We read in Ephesians 4:17-24 that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to no longer live like the ungodly who are darkened in their understanding and who are hard of heart, and who have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. This should not describe one who professes faith in Jesus Christ, for that is not how we should have learned Christ. We should have been taught this truth in Christ Jesus, our Lord:
“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” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
For this is why Jesus Christ died on that cross, that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we should live for Christ and no longer for ourselves. For when Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross it was to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now honor God with our lives. For if our faith is genuine, “our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6; 1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15,22; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Ephesians 4:25-29 NASB
“Therefore, ridding yourselves of falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are parts of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. The one who steals must no longer steal; but rather he must labor, producing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with the one who has need. Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
So, when we are believing in Jesus Christ with God-given faith in him, we are to be those who are daily by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the flesh and who are walking according to the Spirit in obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant). We are to deny self and daily take up our cross (daily die to sin and to self) and follow Jesus in obedience, according to his expressed will and purpose for our lives (Romans 8:1-14; Romans 6:1-23; Luke 9:23-26; Titus 2:11-14; Romans 12:1-2, etc.).
So lying should no longer be what we practice, but we should be truth tellers, instead. We especially are instructed in Ephesians 4 that we are to speak the truth in love to one another so that we all grow up in Christ together to maturity in Christ, as each of us does our part in the body which God assigned us to do. And we are to speak the truth in love one to the other so that none of us are led astray by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning and craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Now notice that this says to be angry and do not sin. So not all anger is sin, but it can lead to sin. Anger is a human emotion that should motivate us to some kind of appropriate action. But some anger is sinful if it is based in hatred, resentment, bitterness, pride, and unforgiveness. But then there is righteous anger like Jesus was angry, for we are to hate the things he hates and to love the things he loves. Like we should be angry about abuse and mistreatment of the innocent, but that should lead us to some good action.
And regarding thievery, this isn’t just about stealing possessions from other people. It could be stealing time away from what is most important in life in order to waste away the hours on what is absolutely meaningless or on what is sinful and destructive to the soul. And it can be about adultery, i.e. stealing from your spouse the love, affection, and faithfulness you should provide him/her. And it can be stealing affection and obedience and submission to God from our relationships with Christ, too.
Now corrupting talk is evil, willfully harmful to others, distortions of truth, perverted and obscene speech, and telling lies that are intentionally for the purpose to harm others. It is not corrupting talk to speak the truth in love to others about their sin and to address sinful behaviors and false doctrines within the church, although some people might like you to believe that. For Jesus and Paul and the other apostles definitely called out sin for what it was and they called people to repentance and to obedience to the Lord.
So, be careful that you are not calling “good” “evil” and that you are not calling “evil” “good.” Many are these days. Let the Scriptures define good and evil for you and not other humans who are speaking from their own minds and not from the teachings of the Scriptures.
For example, when this says that we are to build one another up for their good this is not talking about flattery and lies and false compliments and giving people false promises in order to make them feel good about themselves. This is talking about encouraging (exhorting, urging) one another in our walks of obedience to the Lord and urging one another to not give way to sin and to not walk in sin but in obedience and in submission to Christ as Lord, which is what this passage of Scripture is all about.
Ephesians 4:30-32 NASB
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
So, how do we grieve the Holy Spirit? We grieve the Holy Spirit of God when we turn our backs on God and on his Word, and when we choose to go our own way, instead. We grieve the Lord when we choose our selfish wills over the will of God for our lives, and when we become spiritually lazy and complacent about holiness and righteousness and godly and pure living. And we grieve him when we choose the pleasures of this world, instead, and when we prefer the lusts of the flesh over fellowship with God.
So, all these things of our flesh need to go. For Jesus died to deliver us out of slavery to sin so we would walk in his holiness and righteousness, in his power and strength. We can’t hold on to the flesh and walk in the Spirit at the same time. So these instructions here are not mere suggestions or recommendations. For, if we continue to make sin our practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, the Scriptures teach that we will not inherit eternal life with God, regardless of what professions of faith we have made with our lips.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
The Spirit Calling
An Original Work / November 12, 2019
Hear the Spirit calling.
He’ll keep you from falling.
Tenderly He’s calling,
“Come and follow Him.”
Walk with Jesus daily.
Don’t give in to lazy.
Folks may call you crazy.
Fellowship with Him.
Follow where He leads you.
Eat what Jesus feeds you.
His love will renew you
If you follow Him.
Do what Jesus tells you.
Don’t let your faith fail you.
His love will avail you
If you walk with Him.
Jesus, Lord and Savior,
Reigneth now forever.
He gave us His favor
So we’d live with Him.
Turning now from our sin,
Holy Spirit live-in.
Holiness we walk in,
Purified by Him.