The New Life
Note: Today we’re reading Ephesians 4
Ephesians 4 is about the new life we have in Jesus Christ. It starts off by reminding us that God has given us the church to build each of us up into maturity in Christ. Then, in verses 17-32 Paul gives some specific, practical instruction about how to live as followers of Jesus. The chapter closes like this:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
– Ephesians 4:30–32 ESV
If we have received the love and grace that comes through Jesus, it should change the way we live. It should change the way we relate to others. Notice how deep this change is. It effects our actions; we put away clamor, slander, and malice and take up kindness. Those would be things we do. But God isn’t just concerned with the things we do, he cares about our hearts. We are to put away bitterness, wrath and anger and instead be tenderhearted and forgiving. This is huge. Maybe on a good day I can bite my tongue and not say a word of slander, but how can I be tenderhearted and forgiving in an authentic way when I’ve been hurt or offended?
The answer is that we look to Jesus. We forgive, because in Jesus we have the ultimate example of forgiveness. We offended him and rejected him at every level. Yet he has lavished grace upon us. How can we slander our brother or sister while loving the grace of Jesus? We can’t. His grace towards us produces grace in us.
Verse 30 has a wonderful truth that we’ll close with. We are told to walk in this way so that we “do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” This is serious. God himself lives in the heart of the redeemed. He sees our actions, our thoughts, our motives, and our desires. When they are sinful, he is grieved. When he is grieved, does he abandon us? NO! It is the Spirit of God that “seals us for the day of redemption.” Christian, you are a chosen child of God. He has given you his Spirit and he has placed his kingly seal on you until his return. He will never leave you or forsake you. So let’s commit not grieve this Spirit that is eternally committed to us. In light of the gospel, and empowered by the Spirit, let’s put off the old ways of bitterness and slander and embrace the new tenderhearted forgiveness of our beautiful savior, Jesus Christ.
PS It’s great to be back! While traveling, I found a new musician I’ve really been enjoying. Thought I’d share a song. Enjoy!