LIVE A LIFE THAT REFLECTS THE REDEMPTION THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN
And, just to review, what exactly *is* the call that we have received? We have been called out of the world, ransomed out of the kingdom of darkness, chosen to be in His family, redeemed out of our empty way of life. I would ask that we stop here and take a moment to ask ourselves this vital question: Do we feel like the Bible tells us “live a good life SO THAT we are worthy of the love of God?” or do we see the beautiful truth that we ARE loved by God and BECAUSE He loves us, we are to live a life that is swimming in, overflowing with, brimming over with thankfulness and FULL of the radiant beauty of one who has been redeemed from the pit?
- “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord...” (KJV) (ESV)
- “ So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord” (NIV)
- “With the Lord’s authority I say this...” (NLT)
- Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through (by way of, because or, due to) deceitful desires.
Just as we saw earlier, Paul tells them that they are to DO something. They are to actively PUT OFF their former manner of life and they are fully capable of doing this BECAUSE the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in them and they have been given a new nature.
Also important to notice in this verse in the reference to “deceitful desires”. Paul says here that our old self, our former nature was corrupt (broken, decaying, dead) and it became that way through deceit. Genesis 3 shows us the origin of THE LIE - the origin of deceitful desires.
The entire human race was made corrupt through a desire that was stirred in mankind by way of deceit. Adam and Eve were deceived. The serpent came to them and said “Did God say...” and THEN he said something that God DIDN’T say! He twisted God’s word and tempted them to think that God was keeping something from them.The crafty cunning of the enemy led them down a path of desiring something more than what God had given and assuming something about God that was not true. The primary lie that Satan comes to us with is that God is not who He really is. Though he is cunning and crafty he is not very creative. His temptation of us ALWAYS starts with the distortion of God’s Word and God’s character and he tempts us through deceit to believe that there is something greater for us than what God desires for us.
- Be renewed in the spirit of your minds.
We must continually allow the Spirit to renew (to make new) our thoughts. Our actions begin in our spirits and with the thoughts of our minds and the intentions of our hearts. If there is to be an outward change in the way we walk - in how we PUT OFF our former way of living - there must first and continually be an inward renewal in our minds. This renewal begins in our spirits. Just as sin manifests itself in corrupt actions, salvation will manifest itself in redeemed and godly actions. We must have minds that are renewed! As Paul would tell those in Rome whom he would write to, we are TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds. This re-forming of our spirits and minds enables us to know what God’s will is so that we can confidently go against the pattern of the world and not be like the world.
- Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Again, WE HAVE THE POWER TO DO THIS. We are to put off the old man and PUT ON the new.
- Therefore, because you having put away falsehood, (Again, referring to THE lie - the deceitful desires that were in our old Adamic nature) let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Another reference to dwelling in TRUTH and UNITY with our fellow redeemed brothers and sisters.
- Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil. Not only do we get good sound advice on Christian living but we see here that NOT following this advice opens us up to spiritual warfare! (About which he will go into much more detail much Chapter 6). We all get angry. Though our spirits have been made new, our bodies remain in a state of decay. We live in a body of flesh. We live in a fallen world. We will be angry. We will encounter injustice and we will be at war with our flesh. Paul essentially says "look, when that happens - when you become angry - DON’T SIN! And by all means, don’t STAY angry! Anger leads to bitterness and bitterness takes root in your heart." Most importantly here he tells us that DOING THIS GIVES THE ENEMY AMMUNITION AGAINST US! We learn from Ephesians that “the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms” are very real and the war is in full swing. We have been ransomed from the kingdom of darkness but there’s a battle raging. Our enemy HAS ALREADY BEEN PRONOUNCED THE LOSER but he was prideful enough to think that He could ascend to God’s throne, he is prideful enough to think that he can drag us back to the pit! (He is WRONG but he is waging war nevertheless.) When we hold on to anger and bitterness, we strengthen his position against us. We must not let Paul’s warning about the spiritual world go unheeded: We give Satan an opportunity to attack us when we hold on to anger. DO NOT GIVE THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS AN ADVANTAGE IN THE WAR!
- 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. I love that Paul’s admonition to honest and ethical work is tied to generosity. Taking from others generally leads to someone getting just enough for themselves. Working honestly allows one to have an abundance so that we can be a blessing to others.
- 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. / 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. When Paul speaks of “corrupting talk” he is not only referring to words that are “unclean” but also to speech that is “unfit for use.” The Greek word is “sapros” which means “rotten, worthless, putrid” as in a vegetable that is overripe and good for nothing. Our words matter. Our inward thoughts matter. What are we saying to ourselves? What are we saying to others? Are our words life giving or are they rotten and useless? Do our words give grace? Do they build up and bring life? Or do they tear down, make dirty and kill? And do they fit the occasion? Remember - he told us earlier to put away falsehood and speak the truth. We are certainly to come against any heretical teaching about Christ but we are to do it IN LOVE and in a way that builds up the believer. I think this also is very practically applied to the media that we expose ourselves to. Are the things that we are watching, listening to and thinking about corrupting us? (Making our minds and our thoughts dark, rotten and dead?) Again, we don’t avoid these things so that God will love and approve us. We avoid speaking and listening to corrupt words BECAUSE we are loved by Christ and have a new nature!We are also told to PUT AWAY bitterness, clamor, wrath and anger and be KIND, TENDERHEARTED and FORGIVING - In the same measure that Christ forgave us. That’s a tall order but once again - we ARE capable of doing that BECAUSE Christ’s Spirit lives in us and we now have HIS nature.
- Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
We can cause deep emotional pain and distress to The Holy Spirit. As used here lupeo means “to afflict one with sorrow”. How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? I think the answer is found in the verse above. When we do not love Christ’s body, we grieve the Holy Spirit. When we use rotten, decaying, putrid and unkind words of death towards one another (or toward ourselves in our thoughts) we grieve The Holy Spirit. When we deny the glory of the power of the one who redeemed us, we grieve the Holy Spirit. We grieve the Holy Spirit by not forgiving, not being tender or kind. Also, as we saw in the verse above, in our grieving of the Holy Spirit (by holding onto anger) we give ammunition to the UNholy and UNgodly spiritual forces that are at war against us.
Remember: The Holy Spirit has SEALED us and is our GUARANTEE that our Bridegroom IS COMING FOR US! We should be exceptionally loving and kind and thoughtful toward Him! If we can grieve Him by being unloving toward Christ’s body then the opposite must be true: We LOVE Him by LOVING the body of Christ. The Spirit is our “mark”, our seal, our “proof of purchase!” We grieve Him when we believe the lie, when we deceive others and ourselves and when we don’t walk in a way that is worthy of our calling.
As we finish up Chapter 4, let us take this practical advice from the apostle seriously. We are to build ourselves (and one another) UP in the truth of the Gospel. By God’s Spirit and because of the atoning blood of Christ that has been applied to our account, we have a new nature and we are destined for an eternity of ruling and reigning with Christ. We are seated with Him in the heavenlies and BECAUSE OF THAT, we are to live a life worthy of this calling. We live this way not to earn God’s favor but because we have his favor. We have been given a new spirit and now we are charged with living according to or in light of that glorious truth. May we, through prayer and the study of His word, be transformed day by day into the likeness of the one who loved us gave Himself for us.