Overall theme in Chapter 4. You ARE one in Christ. BECOME what you are!
Outline of Ephesians 4:17-32
1). THE BANKRUPTCY OF RELIGION APART FROM CHRIST. 4:17-19
Paul contrasts the old life of those without Christ with the new life they now have through their faith in Him.
i). They Are Accountable For Their Bankrupt Spiritual State. In verses 17 and 18 he describes them before they came to Christ as having futile minds, darkened understandings and as being alienated from the life of God. Eph 4:17 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. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God
How did that happen? He gives the reasons in verse 18. It came from their ignorance which in turn stemmed from their hardness of heart.
So the order is as follows: Their hardness of heart led to their ignorance which resulted in their having futile minds, darkened understandings and being alienated from God. This hardness (porōsis used in osteoporosis etc) indicated their accountability before God.
ii). They Are Accountable For Their On-going Sin. Their on-going hardness of heart led to a deepening involvement in sin. Eph 4:19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
2). BECOMING WHAT THEY ARE IN THEIR NEW LIFE IN CHRIST. 4:20-32
i). Putting Off The Old Self. 4:20-22. Eph 4:20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!– 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
ii). Putting On The New Self. 4:23-25. Eph 4:23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
iii). Outward Expressions Of The New Life. To be seen in:-
- Truthful speech. Eph 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
- Controlled attitudes. Eph 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
- Becoming a giver not a taker in relationships. Eph 4:28 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.
- Appropriate speech in every situation. Eph 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good (the three characteristics of appropriate speech)
- a. for building up, (Greek word oikodomeō means to edify or to strengthen)
- b. as fits the occasion (It always has to be appropriate. For example, the right word to the right person at the right time in the right situation from the right motivation).
- c. that it may give grace to those who hear. (The person who hears it must be helped by the words said).
iv). Overall Motivation For Living The New Life. Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. How does one prevent grieving the Spirit?
- By getting rid of the negative. Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
- By affirming the positive. Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave (Note 1) you.
Note 1. The word for “forgave” here comes from “charizomai” meaning to impart grace. As God had “graced” them with forgiveness, so they were to “grace” others by forgiving them. The verb is from “charis” grace. They didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness, nor could they ever earn it. Likewise the readers were to forgive those who could never earn nor deserve their forgiveness.
Blog No.043. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Wednesday 2nd November 2011