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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

A NEW, RIGHTEOUS, AND HOLY LIFE

Ephesians 4:24b ...put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Also read Eph. 4:25-32).

The Ephesian Christians, to whom Paul was writing, once lived in sin, conducting their lives as most pagan Gentiles. Being baptized into the body of Christ, they experienced a transformation, and began to conduct lives that were given to, and controlled by, God's will, rather than their own. Their old life, driven by worldly desires and lusts, was replaced with a new, righteous, and holy life, which offered eternal salvation for the soul. For the balance of this chapter, Paul describes the differences between the life of a sinner (Old Man), and that of a repentant sinner (New Man). Like the Christians at Ephesus, the rewards of heaven available to those in the body of Christ today, are dependant on recognizing these differences, choosing those that are right and holy, and allowing them to control the conduct of their lives.

Verse 25. The world appears to thrive on lying. It deceives, it covers up errors and misdeeds, and, at times is profitable, but only at the expense of others. Jesus referred to Satan as the father of lying (John 8:44). The father of truth is God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). The "New Man" accepts God as his Father, and must be truthful in all dealings with his neighbor. To love others is God's command to all Christians. The greatest lie of all is to profess to love God and still hate their fellow man (See 1 John 4:20-21). Between lying and telling the truth, the faithful child of God will choose truthfulness.

Verse 26. Anger is another trait prevalent throughout the world, and far too often, rears its ugly head within the body of Christ. Jesus, Himself, condemned anger, saying that it can lead to eternal destruction (Matt. 5:22). This verse indicates that there may be anger without sin. This may be the case if anger results from the displeasure created within a person due to unjustifiable deeds of others. Displeasure in actions that offend God, or harm others, is considered to be righteous indignation. It is certainly justifiable - even beneficial when sinful actions are remedied. However, anger is sinful when, as indicated in this verse, it results in wrath - a deep indignation, that expresses itself in a desire for revenge. Both wrath and anger are to be controlled, reconciled immediately, and without delay,put away from all Christians (Vs. 31).

Verse 27. Be aware of the ever-present temptations of the devil that are prevalent throughout the world. Do not give place, or give in to them. They are the works of Satan; things that appeal to the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). The apostle Peter tells us how to avoid the devices of the devil: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). The Christian can either choose to submit to the will of God or to the will of the devil. The admonition of James is to draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jam. 4:7-8). The "New Man" will choose God!

Verse 28. At the time Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesian Christians, the heathen Gentile nations were given to all manner of sin, brought about through lust and covetousness, including the sin of stealing. To take that which belongs to another openly, in secret, or by deceit, is stealing. From the beginning of time, to this current day, and until the end of time, this is the command of God; Thou shalt not steal (Ex. 20:15). Although stated here to the Jewish nation, it was equally applicable to those of the Patriarchal Age, as well as all people under the Christian dispensation. Not only does this verse warn Christians not to steal from others, but also they are to give to him that needeth. And, in order to have such blessings to share with others, it is necessary to rightfully earn them, by using the talents and abilities God has given to each of his children. Instead of stealing from others, faithful Christians will choose to give to others that are in need.

Verse 29. With one's mouth (the things we say) mankind has the ability to corrupt or edify others. Read the first eight verses of James. There the apostle demonstrates the destructiveness of man's ability to speak and persuade others in error. Yet we also know that one's ability to communicate can be used for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). To continue his scripture, as noted above, James says, Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing (Jam. 4:10a). With one's mouth, the Christian must never choose to corrupt, rather they are to bless others.

Verse 30. At the beginning of this epistle Paul told the church at Ephesus that when they heard, believed, and obeyed God's message of salvation, they ...were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:13-14). God's word, as revealed by the Holy Spirit, is given to all mankind as their guide to salvation. It is God's promise; His seal of assurance that, if followed and obeyed, will lead to eternal life in heaven. Here, in this verse, Paul tells them they are not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God - they are not to choose to conduct their lives in any other way except that which is given by Him through the Holy Spirit. The "New Man" will choose not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

Verses 31&32. In summary, Paul told the saints at Ephesus, and tells all in the body of Christ today, that the obedient Christian will choose to let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and (will choose to be) kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. What is your choice?

Do you choose to live your life as you desire, or as God wills? Do you choose to serve God or Satan? Choose you this day whom ye will serve, then answer, as did Joshua, ...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15). Choose this day a new, righteous, and holy life!