Ephesians 4:1-32 - Outline of Ephesians (Book Notes menu page)
1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you
that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering,
forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
I therefore...- ie., based on the things presented in ch. 1-3...
beseech you...- This is not a command of the Law, but an appeal based on Love (cp. Rom 12:1,2).
walk worthy of the vocation {GK=klesis, calling} wherewith ye are called {GK=kaleo}...-
What is this calling?
  • The position to which we have been raised, to heavenly blessings in Christ (Eph 1:18)...
  • The vital union which we have with our Lord, who is exalted far above all others (1:21-23).
    The word 'church' is GK= ekklesia, the called out ones. We who were dead in trespasses and sins, and who lived under the sway of Satan, like the rest of the world, have been called out, and raised up out of our filth, by the grace of God extended to us in Christ (2:1-10). He has made us new creatures, to fulfill the purposes for which He has called and prepared us.
  • The privilege of being eternally "set forth" for the glory of God.
    (In 3:11, God's eternal "purpose" is the 'setting forth' of the church, like showbread) in demonstration of "the manifold wisdom of God," by our participation in the one body of Christ (3:5,6). Through His body (consisting of all who are called out of the world and joined to Christ) the glory of God is revealed to all men and angels (3:9-11,20-21).
walk worthy...- We have a high calling.
But often we do not live up to it. We need frequent exhortations (eg., Php 1:27; Col 1:10) and the example of elders in the faith (eg., 1The 2:10). Our walk {ie., way of living, manner of behavior} is often tainted by the darkness of this world, for which God has provided the way to return to a worthy walk (1Joh 1:7-9).
with all lowliness {humbleness of mind, humble opinion of oneself} - Php 2:3
It is easy to become proud, puffed up with our advanced knowledge, or with our good works. But we are warned not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, lest the Lord be forced to humble us.
and meekness...- ie., gentleness, ready submission to the Lord's will.
This should not be confused with "weakness." Moses was the meekest of men. Yet, in submission to the Lord, he confronted powerful Pharaoh, and later, corrected Aaron and the rebellious children of Israel, when they turned to idolatry.
     Jesus said: "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Mat 11:29). Yet, in fulfilling the purposes of God, he directed some very strong words to the scribes and Pharisees, whom he called "hypocrites." He upset more than tables, by His boldness in cleansing the Temple. That harsh action was an outflow of His meekness before God.
with longsuffering {GK=makrothumia, patient endurance; not quick tempered} -
forbearing {holding by, sustaining} one another in love...-
The body of Christ is made up of dissimilar members. Could there be wider separation than between Jews and Gentiles, with their diverse cultures, and differing perspectives on many matters? Yet, in Christ, they are brought together as one. Christ removed the sin which was the 'middle wall of partition' separating them from God, and from each other. But other differences remained, as they do between us. We have need of patience. Such patience requires the power of Christ's love within us.
endeavoring {giving diligence} to keep {observe, preserve, guard}...
the unity {lit., "oneness"} of the Spirit... -
This 'oneness' is amplified in v.4-6. It is the work of God's Holy Spirit. We cannot produce this unity. It is the work of God, for which Christ prayed (Joh 17:21). However, because our fleshly nature is stubborn and strong, we are very capable of damaging the unity, which we are instructed to keep.
in the bond of peace. - Christ Himself is the bond of peace between dissimilar believers (Eph 2:14-18).
4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit,
even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.
Here are listed seven aspects of this unity.
  1. One Body - The true church consists of all born again believers, from Pentecost to the Rapture...
    all who were redeemed to God by the blood of the Lamb "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev 5:9). Eph 1:22,23; 2:16
  2. One Spirit - All true believers are joined to Christ, sealed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
    The Spirit within us teaches us the meaning of God's Word, enables us to cry out to our Father, and equips us for service in harmony with other members of the called out Body. Eph 2:18,22
  3. One hope - ie., the Lord's return, after which we will be forever with Him (Titus 2:13).
    Eph 1:18; 1The 4:13-18
  4. One Lord - ie., the Lord Jesus Christ, who bought us with His blood,
    who has the pre-eminence and full authority over His people. Eph 1:17,19-23; Col 1:18
  5. One faith - ie., the Apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42),
    the body of truth "once delivered to the saints" in the written Word of God (Jude 1:3). Eph 1:15-18
  6. One baptism - ie., the baptism of the Holy Spirit
    by which all believers are joined to Christ (1Cor 12:12,13). Eph 5:30
  7. One God and Father...-
    Many hold the common false teaching of "the universal fatherhood of God," which declares that every human being is a child of God. Because the One true God created all of mankind, it can be said that we all sprang from Him (Acts 17:24-29). Yet, due to our sin, God's creatures became hopelessly separated from Him, and cannot find our way back to Him.
