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02-26-06 Ephesians 4-25-32

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I.       Anger 26-27 Anger is an emotional arousal caused by something that displeases us.

In itself, anger is not a sin, because even God can be angry

Deuteronomy 9:8

8  “Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you.

   

Deuteronomy 9:20

20  “The Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time.

    

Psalm 2:12

12  Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,

For His wrath may soon be kindled.

How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!)

Several times in the Old Testament the phrase appears,

“the anger of the Lord”

Numbers 25:4

4  The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.”

    

Jeremiah 4:8

8  “For this, put on sackcloth,

Lament and wail;

For the fierce anger of the Lord

Has not turned back from us.”

  

Jeremiah 12:13

13  “They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns,

They have strained themselves to no profit.

But be ashamed of your harvest

Because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”

   

The holy anger of God is a part of His judgment against sin, as illustrated in our Lord’s anger when He cleansed the temple

Matthew 21:12-13

12  And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.

   

The Bible often speaks of anger “being kindled”

Genesis 30:2

2  Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”

   

Deuteronomy 6:15

15  for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.

    

As though anger can be compared to fire

Sometimes a man’s anger smolders, and this we would call malice; but this same anger can suddenly burst forth and destroy, and this we would call wrath.

It is difficult for us to practice a truly holy anger or righteous indignation because our emotions are tainted by sin, and we do not have the same knowledge that God has in all matters.

God sees everything clearly and knows everything completely, and we do not.

The New Testament principle seems to be that the believer should be angry at sin but loving toward people.

Psalm 97:10

10  Hate evil, you who love the Lord,

Who preserves the souls of His godly ones;

He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

    

It is possible to be angry and not sin, but if we do sin, we must settle the matter quickly and not let the sun go down on our wrath.

“Agree with thine adversary quickly”

Matthew 5:25

25  “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

     

“Go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone”

Matthew 18:15

15  “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

    

The fire of anger, if not quenched by loving forgiveness, will spread and defile and destroy the work of God.

According to Jesus, anger is the first step toward murder

Matthew 5:21-26

21  “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’

22  “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

23  “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,

24  leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

25  “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

26  “Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.   

because anger gives the devil a foothold in our lives

Satan is a murderer

John 8:44

44  “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.    

Satan hates God and God’s people, and when he finds a believer with the sparks of anger in his heart, he fans those sparks, adds fuel to the fire, and does a great deal of damage to God’s people and God’s church.

Both lying and anger

“give peace to the devil”

Ephesians 4:27

27  and do not give the devil an opportunity.     

One out of every thirty-five deaths was a murder

Most of these murders involved relatives and friends

The law calls “crimes of passion.”

“Anger is momentary insanity.”

People try and defend their bad temper by saying, “I explode and then it’s all over with.”

“just like a shotgun—but look at the damage that’s left behind.”

“Anyone can become angry,” wrote Aristotle.

“But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way—this is not easy.”

Solomon has a good solution:

Proverbs 15:1

1     A gentle answer turns away wrath,

But a harsh word stirs up anger.    

II.    Stealing (v. 28). “Thou shalt not steal” is one of the Ten Commandments, and when God gave that commandment, He instituted the right of private ownership of property.

A man has the right to turn his strength into gain, and to keep that gain and use it as he sees fit. God gave numerous laws to the Jews for the protection of their property, and these principles have become a part of our law today. Stealing was particularly a sin of the slaves in Paul’s day. Usually they were not well cared for and were always in need, and the law gave them almost no protection.

When he wrote to Titus, Paul urged him to admonish the slaves not to “purloin” but to be faithful to their masters

Titus 2:10

10  not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.    

But it was not only the slaves, but citizens in general, who were addicted to thievery, for Paul wrote to people in the Ephesian church who were gainfully employed (Eph. 4:28).

1.     Just as Satan is a liar and a murderer, he is also a thief.

John 10:10

10  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.   

2.     He turned Judas into a thief

John 12:6

6  Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.     

and he would do the same to us if he could. When he tempted Eve, he led her to become a thief, for she took the fruit that was forbidden. And she, in turn, made Adam a thief. The first Adam was a thief and was cast out of Paradise, but the Last Adam, Christ, turned to a thief and said,

Luke 23:43

43     And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”     

Paul added motive to the admonition. We should tell the truth because we are “members one of another.” We should control our anger lest we “give place to the devil.”

We should work, and not steal, so that we might be able “to give to him that needeth.”

You would expect Paul to have said, “Let him work that he might take care of himself and not be tempted to steal.”

Instead, he lifted human labor to a much higher level. We work that we might be able to help others.

If we steal, we hurt others; therefore, we should work that we might be able to help others.

Even honest labor could become a selfish thing, and this Paul seeks to avoid. Of course, it was a fundamental rule in the early church that

“if any would not work, neither should he eat”

2 Thessalonians 3:10

10  For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.    

A lazy Christian robs himself, others, and God. Of course, Paul was not writing to believers who could not work because of handicaps, but with those who would not work.

Paul himself was an example of a hard worker, for while he was establishing local churches, he labored as a tentmaker. Every Jewish rabbi was taught a trade, for, said the rabbis, “If you do not teach your son a trade, you teach him to be a thief.” The men that God called in the Scriptures were busy working when their call came. Moses was caring for sheep; Gideon was threshing wheat; David was minding his father’s flock; and the first four disciples were either casting nets or mending them. Jesus Himself was a carpenter.

III.  Corrupt speech (v. 29). The mouth and heart are connected.

“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34).

We expect a change in speech when a person becomes a Christian. It is interesting to trace the word mouth through the Book of Romans and see how Christ makes a difference in a man’s speech.

Romans 3:14

14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”     

A.   but when he trusts Christ, he gladly confesses with his mouth

Romans 10:9-10

9  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

10  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.    

B.   As a condemned sinner, his mouth is stopped before the throne of God

Romans 3:19

19  Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;  

C.   ; but as a believer, his mouth is opened to praise God

Romans 15:6

6  so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    

D.    Change the heart and you change the speech. Paul certainly knew the difference, for when he was an unsaved rabbi, he was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord”

Acts 9:1

1     Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,   

E.   . But when he trusted Christ, a change took place:

“Behold, he prayeth”

Acts 9:11

11  And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,   

F.    . From “preying” to “praying” in one step of faith!

G.  The word corrupt, used in

Matthew 7:17-18

17  “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

18  “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.    

refers to rotten fruit. It means

H.   “that which is worthless, bad, or rotten.”

I.         Our words do not have to be “dirty” to be worthless.

Sometimes we go along with the crowd and try to impress people with the fact that we are not as puritanical as they think. Peter may have had this motive in mind when he was accused by the girl of being one of Christ’s disciples.

Matthew 26:74

74  Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.

    

. The appetites of the old life sometimes show up when we permit “filthy communication” out of the mouth Colossians 3:8

8  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

Remember, before we were saved, we lived in spiritual death

Ephesians 2:1-3

1  And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

2  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

3  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.   

and, like Lazarus, our personal corruption produced an odor that was not pleasing to God. No wonder Paul wrote, “Their throat is an open sepulchre”

Romans 3:13

13  “Their throat is an open grave,

With their tongues they keep deceiving,”

“The poison of asps is under their lips”    

The remedy is to make sure the heart is full of blessing. So fill the heart with the love of Christ so that only truth and purity can come out of the mouth. Never have to say, “Now, take this with a grain of salt.” Paul told us to put the salt of God’s grace in everything we say. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt”

Colossians 4:6

6  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

And keep in mind that your words have power, either for good or evil. Paul tells us to speak in such a way that what we say will build up our hearers, and not tear them down. Our words should minister grace and help to draw others closer to Christ. Satan, of course, encourages speech that will tear people down and destroy the work of Christ. If you need to be reminded of the power of the tongue, read the third chapter of James.

IV.Bitterness (vv. 30-32). These verses warn us against several sins of the attitude and amplify what Paul wrote about anger. Bitterness refers to a settled hostility that poisons the whole inner man.

Somebody does something we do not like, so we harbor ill will against him. “Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them”

Colossians 3:19

19     Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.   

Bitterness leads to wrath, which is the explosion on the outside of the feelings on the inside. Wrath and anger often lead to brawling (clamor) or blasphemy (evil speaking). The first is fighting with fists, the second is fighting with words. It is difficult to believe that Christians would act this way, but they do, and this is why Paul warned us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”

Psalm 133:1

1  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brothers to dwell together in unity!    

A handsome elderly man stopped at my study one day and asked me if I would perform a wedding for him. I suggested that he bring the bride in so that we might chat together and get better acquainted, since I hesitate to marry strangers. “Before she comes in,” he said, “let me explain this wedding to you. Both of us have been married before—to each other! Over thirty years ago, we got into an argument, I got mad, and we separated. Then we did a stupid thing and got a divorce. I guess we were both too proud to apologize. Well, all these years we’ve lived alone, and now we see how foolish we’ve been. Our bitterness has robbed us of the joys of life, and now we want to remarry and see if the Lord won’t give us a few years of happiness before we die.” Bitterness and anger, usually over trivial things, make havoc of homes, churches, and friendships.

A.   Paul gives three reasons why we must avoid bitterness.

1.     First, it grieves the Holy Spirit. He lives within the Christian, and when the heart is filled with bitterness and anger, the Spirit grieves. We parents know just a little of this feeling when our children at home fight with each other. The Holy Spirit is happiest in an atmosphere of love, joy, and peace, for these are the “fruit of the Spirit” that He produces in our lives as we obey Him. The Holy Spirit cannot leave us, because He has sealed us until that day when Christ returns to take us home. We do not lose our salvation because of our sinful attitudes, but we certainly lose the joy of our salvation and the fullness of the Spirit’s blessing.

2.     Second, our sin grieves God the Son, who died for us.

3.     Third, it grieves God the Father who forgave us when we trusted Christ. Here Paul put his finger on the basic cause of a bitter attitude: We cannot forgive people. An unforgiving spirit is the devil’s playground, and before long it becomes the Christian’s battleground. If somebody hurts us, either deliberately or unintentionally, and we do not forgive him, then we begin to develop bitterness within, which hardens the heart. We should be tenderhearted and kind, but instead we are hardhearted and bitter. Actually, we are not hurting the person who hurt us; we are only hurting ourselves. Bitterness in the heart makes us treat others the way Satan treats them, when we should treat others the way God has treated us. In His gracious kindness, God has forgiven us, and we should forgive others. We do not forgive for our sake (though we do get a blessing from it) or even for their sake, but for Jesus’ sake. Learning how to forgive and forget is one of the secrets of a happy Christian life.

