“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 4:32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Paul now completes his look at the characteristics of the new man. In today’s devotional, he centers upon characteristics that involve our treatment of others…
And be ye kind one to another,
The word “kind” is translated from a word that combines several ideas, “gracious”, “useful” and “beneficial”. Based upon this, we can more clearly understand what Paul is teaching to us:
1. We are to be “gracious” (willing to help those who have harmed us or done us wrong.)
2. We are to be “useful” (willing to step in wherever we are needed)
3. We are to be “beneficial” (willing to work unselfishly for the benefit others and not ourselves)
This type of kindness is also described as “brotherly love” in Romans 12:10:
“[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”
To be tenderhearted is to be sympathetic towards the problems that others face in life. It is to possess desires that are softened towards those who are suffering and in need. When a tenderhearted spirit is linked with the characteristic of “kindness” (see above)… great differences can be made in the lives of those around us.
This same word is translated “pitiful” in 1 Peter 3:8-9. In this text, the core principles of being tenderhearted are clearly described:
“Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Forgiving others is removing deserved retribution from those who have wronged us. It is saying “Although you have harmed me, I do not desire for harm to come upon you. I release you from the punishment that you deserve”
This is the basic principle behind Scriptural forgiveness which is clearly illustrated for us by God the Father.
The Father has released His people from the punishment for their sin. This was done based upon the Father’s acceptance of Christ’s work on the cross, when Christ took upon Himself the punishment for our sins…
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. [Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:10-18)
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
The three characteristics we have looked at in this devotional are all presented again to us in Colossians 3:12-14…
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
What a wonderful way to show Christ to the world around us through our actions! Simply, live our lives loving others as we should …. This will lead us to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving to one another.
These are the characteristics of those who live according to the “new man” by a renewed spirit of the mind:
1. Truthfulness and Transparency
2. Holding Anger Against Sin
3. Prompt Cessation Of Ungodly Anger
4. No Submission To Satan’s Use
5. Laboring To Meet Physical Needs
6. Good and Edifying Speech
7. No Willful disobedience against our Heavenly Father and His desires for our lives.
8. Letting Loose of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking, and malice.
9. Treat Others With Kindness and Love
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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