“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Grace Of Renewal: Ephesians 4:17-32
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
With this devotional, we are beginning the second division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.
In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.
- The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
- The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
- The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
- The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
- The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
- The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
- The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
- The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-21)
The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of RENEWAL (4:17-32). The word translated “renewed” is a Greek word that carries with it the ideas of:
1. to reform
2. to make fresh
3. to restore youth
When these are viewed together we can see that the idea of renewal is “a renovation that restores to a previous condition which results in renewed power, refreshment and perception.”
In the context of this study, our mind is spoken of as being “renewed” with the receipt of the new nature given to us at our salvation. Basically this is teaching us that our mind is changed to resemble our minds before the fall of man. Some of these would include:
1. a mind with a greater desire to think on things pleasing to God,
2. a mind with an ability to more clearly perceive and apply God’s Word and will to the life
3. a mind with an ability to perceive and oppose wickedness, temptation and other evil influences.
Keeping all this in mind, lets turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The Walk Of Our Old Man (vs 17-22)
II. Our New Man with a Renewed Mind (23-24)
III. The Walk Of Our New Man (vs 25-32)
(Eph 4:26) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Paul continues looking at several characteristics of the new man…
Be ye angry, and sin not:
Characteristic #2 – Holding Anger Against Sin
Here, Paul clearly instructs the members of the church at Ephesus to “be angry”. Folks, it is so important we understand that not all types of anger are sinful. Paul is talking about holding anger against sin. This is speaking of the sin that we see all around us which includes the sin that we see in our own lives.
Note he describes the result of anger against sin… “and sin not”. A Godly anger against sin will result in sin decreasing. How does this work? To answer this question we need to understand the meaning to the word “anger”… The word for “anger” in this text is translated from a Greek word that means “to be enraged causing action to take place”. In other words, it is a type of rage will cause us to actively oppose the sin that we see taking place in our lives and the lives of those around us.
The basis and motivation for our anger against sin is found in the proper understanding of the devastating effects of sin. When we understand the truth about the pain, sorrow and death that results from sin, we will hold a proper anger against it…
“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD [men] depart from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6)
One of the greatest hindrances to the cause of Christ is the lax attitudes that Christians hold concerning sin. If we all held a Godly anger against sin, we would actively work to rid it from our lives and lawfully oppose it in the world around us. If only we all understood the importance of becoming angry at sin and actively working to oppose it!
let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Characteristic #3 – Prompt Cessation Of Ungodly Anger
Here, Paul is emphasizing the need to quickly deal with any wrath that we see springing up in our lives. What is meant by “wrath”? This word is translated from the same root word as “angry”. However, in this instance it is referring to a type of anger that is ungodly. It is an anger that results in harboring grudges and desiring ill to fall upon others. It is an anger that causes us to actively work to bring evil upon others.
This type of anger Paul tells us is to be dealt with quickly. It is to be recognized, admitted, confessed, and repented as we see it enter our lives. Although the basic principle of the phrase “let not sun go down upon your wrath” is teaching us to deal with wrath quickly when we see it enter our lives, taking this phrase literally holds some great advice for us all…
After a day spent fulfilling our many responsibilities, it is a good practice to take a few moments in the quiet of the evening and reflect upon our day. If we see that any wrath (or other sin) that has slipped into our lives, we should deal with it at that time. By being faithful to this practice we can guarantee to never harbor any sin in our lives for more than 24 hours. This will be a great aid to stop sin from becoming habit and developing into a lifestyle that is displeasing to God.
“Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled;”
Some of the characteristics of those who live according to the “new man” by a renewed spirit of the mind include:
1. Truthfulness and Transparency
2. Holding Anger Against Sin
3. Prompt Cessation Of Ungodly Anger
May we all recognize these characteristics are all a result of the Lord’s direct intervention in our lives creating in us the “new man” and giving us the grace to live according to it.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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