What separates true Christian life from its counterparts in “so called” Christian religions?
When you look at portions of the Bible like this one, is this passage just a list of things that Christian do and not do? Or, is this the fruit of a mindset and heart attitude set on God? I believe it is the latter. This long passage probably has many things which can show us who God is, but let’s look at this passage as a whole first.
Eph 4: 17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5 1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who changes people first in their minds and hearts by my truth. In the flesh men live by their instincts and carnal sinful nature. These desires and drives are revealed by their sinful actions. It doesn’t do people any good to think that they can just make a to do list and change, they cannot help but to do so as it says in Romans ch 7. The pivot point here is in verse 20 where you are taught the truth that is in Jesus, and are given the new attitude which is created in righteousness and holiness in God. When you naturally default to the flesh, everything you do reflects your old nature. Only when you allow my Spirit to change your thinking, will you reflect my new nature in you which results in the spiritual actions indicated in this passage. You tend not to follow the old nature when your mind is transformed and feeding on the truth of my word. And it stands to reason when your mind is not on my truth that your old nature kicks in by default. Thus I am reminding you here to be made new in the attitude of your mind every minute of every day. Only I can do that for you as you let me. 4:23 “do not grieve… but be controlled by the Holy Spirit” 4:30 and 5:18, “be imitators of God” 5:1, “wake up o sleeper” vs 14, “be very careful how you live” – wisely 5:15. This passage was not meant to be some religious “to do” list that I have imposed on you. Rather these new spiritual attitudes will create in you, actions which reflect my glory through you. Remember, you tend to do what you think about. And also remember, I see your thoughts from afar. Let me change your thinking with my truths. When your thoughts are on me, your actions show it, and you won’t have to remember some kind of “to do” list.
I made Christianity impossible “to do” not as if it were some religious quest. This battle for holiness is one of the mind against the inputs from the world vying for the attention of our physical nature. Verses like 2 Cor 10:5 are helpful in this battle the battle for your mind.
We will talk of this more in the next post.