v 7). (p 1811)
Chapters 4 and 5 are full of directions on how to live a Godly life. These are not suggestions they are guidelines on what God expects from each person who says they have had a changed life, a life with new goals. We cannot use the excuse that we don’t know what God wants but we have to put the effort into learning what He expects.
I have often heard people say, “I don’t know what God wants of me.” And the reason so many don’t know what God expects of them is because they sit back and wait. For what? Some say that God will just let them know. Others wait out of laziness. But truly, we must do our part in learning what He requires as we move forward in our Christian walk.
Why not make it your goal to read through the Bible in 2021? “Faithful Promises of God” is available from Amazon and will help walk you through the Word, with guidance for how to apply the Word to your life. If you struggle along the way, ask someone from your church or Bible Study to walk with you. Or, please know that I am here to encourage you as well. My email address is on the home page of this website, you can always contact me for help.
One more week of Ephesians and then we move on to the birth of our Savior and Lord. See you next week.