       The Bible very clearly teaches that God is not the Father of unbelievers (eg., Joh 8:42-44). The only entrance, into the family of God, is via the new birth through faith in Jesus Christ (Joh 1:11-13; 1Pet 1:17-23). For those who are 'born of God,' there is 'One God and Father...'
    • of all - ie., of all members of the one Body, the church of the called out ones. Eph 3:14,15
    • above all - God is transcendent. He is above His creation.
      He is not dependent upon us. He provides for His own out of His abundant resources. Eph 3:16
    • through all, and in you all - God is immanent. He is very present (Psa 46:1).
      He lives within His people, and works His purposes in them, and through them, to His glory. Eph 3:17-21
These 'seven unities' suggest perfect or complete unity. Yet, this is a unity of distinct individuals:
7 But unto every one of us is given grace
according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high,
he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended
first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens,
that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets;
and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Unto every one of us is given grace... - We are not all the same.
Each believer has received unique gifts (1Cor 12:4-11). These individual gifts are for the benefit of the Body (1Cor 12:12-31).
according to the measure of the gift of Christ.-
These gifts are meted out according to Christ's purposes. He has designed each of us to fulfill differing roles. You should not force yourself into a role for which he has not gifted you. We each need to serve in the place for which He has suited us (Rom 12:3,6-8; 1Pet 4:10). When we serve according to His will, the Lord provides more than enough grace to enable us to fulfill our appointed roles (Php 4:19; Eph 1:18,19).
When he ascended up on high... (v.8) - This verse quotes Psa 68:18.
(Note the difference between the Psalm and our text: 'received gifts'... 'gave gifts')
As the following verses will clarify, Christ ascended into heaven after He accomplished the redemption of sinful men, who were previously living in rebellion against God. In heaven, He received gifts from the Father, for redeemed men. From heaven, Christ gave these gifts to the early church. Today, Christ continues to distribute these gifts to His people, by the Holy Spirit.
now that he ascended...(v.9,10) - There is little question that this phrase refers to Christ's ascension,
following His death, burial and resurrection. But what is meant by "He also descended into the lower parts of the earth?"
Here are three possibilities (which draw from various possible translations):
  1. descended into the lower parts (ie., the earth versus heaven) -
    Christ came down from heaven into the earth, at His incarnation (Psa 8:5; Joh 3:13,31; 6:51).
  2. descended into parts lower than the earth - ie., into Hades, to "lead captivity captive." (v.8)
    'Hades' is the place where the disembodied spirits, of dead men, wait for the final judgment. Prior to Christ's death and resurrection, saints who died were held in a portion of Hades referred to as "paradise" or "Abraham's bosom" (Luk 16:22,23; 23:43). Following His death, Christ visited this place. When He arose, He took with him "the spirits of just men made perfect." Since that time, the dead in Christ are "absent from the body..." and immediately "present with the Lord" (2Cor 5:8; Php 1:23; Heb 12:23,24).
    [Scripture does not indicate, that Jesus descended into hell to be tortured by Satan.]
  3. descended into lower parts within the earth - ie., His burial in the grave (Mat 12:40).
    Through His death, burial and resurrection, He delivered all believers from bondage to sin and death, and from the dominion of Satan (1Cor 15:1-4,55; Heb 2:14,15).
    [Point 2 emphasizes the spiritual significance of 'Hades.' Point 3 considers the physical burial of Christ's body in the 'grave' (an alternate meaning of 'hades').]
All three of these views are valid. Christ came from heaven to earth, died for our sins, was buried, arose from the grave in victory, and ascended into heaven, taking the spirits of saints who had previously died with Him.
     However, in the context of the letter to the Ephesians, Christ's victory over death and His provision of gifts for the redeemed, is applied to living men, who were previously spiritually dead, but now have been raised out of that death and made alive in Him as members of His one Body (Eph 2:4-7).
He gave... (v.11) - In the GK, "He" is emphatic.
The Lord of the Church is the One who gave these gifts.
     In several related passages, the gifts refer to various abilities, with which the Holy Spirit equips individual believers (eg., Rom 12:6-8).
     Here (v.11), the 'gifts' are gifted men, whom the Lord has equipped and given to His body, for its edification. The church is responsible for recognizing, honoring and obeying the leaders given to them by the Lord (Heb 13:17).
