Lesson 13


Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

4:25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor. For we are members one of another. 4:26 "Be angry, and don't sin." Don't let the sun go down on your wrath, 4:27 neither give place to the devil. 4:28 Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need. 4:29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for building up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear. 4:30 Don't grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed to the day of redemption. 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice. 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.

 


Today's Lesson

Paul continues to write about our new life in Christ in this section. He has said to put off the old man and to put on the new man, created to be like God in righteousness and holiness. These verses continue this theme.

 

It is interesting to see how often Paul corresponds personal holiness with telling the truth. Nothing is more disruptive to the stability of the soul or to personal relationships than telling lies and living in such a way that personal honesty is not valued. Falsehood and deceit are so easy for our flesh, for our old man. We lie to ourselves so often that lying to others becomes easier and easier. More churches split up over lying and falsehood than any other thing. And, nothing destroys the confidence in a Christian leader than personal dishonesty.

 

So, how do we guard against this problem in our lives and the church? Paul deals with the motivation toward falsehood in this passage. There is no need to lie to each other, either inside the church or outside, because we are all members of one another. All things are being brought together into one head. To deceive anyone is to deceive myself. In Christ, we can be completely honest with each other because we are His. My worth and value are placed in Him and not what others may think of me.

 

Anger and resentment is another recurring problem in dealing with other people. Paul writes that we should not allow anger to "give place to the devil." Be angry, but don't sin. Allow anger to pass through us without gaining a foothold and finding a home for resentment. Let him who used to steal work with his hands. Instead of "takers", we should rather become "givers".

 

From verse 29 on, this passage deals with how we talk to one another. Let no corrupt (or some translations say "idle") speech come from our mouths. Our speech should be for building one another up. When we tear each other down, this grieves the Holy Spirit that God has given into our lives. His role is to bring us into the unity of God. As such, the Spirit is always seeking to create stronger and stronger relationships. He is grieved when we forsake this unity and seek advantage over one another. "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice." All these are attitudes and actions that disturb the unity that the Spirit of God is drawing us towards.

 

Instead, be kind to each other. Be tenderhearted. And most important, forgive one another. God has already forgiven us in Christ. His death paid the penalty for sin for the whole world. God has already proclaimed His reconciliation to all sinners. If God can forgive such a momentous amount of evil, if the death of Jesus Christ was of such worth to God, then we should be willing to forgive the minor and real offenses that are done to us. I was a sinner, deserving of any punishment that I received. God, in His grace and mercy, forgave me. He forgave me without my being worthy of forgiveness. I, too, should be willing to forgive others. Even those who do great harm.

 

Open yourself up to the forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ. All things are coming together toward one goal. We are part of each other and part Christ. Allow Him to be reconciled to the world through you.

 

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