Out with the OLD. In with the NEW. Be transformed: like a caterpillar to a butterfly.
Read through Ephesians 4: 17-32 in The Message. Reading aloud helps us to both see and hear the words—with two senses instead of one.
17-19 And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion. 20-24 But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. 25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. 26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. 28 Did you choose to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work. 29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. 30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. 31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:17-32, MSG
Signs of the Times
- In Ancient Greece, some believed that to live a pure life, one had to remove all their desires because they only brought corruption and destruction. To them, freedom from desires brought wisdom and maturity. They spent their lives striving to reach this unattainable goal.
- Verse 30 talks about being “sealed” in the Spirit of God. We talked in Chapter 1 about how scrolls were “sealed” with clay impressed with the owner’s mark to declare ownership and prevent tampering.
- In verse 26, the Aramaic word ragza means “to shake” or “to tremble.” It is a word used for any strong emotion, but usually refers to anger.
Read Ephesians 4:17-32 for a second time, this time using the New Living Translation.
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:17-32, NLT
Chart the opposites: the old and the new. How can we move from one to another? Only through Jesus Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit now living in us. I titled the two colums (1) The Source of Conflicts–THE OLD MAN; (2) The Solution to Conflicts–THE NEW MAN.
As you prepare to read this Scripture one more time, ask God to highlight His message for you today. This time, we will ready it in The Passion Translation.
17 So with the wisdom given to me from the Lord I say: You should not live like the unbelievers around you who walk in their empty delusions. 18 Their corrupted logic has been clouded because their hearts are so far from God—their blinded understanding and deep-seated moral darkness keeps them from the true knowledge of God. 19 Because of spiritual apathy, they surrender their lives to lewdness, impurity, and sexual obsession. 20 But this is not the way of life that Christ has unfolded within you. 21 If you have really experienced the Anointed One, and heard his truth, it will be seen in your life; for we know that the ultimate reality is embodied in Jesus! 22 And he has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self-life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. 23 Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you. 24 And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness. 25 So discard every form of dishonesty and lying so that you will be known as one who always speaks the truth, for we all belong to one another. 26 But don’t let the passion of your emotions[e] lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day. 27 Don’t give the slanderous accuser, the Devil, an opportunity to manipulate you! 28 If any one of you has stolen from someone else, never do it again. Instead, be industrious, earning an honest living, and then you’ll have enough to bless those in need. 29 And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. 30 The Holy Spirit of God has sealed you in Jesus Christ until you experience your full salvation. So never grieve the Spirit of God or take for granted his holy influence in your life. 31 Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. 32 But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. Ephesians 4:7-32, TPT
Thank you for joining me in studying these verses. There was a lot of reading today, but I didn’t want to break the comparison section apart. The New International Version titles these verses, “Living as Children of Light.”
If you would like to share your comments with me, please do so in the comment section below or email me at KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com