He gave 'some'...- two readings are possible:
  • "to some..." - The Lord, gives to various church assemblies, such men as are needed in that place or time.
  • "some to be..." - The Lord designates certain men for specific roles, as He sees the need. (This is the primary sense, in this passage.)
He gave some [to be]...
  • Apostles {GK= apostolos, a messenger, one sent forth}-
    This office was limited to a very few men, who had seen the resurrected Lord, and who were directly chosen by Him as apostles (Mat 10:1-5; Acts 1:21-26; 1Cor 9:1; Gal 1:1,12; 1Tim 1:1).
  • Prophets {GK= prophetes, an interpreter of God's Word, a spokesman for God}-
    The apostles and NT prophets served in foundational roles at the start of the Church age (Eph 2:20; 3:5). The Holy Spirit revealed previously hidden truth to them. He used them to proclaim that truth and to produce a written record (the NT).
       The offices of 'apostle' and 'prophet' (as channels of new revelation) ended with the passing of the original apostles and with the completion of the NT. The ministry of these men continues to bless the church, to the extent that we continue in the apostles' doctrine, which they recorded for our benefit (cf. 2Pet 3:15-18).
       In Scripture, the 'proclamation' of God's written Word is sometimes referred to as 'prophecy.' In this sense, present day preachers are charged with the 'forth-telling' of God's Word (not the 'fore-telling' of previously unrevealed things). cp. Rom 12:6; 1Pet 4:11
  • Evangelists {GK= euaggelistes, proclaimer of good news} -
    Paul was also an evangelist. He went to places where the Gospel had not yet been proclaimed (Rom 15:20,21; 2Cor 10:14-16). Now that the gospel has reached into 'the regions beyond,' there are very few (if any) evangelists, who are preaching in totally unreached areas (as in the early days of the church). However, the work of evangelism continues, for the Gospel must be proclaimed to each new generation.
  • Pastors - Teachers -- Pastor {GK= poimen, shepherd}, Teacher {GK= didaskolos, a presenter and explainer of doctrine}
    In the Greek, each of the above offices, except 'teachers,' is preceded by the definite article ('the'). Since one article applies to the last two (ie., 'the pastors teachers'), this may be viewed as one office. Also, the word 'and' {GK= de} separates the first several offices, but the last two are connected by a different word {GK= kai, and, even}, which appears to combine the offices (ie., 'the pastors even teachers'). The pastor (shepherd) is to tend the flock and feed the sheep, by teaching the Word of God (1Tim 3:2; Titus 1:9; 1Pet 5:1,2).
       A year or two after his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote to Timothy, who was then serving as a pastor-teacher in that church. From his counsel, we understand that a pastor-teacher should also concern himself with evangelism (2Tim 4:5).
For what purpose did the Lord give these gifted men to the church?
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith,
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we [henceforth] be no more children,
tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the sleight
{ie., sly trickery} of men,
[and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love,
may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together
and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
(Verses 12-16 form one continuous sentence, in the GK text.)
...For the perfecting of the saints...
'Perfecting' is GK=katartismon, equipping, preparing, repairing. (The verb form of this word is used of mending nets, in Mat 4:21; Mark 1:19.) Thus, the 'perfecting of the saints' refers to preparing them to be used...
  • for the work of the ministry {GK=diakonias, serving},
  • for the edifying {building up} of the body of Christ. Rather than doing this work all by himself, the pastor-teacher is to prepare the saints for the work of building the church.
    What is the goal?
...till we all come {GK=katantao, attain, arrive at the destination} which is:
  • unto the unity of the faith (cp. v.3), and
  • of the knowledge {GK=epignosis, full knowledge} of the Son of God (Eph 1:17),
  • unto a perfect {ie., mature} man -
    ie., that the body of Christ would be complete and mature (Eph 2:15).
  • unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Eph 1:23) -
    The level of maturity attained by the church is to be measured against the full maturity of Christ Himself, with the goal of being like Him.
that we henceforth be no more children... (v.14)-
Those, who have reached maturity, are no longer children {GK=nepios, little children}, who need someone to watch and care for them. Mature believers will be able to stand against the storms of false doctrine and false teachers, who would easily deceive the immature. In v.14, several phrases amplify each other, to describe the dizzying and deceptive confusion, by which apostates sweep the ill prepared into a system of error.
The conduct of mature believers is contrasted to that of false teachers (in v.15-16)...
