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COMMENTARY ON EPHESIANS

Chapter 4


Exhortation to Unity, 4:1-3

4:1 ¶ I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 ¶ With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Verse 1: "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called," The Christian's "job" is obeying Christ, and the work by which he makes a living on this earth is really only his "hobby." The "calling" of the true child of God is without repentance on God's part (Rom.11:29), is "holy" (2 Tim.1:9), a "prize" (Phil.3:14), our hope is in it (Eph.1:18; 4:4), and we are to abide in it (1 Cor.7:20).

Verse 2: "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;" Every descriptive word in the verse is talking about the Christian's dealing with his fellow Christian (cf.Col.3:12; Gal.6:1). It will take all of these things to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (v.3), for God's people are hard to get along with and rarely overlook faults and sins in their own kind which unsaved people would overlook altogether.

Verse 3: "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." The Holy Spirit has saved the members of the church (Eph.1:4-14), has placed them in the Body as it pleased God (Eph.2:20-22), and has equipped each one of them for the right function (1 Cor.12:1-13). This unity must be kept in daily living as the Christians deal with each other. "The bond of peace" will prevent contentions from breaking out (Rom.14). The binding power of peace is present where there is unity, preventing eruptions, to which Paul himself was sometimes prone (Acts 15:39).

Application: the believer is to KEEP what God has already set up. The Gorman vs. Swaggert court case in New Orleans was an example of the shame that is brought on Christianity when Christians (real or otherwise) "play Holy Ghost" in public. Children of God are not to sue each other in heathen courts (1 Cor.6:1).

Explanation of Unity, 4:4-6

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

"There is ONE BODY..." (v.4). It is made up of Jews and Gentiles, some Baptists, some Catholics, some Methodists, some Mennonites, and some who have never attended an organized, local church service. Some are black, some are white, some live in Communist countries, some are filthy rich, some are dirt poor, some are healthy, some are sickly, some are bold, and some are closet Christians; but, we are all members of the same body (Rom.12:4-5; 1 Cor.12:12-27; Eph.5:30).

"There is...ONE SPIRIT.." (v.4). There isn't a Holy Spirit who baptizes people (1 Cor.12:13) and another Holy Ghost that the Son baptized people with (Matt.3:11).

"One Lord" (v.5), obviously the Lord Jesus Christ.

"One faith" (v.5), obviously that of 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Timothy 4:7.

"One baptism" (v.5), obviously that of 1 Corinthians 12:13, not some initiatory rite by which one enters the visible church.

"One God" (v.6), obviously the One of 1 John 5:7: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." He is "above all" (Eph.1:20), "and through all" (Eph.1:23), "and in you all" (Eph.3:19).

Application: If we live in the unity of the One Spirit, as we are advised to do, we will not give heed to the flesh (Gal.5:16) which is selfish, nit-picking, divisive, vengeful, and even bloodthirsty.

Means of Unity: The Gifts, 4:7-11

7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Verse 7 is self-explanatory. Christians vary in the amount of grace they receive (2 Cor.12:5-8) exactly as they vary in the amounts of faith they receive (Rom.12:3). Christ has the gifts without measure (John 3:34), but He measures them out in the next few verses.

Verse 8: "Wherefore hs saith, When he ascended up on high..." Again, we are dealing with literal travel in a literal universe (cf.1:20; 3:18).

"...he led captivity captive..." The captives were people (1 Pet.3:19) whose sins had been forgiven, but who were not redeemed until Christ died for their sins (Heb.9:15). They were held in the place called "Abraham's Bosom," (Luke 16:22) or "Paradise" (Luke 23:43), which was located in the "heart of the earth" (Matt.12:40). The Old Testament saints have been moved to, or in the vicinity of, the third heaven (2 Cor.12:4; Rev.2:7). My personal speculation is that they are now in New Jerusalem, the city for which Abraham looked (Heb.11:8-10; Gal. 4:26).