B.   Review once again the motives for “walking in purity”:

1.     We are members one of another; Satan wants to get a foothold in our lives; we ought to share with others; we ought to build one another up; and we ought not to grieve God. And, after all, we have been raised from the dead—so why wear the graveclothes? Jesus says of us as He said of Lazarus: “Loose him, and let him go!”

Introduction:

We stress forgiveness in a theological sense. We give little thought to it on a personal level. Forgiveness is tremendously important in interpersonal concerns.

I.      The Meaning of “Forgiveness”

A.     Note the pattern—Ephesians 4:32.

1.     Our forgiveness must be like His.

2.     He goes on record regarding it (Isa. 43:24; Jer. 31:34).

B.     Note the promise.

1.     He promises not to remember our sins against us anymore (He will no longer hold them against us).

2.     He does not say He will forget them.

C.     Note the premise—there is a difference between forgetting and not remembering.

1.     Forgetting is passive and can’t be controlled by the will.

2.     Not remembering is active and can be controlled (not bringing up a matter again no matter what).

D.     Note the principle.

1.     Forgiveness is a promise not to bring a matter up again:

a.     To the person involved.

b.     To others.

c.     To one’s self.

2.     It means not talking about it and not brooding about it.

II.      The Nature of “Apology”

A.     Note its status.

1.     Apology is the usual method of dealing with interpersonal problems.

2.     It is not Biblical concept.

3.     It has different meaning in Scripture.

4.     Apology is the world’s substitute for forgiveness.

B.     Note its shortcomings.

1.     It tends to be defensive.

2.     It tends to be a vehicle for avoidance.

a.     It only tells your feelings.

b.     It does not request any action.

c.     It makes no commitment.

d.     It makes no provision for putting matter to rest.

e.     It does not resolve the matter in any way.

C.     Note its substitution.

1.     What is required for forgiveness?

2.     An apology completely evades the issue.

III.      The Accuracy of “Forgive and Forget”

A.     Note its essence.

1.     We are to forgive and “willfully not remember.”

2.     “Forgetting” makes forgiveness unnecessarily complicated.

B.     Note its error.

1.     It is not Biblical at all.

2.     To try to forget is to fail.

3.     Forgiveness not based on our ability to forget.

C.     Note its encouragement.

1.     Forgiveness is the only way to “willfully not remember.”

2.     Forgive and you will learn to not remember.

Conclusion:

Forgiveness is a promise not to bring something up again or to use it against a person. An apology is a poor substitute for forgiveness as it doesn’t deal with issues and it doesn’t do what Bible says necessary in order to be forgiven. “Forgive and forget” is true only to the degree that forgetting is the result of forgiving and using our will to “not remember.”

 

New

4:26-27. While believers may at times be legitimately angry (with righteous anger against sin; cf.

John 2:13-16

13  The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14  And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.

15  And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;

16  and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”    

they are not to sin. The way to prevent such sin is to “keep short accounts,” dealing with the anger before the sun goes down. The reason is that the devil would like to intensify a Christian’s righteous anger against sin, causing it to become sin itself. This then gives the devil a foothold (lit., “a place”), an opportunity for leading that Christian into further sin. Then anger begins to control the believer rather than the believer controlling his anger.

4:28. Christians are not to steal, but are to work in order to give to the needy. A thief takes from others for his own benefit, whereas a believer is to work, doing something useful (agathon, “beneficial”; cf.

Ephesians 4:29

29     Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.    

with his own hands for the purpose of sharing with those in need. This is true Christian charity. Work has many benefits: it provides for a person’s material needs, it gives him something useful to do (something that is beneficial to himself and others), and it enables him to help others materially.

4:29-30. Believers are not to speak unwholesome (sapros, “rotten”) words

Ephesians 5:4

4  and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

    

but helpful (agathos, “good, beneficial”; cf. 4:28) words for the purpose of edification. Good words benefit (lit., “give grace” or enablement to) the hearers. One’s words are to be true and pure and also are to contribute to benefiting others. Besides one’s conscience, the Holy Spirit also helps guard a believer’s speech. The fact that the Holy Spirit may be grieved points to His personality. His seal of a believer remains until the day of redemption, the time that a believer receives his new body (cf. 1:14; Phil. 3:20-21).

4:31-32. Believers are to get rid of the six vices of bitterness, rage (thymos, “outbursts of anger”), anger (orgē, “settled feeling of anger”), brawling (kraugē, “shouting or clamor”), slander (blasphēmia), and malice (kakia, “ill will, wickedness”). Several of these vices are also listed in Colossians 3:8. The positive commands are three: (1) be kind (chrēstoi, lit., “what is suitable or fitting to a need”); (2) be compassionate (eusplanchnoi; used elsewhere in the NT only in 1 Peter 3:8; cf. splanchnoi, “inner emotions of affection,” in 2 Cor. 6:12; 7:15; Phil. 1:8; 2:1; Col. 3:12; Phile. 7, 12, 20; 1 John 3:17); (3) be forgiving (lit., “being gracious,” charizomenoi, the participle from the verb charizomai, “to give freely” or “to give graciously as a favor”). The reason for these positive commands is that in Christ God is kind (Eph. 2:7), compassionate (Mark 1:41), and gracious (Rom. 8:32) to believers.

c.     Walking in love (5:1-6).

In applying his doctrines, Paul now for the third time used the term for “walk” (peripateō, trans. “live” in the

Ephesians 4:1

1  Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 

Ephesians 4:17

17  So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,    

Ephesians 5:2

2  and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

    

This is thus the third section in his discussion on the conduct of believers. God’s children are to walk (live) in unity, in holiness, and in love.

[1]

“Anger” (4:26). Anger is an emotion. Sin is a choice. You may feel anger, but you can choose not to sin. Anger

Exodus 32-34,

1 Samuel 25,

Psalms 35-37.

“Work” (4:28). Work is more than a means of self-support or even self-fulfillment. Work is a way to earn money we can share with those in need.

“Grieve the Holy Spirit” (4:30). The thought is that disobedience to any of these commands causes the Holy Spirit, who is in us, great and terrible sorrow and distress. The closest parallel may be that of a parent who suffers when a child commits a crime. How it hurts God when we are hostile to one another.

[2]

26. Be ye angry, and sin not—So the Septuagint,

Psalm 4:4

4     Tremble, and do not sin;

Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.     Selah.    

Should circumstances arise to call fox anger on your part, let it be as Christ’s “anger”

Mark 3:5

5     After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.    

without sin. Our natural feelings are not wrong when directed to their legitimate object, and when not exceeding due bounds. As in the future literal, so in the present spiritual, resurrection, no essential constituent is annihilated, but all that is a perversion of the original design is removed. Thus indignation at dishonor done to God, and wrong to man, is justifiable anger. Passion is sinful (derived from “passio,suffering: implying that amidst seeming energy, a man is really passive, the slave of his anger, instead of ruling it).

let not the sun go down upon your wrath—“wrath” is absolutely forbidden; “anger” not so, though, like poison sometimes used as medicine, it is to be used with extreme caution. The sense is not, Your anger shall not be imputed to you if you put it away before nightfall; but “let no wrath (that is, as the Greek, personal ‘irritation’ or ‘exasperation’) mingle with your ‘anger,’ even though, the latter be righteous, [Trench, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament]. “Put it away before sunset” (when the Jewish day began), is proverbial for put it away at once before another day begin

Deuteronomy 24:15

15     “You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the Lord and it become sin in you.    

 also before you part with your brother for the night, perhaps never in this world to meet again. So Jona, “Let not night and anger against anyone sleep with you, but go and conciliate the other party, though he have been the first to commit the offense.” Let not your “anger” at another’s wickedness verge into hatred, or contempt, or revenge [Vatablus].

27. Neither give place—that is, occasion, or scope, to the devil, by continuing in “wrath.” The keeping of anger through the darkness of night, is giving place to the devil, the prince of darkness

Ephesians 6:12

12     For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.     

28. Greek, “Let him that stealeth.” The imperfect or past tense is, however, mainly meant, though not to the exclusion of the present. “Let the stealing person steal no more.” Bandits frequented the mountains near Ephesus. Such are meant by those called “thieves” in the New Testament.

but rather—For it is not enough to cease from a sin, but the sinner must also enter on the path that is its very opposite [Chrysostom]. The thief, when repentant, should labor more than he would be called on to do, if he had never stolen.

let him labour—Theft and idleness go together.

the thing which is good—in contrast with theft, the thing which was evil in his past character.

with his hands—in contrast with his former thievish use of his hands.

that he may have to give—“that he may have wherewith to impart.” He who has stolen should exercise liberality beyond the restitution of what he has taken. Christians in general should make not selfish gain their aim in honest industry, but the acquisition of the means of greater usefulness to their fellow men; and the being independent of the alms of others. So Paul himself

Acts 20:35

35  “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”    

2 Thessalonians 3:8

8  nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;    

 acted as he taught

1 Thessalonians 4:11

11  and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,     

29. corrupt—literally, “insipid,” without “the salt of grace”

Colossians 4:6

6  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. 

so worthless and then becoming corrupt: included in “foolish talking”

Ephesians 5:4

4  and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.    

 Its opposite is “that which is good to edifying.”

communication—language.

that which, &c.—Greek,whatever is good.”

use of edifying—literally, “for edifying of the need,” that is, for edifying where it is needed. Seasonably edifying; according as the occasion and present needs of the hearers require, now censure, at another time consolation. Even words good in themselves must be introduced seasonably lest by our fault they prove injurious instead of useful. Trench explains, Not vague generalities, which would suit a thousand other cases equally well, and probably equally ill: our words should be as nails fastened in a sure place, words suiting the present time and the present person, being “for the edifying of the occasion”

Colossians 4:6

6  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. 

ministerGreek, “give.” The word spoken “gives grace to the hearers” when God uses it as His instrument for that purpose.

30. grieve not—A condescension to human modes of thought most touching. Compare “vexed His Holy Spirit”

Isaiah 63:10

10  But they rebelled

And grieved His Holy Spirit;

Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy,

He fought against them.

   

Psalm 78:40

40  How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness

And grieved Him in the desert!  

“fretted me”

Ezekiel 16:43

43  “Because you have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged Me by all these things, behold, I in turn will bring your conduct down on your own head,” declares the Lord God, “so that you will not commit this lewdness on top of all your other abominations.    

implying His tender love to us); and of hardened unbelievers, “resist the Holy Ghost”

Acts 7:51

51  “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.    

