Weds 23rd August - Ephesians 4:32-5:2
Meditation on Ephesians 4:32-5:2
‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’
We concluded our previous meditation with Paul introducing five contrasts as far as our behaviour – verbal and non-verbal is concerned. He gave a reason as to how such behaviour affected us and our relationship with God.
Such behaviour is an affront to God our Father, to the Lord Jesus as our Saviour and to the Holy Spirit as guarantor who lives within us as believers.
Our relationship as Christians is with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As I read these few verses I stopped there and thought about my own lifestyle towards God and towards others, in light of the words that Paul uses about the negative aspects of our behaviour – e.g. ‘Do not…’; ‘Do not…’; ‘Get rid of…’
In these three verses Paul is encouraging us and challenging us to think about the positive characteristics that we should demonstrate as God’s children.
- ‘be kind’
- ‘be compassionate’
- ‘follow God’s example’
- ‘walk in the way of love’
What contrasts when compared with the negative characteristics we see all around us and, if we are honest, within us.
J.B. Phillips version says: ‘Be kind to each other, be understanding. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
As children copy their fathers you, as God’s children, are to copy Him. Live your lives in love—the same sort of love which Christ gives us and which He perfectly expressed when he gave Himself up for us in sacrifice to God.’
The Living bible says: ‘Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.
Follow God’s example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates His father. Be full of love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, for Christ’s love for you was like sweet perfume to Him.’
Again what a contrast when compared with much of what we see, hear and do today.
Let’s just take a breath and pause for a moment as we ask the question – how can I show these characteristics?
The answer is very brief but it takes a lifetime to put into practice – ‘Follow God’s example’.
This is the standard we should be aiming for…
- 1 Peter 1:15-16: ‘But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy”’.
- Matthew 5:48: “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
- Luke 6:36: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
How can I attain to this? I cannot but God can and does help us:
- God has forgiven us through the death of Jesus on the cross.
- Christ loved us – and still does, even though we mess up.
- Christ ‘gave Himself up for us.’
- We are ‘dearly loved’ by God.
Therefore, we can follow the example of God, as the Holy Spirit lives inside us. This means that we do not grieve the Holy Spirit but, by His living within us, we become more like God and, therefore, we show His characteristics.
God loves me.
Christ died for me.
God has forgiven me.
God help me to ‘walk in the way of love.’