Ephesians 4:29-5:2 – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” NKJV
I never cease to be amazed at how many followers of our LORD view and understand Grace. Some even seem to feel that since God has been ‘gracious’ to them in extending his pardon and mercy resulting in the New Birth they are now free to sin. I find that utter foolishness. Religion has The Law and The Law says, as long as you behave or keep the rules I’m satisfied.
The Law deals with my behavior. I may hate my behavior but I continue to do it so we strive to LOOK like good Christians and adjust our masks so that other Christians think we are good Christians. That is performance orientation and is like lipstick on a pig altering the appearance does not change the truth.
Grace, on the other hand, does not make its focus behavior it focuses on The Heart. It deals with your “want to.” It addresses where you want to be who you are and begins the process of change. THEN, when you are changed, your behavior changes! No masks simply an expression of who you really are! You BECOME!
That is what the apostle is addressing when he says, “The Grace of God has come to you.” It has invaded you. It is on the inside of you. Now, let it have its perfect work and begin to transform you so that you can BE who you ARE in Christ. The Grace of God that brings salvation has reached down to the pit we were in, lifted us up and transformed us. In that sense, Salvation is happening every day for we are becoming as He is.
Salvation means wholeness and implies perfect health. So this salvation that is brought to us by the Grace of God makes us HEALTHY. Of course, I speak of more than any physical healing but spiritual. I have learned that physical maladies are often less problematic than our spiritually mental sickness. I am not talking about the classic mental illness we hear much about but a spiritual condition in which we are sick in our thinking and feeling.
Paul says we are to PUT AWAY malice, bitterness, anger, wrath, and all evil speaking. He is speaking as a physician would when identifying the need for radical surgery. If we are to be healthy it must begin on the inside. It is then we are able to radiate the health of Christ spiritually in our outward actions and appearance. We will radiate God’s Life!
He tells us to PUT AWAY and there is an emphasis that this is something we are to be deeply involved in. I have had some tell me that they are praying God will deliver them from those things and I always address the need for them to PUT AWAY not attempt to PRAY AWAY those things. I emphasize that the process begins on the inside and it is a heart problem, not action problem.
WHAT DO WE HAVE TO PUT AWAY?
The Number One this is BITTERNESS! Putting away bitterness is not just addressing it once and it is done. Bitterness is a way of being! It is a kind of spiritual cancer that has gotten so deep inside our person that our spirit is infected. It is a state of being and is constant although we are not always conscious of it. It affects how we see people and things. ALL people, ALL things ALL the time! The root of bitterness did not happen overnight and it is something that we may have dragged in from the old life. It does not matter what it was it MUST GO! It is a poison that courses through your being and defiles. Bitterness doesn’t get in your heart and mind it manages to get into your tongue as well.
Additionally, there is WRATH! This is where we fly off the handle and it is clearly rage. It is like an explosion and it burns deep within from BITTERNESS. Then there is ANGER and while it is akin to Bitterness the person tries to hide or denies it. You can see by their facial expressions and body language they are angry but they’re nice people. They keep it bottled up inside. Then CLAMOR which is uncontrolled shouting where there is no control over the tongue. Then EVIL SPEAKING where one deliberately seeks to hurt another. In the Greek it means blasphemy. (You blaspheme God when you talk about someone made in His image with the design and desire to do them harm). Also, we come to MALICE which is a settled determination to hurt others or get even. Paul says through the Holy Spirit PUT IT AWAY!
May God convict us and help us to BECOME who we are in Him. God bless you as you go through this day!