Only Good Words
“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
Watch Out For Pressure
“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
“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.
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