In our message, FORGIVE AS CHRIST FORGAVE US (Eph. 4:28-32), we continued to look at God’s call to the church to “put off” that old nature whenever we see it in our lives and instead “put on” Christ (Eph. 4:22-24; Rom. 6:11; Gal. 6:14, etc.).
Practically speaking this means not “lying” or becoming “angry” in a sinful way- because such vices are ways the devil can develop a “place” in our lives with which to lead us into further sin (Eph. 4:25-27; 6:10-12f; 1 Pet. 5:8, etc.). We should deal with such things immediately, “not [letting] the sun go down” on them through repentance and confession before God and, when appropriate, others (1 John 1:9; James 5:15-17; 1 Cor. 11:27-32, etc.).
We also should not “steal” and instead work hard so as to provide for our families and others in need (Eph. 4:28; John 10:10, etc.). And we should put off ALL “corrupt words” from our mouths (Eph. 4:29a). “Devil” means “false accuser” and “slanderer,” and we know from Scripture the enemy plays this role by accusing God’s children “day and night” before His throne (Eph. 4:27; Rev. 12:10; 2 Cor. 5:21, etc.). Jesus says the mouth and the heart are closely connected (Matt. 12:34b; 15:16-18; Rom. 3:14; 10:9-10, etc.). That is why we need Christ running the show in our lives so we can effectively and consistently speak “what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29b). When we walk in the Spirit we avoid “grieving” Him or making Him sad (Eph. 4:30). He loves us and has “sealed” us permanently “until the day of redemption” because of grace (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30, Rom. 8:31-39, etc.). We should respond to this unmerited grace by loving Him back and doing all we can to let Him live through us (Gal. 2:20; 1 John 4:19, etc.). In view of this, “let all bitterness… all malice”- all that is not of Christ be put away from us and let us “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:31-32). The verb to be kind here means to “keep on proving” ourselves to be kind to one another. It is very much like our call to walk in the Spirit in Galatians 5:16 (Greek. peripateō) which means to “keep on walking…,” a continuous action. Christians should take the next step of kindness, and continually forgive IN THE SAME WAY and TO THE SAME DEGREE “as God in Christ forgave [us]” (Matt. 6:14-15; 1 Cor. 11:31-32; 1 John 1:9; Rom. 5:8; Heb. 12:3-11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17, etc.).