As we discussed last week, as we mature in Christ, realizing that everything is not about us, we come to Paul’s next text that contrasts the new life believers have in Christ, as opposed to the “old life” of the world. “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Eph 4:17-19)
Jesus came to save us from our sin nature, which will lead us on the broad road to hell: “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:20-24)
In this age where everyone seems to think they can have their own “truth”, we are called to shine the light of Jesus in this dark world. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9).
In prior verses, Paul has described sin as both corrupting and deceptive. Since Christians are called to live lives distinctly different than we did prior to our salvation, Paul concludes that “the new self” includes putting away falsehood. This means not being self-deceptive, dishonest, or scheming in our Christian lives, which allows His light to shine through us. “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” (Eph 4:25)
And so we are called to live in spirit and truth with our Christian brethren… to walk in holiness all the days of our life, and to live godly in Christ Jesus. Our lives are to be an open and honest book for all to read… a life that does not hide behind a hypocritical mask of lies and deceit, or display a fictitious form of godliness, but one that puts away all falsehood and speaks the truth in love, for we are members of the same body, and we are all one in Christ.
In Jesus, there is no falsehood (John 7:18). Practicing falsehood is associated with unbelievers who will receive punishment (Rev 22:15). Instead, Paul teaches his readers to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), emphasizing truth in this verse. The mention of neighbor may allude to the biblical teaching to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39).
Paul’s reason for this command is partly based on the relationships believers have with one another. The Greek word translated “members” is the word generally used regarding parts of the body. Paul often uses the human body as an analogy for the church, the body of Christ (1 Cor 12). We are to treat one another well as believers because we belong to one another and are ultimately one body.
Heavenly Father, examine my heart and expose any areas that are displeasing to You. Help me to root out any hypocrisy from my heart and remove any mask of pretense that I may be hiding behind. May I always speak the truth, and live godly in Christ Jesus. Teach me to love others as You have loved me. In Jesus name I pray, amen.