Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 4:25 - 4:28

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 4:25 - 4:28

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

An instruction regarding individual sins:

v. 25. Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another.

v. 26. Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

v. 27. Neither give place to the devil.

v. 28. Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

It is true indeed that a Christian, by virtue of his conversion, has his thoughts and interests directed to the virtues which are well-pleasing to God. But it is equally true that the old evil nature is still present with him, causing him to wage incessant warfare against 'its attempts to lead him into sin, as the apostle pictures it Rom_7:1-25. It is for that reason that Paul here mentions individual sins by name, as among those that are most dangerous for a Christian: Wherefore, having put away falsehood, speak truth every one with his neighbor because we are members one of another. A Christian's life of sanctification, which appears in righteousness and holiness, places this obligation upon him. With the old man the Christians have put away lying; they no longer have pleasure in lying, they are no longer under the rule of falsehood, But the spirit of falsehood is continually endeavoring to regain lost ground, and, unfortunately, it will happen even in the case of Christians that they are overcome by the weakness of their flesh and become guilty of lying and deceit. Hence the admonition: Speak truth every one with his neighbor. Every Christian should diligently strive to make use of veracity over against all men at all times, over against friend and foe, unbeliever and believer. But this condition should obtain especially among Christians in their outward conduct toward one another, seeing we are members one of another. As members together of the body of Christ, under the headship of the Lord, this fellowship is more intimate than that of any physical organism. Nothing can be more disgraceful, therefore, than that Christians deliberately, maliciously, lie to one another. If they want to be true to their calling, they will walk in the truth, above all over against those that are of the household of faith.

A second admonition concerns an evil which is just as widely distributed: Be angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your provocation. The apostle makes use of Psa_4:4, according to the Greek translation. It is a warning against the sin of anger. The emphasis being on the second part of the command, the meaning can best be given by the rendering: When you become angry, do not sin. The apostle is considering the fact that even Christians, being obliged still to contend with their old Adam, are harassed with angry thoughts. There are two things which the Christian will keep in mind: First, that he does not permit angry desires to break forth in words and deeds; and secondly, that he does not cherish anger in his heart. Should your heart be agitated by anger, Paul means to say, do not permit the desire to be realized, flee from the sin of anger in terror; and at any rate do not permit anger to take root in your heart overnight, let the provocation be what it may, lest the irritation become a steady feeling of resentment and hatred. To this the warning is attached: Neither give place to the devil. The Christians should always remember that, in letting anger control them, take possession of their heart and mind, they are giving opportunity to the devil to sow dissension and many other forms of mischief in the Church.

In explanation of the Seventh Commandment, the apostle writes: Let the stealer steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his own hands that which is good, that he may have to give to him that has need. It is not only thieving that is here condemned, but every form of appropriating one's neighbor's money or goods by methods that do not conform to the law of love, all cheating and profiteering, all the methods which are considered smart by the God-forsaken business men of the world. There is always danger that these methods make an impression upon Christian business men, causing them to ignore the warnings of conscience. But Paul's call is to quit all shady methods entirely and to go to work in earnest. In this way every person will be able to obtain an honest return for his work. And he should always remember that the profit of such work is not to be kept in selfish greed, but should be shared freely with such as are really in need. The poor we always have with us, and charity need never be idle for want of suitable subjects. See Act_20:34-35; 2Th_3:11-13