Verses 9 & 10: "(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Christ took our curse for us (Gal.3:13), became our sin-offering (2 Cor.5:21; cf.Hos.4:8, and bore our sins for us (Heb.9:28; cf.Lev.5:17; 10:17; 20:20; 22:9; 24:15). He must have deposited His burden somewhere in order to "appear the second time without sin unto salvation," for He was no longer bearing sin when Mary Magdelene desired to touch Him (John 20:17). Our sins were on Christ, and He bore them on His body (Isa 53; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24); they were on Him when He died. He went down into the "heart of the earth," dropped our sins off and preached to the spirits in prison (1 Pet 3:19). When He came up through the "bars" (Jonah 2:1-8), He brought the keys with Him (Rev.1:18) so the "gates of hell" (Matt.16:18) could not keep the redeemed "captives" enclosed in an intermediate state (forgiven but not redeemed, Heb 9:15; cf. Rom 3:25; Col 2:14).

Verse 11: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" This is the result of Christ's ascension, which took place more than a month before Acts 1 (see John 20:17). When He ascended, He took the bodies of the Old Testament saints with Him, or at least "many" of them (Matt 27:51-54).

With the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) "gifts" were given, and the gifts came with the "gift" of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). The "gifts" here are people, not tongues, miracles, healing, etc., as they are found in 1 Corinthians 12.

Apostles were certain men called by Christ Himself (John 15:16) and endowed with certain authority. Although the apostles were chosen in Matthew 10, they were not "empowered" (Luke 24:49) until Acts 2. The requirement for apostleship was to have seen the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:22; 1 Cor 9:1). There were the original twelve (Luke 6:13), Matthias (Acts 1:26), Paul (Romans 1:1), Barnabas (Acts 14:14; Gal 2:9). It is intimated that others (Timothy, Silas, Andronicus, Junia, Apollos) may have been called apostles, but it is not certain. The apostles were necessary during the formative years of the church as it began to grow, and were "set...first" in the church (1 Cor 12:27).

Prophets had the supernatural ability to receive and transmit revelations from God, especially that which concerned itself with future events. The prophets were necessary for the church's maturity preceding the completion of the New Testament canon.

Since that time, "some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers" are still gifts to the church. Chronologically, the last group to minister to the church before the Rapture are pastors/teachers. These men have a supernatural ability to preach and teach the Word of God and to feed and lead the flock of God (1 Pet 5:1-4; Acts 20:28). The pastor is to be a teacher (2 Tim 1:11; 1 Tim 3:2), and a pastor who cannot teach the Word of God has no business in the pulpit. Thus, all teachers are not called to be pastors, but all pastors are to be teachers.

[Cf.for study: Matt 5:5; 10:8; Acts 1:22; Mark 16:15; Acts 21:11; 2 Tim 4:5; 1 Tim 5:17; Acts 23:1; Eze 34:23; Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:1.]

Evangelists have the supernatural ability to point sinners to Christ and to burden Christians about soul-winning. All believers are to witness for Christ whether they have this special gift or not (2 Tim 4:5). True "evangelists" are a rare breed. They are not pastors swapping pulpits, as is so often the case; but they are men who are constantly on the road, away from the comforts of home, without a secure income, holding meetings wherever God opens the doors. Televangelists are another story, too far removed for this study.

Application: These men, who are gifts to the church, were and are the "builders" (1 Cor 3:9-10) who set the "lively stones" (1 Pet 2:5) in God's earthly, spiritual house, using "charity" (1 Cor 13) as the celestial cement. Theology without love leads to dead orthodoxy, and love without theology leads to heresy.

Purpose of the Gifts, 4:12-16

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Verse 12: "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" The men given to the church as "gifts" (v.11) are to do the following:

1. Perfect the saints, so that they can minister to, and edify others.
2. Work as ministers (servants).
3. Edify (build-up) the Body of Christ.

Verse 13: "Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God..." (cf.3:16-20; 1:23; 4:3).

"...unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (cf.Col 1:24; Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 2:6; Phil 3:15; Gal 4:19).

The Body of Christ will reach maturity at the Rapture. The "perfect man" and the "stature of the fulness" is an indirect reference to the Body as "One New Man" (2:15), and its "growing" (4:16) will be over when the trumpet sounds (1 Thess 4:15-16).

The individual Christian has been furnished with "gifted men" (v.12) so that he can "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord" (2 Pet 3:18; Eph 1:17; 3:19). His goal for "growth" should be the same as Paul's: knowing the fellowship of His suffering (Phil 3:10; Col.1:24); laying up a good foundation (1 Tim 6:19); forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before (Phil 3:13); knowing the power of His resurrection (Phil 3:10).

