Year B – Proper 14 – Ephesians 4:25–5:2

Ephesians 4:25–5:2 NRSV –    So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 4:26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 4:27 and do not make room for the devil. 4:28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 4:31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 4:32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 5:2 and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Summary – After several chapters of relating the position that believers have in Christ and the supremacy of Christ in the world, now Paul has “gone to meddling,” that is, he is  providing direct exhortations to them on how that should act. They should speak truth, manage their anger, not steal but work, not grieve the Spirit, put away bitterness, anger, wrath, wrangling, slander, malice and be kind and tender and forgiving.

Insight – In Malysia there is an impressive building called the Petronas Towers. These two towers are 1483 feet tall. What kind of foundation could support over 110 stories? The foundations extend 394 feet down into the bedrock! Like these towers, the foundations for practical life are written into Ephesians in the early chapters by explaining all the Christ is and has done for us. Now Paul can provide a rapid fire picture of the godly response to His saving work. It’s kindness not malice, forgiving not bitterness . . .  We are to “be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love …” As a result we become “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Catechism – How are we to act? We are to be imitators of God.

Prayer – Father in Heaven, thank you for the foundation of Christ’s work for us. Grant to us the grace to respond to the  gracious salvation provided by imitating the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. In Christ’s name. Amen.

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