This verse refers to believers, who grieve the Spirit by inconsistencies such as in the context are spoken of, corrupt or worthless conversation, &c.

whereby ye are sealed—rather, “wherein (or ‘in whom’) ye were sealed.” As in

Ephesians 1:13

13  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,   

believers are said to be sealed “inChrist, so here “in the Holy Spirit,” who is one with Christ, and who reveals Christ in the soul: the Greek implies that the sealing was done already once for all. It is the Father “by” whom believers, as well as the Son Himself, were sealed

John 6:27

27  “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”    

The Spirit is represented as itself the seal

Ephesians 1:13

13  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,    

for the image employed, see on

Ephesians 1:13

13  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,    

 Here the Spirit is the element in which the believer is sealed, His gracious influences being the seal itself.

unto—kept safely against the day of redemption, namely, of the completion of redemption in the deliverance of the body as well as the soul from all sin and sorrow

Ephesians 1:14

14  who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

    

Luke 21:28

28  “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

    

Romans 8:23

23  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.    

31. bitterness—both of spirit and of speech: opposed to “kind.”

wrath—passion for a time: opposed to “tender-hearted.” Whence Bengel translates for “wrath,” harshness.

anger—lasting resentment: opposed to “forgiving one another.”

clamour—compared by Chrysostom to a horse carrying anger for its rider: “Bridle the horse, and you dismount its rider.” “Bitterness” begets “wrath”; “wrath,” “anger”; “anger,” “clamor”; and “clamor,” the more chronic “evil-speaking,” slander, insinuations, and surmises of evil. “Malice” is the secret root of all: “fires fed within, and not appearing to by-standers from without, are the most formidable” [Chrysostom].

32.

Luke 7:42

42  “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”

    

Colossians 3:12

12  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;    

even as—God hath shown Himself “kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to you”; it is but just that you in turn shall be so to your fellow men, who have not erred against you in the degree that you have erred against God

Matthew 18:33

33  ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’   

God for Christ’s sake—rather as Greek, “God in Christ”

2 Corinthians 5:19

19  namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.    

 It is in Christ that God vouchsafes forgiveness to us. It cost God the death of His Son, as man, to forgive us. It costs us nothing to forgive our fellow man.

hath forgiven—rather as Greek,forgave you.” God has, once for all, forgiven sin in Christ, as a past historical fact.

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THINGS WHICH MUST BE BANISHED FROM LIFE

Paul has just been saying that when a man becomes a Christian, he must put off his old life as a man puts off a coat for which he has no further use. Here he speaks of the things which must be banished from the Christian life.

 (ii) There must be anger in the Christian life, but it must be the right kind of anger. Bad temper and irritability are without defence; but there is an anger without which the world would be a poorer place. The world would have lost much without the blazing anger of Wilberforce against the slave trade or of Shaftesbury against the labour conditions of the nineteenth century.

There was a certain rugged bluntness about Dr. Johnson. When he thought a thing was wrong, he said so with force. When he was about to publish the Tour to the Hebrides, Hannah More asked him to mitigate some of its asperities. She tells that his answer was that “he would not cut off his claws, nor make his tiger a cat, to please anybody.” There is a place for the tiger in life; and when the tiger becomes a tabby cat, something is lost.

There were times when Jesus was terribly and majestically angry. He was angry when the scribes and Pharisees were watching to see if he would heal the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath day

Mark 3:5

5  After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.    

It was not their criticism of himself at which he was angry; he was angry that their rigid orthodoxy desired to impose unnecessary suffering on a fellow creature. He was angry when he made a whip and drove the changers of money and the sellers of victims from the Temple courts

John 2:13-17

13  The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14  And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.

15  And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;

16  and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”

17  His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”

    

F. W. Robertson of Brighton tells in one of his letters that he bit his lips until they bled when he met on the street a certain man whom he knew to be luring a pure young girl to destruction. John Wesley said: “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but God, and who hate nothing but sin, and who know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified, and I will shake the world.”

The anger which is selfish and uncontrolled is a sinful and hurtful thing, which must be banished from the Christian life. But the selfless anger which is disciplined into the service of Christ and of our fellow men is one of the great dynamic forces of the world.

(iii) Paul goes on to say that the Christian must never let the sun set upon his wrath. Plutarch tells us that the disciples of Pythagoras had a rule of their society, that if, during the day, anger had made them speak insultingly to each other, before the sun set they shook hands and kissed each other and were reconciled. There was a Jewish Rabbi whose prayer it was that he might never go to sleep with any bitter thought against a brother man within his mind.

Paul’s advice is sound, because the longer we postpone mending a quarrel, the less likely we are ever to mend it. If there is trouble between us and anyone else, if there is trouble in a Church or a fellowship or any society where men meet, the only way to deal with it is at once. The longer it is left to flourish, the more bitter it will grow. If we have been in the wrong, we must pray to God to give us grace to admit that it was so; and even if we have been right, we must pray to God to give us the graciousness which will enable us to take the first step to put matters right.

Along with this phrase Paul puts another command. The Greek can equally well mean two things. It can mean: “Don’t give the devil his opportunity.” An unhealed breach is a magnificent opportunity for the devil to sow dissension. Many a time a Church has been torn into factions because two people quarrelled and let the sun set upon their wrath. But there is another meaning which this phrase can have. The word for devil in Greek is diabolos; but diabolos is also the normal Greek for a slanderer. Luther, for instance, took this to mean: “Give the slanderer no place in your life.” It may well be that this is the true meaning of what Paul wishes to say. No one in this world can do more damage than the slanderous tale-bearer. As Coleridge wrote in Christabel:

“Alas! they had been friends in youth;

But whispering tongues can poison truth,”

There are reputations murdered over the teacups every day; and when a man sees a tale-bearer coming, he would do well to shut the door in his face.

(iv) The man who was a thief must become an honest workman. This was necessary advice, for in the ancient world thieving was rampant. It was very common in two places, at the docks and above all in the public baths. The public baths were the clubs of the time; and stealing the belongings of the bathers was one of the commonest crimes in any Greek city.

The interesting thing about this saying is the reason Paul gives for being an honest workman. He does not say: “Become an honest workman so that you may support yourself.” He says: “Become an honest workman so that you may have something to give away to those who are poorer than yourself.” Here is a new idea and a new ideal—that of working in order to give away.

James Agate, tells of a letter from Arnold Bennett, the famous novelist, to a less fortunate writer. Bennett was an ambitious and in many ways a worldly man; but in this letter to a fellow writer whom he hardly knew, he says: “I have just been looking at my bankbook; and I find that I have a hundred pounds which I don’t need; I am sending you a cheque herewith for that amount.”

In modern society no man has overmuch to give away but we do well to remember the Christian ideal is that we work, not to amass things, but to be able, if need be, to give them away

(v) Paul forbids all foul-mouthed speaking; and then goes on to put the same thing positively. The Christian should be characterized by words which help his fellow men. As Moffatt translates it, Eliphaz the Temanite paid Job a tremendous compliment. “Your words,” he said, “have kept men on their feet” (

Job 4:4

4  “Your words have helped the tottering to stand,

And you have strengthened feeble knees.

    

Such are the words that every Christian ought to speak.

(vi) Paul urges us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the guide of life. When we act contrary to the counsel of our parents when we are young, we hurt them. Similarly, to act contrary to the guidance of the Holy Spirit is to grieve the Spirit and to hurt the heart of God, the Father, who, through the Spirit, sent his word to us.

Paul ends this chapter with a list of things which must go from life.

(a) There is bitterness (pikria). The Greeks defined this word as long-standing resentment, as the spirit which refuses to be reconciled. So many of us have a way of nursing our wrath to keep it warm, of brooding over the insults and the injuries which we have received. Every Christian might well pray that God would teach him how to forget.

(b) There are outbreaks of passion (thumos) and long-lived anger (orgē). The Greeks defined thumos as the kind of anger which is like the flame which comes from straw; it quickly blazes up and just as quickly subsides. On the other hand, they described orgē as anger which has become habitual. To the Christian the burst of temper and the long-lived anger are both alike forbidden.

(c) There is loud talking and insulting language. A certain famous preacher tells how his wife used to advise him, “In the pulpit, keep your voice down.” Whenever, in any discussion or argument, we become aware that our voice is raised, it is time to stop. The Jews spoke about what they called “the sin of insult,” and maintained that God does not hold him guiltless who speaks insultingly to his brother man.

Lear said of Cordelia:

“Her voice was ever soft,

Gentle and low, an excellent thing in woman.”

It would save a great deal of heartbreak in this world if we simply learned to keep our voices down and if, when we had nothing good to say to a person, we did not say anything at all. The argument which has to be supported in a shout is no argument; and the dispute which has to be conducted in insults is not an argument but a brawl.

So Paul comes to the summing up of his advice. He tells us to be kind (chrēstos). The Greeks defined this quality as the disposition of mind which thinks as much of its neighbour’s affairs as it does of its own. Kindness has learned the secret of looking outwards all the time, and not inwards. He tells us to forgive others as God forgave us. So, in one sentence, Paul lays down the law of personal relationships—that we should treat others as Jesus Christ has treated us.

[4]

4:25. Except for

Ephesians 4:30

30  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

    

Ephesians 4:32-5:2

32  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Chapter 5

Be Imitators of God

1  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;

2  and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

    

4:26. The exhortation to avoid sinning while angry is from

Psalm 4:4

4  Tremble, and do not sin;

Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.     Selah.    

on the wickedness of those who hold anger overnight, cf.

Hosea 7:6

6  For their hearts are like an oven

As they approach their plotting;

Their anger smolders all night,

In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.

    

the Essenes and some Greek philosophers also required that disputes be settled the same day. Learning to speak in the most helpful way (4:29) was also stressed.

4:27. The image here is probably one of warfare, and that the one who sins surrenders ground to the devil’s side

Ephesians 6:10-20

10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

11  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14  Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

19  and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

20  for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

4:28. Judaism valued laboring with one’s hands and sharing with the poor. Although Greek artisans no doubt prided themselves in their work, the aristocracy throughout the Mediterranean world disdained work with one’s hands as the duty of the lower classes.

4:29. Ancient wisdom literature often emphasized learning to speak rightly

Ephesians 4:25

25  Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 5:3-4

3  But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;

4  and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Many sayings in Proverbs emphasize the idea, including the encouragement to speak gracious, uplifting words

Proverbs 12:25

25  Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,

But a good word makes it glad.

Proverbs 15:23

23  A man has joy in an apt answer,

And how delightful is a timely word!

Proverbs 25:11

11  Like apples of gold in settings of silver

Is a word spoken in right circumstances.

