Paul has established that because this radical thing called conversion has taken place, and we have put off the old life and put on the new (20-240, we must no longer live as we used to. He is insistent on the point (17-19). This is not ‘up for debate’. As he goes on to now spell out some of the practical implications of this, it becomes clear that the ‘putting off’ and ‘putting on’ continues. It’s an ongoing process of taking off our ‘dirty clothes’ and putting on ‘clean’, fresh ones. Here are some of the things he says:
- Put off dishonesty and put on truthfulness (25). The reason is because we belong together in ‘’one body’’. ‘’In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.’’ The Message
- Put off sinful anger and, by inference, put on reconciliation and peace-making (26, 27; see Psalm 4:4). The wrong sort of anger can ‘’give the devil a foothold.’’ Many married couples have spoken about the importance of applying these verses to themselves; sort things out before you sleep. ‘’Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the devil that kind of foothold in your life.’’ The Message.
- Put off theft and put on generosity (28). It is true that you work to support yourself and your family, but the reason Paul mentions here is in order to help other people who are in genuine need. That’s an interesting perspective on why to earn a living.
- Put off bad words and put on those that benefit others (29). ‘’Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.’’ The Message.
- Put off bad attitudes and actions and put on good qualities (4:31-5:2). Another way to state this is to say, take off everything that is not like Jesus, and clothe yourselves with Christlikeness and Godliness. ‘’Forgive one another as quickly and as thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.’’ The Message. Paul shows that there are ways of thinking and feeling and behaving that can actually cause pain to the Holy Spirit who is in us, with whom we have been ‘’sealed for the day of redemption.’’ (30; see 1:13). The Holy Spirit is God’s ‘mark of ownership’ upon us. He has bought us and one day He is going to come back and take us home. On that day our ‘’redemption’’ (4:30) will be completed. Remember that salvation is in three tenses: we have been saved (4:20-24); we are being saved (4:25-5:7); we are yet to be saved (4:30). ‘’Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.’’ The Message
- Put off immorality (and everything unbecoming for God’s people) and put on holiness (5:3).
- Put off dirty and trivial talk and put on thankfulness (5:4) ‘’Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, Christians have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.’’ The Message.
Our passage for today concludes with serious words. The kind of ‘lifestyle’ we are called to put off is really a clear indicator of not being part of God’s Kingdom and under His rule. People who consistently behave in these ways are surely not in the process of being saved from sin, but are heading for judgment (5-7).
Prayer: Lord, help me to put off today the things that displease you, and put on what delights you.
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