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A meditation on Ephesians 4:20 - 5:6 


The Christian is one who has come to know Christ [Ephesians 4:20], and in knowing Christ has new life [John 17:3]. This new life includes the new identity as dearly loved children of God [Ephesians 5:1], and the new responsibility of reflecting the nature and character of our Father. It is a life that is to be lived for God, not for sin [Romans 6:15-23].

Just as Jesus taught that because we are the light of the world our responsibility is to shine, and because we are the salt of the earth our responsibility is to be salty [Matthew 5:13-16], so here Paul says: you have been made new in Christ, so live new lives. Be what you are! Put off the old mindset and the old actions [Ephesians 4:22,25]. Put on the new mind, the new self which was created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness [4:23,24].  

What the Christian is in Christ by God’s declaration, so he or she is to be in decisions and deeds. There is to be a decisive commitment to change in which the habits and choices of the old pre-Christian life are to be discarded, and habits and choices that express both the knowledge of Christ and the character of Christ are to be embraced.  

Thus, Christians are to choose: 

Honesty and integrity rather than dishonesty [4:25].

To control our emotions rather than let them rule us [4:26,27].

To give to others rather than stealing from them [4:28].

To use encouraging speech rather than destructive speech [4:29].

Kindness, compassion and forgiveness rather than bitterness, rage and malice [4:31,32].

Sexual purity rather than sexual immorality [5:3].

Thanksgiving rather than obscenity [5:4-6].

Because, as Paul says, we are now ‘light’, not darkness, all of those choices that expressed and were characterized by darkness are no longer appropriate for us, who are now called ‘children of light’. [5:8].


Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2011.