...But speaking the truth in love...-
The phrase indicates truth, not only in speech but also in life, exercised in love toward all members of the body.
     "Speaking the truth in love..." is often misunderstood as avoiding any offense, and being warm, soft and friendly. But truth often seems harsh, because it offends the natural man. There are several Greek words for 'love' in the New Testament. 'Phileo' love is the friendly face (eg., Heb 13:1). But here (in v.15), the word is 'agape.' This is the kind of love that is ready to suffer for the good of another... and therefore, is not afraid of the consequences of speaking truth that is contrary to what people want to hear. When rebuke or correction is necessary, it ought to be spoken. But before speaking, I must ask the Lord to examine my own heart and motives, and to put His words on my tongue, that they might build, rather than tear down my brother(s).
...may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ, from whom...-
Christ is both the source and the goal (v.13) of this growth.
Individually and together, the body members need to develop in communication with their Head. How can we serve Christ, unless we discern and follow His mind? 1Cor 2:16; Eph 3:14-21
...from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted {GK=sumbibazo,knit together}
by that which every joint {GK=haphe, bond, connection} supplieth.
As each member finds and follows the Lord's will for him or her, the whole body is strengthened to fulfill the Lord's purposes. eg., Heb 10:21-25
...according to the effectual working in the measure of every part...-
Every believer contributes to the growth of the body. Each member's contribution differs, depending on the gifts bestowed upon him (v.7) and the level of maturity which he has attained (2Pet 3:18).
...making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. -
The growth of the individual believer contributes to the growth of the body. The emphasis, here, is on the growth of the body, requiring individual members to relate to one another in love (v.2, v.15-16).
17. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord,
that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk,
in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened,
being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them,
because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness,
to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Walk not...- The remainder of this chapter contrasts sharply with the first half.
'Walk not [in your old fleshly ways]' (v.17) versus 'Walk worthy of your calling' (v.1).
Let's pause to review the previous section.
In v.1-16, the apostle pled with us to "walk worthy of the calling to which we are called" (v.1) "...endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (v.3)
     The reality of this unity, which exists between all of Christ's "called out" ones, was expressed in seven clear points (v.4-6).
     Yet, the body of Christ is composed of individual members, who are dissimilar. Christ Himself has gifted each member uniquely. He has provided specific members for the purpose of tending and nourishing His people (v.11), for the purpose that each individual would grow toward maturity and fill the role which the Lord has for him or her, so that the whole body would become mature, properly interconnected with one another, and to Christ Himself who is the head of the body (v.12-16).
     When such a level of maturity is reached, the body, and the individual members, will stand unshaken by false teachers or by any of the enemy's deceptive tactics.
     How wonderful is this picture! Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has called us to Himself, has joined us to Himself, and has given us all the resources necessary, not only to keep (ie., maintain) the unity of the Spirit, but to increase, grow and mature in that unity, which is centered in Him. It is all of Him. cp. 2Pet 1:3
     What do you and I contribute to this unity? The harsh reality is that there is nothing good in ourselves. Although we have received a new nature 'created in Christ Jesus unto good works' (Eph 2:10), we still have the old fleshly nature which cannot please God. The two natures are in conflict. Therefore, to encourage us to 'walk worthy,' the apostle turns to exhort and correct against the 'unworthy' tendencies of our old nature.
I... therefore... testify {exhort} in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other gentiles...-
"henceforth" {ie., from this time forward}...- Old ways must be left behind. (v.17-19; 2:1-3; 1Pet 4:3)
Our heritage, background and old nature is incompatible with the holy, selfless, loving nature of Christ. The fleshly characteristics of our old nature, have no place in Christ's body, which is to show forth His glory. Yet, because that old nature is still active, Paul warns us to be aware of the danger within our own hearts, lest we fall back to live, as we once did, like the fallen world around us.
in the vanity {emptiness, uselessness} of their mind...- ie., devoid of understanding, with no capacity for spiritual truth.
Believers, who follow fleshly thinking, will likewise be dull of understanding. Yet, God has given us His Spirit, so that we may have spiritual discernment, and judge all things according to His mind.
having the understanding darkened...
...alienated from the life of God through ignorance... blindness of heart...- cp. Eph 2:12-13
Being willfully ignorant of God, unbelievers have no part in His life. Rom 1:21-25
     But believers, born again of God's Spirit, should be mindful of His calling and purpose for their lives. v.1; Titus 3:3-8
...who being past feeling {ie., having become calloused}... have given themselves unto lasciviousness... uncleanness... greediness...-
Having their consciences seared, hardened unbelievers give themselves to all manner of moral impurity, with abandon, and with an insatiable appetite for more.