"The stature of the fulness of Christ" implies a Christ-likeness in the believer which avails itself of everything that the risen Saviour has for it (3:16-21). Christ only reaches His full "stature" in the body of the believer in whom He is "formed" (see comments under Galatians 4:19).

Verse 14: "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

The Lord Jesus Christ said that one had to be like a little child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt 18:3-4), but that child-likeness concerned conversion, humility, and faith in the Father. Paul, here, is saying not to be naive like a little child, who believes everything he hears. A child, not knowing how to navigate, would be disastrous at the helm of a ship; the wind and the waves would just toss him about, and he would never get anywhere. The wind is false teaching, and the wave is the child (James 1:6), driven about by the false teaching.

"Carried about with every wind" - Post-Millennialism today, A-Millennialism tomorrow, and Post-tribulation Rapture tomorrow.

"Tossed to and fro" from one "new, better" translation to the next.

False doctrine is taught by the sleight of men who are cunning and crafty, and lie in wait to deceive. This brings to mind professional gamblers and card sharps waiting for a sucker to come along and be cheated. The born-again believer may be cheated out of his eternal rewards (Rev 3:11) and suffer loss (1 Cor 3:15).

"Cunning" like Herod the "fox" (Luke 13:32) who took credit for having the voice of God when he did not (Acts 12:20-23).

"Craftiness" is possessed by those who are gifted in the "foolish" wisdom of this world (1 Cor 3:19) as the Scribes and Pharisees were (Luke 20:23), and it is associated with dishonesty and handling the Word of God deceitfully (2 Cor 4:2).

"They lie in wait to deceive" (v.14) "For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom 16:18). "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim 3:13), "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers (Tit 1:10). "Let no man deceive you with vain words" (Eph 5:6).

Beware of false teachings concerning:

The person of the Lord Jesus Christ. "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2 John 1:7).

Sinless perfection, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).

Antinomianism. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal 6:7).

Miracles. "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live" (Rev.13:14).

The Tribulation, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;" (2 Thess 2:3).

The Second Advent. "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt 24:4-5).

Beware of:

Those who call themselves "prophets." "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many (Matt 24:11). "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt 24:24).

Those who call themselves "apostles." "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ (2 Cor 11:13).

Women teachers. "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (1 Tim 2:12-14).

Satan is the source of all deception (Rev 12:9), and the doctrines of devils (1 Tim 4:1) is spread by his children (John 8:44) who are false apostles (2 Cor 11:13).

Verse 15: "But speaking the truth in love..." The Word of God is "truth" (John 17:17), and we are to speak it as the oracle of God (1 Pet 4:11). We are to speak it in "love." Most Fundamentalists speak the truth without love, and the Liberals speak love without the truth; but the happy medium is what is desired.

"Grow up..." Stop flinching, dodging, and breaking out into a cold sweat every time religion, science, scholarship, or education comes up with something "new." If it's new, it's probably not true, and if it's true it's probably not new. All of these things will be judged by the Book they attack so readily.

Verse 16: "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

The Body of Christ is "growing" exactly as the building of 2:21 is growing. This body must grow in size, for there were more members in it in 90 A.D. than there were in 70 A.D., and there are more members in it in 1999 than there were in 1791, but the immediate context is individual members growing so that the Body will grow into maturity, in the sense of Christ-likeness.

Application

The men who are given to the church are to:

1. Lead people to salvation by grace through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Get the new converts rooted and grounded in the faith, so that they will not be influenced by deceitful workers and false doctrines.

3. By teaching and preaching the Word and words of God, help those who are rooted and grounded to mature into the stature of Christ, so that they, in turn, can minister to others.

