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          “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1).

 

            Paul told the brethren at Ephesus that God required them to grow to maturity (Ephesians 4:1). In order to grow to maturity one will have to make major changes when necessary. Paul wrote, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 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: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:17-22). 

 

            Paul told the saints of Rome that they had to crucify the old man of sin and become one with God. He pointed out that when the old man dies to sin and is buried with Christ in baptism he is raised to walk in a new way of life. He wrote, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:3-6). The brethren in Rome had been freed from sin, being dead with Christ, and were made alive to God (Romans 6:7-11). They were told “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14). The grace of God does not abound when one allows sin to control him (Romans 6:1-2).

 

            The Christian is to maintain his relationship with God through renewal and perseverance (Ephesians 4:23). Paul told the brethren at Ephesus that it is not enough to put off the old man.  He wrote, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. 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. 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. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:24-32).

            Many fail to make the necessary changes and to mold themselves into the image of Christ. They feel that as long as they are honest with the brethren it makes no difference how they deal with outsiders. Yet the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to be honest with all mankind (Ephesians 4:25).  They give Satan room in their lives and control their attitude and actions. They return to their former lifestyles and bring grief to the Spirit.  Paul listed sinning through lying, anger, theft, corrupt communication, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking and malice as just a few of the things which make the Christian like others who have never embraced Christ (Ephesians 4:25-31). John wrote, “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). Christian character involves a lifetime of growth (I Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18). Paul wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15 NKJV). Peter offers a platform of growth and maturity stating that the Christian is to add God’s divine character to his faith (II Peter 1:3-11).

 

            Ephesians chapter four ends with the exhortation “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).  Are we truly portraying characteristics seen in Christ in our daily lives?

                                                                                                             --PER