Zechariah 1:13

13  The Lord answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words.

    

4:30. “Grieving” the Spirit reflects a serious offense; in Isaiah 63:10 (one of only two Old Testament texts to use the title “holy spirit”), it refers to Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness, which led to their rejection by God. Similarly, Israel’s rebellion against the Spirit led Moses to sin with his mouth according to

Psalm 106:33

33  Because they were rebellious against His Spirit,

He spoke rashly with his lips.

  

Numbers 20:10

10  and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?”

  

Deuteronomy 3:26

26  “But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me; and the Lord said to me, ‘Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter.

    

On “sealing” as a sign attesting that no one had tampered with the sealed merchandise, see comment on

Ephesians 1:13-14

13  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

14  who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

    

The Ephesians must preserve their attestation for the day when their redemption would be complete (the Old Testament “day of the Lord,” when he would judge the world and vindicate his people).

4:31. Vice lists were a common literary form in the writings of ancient moralists; sometimes all the vices listed pertained to a particular topic, as here (anger).

[5]

v. 26. This is borrowed from the Septuagint translation of Ps. 4:4, where we render it, Stand in awe, and sin not. Here is an easy concession; for as such we should consider it, rather than as a command. Be you angry. This we are apt enough to be, God knows: but we find it difficult enough to observe the restriction, and sin not. "If you have a just occasion to be angry at any time, see that it be without sin; and therefore take heed of excess in your anger.’’ If we would be angry and not sin (says one), we must be angry at nothing but sin; and we should be more jealous for the glory of God than for any interest or reputation of our own. One great and common sin in anger is to suffer it to burn into wrath, and then to let it rest; and therefore we are here cautioned against that. "If you have been provoked and have had your spirits greatly discomposed, and if you have bitterly resented any affront that has been offered, before night calm and quiet your spirits, be reconciled to the offender, and let all be well again: Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. If it burn into wrath and bitterness of spirit, O see to it that you suppress it speedily.’’ Observe, Though anger in itself is not sinful, yet there is the upmost danger of its becoming so if it be not carefully watched and speedily suppressed. And therefore, though anger may come into the bosom of a wise man, it rests only in the bosom of fools. Neither give place to the devil,

v. 27. Those who persevere in sinful anger and in wrath let the devil into their hearts, and suffer him to gain upon them, till he bring them to malice, mischievous machinations, etc. "Neither give place to the calumniator, or the false accuser’’ (so some read the words); that is, "let your ears be deaf to whisperers, talebearers, and slanderers.’’ 3. We are here warned against the sin of stealing, the breach of the eighth commandment, and advised to honest industry and to beneficence: Let his that stole steal no more,

v. 28. It is a caution against all manner of wrong-doing, by force or fraud. "Let those of you who, in the time of your gentilism, have been guilty of this enormity, be no longer guilty of it.’’ But we must not only take heed of the sin, but conscientiously abound in the opposite duty: not only not steal, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good. Idleness makes thieves. So Chrysostom, To gar kleptein argias estinStealing is the effect of idleness. Those who will not work, and who are ashamed to beg, expose themselves greatly to temptations to thievery. Men should therefore be diligent and industrious, not in any unlawful way, but in some honest calling: Working the thing which is good. Industry, in some honest way, will keep people out of temptation of doing wrong. But there is another reason why men ought to be industrious, namely, that they may be capable of doing some good, as well as that they may be preserved from temptation: That he may have to give to him that needeth. They must labour not only that they may live themselves, and live honestly, but they may distribute for supplying the wants of others. Observe, Even those who get their living by their labour should be charitable out of their little to those who are disabled for labour. So necessary and incumbent a duty is it to be charitable to the poor that even labourers and servants, and those who have but little for themselves, must cast their mite into the treasury. God must have his dues and the poor are his receivers. Observe further, Those alms that are likely to be acceptable to God must not be the produce of unrighteousness and robbery, but of honesty and industry. God hates robbery for burnt-offerings. 4. We are here warned against corrupt communication; and directed to that which is useful and edifying,

v. 29. Filthy and unclean words and discourse are poisonous and infectious, as putrid rotten meat: they proceed from and prove a great deal of corruption in the heart of the speaker, and tend to corrupt the minds and manners of others who hear them; and therefore Christians should beware of all such discourse. It may be taken in general for all that which provokes the lusts and passions of others. We must not only put off corrupt communications, but put on that which is good to the use of edifying. The great use of speech is to edify those with whom we converse. Christians should endeavour to promote a useful conversation: that it may minister grace unto the hearers; that it may be good for, and acceptable to, the hearers, in the way of information, counsel, pertinent reproof, or the like. Observe, It is the great duty of Christians to take care that they offend not with their lips, and that they improve discourse and converse, as much as may be, for the good of others. 5. Here is another caution against wrath and anger, with further advice to mutual love and kindly dispositions towards each other,

v. 31, 32. By bitterness, wrath, and anger, are meant violent inward resentment and displeasure against others: and, by clamour, big words, loud threatenings, and other intemperate speeches, by which bitterness, wrath, and anger, vent themselves. Christians should not entertain these vile passions in their hearts not be clamorous with their tongues. Evil speaking signifies all railing, reviling, and reproachful speeches, against such as we are angry with. And by malice we are to understand that rooted anger which prompts men to design and to do mischief to others. The contrary to all this follows: Be you kind one to another. This implies the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expressions of it, in an affable, humble, courteous behaviour. It becomes the disciples of Jesus to be kind one to another, as those who have learned, and would teach, the art of obliging. Tender-hearted; that is, merciful, and having tender sense of the distresses and sufferings of others, so as to be quickly moved to compassion and pity. Forgiving one another. Occasions of difference will happen among Christ’s disciples; and therefore they must be placable, and ready to forgive, therein resembling God himself, who for Christ’s sake hath forgiven them, and that more than they can forgive one another. Note, With God there is forgiveness; and he forgives sin for the sake of Jesus Christ, and on account of that atonement which he has made to divine justice. Note again, Those who are forgiven of God should be of a forgiving spirit, and should forgive even as God forgives, sincerely and heartily, readily and cheerfully, universally and for ever, upon the sinner’s sincere repentance, as remembering that they pray, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Now we may observe concerning all these particulars that the apostle has insisted on that they belong to the second table, whence Christians should learn the strict obligations they are under to the duties of the second table, and that he who does not conscientiously discharge them can never fear nor love God in truth and in sincerity, whatever he may pretend to.

In the midst of these exhortations and cautions the apostle interposes that general one, And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,

v. 30. By looking to what precedes, and to what follows, we may see what it is that grieves the Spirit of God. In the previous verses it is intimated that all lewdness and filthiness, lying, and corrupt communications that stir up filthy appetites and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. In what follows it is intimated that those corrupt passions of bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, and malice, grieve this good Spirit. By this we are not to understand that this blessed Being could properly be grieved or vexed as we are; but the design of the exhortation is that we act not towards him in such a manner as is wont to be grievous and disquieting to our fellow-creatures: we must not do that which is contrary to his holy nature and his will; we must not refuse to hearken to his counsels, nor rebel against his government, which things would provoke him to act towards us as men are wont to do towards those with whom they are displeased and grieved, withdrawing themselves and their wonted kindness from such, and abandoning them to their enemies. O provoke not the blessed Spirit of God to withdraw his presence and his gracious influences from you! It is a good reason why we should not grieve him that by him we are sealed unto the day of redemption. There is to be a day of redemption; the body is to be redeemed from the power of the grave at the resurrection-day, and then God’s people will be delivered from all the effects of sin, as well as from all sin and misery, which they are not till rescued out of the grave: and then their full and complete happiness commences. All true believers are sealed to that day. God has distinguished them from others, having set his mark upon them; and he gives them the earnest and assurance of a joyful and glorious resurrection; and the Spirit of God is the seal. Wherever that blessed Spirit is as a sanctifier, he is the earnest of all the joys and glories of the redemption-day; and we should be undone should God take away his Holy Spirit from us.

[6]

Verses 25–28

Take heed of anger and ungoverned passions. If there is just occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and to reprove, see that it be without sin. We give place to the devil, when the first motions of sin are not grievous to our souls; when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This teaches that as sin, if yielded unto, lets in the devil upon us, we are to resist it, keeping from all appearance of evil. Idleness makes thieves. Those who will not work, expose themselves to temptations to steal. Men ought to be industrious, that they may do some good, and that they may be kept from temptation. They must labour, not only that they may live honestly, but that they may have to give to the wants of others. What then must we think of those called Christians, who grow rich by fraud, oppression, and deceitful practices! Alms, to be accepted of God, must not be gained by unrighteousness and robbery, but by honesty and industry. God hates robbery for burnt-offerings.

Verses 29–32

Filthy words proceed from corruption in the speaker, and they corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them: Christians should beware of all such discourse. It is the duty of Christians to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring persons to think seriously, and to encourage and warn believers by their conversation. Be ye kind one to another. This sets forth the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of it, in a humble, courteous behaviour. Mark how God’s forgiveness causes us to forgive. God forgives us, though we had no cause to sin against him. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. All lying, and corrupt communications, that stir up evil desires and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve the Holy Spirit. Provoke not the holy, blessed Spirit of God to withdraw his presence and his gracious influences. The body will be redeemed from the power of the grave at the resurrection day. Wherever that blessed Spirit dwells as a Sanctifier, he is the earnest of all the joys and glories of that redemption day; and we should be undone, should God take away his Holy Spirit from us.

[7]

And to take heed of the sins practised among the heathen 25–32

[8]

The remaining teaching in the section focuses especially on the alienating sin of anger (26) and related sins (29–31). In place of these, believers are called to pattern themselves on the truth of God revealed in Jesus (4:32–5:2). The whole is substantially a rewriting of

Colossians 3:8-12

8  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

9  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

10  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—

11  a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

12  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

   

26 introduces the main topic of the passage: anger. The nrsv’s ‘Be angry, but do not sin’ entirely misses the force of the original. It is not an encouragement to righteous anger (indeed all anger is condemned in

Ephesians 4:31

31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

  

 it is a warning, ‘If you become angry, beware! You are at sin’s door!’ If in the West anger is regarded as a sign of manliness, Jewish tradition was more aware of its divisive, satanic, and corrupting power (see the incisive criticism of anger and its dangers in Testament of

Dan 1:18–5:2

Anger, and the related sins of vs 29 and 31, are the epitome of socially destructive and alienating sins, and so characteristic of the old creation. Theft (28) is another; for it is experienced not merely as the deprivation of property (akin to accidental loss) but as a defiling assault on one’s private sphere and a destroyer of trust within the community. These things and others of their kind grieve the Holy Spirit (a telling allusion to

Isaiah 63:10

10  But they rebelled

And grieved His Holy Spirit;

Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy,

He fought against them.