Put Off the Old Man, 4:17-22

17 ¶ This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Verse 17: "...that ye walk not as other Gentiles walk..." Even though the saved Ephesian was "in Christ" and, therefore, had lost his Gentile nameplate (1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:28), his physical body was still a Gentile body, not a Jewish body (see Rom 3:1-2). Racial distinctions are mentioned right along through the New Testament, even where the passages are speaking of born-again people in One Body (Rom 11). It is only when speaking of the spiritual standing of the believer that the Holy Spirit erases racial demarcations. Since the Ecumenical Movement promotes religious socialism, the so-called "bibles" it produces promotes the same thing, omitting "other," and giving the Jesuit reading of 1582: "no longer live as the Gentiles do," implying that the Ephesians became "Israelites" upon their conversion. Observe the same attempt to integrate races by omitting the word "blood" in Acts 17:26.

In what follows, we see the Divine estimation of lost men.

1. Vanity dominates their minds (v.17).

2. Their understanding is darkened (v.18).

3. They are alienated from the life of God (v.18).

4. This is because there is ignorance in them (V.18).

5. This ignorance is deliberate and intentional (v.18).

6. They are past feeling when it comes to spiritual truths and spiritual issues (v.19).

7. They have given themselves over to fornication, gluttony, cannibalism, sex-perversion, deviation, and sensual pleasure (v.19).

8. They are greedy and unclean (v.19).

The Ephesians didn't get verses 17-19 from Jesus Christ (v.20), they got it from their religious leaders and school-teachers; and Christians today get it from T.V., the media, and education (both higher and lower).

Verses 21-22: "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;" That's what He taught both us and the Ephesians.

Application

"Put off" the old man concerning the former conversation (manner of living) just like you would take off filthy clothes. Christians cannot lay aside "human nature," for that won't be done until we die and are freed from this body of flesh (Rom 7:24); but, put off your old way of walking, talking, thinking, and sinning.

Put On the New Man, 4:23-29

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

The "new man" (v.24) is Jesus Christ Himself (1 Cor 15:47; Col 3:10). Romans 13:14 explains the verse precisely: "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."

1 Corinthians 15:47 and Colossians 3:10 state that Adam, before he fell, was made in the image of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God (Heb 1:2-3; 2 Cor 4:4). When Adam fell, the image was lost, and did not return until Jesus Christ came to earth as a man, the second Adam. The "new man" (Jesus Christ) is created in "righteousness and true holiness," and it is this new man that is to be "put on" and worn as a new suit of clothes. The "old man" (Adam) is to be "hung up" and ignored.

When the "new man" is put on, the mind is renewed (v.23) and becomes the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). We are instructed to have this mind (Phil 2:5) so that we may "mind" the things of the Spirit rather than the things of the flesh (Rom 8:5). When the Christian has the mind of Christ, he is not "shaken in mind" (2 Thess 2:2) and cannot be blown about by every wind of doctrine (v.14), for it is a "sound mind" (2 Tim 1:7).

When the "new man" is donned, 19 changes come with the change of apparel (Isa 61:10), of which, 9 are in this section. They are as follows:

1. He stops lying (v.25). We are members of the same body (Rom 12:5; Zech 8:16), and, this time, the word "neighbour" refers to another Christian "in Christ." Modern Christian lying usually begins with "we feel led of the Lord" or "remember us in your prayers." To the naive, this means "we want to do it" and "we need some money."

2. He speaks the truth (v.25), regardless of the consequences.

3. He becomes angry, but doesn't sin (v.26). This verse is illustrated by the life of Jesus Himself (Matt 21:12; Mark 3:5). Christians are to get angry at times (Tit 1:13; Matt 23:15; 2 Cor 13:2), but he is not to "sin" when he gets angry, for "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:20) and "anger resteth in the bosom of fools" (Ecc 7:9). Jesus was angry at nothing but sin, and angry at no one but the religious leaders of His day. His words to whores (John 4:4-20) and beggars (Mark 10:52) were much more charitable than His words to Doctors of Law and Rabbis (Matt 23:3-30).

4. He doesn't let the sun go down on his wrath (v.26). Twelve hours is long enough to be mad at somebody. If you go on with it, you will lose sleep. You may get ulcers from a grudge if you keep nursing it (Lev 19:18), and if you die in your sleep, you will have to go through the whole thing again at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Matt 18:18), so "knock it off" before sunset.

5. He doesn't give place to the devil (v.27). You will do this if you keep nursing the grudge (cf.2 Cor 2:10-11). The devil will take advantage of it and magnify it (1 Kings 21:1-5) until it is out of all proportion, and it might terminate in murder (2 Sam 18-19) or something just as bad, like Joseph being sold into slavery (Gen 37).

