Thoughts on Ephesians 4:17-20

Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to the church at Ephesus while he was in prison. During this time, many people were becoming focused upon helping the Ephesians believers to continue to walk in newness and put away the old lifestyle that they knew before Christ. Paul exhorted and encouraged them to put away the worldly ways of dealing with conflict and the paganism that surrounded the culture.[1] Paul is calling them to a higher standard of love and commitment to the cause of the gospel. When a person is without Christ they are darkened in their mind of understanding and Paul explains that believers should put away the old self. Paul writes in the book of Ephesians to focus the church upon living a life worthy of God.[2] Paul clearly lays out the way to live for God in and throughout all of life. First, Paul lays out the importance of being holy. The goal is to leave behind sins of the past and life moral and ethical lives that reflect Jesus’ life. Paul is a prisoner for the Lord, physically and spiritually. He gave up his freedom (the world) to follow Christ. The current cultural landscape displays a focus upon materialism, prominence, and popularity. The message of Ephesians is to lead a life that points people to the saving faith of Jesus Christ. Paul continues to exhort and explain the importance of not being held bound by ignorance. Ignorance will eventually lead to a hard heart because a person will feel that they have arrived to a complete understanding of life. Paul explains that a mature believer will not rewind their life and make the same choices, but push forward to living with grace. Only when the Holy Spirit moves and changes hearts will the ignorant come to saving knowledge in Christ.

Christ has set the believer free through the forgiveness of the cross. Paul’s main thrust of this passage is that if Christ has forgiven us of everything, how can we go back to the same lifestyle of sinful behavior. The life of the believer must be tenderhearted toward the Holy Spirit’s promptings. As believers, we are called to adhere to His Word and apply it to our daily lives. What sinful behavior are you turning back too? Is your heart hardened or soft towards the direction of Christ? Life is too short to waste upon the world’s way. God is calling believers to another level of peace and joy that is grounded in the kingdom of Heaven. The desperate world is looking to believers to display a lifestyle that actively points people to the love and power of the cross. Christ has called believers to set an example in the choices we make so that people look and glorify God.[3]

[1] "This I say therefore and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind…” Ephesians 4:17

[2] I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience.” Ephesians 4:1

[3]In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16