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The Journal

A clean and joyful life

Dear Friends,
In Ephesians 4:17-32 Paul helps us to understand the natural outworking of the Gospel for those who have come to faith in Christ. Commands and exhortations for obedience to God are based on the fact that we are His children through faith in Jesus. We don’t obey God to get in the family. We obey God because we are already in the family. In 4:17 Paul urges and uses the word “insist” that the Christians must not live like the Gentiles or how they were. Without Christ our thinking is darkened because we are separated from God and in fact our lives are “futile” because we have no purpose. Paul says that this type of thinking and behaviour is because without Christ our hearts are hardened which means they are not responsive to Christ and we don’t understand the Gospel and our need of Jesus. In fact Paul says that our behaviour is “sense” driven. There is no quality control over our thoughts and actions but rather without Christ we are driven by our desires which are impure. Paul says that things are different for the Christians at Ephesus because they have heard the Gospel 4:21 and so they have power to put off their old life and put on the new self. This passage carries the idea that we must continually put off the old self and put on the new self. This new self is created to be like God in holiness and righteousness. When we are converted we are instantly right with God but then we need to work at growing in godliness and this involves a daily repentance from sin. Paul gives some practical applications of how our new identity in Christ will affect us. Our new identity in Christ will change our attitude to speech so we speak truthfully to one another 4:25 and will mean that when we are angry with someone we will seek to reconcile immediately with that person. Our Christian faith also affects our attitude to property in that we won’t steal but rather use our hands and abilities to work honestly and share with those in need. In particular Paul speaks about the need to forgive as Christ forgave us. When we understand how kind and gracious Jesus has been to forgive us even though we don’t deserve it we see that we can’t withhold forgiveness from others. In the 5pm passage from Matthew 9:18-34 we see in the encounters of Jesus with the dead girl’s father and with the sick woman as well as the blind and mute man that Jesus’ word is trustworthy.This is central to building faith that we know that God’s Word can be relied upon & when Jesus speaks He delivers. Contrary to what the Pharisees say the miracles that Jesus performs are because His power comes from God and Hs is God’s Son. Rev David O’Mara