6. He won't steal anymore (v.28). This includes paper clips from the office and tax-cheating and evasion (Matt 17:27; 22:21).

7. He'll work with his hands, so he'll have something to give to the needy (v.28). The Bible encourages men to work (2 Thess 3:10), not steal (Exo 20:15,17). A "real" Christian goes beyond the requirements of providing for his own house.

8. He doesn't let corrupt communication come out of his mouth (v.29). Corrupt communication includes gossip, slandering others, telling "dirty jokes," or any language that is foul, filthy, rude, or obscene. Good words and fair speeches do not remedy the situation (Rom 16:18), for they are characteristic of the most corrupt communicators on earth.

9. He edifies and ministers grace to those to whom he speaks (v.29).

Application: If the "new man" has not been donned by a Christian, it is time to go into the "closet" or dressing room and start the process.

Grieve Not the Holy Spirit, 4:30-5:12

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

10. A Christian who has put on the "new man" doesn't grieve the Holy Spirit (v.30; cf.1:13,14). The Holy Spirit is a person (John 16:13) and can be grieved, resisted (Acts 7:51), lied to (Acts 5:3), and quenched (1 Thess 5:19). Christians are sealed unto the day of redemption exactly as the unsaved sinner is sealed unto the day of perdition (2 Pet 2:9). The "preserves" will be opened in that day (Psa 97:10), and "perseverance" is no problem for the believer in Christ, for God preserves him (1 Cor 1:7-9).

The Holy Spirit is grieved with foolish talking and jesting, sin, uncleanness, all unrighteousness, lying, loafing, exaggerating, self-pity, lack of concern, lack of gratitude, lack of fruit (Gal 5:22), grumbling, murmuring, stinginess, jealousy, false accusations, lack of faith, refusal to testify, indifference to the Bible, perversion of the truth, failure to praise God, and worrying.

"The day of redemption" (v.30) is the "day of Christ" (see 2 Cor 1:22; 1 Cor 1:8; 2 Tim 4:8; 2 Thess 2:2; 1 Cor 4:5). This is not the "day of the Lord."

In order not to grieve the Holy Spirit, the Christian who has put on the "new man" does the following, which is really a continuation of the preceding section:

11. He gets rid of bitterness (v.31), which is the result of unfulfilled longing (1 Sam 1:10-11; Acts 8:23; Rom 3:14; James 3:11), defiles one (Heb 12:15), and is a stimulant to wrath and anger.

12. He gets rid of wrath (v.31), which is cruel (Prov 27:4).

13. He gets rid of anger (v.31), which is outrageous (Prov 27:4).

14. He gets rid of clamour (v.31), which is a "work of the flesh" and is an expression of protest resulting from anger and wrath.

15. He gets rid of evil speaking (v.31), which can both cause bitterness and be a result of it (1 Tim 6:4).

16. He gets rid of all malice (v.31), which is an intent to cause harm unlawfully.

In order to not grieve the Holy Spirit, the Christian who has put on the "new man" does the following:

17. Acts kindly (v.32).

18. Becomes tenderhearted (v.32).

19. Becomes forgiving (v.32).

What should be the easiest thing to do is often the hardest. Personal hurts and injuries are to be overlooked, forgotten, put away, or ignored altogether (Col 3:13; 1 Pet 2:19-25). The tendency to retaliate where one has been slandered or reviled is part of the "old man" and should be "put off." The passage is not referring to being sweet toward heretics and critics who hate and attack the Bible (note Titus 1:10-12 1 Timothy 1:20, Matthew 16:23, and Acts 5:1-8), but is referring to personal dealings (Exo 20:13).

Sometimes Christians are very unkind to one another; they are not in the least tenderhearted in the middle of church-splits, doctrinal controversies, and business meetings. The ones who talk the most about "courtesy, love, politeness, and soft words" are usually the most vicious and venomous when crossed.

"Forgiving one another" should come easily in view of the fact that "...God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (v.32); however, it will never come unless the old man is put off, the new man is put on, and care is taken not to grieve the Holy Spirit.

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