“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may import grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
Paul’s words here are direct and absolute as he writes one of his most positive epistles to this church. Their communication is not to be on the lower level of coarseness but on the higher level of spiritual and moral encouragement.
“Corrupt” means words that are rotten; that is, they are bad or of poor quality. Words of this nature provide unwholesome conversation. “Good” refers to words that are “upright, honorable, and acceptable to God.”
The purpose of this instruction about the everyday conversation of Christians is to encourage the use of wholesome words that will contribute to the edification of those around us, building them up as followers of Jesus
“In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4).
Speaking to those who formerly lived to fulfill the desires of the flesh, Peter
describes for new converts the attitudes of their previous companions toward their
new lifestyle; thus, his reference to “these.”
The “flood of dissipation” is translated more clearly “excess of riot” in the KJV, thus,
indicating the excessive sins of the flesh in which these converts participated
previously. Peter has just mentioned some of these sins.
The apostle’s message is that new Christians should expect for there to be those
who don’t understand the new lifestyle in Christ and who will think it strange for
them to have given up such “pleasures.”
At the same time, he is implying these new Christians should not be enticed to
regress—that is, to fall back into their old ways because of pressure from former
companions to run with them again. They should be selective of new companions.
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds”
Living in a world that has made truth relative and interacting with a society in which
truth has little relevance makes keeping this commandment difficult; however,
circumstances never change commandment.
There is no way Paul, acting under the inspiration of the Spirit, could have made this
directive any plainer. Christians are to be a people of honesty, even when being
honest may be inconvenient, embarrassing, or even hurtful others.
When we “put on” Christ in our lives through obeying the gospel, we are laying aside
the behaviors we may have practiced formerly (“the old man”) and we are making a
commitment to live by the precepts laid down in His word. That principle includes
that we are to tell the truth—always.
Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell” (1 Corinthians 10:8).
The Apostle Paul is teaching the Corinthian Christians about the standard of morality that God requires of them, just as He did of those in the Old Testament. In other words, God didn’t change this standard for His people under the New Law.
Paul has just pointed out that God wasn’t pleased with those under the Old Testament who ignored His instruction, implying they stood under condemnation because of their transgressions. God gave marriage as the means of allowing mankind to satisfy the need for intimacy.
Throughout the New Testament, purity is the standard that is proclaimed for those who seek a wholesome and rewarding relationship with God, a relationship that will lead all adherents to an eternal home with God in Heaven.
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).
These were dark days in Israel when all authority had gone away, and there were none to take note of the departure into the depravity of idolatry and other sins so repulsive to God; and, consequently, there were none to speak against them and put a stop to them.
God was not pleased—and He is never pleased when people fail to listen to the teaching in His word and follow the standards He has commanded. God has given us standards for creating a relationship with Him, for worshiping Him, and for living the kind of morally responsible life He wants us to live.
In spite of God’s clarity in laying out these standards, every generation seems intent on defying Him and pushing His tolerance to the brink. To please God and secure an eternal resting place with Him, we must surely realize that every person cannot do what is right in his own eyes: we must do what is right in God’s eyes.
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
The occasion when Jesus is speaking with the woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria gives Him an opportunity to teach a universal truth about acceptable worship: it must be in spirit and in truth.
In this teaching, Jesus cuts to the heart of what God expects from those who want to please Him in worship. First, He mentions spirit, indicating the attitude, focus, and sincerity one is to manifest and not the performance of a great deal of physical activity.
Then he mentions truth, indicating that a true worshiper must base all aspects of worship on what God specifies in His word because His word is truth. Worship not specified in God’s word, then, comes from a source outside His word.
So, to carry out the command given here, a true worshiper must conduct the service according to God’s word, he must concentrate on each item as he or she participates, and he must truly mean everything he does or says during the service. Otherwise, worship has not taken place, according to Jesus in this passage.
“and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
As Paul addresses this church in Ephesus, he sends one of the most positive messages to be found anywhere in his writings. This chapter is one of his crowning pieces of teaching about living the life Jesus would have His people to live.
Having poignantly elevated unity among believers to a position of prominence in this chapter, he moves on to describe maturity in Christ, laying out the importance of every leader in equipping the saints for their new role.
He, then, details sinful behaviors Christians are to have put off when they obeyed the gospel and, here, admonishes true righteousness and holy living they are to adopt as an integral part of their lives.
Paul’s message is that all true believers are to “live the life,” meaning that all of their actions and behaviors are to emulate a life deeply rooted in the good moral principles Jesus taught and lived while He was on the earth.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
The Apostle Paul is in the middle of some last-minute instructions to the young preacher Timothy when he describes one of the actions Timothy took to lay hold on eternal life: he made the good confession and he did it before witnesses.
Interestingly, he uses the term “good confession” not only in this verse but also in the one that follows. This is the confession Paul describes in Romans 10, requiring that it be made with the mouth and mandating that it be made as one goes toward salvation.
As well, it is the same confession Jesus ties to a promise in Matthew 10 where He makes it a requirement if we want Him to confess our name to the Father. The verbal confession of Jesus as the Son of God, then, is necessary for our salvation.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11.1).
As Paul writes to his own people, he does everything he can to wake them up and help them to realize they must stay with Jesus and not return to their former ways of worshiping under the Law of Moses.
In doing so, he defines the word that is basic to Christianity: faith. “Faith” is the “substance,” that is, the “assurance,” of all Christian beliefs, meaning it is the foundation for everything else that followers of Jesus Christ believe.
As well, faith is the “evidence” of things we cannot see, meaning it is “the conviction, the persuasion, the complete belief in” things we can’t see. Without faith, we would be limited to the narrow world comprehended by our five senses: smell, taste, see, hear, and feel.
With faith, we open an avenue to a complete conviction that both God and Jesus Christ, His Son, exist. Faith also allows us to know with assurance that Jesus lived on the earth at one time, even though we today have never experienced Him with any of our senses.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a major doctrine in Christianity. If Jesus didn’t arise, then everything He claimed to be is not valid. If He did arise, we have every reason to believe that all of His other teaching is valid.
Peter here affirms that it is through the resurrection that we can feel secure in taking advantage of the mercy of God that allows us to be born again and that also gives us confidence in the living hope of going to heaven to be with God someday.
The resurrection, then, is the keystone in the arch of Christianity. Since Jesus did arise from the grave, we have a firm spiritual foundation. We have the greatest incentive we could ever have for living the kind of life outlined in scripture and for being what God wants us to be.