    

in the sense that they oppose the very direction of his reconciling, unifying, new-creation work in the believer. In place of these socially destructive activities, Paul advocates corresponding ones that are cohesive, upbuilding, and pattern the new-creation existence epitomized and brought into being in Christ: the erstwhile thief should turn philanthropist instead (28); speech should not be used to befoul and tear down, but for good (29); in place of anger, the believer should show the forgiving character of God (32; 5:1) and the self-sacrificial love of Christ who died to atone for us (5:2).

[9]

a.     Lying (4:24)

b.     Uncontrolled anger (4:26–27)

c.     Stealing (4:28a)

d.     Corrupt longings (4:29a, 31)

e.     Grieving the Holy Spirit (4:30)

2.     They are to put on the new self, including (4:25, 28b–29, 32):

a.     Truthfulness (4:25)

b.     Honest labor (4:28b)

c.     Helping those in need (4:28c)

d.     Building one another up (4:29b)

e.     Kindness and compassion (4:32a)

f.     Forgiveness (4:32b)

[10]

4:26 “Be angry, and yet do not sin” This is a PRESENT MIDDLE (deponent) IMPERATIVE. This is a quote from

Psalm 4:4

4     Tremble, and do not sin;

Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.     Selah.  

There are some areas of life where anger is appropriate, but it must be handled properly (i.e. Jesus cleansing the temple cf.

John 2:13-17

13  The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14  And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.

15  And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;

16  and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”

17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”

This begins a series of PRESENT IMPERATIVES with the NEGATIVE PARTICLE which usually means stop an act already in progress (cf. vv. 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30).

“Do not let the sun go down on your anger” This may have been an allusion to

Deuteronomy 24:15

15  “You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the Lord and it become sin in you.    

The Jewish day began at sunset

Genesis 1:5

5  God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. 

Anger is a powerful emotion which must be dealt with quickly. This may refer metaphorically to time or literally to sleep which allows anger to become a subconscious force.

  4:27

NASB “do not give the devil an opportunity”
NKJV “nor give a place to the devil”
NRSV “do not make room for the devil”
TEV “don’t give the Devil a chance”
NJB “or else you will give the devil a foothold”

This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE with the NEGATIVE PARTICLE which usually imples stop an act in process. Anger which is not godly is an opening for spiritual attack; even godly anger (

John 2:13-17

13  The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14  And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.

15  And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;

16  and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”

17  His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”

Matthew 21:12-13

12  And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.

13  And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”    

must be dealt with quickly

Ephesians 6:10-18

10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

11  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14  Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

    

The term “devil” is a Greek compound (diabolos) which meant “to throw across”

Acts 13:10

Eph. 4:27

Eph 6:11

I Tim. 3:6-7

II Tim. 2:26

It was a metaphorical way of referring to the OT angel, Satan, the accuser. Paul referred to Satan in several passages

Acts 26:18

18  to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Romans 10:20

20  And Isaiah is very bold and says,

“I was found by those who did not seek Me,

I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

    

1 Corinthians 5:5

5  I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    

1 Corinthians 7:5

5  Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

    

2 Corinthians 2:11

11  so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.    

2 Corinthians 11:14

14  No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.    

2 Corinthians 12:7

7  Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!

    

1 Thessalonians 2:18

18  For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us.    

2 Thessalonians 2:9

9  that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

 

1 Timothy 1:20

20  Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

1 Timothy 5:15

15  for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.  

Satan was apparently an angelic being who rebelled against God

Gen. 3

Job 1–2

Zech. 3

It is biblically difficult to talk about Satan because

(1) the Bible never speaks definitively of the origin or purpose of evil and

(2) the OT texts which are usually seen as possibly related to Satan’s rebellion are specifically directed to the condemnation of prideful earthly rulers

King of Babylon, Isa. 14 and

King of Tyre, Ezek. 28 and not Satan.

It is obvious from several NT passages that there was conflict in the spiritual realm

Matthew 4:10

10  Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ”

    

Matthew 12:26

26  “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?

    

Matthew 16:23

23  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”;

John 13:27

27  After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”

    

John 14:30

30  “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;

    

John 16:11

11  and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

    

Acts 5:3

3  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?

    

2 Corinthians 4:4

4  in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    

Ephesians 2:2

2  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

    

1 John 5:19

19  We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

    

Revelation 2:9

9  ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

    

Revelation 2:13

13  ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

    

Revelation 2:24

24  ‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you.

     

Revelation 3:9

9  ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.

    

Revelation 12:9

9  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

     

Revelation 20:2

2  And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

    

Revelation 20:7

7  When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,

    

Where, when, and how are all mysteries. Believers do have an angelic enemy

Ephesians 2:2

2  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

   

The relationship between God and Satan has developed from one of service to antagonism. Satan was not created evil. His adversarial work in

Gen. 3,

Job 1–2

Zech. 3

were God’s will (cf. A. B. Davidson’s An Old Testament Theology , pp. 300–306, for the development of evil in the Bible). It provided a test for human loyalty and trustworthiness. Mankind failed!

4:28 “he who steals must steal no longer;” The new life in Christ has the potential and goal to radically and permanently change one’s actions and character. This change is an evidence of one’s salvation and a witness to the lost.

“he must labor,” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE. Judaism held manual labor in high regard; so too, did early Christianity

1 Thessalonians 4:11

11  and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,

    

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

10  For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

 11  For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.

12  Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.

   

“in order that he may have something to share with him who has need” Labor is not only the will of God for mankind, but a way to share with those in need. Believers are stewards of God-given prosperity

Deuteronomy 8:11-20

11  “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today;

12  otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them,

13  and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies,

14  then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

15  “He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint.

16  “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.

17  “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’

18  “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

19  “It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish.

20  “Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.

Not owners. Our giving is a true barometer of our spiritual health

II Cor. 8-9

SPECIAL TOPIC: WEALTHI.     Biblical Perspectives on WealthA.     The perspective of the OT as a whole1.     God is the owner of all thingsa.     Genesis 1–2b.     I Chr. 29:11c.     Psalm 24:1; 50:12; 89:11d.     Isaiah 66:22.     Humans are stewards of God’s wealth for His purposesa.     Deut. 8:11–20b.     Leviticus 19:9–18c.     Job 31:16–33d.     Isaiah 58:6–103.     Wealth is an aspect of worshipa.     the two tithes(1)     Numbers 18:21–29; Deut. 12:6–7; 14:22–27(2)     Deut. 14:28–29; 26:12–15b.     Proverbs 3:94.     Wealth is seen as a gift from God for Covenant fidelitya.     Deut. 27–28b.     Prov. 3:10; 8:20–21; 10:22; 15:65.     Warning against wealth at the expense of othersa.     Proverbs 21:6b.     Jeremiah 5:26–29c.     Hosea 12:6–8d.     Micah 6:9–126.     Wealth is not sinful in itself unless it becomes the prioritya.     Psalm 52:7; 62:10; 73:3–9b.     Proverbs 11:28; 23:4–5; 27:24; 28:20–22c.     Job 31:24–28B.     The unique perspective of Proverbs1.     Wealth is related to personal efforta.     slothfulness and laziness condemned, Prov. 6:6–11; 10:4–5, 26; 12:24, 27; 13:2; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15, 24; 20:4, 13; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30–34; 26:13–16b.     Wealth is related to hard work, Prov. 12:11–14; 13:112.     Poverty vs. Riches is used to illustrate righteousness vs. wickedness, Prov. 10:1ff; 11:27–28; 13:7; 15:16–17; 28:6, 19–203.     Wisdom (knowing God and His Word and living out this knowledge daily) is better than riches, Prov. 3:13–15; 8:9–11, 18–21; 13:184.     Warnings and admonitionsa.     warnings(1)     beware of guarantying a neighbor’s loan (surety), Prov. 6:1–5; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26–27; 27:13(2)     beware of getting rich through evil means, Prov. 1:19; 10:2, 15; 11:1; 13:11; 16:11; 20:10, 23; 21:6; 22:16, 22; 28:8(3)     beware of borrowing, Prov. 22:7(4)     beware of the fleetingness of wealth, Prov. 23:4–5(5)     wealth will not help on judgment day, Prov. 11:4(6)     wealth has many “friends,” Prov. 14:20; 19:4b.     admonitions(1)     generosity advocated, Prov. 11:24–26; 14:31; 17:5; 19:17; 22:9, 22–23; 23:10–11; 28:27(2)     righteousness is better than wealth, Prov. 16:8; 28:6, 8, 20–22(3)     pray for need, not abundance, Prov. 30:7–9(4)     giving to the poor is giving to God, Prov. 14:31; 19:17II.     The Perspective of Wealth in the NTA.     The perspective of Jesus1.     Jesusa.     wealth forms a unique temptation to trust in ourselves and our resources instead of God and His resources(1)     Matt. 6:24(2)     Matt. 19:23; Mark 10:23–31(3)     Luke 12:15–21(4)     Luke 12:33–34(5)     Matt. 13:22(6)     Revelation 3:17–19b.     God will provide our physical needs, Matt. 6:19–34; Luke 12:29–32c.     sowing is related to reaping (this is true in the spiritual realm as well as the physical)(1)     Matt. 6:14; 18:35(2)     Luke 6:36–38(3)     Mark 4:24d.     Repentance affects wealth, Luke 19:2–10 (Lev. 5:16)e.     economic exploitation condemned(1)     Matt. 23:25(2)     Mark 12:38–40f.     end-time judgment is related to our use of wealth, Matt. 25:31–462.     Paula.     a practical view like Proverbs (work)(1)     Ephesians 4:28(2)     I Thess. 4:11–12(3)     II Thess. 3:8, 11–12(4)     I Timothy 5:8b.     a spiritual view like Jesus (things are fleeting, be content)(1)     I Timothy 6:6–10 (contentment)(2)     Philippians 4:11–12 (Heb. 13:5, contentment)(3)     I Timothy 6:17–19 (generosity and trust in God, not riches)(4)     I Corinthians 7:30–31 (transitoriness of things)c.     sowing is related to reaping, Gal. 6:7III.     Theological ConclusionsA.     There is no systematic biblical theology concerning wealth.1.     In the OT wealth and health were seen as blessings from God Deut. 27–28) for covenant obedience. However, Job and Ps. 73 show that this simple answer does not always fit reality.2.     In the NT wealth is not condemned nor advocated, however, wealth is often a barrier to trust in God.B.     There is no definitive passage on this subject. Therefore, insights must be gleaned from different passages. Take care not to read your views into these isolated prooftexts.C.     Proverbs, which was written by the wisdom teachers of Israel (sages), has a different perspective than other biblical genres. Proverbs is practical and individually focused. It balances and must be balanced by other Scripture.D.     Our culture needs to analyze its views and practices concerning wealth in light of the Bible. Our priorities are misplaced if capitalism or communism is our only guide. Why and how one succeeds are more important questions than how much one has accumulated.E.     Accumulation of wealth must be balanced with true worship and responsible stewardship II Cor. 8–9).

