Every Kind of Evil
Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”
In other words, what this describes here should not describe us. It should not describe those of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ. We should not be living as though we are ignorant of what God requires of us in thought, word, and deed.
We should not be those who have hearts and minds which are hardened toward our Lord and toward his word, thinking we don’t have to do what he says or what his word teaches us, or thinking we don’t have to surrender our lives to him, or that we don’t have to forsake our sins.
We, as followers of Jesus Christ, should not be giving ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. We should not be watching TV shows, movies, or videos with sensuality in them, with nudity, with filthy language, or with suggestive or blatantly sexual material.
We should not be engaged in sexually perverse conversations with anyone, like sex chat or sex texting. And, we should not be having private conversations of a personal or intimate nature with people of the opposite sex or of same sex attraction behind the backs of our spouses.
Our minds and our hearts should not be engaged in anything immoral, impure, wicked, perverse, and self-indulgent, etc. For, we should no longer be walking (living) according to our flesh, to do what our flesh dictates and desires.
How We Learned Christ
Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV
“But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
We did not learn Christ in this way mentioned in vv. 17-19. If we did, we learned wrongly. If we did, we were taught a false gospel of salvation. For, the gospel of Christ does not permit us to continue walking in the darkness in ignorance of God’s commands to us.
The gospel of Christ does not give permission for us to continue living according to the lusts of our flesh, in hardness of heart towards God, giving ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity and every form of evil while claiming God’s grace as a covering.
The way we should have learned Christ, as the truth is in Jesus, is that we are to put off our old self (our old sin nature), which belongs to our life prior to our life in Christ Jesus. For, it is corrupt through deceitful and fleshly desires. For, we are to die with Christ to sin (Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24).
And, we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, by the Spirit of God, away from minds and actions set on sin and on the flesh, to minds and actions set on the Spirit of God and on obedience to our Lord and to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
And, we are to put on the new self, of the Spirit of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, which is created to be like Jesus in true righteousness and holiness. Our new lives in Christ are not to be like our old lives before Christ. Now we are to live holy lives in true righteousness.
Off with Old, In with New
Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
In all practicality, this is what our new lives in Christ Jesus should look like. This is what it looks like in real time when we put off our former self, when we are renewed in our minds of the Spirit of God, and when we put on Christ and his righteousness and holiness.
If we were in the practice of telling lies, we stop lying, and now we become those who practice telling the truth. If we were those who sinned against others in our anger, we are to cease taking out our anger on others wrongfully, in ways which are harmful to them.
If we were those who took advantage of others for our own selfish gain, whether in cheating them of what we rightfully owe them or stealing from them what was not ours to take, we need to stop! And, we need to be those who give to others according to their needs.
Instead of speaking words that are harmful to others in ways that are mean and spiteful, with the intent to harm them, we should stop, and then we should make it our practice to speak words which are beneficial to others and which are for their good.
In all that we do, we should demonstrate the love of Jesus to others. This does not mean we ever compromise the gospel so as not to offend people, though, for that is not love, for love does no harm to its neighbor, but it does for others what is for their ultimate good.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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