     But believers, also have the same fleshly nature, and are capable of quenching the Spirit and giving themselves to the ways of the world. Tragically, some who 'profess' faith in Christ, depart from Him, to pursue their lusts. 1Tim 4:1,2
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him,
as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man,
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man,
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Our former conversation {way of life}, and fleshly old nature, is incompatible with the nature of Christ.
This should be evident to true believers, for Christ Himself speaks to our hearts (Joh 10:27).
...ye have not so learned {GK=manthano, been so discipled of} Christ...
...if so be that ye have heard, and have been taught {GK=didasko, been instructed} by Him...
The living Lord Jesus Christ personally disciples and instructs believers who give Him the opportunity (Rev 3:20; Mat 11:29,30). The Spirit of Christ, within the child of God, cries out to the Father, yearning to be like His Beloved Son (Rom 8:6,13-16).
...as the truth is in Jesus... - Joh 14:6; 4:24
...that ye put off... the old man, which is corrupt...
...and be renewed in the spirit of your mind...
...and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness...
The analogy is to a change of garments. 'Put off' {ie., lay aside} the old. 'Put on' {ie., be clothed with} the new. But in ourselves, we lack the ability to make this change. It is the Lord's work in our behalf. According to the tense of the GK text, 'that ye put off...' may properly be rendered 'that ye have put off...' (ie., the change has already been made).
  • The believer's heart desire should be for complete inward holiness. Psa 51:5-10
  • The believer's new nature, received through the new birth, is created in the likeness of God's own holy nature. 2Cor 5:17
  • The old nature has been "put off" through your identification with Christ in death. Rom 6:1-7
  • The new nature has been "put on" through your identification with Christ in His Life. Rom 6:8-10
  • Yet, while we live in the flesh, the old nature is still present. Therefore, trusting in Christ's victory in our behalf, we are to regard the old nature as dead, and make it our purpose to live according to the new nature, by His enabling. (Rom 6:11-18)
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour:
for we are members one of another.
Wherefore... - ie., On account of this (that you have received the new nature from God,
and that you have put off the old, and put on the new), here are some things that should characterize your new way of life...
...put away lying {ie., lay this aspect of your former life aside}...
...speak... truth {GK=aletheia, reality, lit., what is not hidden}... for we are members one of another...-
If the eyes lie to the feet, the body will stumble, with injury to many members, perhaps even to the lying eye. The new nature, "created in righteousness and true holiness" (v.24), and in keeping with "the truth [which] is in Jesus" (v.21), is incompatible with "the deceitful lusts" (v.22). The unity of the Body requires all members to work together in selfless honesty (v.15).
26 Be ye angry, and sin not:
let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
Be ye angry {GK=orgizo, hot anger, indignation}, and sin not {ie., do not offend the will of God}...-
There are times when anger is justified. But we must not take justice into our own hands.
(Verse 26 alludes to Psa 4:4 (where "stand in awe" is HB=ragaz, quake, tremble, be disquieted); Psa 37:8.)
     Fleshly anger can lead us to sin against God. Moses sinned, because of anger, and was not allowed to enter the promised land (Num 20:10-13). Yet, Moses did not commit sin, when he was angry with Pharaoh (Ex 11:8), and later, with Aaron (Ex 32:19-22). Why? Because the cause for anger was addressed according to God's direction, not according to fleshly reaction.
     Jesus was angry with the hardness of men's hearts (eg., regarding healing on the sabbath, Mark 3:5). His action, in love, and in the power of God, should have won them over (but did not).
...let not the sun go down upon your wrath {GK=parorgismos, provocation, cause for anger}...-
ie., Don't let your anger fester overnight.
Some biblical ways of dealing with anger...
  • be reconciled to the other party (even if it costs you something). Mat 5:22-26; 1Cor 6:7,8
  • avenge not yourself... overcome evil with good...
    (ie., commit the matter to God, while responding to the offender with love). Rom 12:19-21
  • be slow... to wrath (ie., exercise long-suffering patience). Jam 1:19,20
...neither give place to the devil. -
To nurture a 'root of bitterness' (Heb 12:15), is to yield to Satan's 'devices' {purposes} (of which we are not to be ignorant, 2Cor 2:10,11), and his 'wiles' {deceitful methods} (against which we are to stand, Eph 6:11).
28 Let him that stole steal no more:
but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good,
that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,
but that which is good to the use of edifying,
that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Our old way of living is to be abandoned.