  4:29

NASB “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth”
NKJV “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth”
NRSV “Let no evil talk come out of your mouth”
TEV “Do not use harmful words in talking”
NJB “Guard against foul talk”

This term literally was used of something rotten or of crumbling stone work

Matthew 7:17-18

17  “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

18  “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

    

Matthew 12:37

37  “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Luke 6:43

43  “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.

    

It came to be used metaphorically of something “corrupt,” “depraved,” “vicious,” “foul” or “impure.” In context it refers to the teachings and lifestyles of the false teachers

Colossians 3:8

8  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

    

It does not, in this context, refer to jokes, or coarse jesting

Ephesians 5:4

4  and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

   

Colossians 4:6

6  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

    

Jesus taught that speech reveals the heart

Mark 7:15

15  there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.

   

Mark 7:18-23

18  And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him,

19  because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

20  And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.

21  “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,

22  deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.

23  “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

SPECIAL TOPIC: HUMAN SPEECHI.     Opening Thoughts From Proverbs on Human SpeechA.     Human speech enables us to communicate to others how we feel about life. Therefore, it reveals who we really are (Prov. 18:2; 4:23, 20–27). Speech is the acid test of the person (Prov. 23:7).B.     We are social creatures. We are concerned with acceptance and affirmation. We need it from God and from our fellow humans. Words have the power to meet these needs in both positive (Prov. 17:10) and negative (Prov. 12:18) ways.C.     There is tremendous power in human speech (Prov. 19:20–21); the power to bless and heal (Prov. 10:11, 21) and the power to curse and destroy (Prov. 11:9).D.     We reap what we sow (Prov. 12:14).II.     Principles from Proverbs on Human SpeechA.     The negative and destructive potential of human speech1.     the words of evil men, 1:11–19; 10:6; 11:9, 11; 12:5–62.     the words of the adulteress, 5:2–5; 6:24–35; 7:5ff; 9:13–18; 22:143.     the words of the liar, 6:12–15, 17, 19; 10:18; 12:17–19, 22; 14:5, 25; 17:4; 19:5, 9, 28; 21:28; 24:28; 25:18; 26:23–284.     the words of the fool, 10:10, 14; 14:3; 15:14; 18:6–85.     the words of false witnesses, 6:19; 12:17; 19:5, 9, 28; 21:8; 24:28; 25:186.     the words of a gossip, 6:14, 19; 11:13; 16:27–28; 20:19; 25:23; 26:207.     the words too quickly spoken, 6:1–5; 12:18; 20:25; 29:208.     the words of flattery, 29:59.     too many words, 10:14, 19, 23; 11:13; 13:3, 16; 14:23; 15:2; 17:27–28; ;18:2; 21:23; 29:2010.     perverted words, 17:20; 19:1B.     The positive, healing and edifying potential of human speech1.     the words of the righteous, 10:11, 20–21, 31–32; 12:14; 13:2; 15:23; 16:13; 18:202.     the words of the discerning, 10:13; 11:123.     the words of knowledge, 15:1, 4, 7, 8; 20:154.     the words of healing, 15:45.     the words of a gentle answer, 15:1, 4, 18, 23; 16:1; 25:156.     the words of a pleasant answer, 12:25; 15:26, 30; 16:247.     the words of the law, 22:17–21III.     Principles from the New Testament on Human SpeechA.     Human speech enables us to communicate to others how we feel about life, therefore, it reveals who we really are (Matt. 15:1–20; Mark 7:2–23).B.     We are social creatures. We are concerned with acceptance and affirmation. We need it from God and from our fellow man. Words have the power to meet these needs in both positive ( II Tim. 3:15–17) and negative (James 3:2–12) ways.C.     There is tremendous power in human speech; the power to bless (Eph. 4:29) and the power to curse (James 3:9). We are responsible for what we say (James 3:2–12).D.     We will be judged by our words (Matt. 12:33–37; Luke 6:39–45) as well as our deeds (Matt. 25:31–46). We reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7).

“but only such a word as is good for edification” One evidence of God-given spiritual gifts is that they edify the whole body (cf. Rom. 14:13–23; I Cor. 14:4, 5, 12, 17, 26). Believers must live, give and minister for the good of the body (the church, cf. I Cor. 12:7), not for themselves (cf. v. 3). Again the corporate aspect of biblical faith is emphasized above individual freedom (cf. Rom. 14:1–15:13).

“that it may give grace to those who hear” In context this cannot mean “grace,” as in salvation, but goodness or favor to other believers, especially those tempted and tested by (1) false teachers (cf. II Pet. 2:1–21) or (2) the pull of one’s previous life in paganism (cf. II Pet. 2:22).

4:30 “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE with the NEGATIVE PARTICLE which usually means to stop an act in process. This expresses the truth that the Spirit is a person. It also shows that believers’ actions cause pain to the Holy Spirit (cf. I Thess. 5:19). This may be an allusion to Isa. 63:10. The Spirit’s goal for all believers is Christlikeness (cf. 1:4; 2:10; 4:13; Rom. 8:28–29; Gal. 4:19).

“by whom you were sealed” This is an AORIST PASSIVE INDICATIVE. This sealing is done by the Spirit at salvation (cf. Eph. 1:13–14; Rev. 7:2–4). Sealing was a cultural sign of ownership, security and genuineness. Believers belong to Christ!

“for the day of redemption” This refers to the Second Coming, Resurrection Day, or Judgment Day, depending on one’s relationship to Christ. See Special Topic: Ransom/Redeem at Col. 1:14.

4:31 “all bitterness” This refers to a settled state of animosity with no chance of reconciliation.

“wrath” This (thumos)refers to a fast burning anger or rage (cf. II Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:20; Col. 3:8).

“anger” This (orgē) refers to a slow burning or settled resentment (cf. II Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:20; Col. 3:8).

“clamor” This refers to an outcry (cf. Matt. 25:6; Acts 23:9). In this context it might refer to loud threats or charges of wrong doing by the false teachers or their followers.

“slander … with all malice” This may also reflect the techniques of the false teachers. This list shows the problems caused by (1) the false teachers or (2) the characteristics that cause disunity. These same sins are also listed in Col. 3:8.

“put away” This is an AORIST PASSIVE IMPERATIVE. Believers must allow the Spirit to remove these characteristics of the old, fallen, Adamic nature once and for all. As salvation involves a decisive personal choice, so does the Christian life.

4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other” This is contrasted with v. 31. It is a PRESENT MIDDLE (deponent) IMPERATIVE. These are the positive continuing commands (cf. Col. 3:12–13) that (1) please the Spirit, (2) build the fellowship of the saints, and (3) attract lost people.

“just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” This is the underlying motive for believers’ actions is the actions of Christ toward them (cf. Matt. 6:12, 14–15; 18:21–35; Phil. 2:1–11; I John 3:16).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1.     List the characteristics of “worthy lives.” How does your life compare?

2.     Why is unity so important?

3.     What is Paul stressing in verses 4–6?

4.     Does every Christian have a spiritual gift? When do they receive it? Who gives it? For what purpose?

5.     What is the goal of the church?

6.     List the plight of the heathen (vv. 17–19).

7.     List three things that the Christian should do (vv. 22–24).

8.     List the four vices of Christians listed in vv. 25–31.

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4:25–5:2 SEPARATE FROM SINFUL DEEDS

Paul presented a contrast between the old and new manners of life. The new manner is directed in each case toward giving grace (4:29; cf. 4:7) to another person (4:25, “we belong to each other”; 4:28, “need”; 4:29, “helpful”; 4:32, “forgiving”). This is based on God’s grace toward believers (4:32). They were to be appropriately angry over sin (4:26) like Paul was in 1 Corinthians 5:3–5, 12–13. But they were not to sin by not seeking to bring about forgiveness and restoration like the Corinthians did in 2 Corinthians 2:5–11. There is a place for a proper anger, that is, a righteous indignation, but one must be careful to avoid giving the devil opportunity. One of the Ten Commandments prohibited stealing (4:28; Exod. 20:15).

Paul warned against causing the Holy Spirit pain and sorrow through sin and a refusal to follow his leading (4:30). Christians grieve the Spirit when they do not “encourage” (4:29) themselves or others. Although the Spirit can be grieved by believers’ sins, he will never abandon those who belong to him (Rom. 8:9).

As children imitate their earthly fathers, so believers are to imitate their heavenly Father (5:1), and 5:2 tells how. The exhortation of 5:2 could be translated, “Keep on walking in love.” The words “fragrant offering” (5:2) look back to the sweet savor offerings of Leviticus 1–3, which prefigured Christ’s voluntary sacrifice of himself.

5:3–14 SEPARATE FROM SINFUL PEOPLE

“Those who disobey” (5:6) are unbelievers who are characterized by disobedience to God. Paul admonished the believers to walk in the light, a metaphor for a life of holiness. While spiritual darkness is the realm of unbelievers, light is the realm of Christians (Col. 1:12–13; John 8:12; 12:35). Believers “expose” the things of darkness (5:11) by living differently (4:17–24), walking with God (1 John 1:7), being a light (Matt. 5:14–16), and rebuking sin (2 Tim. 3:16). Paul’s quotes in Ephesians 5:14 were probably taken from Isaiah 26:19 and 60:1. This verse contains a sample of how one might reprove a sinner.

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II.  Walk In Purity (4:17–32)

The first part of this chapter described the believer’s relationship to the church; now Paul deals with the believer’s relationship to the world. Certainly we are “in Christ” and a part of the body; but we are also in the world, where there is temptation and defilement.

We cannot depart from the world because we have a responsibility to witness to it; but we must walk in purity and not allow the world to defile us.

Paul starts with the negative: do not walk the way the unsaved heathen walk. He explains the reasons for their godless walk:

(1) their minds are darkened because they believe lies and have not received the truth;

(2) they are spiritually dead;

(3) they have surrendered themselves to do all kinds of sin. Compare this description with

eph 2:1–3

and

2 Cor. 4

We might summarize their plight by saying they were walking in the wrong way because they did not know the truth and had never received the life. Only the Christ of John 14:6 could meet their spiritual needs.

