The Way Of The World Is Not The Way Of The Christian

Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:25-29)

The Way Of The World Is Not The Way Of The Christian

When a man draws close to God, he will find himself further away from the world. The life of a Christian is in contrast to the way of thinking characterized by those not bound by the will of God. Israel was destroyed when she became like the nations around her. God had declared His people should remain separate from the world, but they rebelled and modeled their hearts like the nations around them. Jesus taught those who would follow Him must pay a price of separation. Bearing a cross was an individual decision that showed the world the disciple had committed himself fully to the kingdom of God. Throughout the epistles of the early church, the importance of being different from the world is emphasized.

The city of Ephesus was the capital of proconsular Asia, which was the western part of Asia Minor. It was noted for the Temple of Diana, with the largest theatre in the world, capable of seating 50,000 spectators. The Ephesian church faced a hostile influence from the pagan world. Lying, cheating, immorality, and the base nature of the flesh were common, and being a Christian was not easy. Paul exhorts the saints to refrain from the temptations of the world. Lying may have been an accepted way to do business, excel in the community, and treat neighbors, but not for the Christian. As a follower of Jesus Christ, lying was to be put away. The Christian was to stop telling lies. Truth must be on the lips of those who profess Christ. Speaking truth to neighbors was an example of godliness and holiness.

One of the characteristics of a godless world is the increase in anger. People get angry about almost anything. In the modern world, road rage is rising because of the godless nature of hearts filled with wrath, bitterness, and anger. People shoot one another because they get mad. The city of Ephesus was no exception. They followed the wisdom of men that glorified the angry spirit of retribution. Living in a world where everyone seemed angry about everything was challenging. The Christian learns to control his anger and not allow the sin to overcome them. In contrast, saints of God are kind, forgiving, and possess a spirit of love for all men. Anger is not a badge of honor but shame for those who follow Jesus Christ.

Paul tells the saints they should not be accused of stealing. He does not suggest the Ephesians saints were thieves, but the acceptable practice of the world was to take what did not belong to them. Stealing is as much a sin as murder or adultery. An employee will justify stealing from the company, but there is no justification before God. In the Ephesian world, one of the greatest attributes of a Christian is the man and woman who works diligently with their hands to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wages. Christians are to be the best employees and employers because they serve a higher Master, Jesus Christ. Not only does the Christian work hard and honestly, but he also shares what he has with those in need. Few people look at their jobs considering how they can help others. In a greedy world, it all belongs to the selfish heart. The Christian works to share with others.

Finally, one of the differences between a Christian and those in the world is learned by the speech of the child of God. It is common for the world to cuss, use profanity, slander, gossip, and maliciously destroy others. Paul told the Ephesians not to let any corrupt language come out of their mouths. The words of the saint of God are filled with grace, beauty, and love; unlike the world. Christians speak words that are fitting to the word of God. They are known as people of truth and honesty. Everyone that knows the Christian hears words that are not idle or foul. There is a difference in the speech of the child of God and those of the world.

Paul wanted his brethren to see the impact of their lives on the world around them. As lights in the world and the seasoning flavor of salt, the disciple of Jesus Christ stands above the world and its lying, anger, stealing, and corrupt practices. Being set apart from the world is learning to remove these things from the example of the Christian. One of the great tools of evangelism is the example of purity and the child of God continually learning to frame their life upon the graces of godliness. Put away lying and anger, steal no more, and clean up the language. Sound advice. Life-changing.

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