"...such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 1Cor 6:9-11
The former thief is to use his hands in honest work,
in order to earn money to assist other members of the body.
The formerly filthy tongue, which was characterized by "corrupt {ie., rotten, putrified} communication {GK=logos, word, saying, speech}"...
...is to edify {ie., build up} other members of the body, as that tongue becomes a conduit of God's grace, to those who hear it speaking. No man can tame his tongue (Jam 3:8-10), but the Spirit of God can transform the heart from which it speaks. cp. Mat 15:19; Col 4:5,6
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Grieve not the Holy Spirit...
The Holy Spirit is a Person, who is heavily invested in the well-being of God's children.
  • The Spirit births God's children. Joh 3:5-8
  • The Spirit teaches and guides God's children. Joh 14:23-26; 15:26; 16:13-15
  • The Spirit works to accomplish God's purposes in His children. Rom 8:26,27; 1Cor 12:11
  • The Spirit is grieved (pained deeply, v.30), when a child of God follows the unholy way of the world (as described in the preceding verses, and in those that follow).
...whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.-
  • The Holy Spirit has baptized all true believers, irrevocably, into Christ (1Cor 12:13).
  • The Holy Spirit dwells within true believers as the "earnest" (ie., pledge, downpayment)
    of the purposes which God has for His children (2Cor 1:21,22; 5:5). It is His indwelling Presence which is the seal of God's children (Eph 1:13,14).
  • The Holy Spirit's seal cannot be broken.
    Every child of God will stumble from time to time, and grieve the Lord (Jam 3:2; 1Joh 1:8-10). Yet, the seal, upon God's child, remains intact, untorn by fleshly failure, for the Spirit of the living God cannot be broken.
  • The Holy Spirit has sealed us "unto the day of redemption,"
    when we will be removed from the present evil world, and from our old sinful nature, to receive the promised inheritance (Eph 1:13,14; Rom 8:11,23). In that day, the Holy Spirit's work of progressive sanctification will be complete, as God's children enter into the glory of His Presence (2Cor 3:18; 1Cor 13:9-12).
  • But beware... continuance in a state of grieving or resisting the Holy Spirit, may be an indication that you are not born again. (See Acts 7:51-53; Isa 63:10; Mat 12:31,32.)
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,
and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
The conduct described in v.31 is in sharp contrast to that described in v.32.
In v.31, we have a summary of fleshly attitudes which divide Christ's body and grieve the Holy Spirit, and which, therefore, must be put away. In v.32, we glimpse the loving interaction of members of the one body, living in the unity which Christ purposes for us, by the Holy Spirit's enabling.
  • Let [these] be put away...
    • all bitterness - Heb 12:15 (the root of bitterness); Jam 3:11-18 (sweet and bitter cannot come from the same fountain)
    • wrath {GK=thumos, passion, boiling anger}
    • anger {GK=orge, anger, vengeance, indignation}
      Wrath and anger are both outbursts of passionate indignation. They are different in that: Wrath rises to an acute peak and then diminishes, while Anger tends to be a chronic state.
    • clamour {GK=krauge, outcry} - "the bold assertion of supposed rights and grievances" [JVMcGee]
    • evil speaking {GK=blasphemia, slander, speech injurious to another's good name}
    • all malice {GK=kakia, maliciousness. ill-will with a desire to do harm}
  • Be ye... (or) 'become ye...' (The Holy Spirit enables and expects a radical change in our way of living.)
    • kind {GK=chrestos, gracious, pleasant [the opposite of bitter]} one to another.
    • tenderhearted {GK=eusplagchnos, lit., with good bowels, compassionate} -
      ie., moved with deep seated compassion (as toward family members).
    • forgiving {GK=charizomai, from charis, to be gracious toward, to pardon, to show favor} one another, even as God for Christ's sake {lit., 'in Christ'} hath forgiven {been gracious toward} you. -
           It is only through the undeserved favor which God has extended to you 'in Christ,' that you have been lifted out of the world and placed into the body of Christ.
           In a similar way, to forgive a brother, is to extend favor freely toward him, as one to whom Christ has already extended favor. Having been forgiven 'in Christ,' how can we not forgive a brother who is also 'in Christ'? cp. 1Joh 4:20,21; 5:1,2
           This kind, tender and forgiving interaction between the members of the body certainly will not grieve the Holy Spirit, for it is an indication that the members are rightly interconnected with the Head, and are sensitive to, and moved by, the mind of Christ.

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