The Christian life must be radically different from the old life. Paul expected the Ephesians to experience changes, and he gave three admonitions: “put off” (vv. 22–23), “put on” (v. 24), and “put away” (vv. 25ff). Romans 6 teaches us that the old self has been crucified and buried, and that, as we reckon this to be true, we “put off” the old man. God has done His part; it remains for us to believe what He has said and “change clothes.” The instruction Jesus gave concerning Lazarus applies to each believer: “Loose him—take off the grave clothes—and let him go!” But it is not enough simply to die to the old life; there must also be resurrection and the manifestation of the new life. We put off the “grave clothes” of the old life and put on the “grace clothes” of the new life. We are a part of God’s new creation (v. 24 and 2:10) and therefore we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

We must “put away” (once-for-all) certain sins, and he names these in 25ff. Note how Paul ties each commandment to a spiritual truth: we are members of each other (v. 25); we are sealed until the day of redemption (v. 30); God has forgiven us (v. 32). Doctrine and duty are twin blessings in the Bible, both the Christian’s wealth and his walk in Christ.

If we belong to the truth, how can we indulge in lies? Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44); his spirits tell lies (1 John 2:21, 27); one day the whole world will believe “The Lie” (2 Thes. 2:9–11).

There is an anger that is not sinful (Mark 3:5). If we are angry at persons, then sin will come along; if we are angry at sin and sinful principles, we can maintain a holy walk. How easy it is for Christians to call their tempers “righteous indignation”! The wrath of man never brings about the righteousness of God (James 1:20).

Giving place to the devil (v. 27) involves both lying and anger; for Satan is a liar and a murderer. Do we realize that lies and hypocrisy and anger give Satan a foothold in our lives? Cain’s lies and anger led to murder (Gen. 4).

Verse 25 ties in with 1 Thes. 4:11 and 2 Thes. 3:6–12. The unsaved thief used to rob to please himself; now that he is saved, he should work to be able to give to others. This is the wonderful change grace makes in the heart of a person.

Our lips should speak that which builds up (Col. 4:6; Ps. 141:3). Corruption from the lips only means that there is corruption in the heart. The Spirit has sealed us (1:13–14); we should not grieve Him by allowing these sins of action and attitude to be in our lives. In Scripture, the Spirit is pictured as a dove (John 1:32), and a dove is a clean bird that loves peace. Anger and clamor should be done away with by means of forgiveness and Christian love.

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4:17–32 Walk the new walk, talk the new talk. Gentile Christians should “throw off” their pagan past and instead display a way of life in keeping with their new nature in Christ (4:17–24; see Rom. 12:2). Paul offered specific guidelines relating to things such as dishonesty, anger, stealing, and misuse of the tongue (4:25–29, 31–32). Such wrong actions bring grief to the Holy Spirit, who is the permanent houseguest of every believer (4:30).[14]

Ephesians 4:26

Be ye angry and sin not (ὀργιζεσθε και μη ἁμαρτανετε [orgizesthe kai mē hamartanete]). Permissive imperative, not a command to be angry. Prohibition against sinning as the peril in anger. Quotation from Psa. 4:4. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath ( ἡλιος μη ἐπιδυετω ἐπι παροργισμῳ [ho hēlios mē epiduetō epi parorgismōi]). Danger in settled mood of anger. Παροργισμος [Parorgismos] (provocation), from παροργιζω [parorgizō], to exasperate to anger, occurs only in LXX and here in N.T.

Ephesians 4:27

Neither give place to the devil (μηδε διδοτε τοπον τῳ διαβολῳ [mēde didote topon tōi diabolōi]). Present active imperative in prohibition, either stop doing it or do not have the habit. See Rom. 12:19 for this idiom.

Ephesians 4:28

Steal no more (μηκετι κλεπτετω [mēketi kleptetō]). Clearly here, cease stealing (present active imperative with μηκετι [mēketi]). The thing that is good (το ἀγαθον [to agathon]). “The good thing” opposed to his stealing and “with his hands” (ταις χερσιν [tais chersin], instrumental case) that did the stealing. See II Thess. 3:10. Even unemployment is no excuse for stealing. To give (μεταδιδοναι [metadidonai]). Present active infinitive of μεταδιδωμι [metadidōmi], to share with one.

Ephesians 4:29

Corrupt (σαπρος [sapros]). Rotten, putrid, like fruit (Matt. 7:17), fish (Matt. 13:48), here the opposite of ἀγαθος [agathos] (good). For edifying as the need may be (προς οἰκοδομην της χρειας [pros oikodomēn tēs chreias]). “For the build-up of the need,” “for supplying help when there is need.” Let no other words come out. That it may give (ἱνα δῳ [hina dōi]). For this elliptical use of ἱνα [hina] see on 5:33.

Ephesians 4:30

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God (μη λυπειτε το πνευμα το ἁγιον του θεου [mē lupeite to pneuma to hagion tou theou]). “Cease grieving” or “do not have the habit of grieving.” Who of us has not sometimes grieved the Holy Spirit? In whom (ἐν [en hōi]). Not “in which.” Ye were sealed (ἐσφραγισθητε [esphragisthēte]). See 1:13 for this verb, and 1:14 for ἀπολυτρωσεως [apolutrōseōs], the day when final redemption is realized.

Ephesians 4:31

Bitterness (πικρια [pikria]). Old word from πικρος [pikros] (bitter), in N.T. only here and Acts 8:23; Rom. 3:14; Heb. 12:15. Clamour (κραυγη [kraugē]). Old word for outcry (Matt. 25:6; Luke 1:42). See Col. 3:8 for the other words. Be put away (ἀρθητω [arthētō]). First aorist passive imperative of αἰρω [airō], old verb, to pick up and carry away, to make a clean sweep.

Ephesians 4:32

Be ye kind to one another (γινεσθε εἰς ἀλληλους χρηστοι [ginesthe eis allēlous chrēstoi]). Present middle imperative of γινομαι [ginomai], “keep on becoming kind (χρηστος [chrēstos], used of God in Rom. 2:4) toward one another.” See Col. 3:12f. Tenderhearted (εὐσπλαγχνοι [eusplagchnoi]). Late word (εὐ, σπλαγχνα [eu, splagchna]) once in Hippocrates, in LXX, here and I Peter 3:8 in N.T.

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26. Be ye angry and sin not (ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε). Cited from Ps. 4:5, after the Septuagint. Hebrew, stand in awe and sin not. Righteous anger is commanded, not merely permitted.

Wrath (παροργισμῷ). Irritation, exasperation; something not so enduring as ὀργή anger, which denotes a deep-seated sentiment. See on John 3:36.

27. Place. Room.

29. Corrupt (σαπρὸς). See on Luke 6:43, and Col. 4:6.

That which is good (εἴ τις ἀγαθὸς). Lit., if any is good. Discourse that is good, whatever it be.

To the use of edifying (πρὸς οικοδομὴν τῆς χρείας). Lit., for the building up of the need. Rev., edifying as the need may be. Compare 1 Thess. 5:11, 14.

31. Bitterness (πικρία). Bitter frame of mind.

Wrath. What is commanded in ver. 26 is here forbidden, because viewed simply on the side of human passion.

Anger (θυμὸς). Violent outbreak. See on John 3:36; Jas. 5:7.

Clamor (κραυγὴ). Outward manifestation of anger in vociferation or brawling.

Evil-speaking (βλασφημία). See on Mark 7:22.

Malice (κακίᾳ). The root of all the rest. See on Jas. 1:21.

32. Be ye (γίνεσθε). Lit., become, as following the putting away of anger, etc.

Kind (χρηστοί). See on easy, Matt. 11:30; gracious, 1 Pet. 2:3.

Each other (ἐαυτοῖς). Lit., yourselves. See on Col. 3:13. “Doing as a body for yourselves that which God did once for you all” (Alford).

[16]

 (4:26) There are three words for “anger” in the Greek New Testament. Thumos (Θυμος) speaks of a turbulent commotion, the boiling agitation of the feelings, passion, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding, which is forbidden in Ephesians 4:31. Parorgismos (Παροργισμος), translated “wrath” in 4:26, is also forbidden. It refers to anger that is accompanied by irritation, exasperation, embitterment. Orgē (Ὀργη) is an anger which is an abiding and settled habit of the mind that is aroused under certain conditions. This is the anger spoken of in the words, “be ye angry.” Trench says: “Under certain conditions, orgē (ὀργη) (anger) is a righteous passion to entertain. The Scripture has nothing in common with the Stoic’s absolute condemnation of anger. It inculcates no apathetic attitude, but only a moderation, not an absolute suppression of the passions which were given to man as winds to fill the sails of his soul, as Plutarch excellently puts it. When guided by reason, anger is a right affection, so the Scripture permits it, ant not only permits, but on fit occasion demands it.… There is a ‘wrath of God’ (Matt. 3:7, Rom. 12:19); who would not love good unless He hated evil, the two being so inseparable, that either He must do both or neither; a wrath also of the merciful Son of Man (Mk. 3:5); and a wrath which righteous men not merely may, but, as they are righteous, must feel; nor can there be a surer or sadder token of an utterly prostrate moral condition than the not being able to be angry with sin—and sinners. ‘Anger,’ says Fuller, ‘is one of the sinews of the soul; and he that wants it hath a maimed mind, and with Jacob sinew-shrunk in the hollow of his thigh, must needs halt. Nor is it good to converse with such as cannot be angry.’ ‘The affections’ as another English divine has said, ‘are not, like poisonous plants, to be eradicated, but as wild, to be cultivated.’ St. Paul is not therefore, as so many understand him, condescending to human infirmity, and saying, ‘Your anger shall not be imputed to you as sin, if you put it away before nightfall,’ but rather, “Be ye angry, yet in this anger of yours suffer no sinful element to mingle; there is that which may cleave even to a righteous anger, the parorgismos (παροργισμος), the irritation, the exasperation, the embitterment which must be dismissed at once, that so, being defecated (purified) of this impurer element which mingled with it, that only may remain which has a right to remain.”

The words, “be ye angry,” are a present imperative in the Greek text, commanding a continuous action. This orgē (ὀργη), this abiding, settled attitude of righteous indignation against sin and sinful things, is commanded, together with the appropriate actions when conditions make them necessary. But the exhortation “and sin not” is provided as a check and restraint. It is, “stop sinning.” Expositors says: “A righteous wrath is acknowledged in Scripture as something that not only may but ought to be, and is seen in Christ Himself (Mk. 3:5). So Paul speaks here of an anger that is approvable and to be enjoined, while in ‘and sin not’ he forbids only a particular form or measure of anger. As the following clause suggests, even a righteous wrath by over-indulgence may pass too easily into sin.”

In the words, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” the word “wrath” is parorgismos (παροργισμος), anger that is mingled with irritation, exasperation, and embitterment. Such anger is forbidden. In Ephesians 6:4, “Provoke to wrath” is our word parorgizō (παροργιζω), the verbal form of parorgismos (παροργισμος). This kind of anger is forbidden, and if indulged in must be checked and surrendered without delay.

Translation. Be constantly angry with a righteous indignation, and stop sinning. Do not allow the sun to go down upon your irritated, exasperated, embittered anger.

(4:27) “Neither give place” is in a construction in Greek which forbids the continuance of an action already going on. It is literally, “And stop giving place.” “Place” is topos (τοπος), “any portion of space marked off from the surrounding territory.” Here it is used in the sense of “opportunity, power, occasion for acting.”

Translation. And stop giving an occasion for acting (opportunity) to the devil.

(4:28) The Greek is, “The one who is stealing, let him no longer be stealing.” That sin was still being committed by the members of the Ephesian church. Expositors says: “Stealing was not wholly condemned by ancient heathen opinion. It was even allowed by the Lacedaemonians. It was a vice into which the recently converted living in the old pagan surroundings, especially when unemployed, might all too readily slip. It has been thought strange, scarcely credible indeed, that professing Christians in these Asiatic churches would have given way to thieving. But the Epistles bear witness to the existence of grosser offenses against morality in the churches.” Paul now offers a corrective to stealing, in the words, “but rather let him be laboring, working with his own hands that which is good, in order that he may be having wherewith to be sharing with the one who is having need.”

Translation. The one who is stealing, let him no longer be stealing, but rather let him be laboring, working with his own hands that which is good, in order that he may be having wherewith to be sharing with the one who is having need.

(4:29) The Greek order is, “every word that is corrupt, out of your mouth let it not proceed.” Expositors says: “pas (πας) (every) … (μη) (no), the well-known Hebraistic form, the negative attaching itself to the verb, means ‘non-utterance’—let that be for every word.” The word “communication” is logos (λογος), “a word,” here in the sense of “a saying, utterance, speech.” “Corrupt” is sapros (σαπρος), “rotten, worn out, unfit for use, worthless, bad.” Paul goes on; “Every word that is corrupt, out of your mouth let it not be proceeding, but whatever is good, suitable for the use of edification with respect to the need, and this, in order that it may impart grace to those who are hearing.” “Grace” is charis (χαρις), the n.t. word for God’s grace in salvation. Here it refers to the spiritual blessings and benefits that will accrue to the hearers from the gracious words of the speaker.

Translation. Every word that is rotten and unfit for use, out of your mouth let it not be proceeding, but whatever is good, suitable for edification with respect to the need, in order that it may impart grace to the hearers.

(4:30) The Greek has it, “And stop grieving the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God.” Expositors says: “This is not a general exhortation, but one bearing, as the ‘and’ indicates, particularly on the preceding injunction. The utterance of evil or worthless words is repugnant to the holiness of the Spirit, and is to be refrained from as calculated to grieve Him. The injunction is made more solemn by the designation as ‘the Holy Spirit’ and ‘the Spirit of God.’ The Spirit is here seen as capable of feeling, and so as personal. In Isaiah 63:10 we have a similar idea, following the statement that Jehovah was afflicted in all His people’s afflictions. These terms, no doubt, are anthropopathic, as all terms which we can use of God are anthropomorphic and anthropopathic. (Gentle reader, these two enormous words mean “a representation or conception of God under human form or with human attributes.” K.S.W.) But they have reality behind them, and that as regards God’s nature and not merely His acts. Otherwise we should have an unknown God and One who might be essentially different from what we are under the mental necessity of thinking Him to be. What love is in us points truly, though tremulously, to what love is in God. But in us love, in proportion as it is true and sovereign, has both its wrath-side and its grief-side; and so must it be with God, however difficult for us to think it out.”

The word “whereby” is en hoi (ἐν οἱ), literally “in whom.” The Holy Spirit is Himself the seal that God has placed in us. Please turn back to our comments on 1:13 for the significance of a seal and its application with reference to the Spirit as a seal. He is the seal, indicating that the transaction whereby the Son of God paid the penalty of human sin at the Cross is a finished transaction, and that God owns us as His property by right of purchase, also that because of the two preceding facts the saints are secure in salvation “unto the day of redemption,” that is, with a view to the day (at the Rapture) when our physical bodies will be glorified. The Holy Spirit is the seal God places upon the saints which guarantees all this.

Translation. And stop grieving the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed with a view to the day of redemption.

(4:31) “Bitterness” is pikria (πικρια), “resentfulness, harshness, virulence,” “All” is pasa (πασα), “all manner of.” “Wrath” here is thumos (θυμος), “a violent outbreak of anger, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again.” “Anger” is orgē (ὀργη), the word used in 4:26 of legitimate anger, namely, righteous indignation. But here, Vincent says: “What is commanded in verse 26 is here forbidden, because viewed simply on the side of human passion.” “Clamor” is kraugē (κραυγη), “the outcry of passion, the outward manifestation of anger in vociferation or brawling.” “Evil speaking” is blasphēmia (βλασφημια), slanderous and injurious speech.” “Put away” is airō (αἰρω), “to bear away what has been raised, to carry off, to take away.”

Translation. All manner of harshness and violent outbreaks of wrath and anger and brawling and slanderous speech, let it be put away from you together with all manner of malice.

(4:32) “Be” is ginomai (γινομαι) “to become.” Expositors says: “The idea is that they had to abandon one mental condition and make their way, beginning there and then, into its opposite.” “Kind” is chrēstos (χρηστος), “benevolent, gracious, kind,” opposed to “harsh, hard, bitter, sharp.” “Tenderhearted” is eusplagchnos (εὐσπλαγχνος), “compassionate, tenderhearted.” “Forgiving” is not aphiēmi (ἀφιημι), the word usually used when God forgives our sins, which word means “to put away,” God forgiving our sins in the sense that He in the Person of His Son bore them on the Cross, paying the penalty, satisfying the just demands of His law, but charizomai (χαριζομαι), “to do a favor to, do something agreeable or pleasant to one, to show one’s self gracious, benevolent, to forgive in the sense of treating the offending party graciously.” The same word is used of God here forgiving us in Christ. The translation should not be “for Christ’s sake,” but “in Christ.” The Greek is en Christōi (ἐν Χριστωι), “in Christ.” It is “the God who forgives, being the God who manifests Himself and acts in the suffering, reconciling Christ” (Expositors). It is the God who forgives in the sphere of Christ in that His forgiveness is made possible from the point of the law, through the atonement. “Even as” is kathōs (καθως), “according as, just as, in the degree that, seeing that”; Alford says, “argument from His example whom we ought to resemble—also from mingled motives of justice and gratitude.”

Translation. And be becoming kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other even as and just as also God in Christ forgave you.

[17]

     26. Be ye angry, and sin not. There is such a thing as righteous anger, although the term is much abused. The apostle is saying that if you are angry, be sure it is the kind of anger that is not sinful. Let not the sun go down. “Even a righteous wrath by overindulgence may pass all too easily into sin” (Salmond). 27. Neither give place to the devil. Cf. II Cor 2:10, 11; Eph 6:10 ff.

     28. Rather let him labour. A Christian is not only to refrain from stealing but is to provide for himself and his family through his own work. The Scripture everywhere commends honest toil (cf. I Thess 4:11, 12). In fact, the apostle lays down the principle that he who will not work should not eat (II Thess 3:10). To give to him that needeth. Here is the basis for genuine Christian charity.

     29. No corrupt communication. The word for corrupt originally meant rotten or putrid. Again we see the positive emphasized—but that which is good.

     30. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God. That which grieves the Holy Spirit is sin. The remedy is confession (cf. I Jn 1:9) Although the Holy Spirit may be grieved, yet he will never leave the believer. He is our seal. We have been sealed by him unto the day of redemption (cf. Eph 1:13). He is the guarantee that our redemption will be completed. 31. Some of the sins that grieve the Holy Spirit are now particularized. While some Christians would classify as sins only those grosser iniquities which even the world recognizes as wrong, God mentions matters of the mind and spirit as well as those of the body.

     32. The theme of putting on as well as putting off is prominent throughout the section. Living the Christian life is not just observing a list of prohibitions; it is cultivating positive virtues. And be ye kind. The verb here means keep on proving yourselves to be kind to one another. Tenderhearted. The English translation is very good. The word in the original has been much misunderstood, as is shown by its frequent translation elsewhere as bowels. “Heart” is correct. In the classical Greek this word referred to the organs of the upper body cavity; specifically the heart, lungs, and liver, as distinguished from the organs of the lower cavity (see the lexicons). Forgiving one another. The only way we can be enabled to forgive is through the forgiveness which we ourselves already have received for Christ’s sake. As God’s love produces our love, so our realization of God’s forgiveness produces our forgiveness of others (cf. I Jn 4:19).

[18]


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[1]Walvoord, J. F., R. B. Zuck, & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985.

[2]Richards, L. The Bible Reader's Companion. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1991.

[3]Jamieson, R., A. R. Fausset, A. R. Fausset, D. Brown, & D. Brown. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Eph 4:25.

[4]The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians. Ed. W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow. The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 2000, c1976.

[5]Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. The IVP Bible Background Commentary : New Testament. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993. Eph 4:25-31.

[6]Henry, M. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1991. Eph 4:17.

[7]Henry, M., & T. Scott. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997. Eph 4:25.

[8]Henry, M., & T. Scott. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997. Eph 4:1.

[9]Carson, D. A. New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition. 4th ed. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994. Eph 4:25.

[10]Willmington, H. L. The Outline Bible. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999. Eph 4:32.

[11]Utley, R. J. D. Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison (Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, Then Later, Philippians). Study Guide Commentary Series. Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International, 1997. Page 117.

[12]Hughes, R. B., J. C. Laney, & R. B. Hughes. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. The Tyndale reference library. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001. Page 595.

[13]Wiersbe, W. W. Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1997, c1992. Page 548.

[14]Willmington, H. L. Willmington's Bible Handbook. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997. Page 708.

[15]Robertson, A. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997. Eph 4:25.

[16]Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2002. Vol. 3, Page 1-396.

[17]Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English Reader. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997, c1984. Eph 4:22-32.

[18]Pfeiffer, C. F., & E. F. Harrison. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary : New Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1962. Eph 4:25.

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