Live in Love

Ephesians 4:29-5:2

29Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. 
5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 5:2 and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

29 悪いことばを、いっさい口から出してはいけません。ただ、必要なとき、人の徳を養うのに役立つことばを話し、聞く人に恵みを与えなさい。 30 神の聖霊を悲しませてはいけません。あなたがたは、贖いの日のために、聖霊によって証印を押されているのです。 31 無慈悲、憤り、怒り、叫び、そしりなどを、いっさいの悪意とともに、みな捨て去りなさい。 32 お互いに親切にし、心の優しい人となり、神がキリストにおいてあなたがたを赦してくださったように、互いに赦し合いなさい。ですから、愛されている子どもらしく、神にならう者となりなさい。 また、愛のうちに歩みなさい。キリストもあなたがたを愛して、私たちのために、ご自身を神へのささげ物、また供え物とし、香ばしいかおりをおささげになりました。

Earlier in Ephesians, Paul talks about faith of the individual.  Then he turns to how the believers, both Jews and Gentiles need to become one in Christ.  He then reminds us that we now have been given new life and we need to leave the old one behind.  And in this section, he gives us some rules for the new life.

He tells us to let no evil talk come out of our mouths, but only what is useful for building up.  Our words are to give grace to those who hear.  We are not to grieve the Holy Spirit.

He gives us six unpleasant attitudes and actions that we are to put away:

  1. Bitterness – Bitter or sour spirit, bitter or sour speech
  2. Wrath – Passionate rage, strong vengeful anger
  3. Anger – A strong feeling of displeasure of antagonism, settled and sullen hostility
  4. Wrangling – To dispute angrily
  5. Slander – Speaking evil of others, especially behind their backs, defaming and destroying their reputation
  6. Malice – Ill will, wishing and plotting evil against people

He also gives us six qualities which we are to manifest and actions to take:

  1. Be kind to one another – Kindness towards even the ungrateful and the selfish
  2. Be tenderhearted — Compassionate
  3. Forgiving one another – Acting in grace towards one another, as God in Christ has acted in grace towards us
  4. Imitators of God, as beloved children – As children copy their parents, so we are to copy God
  5. Live in love as Christ loved us – Self-giving for others
  6. Fragrant offering and sacrifice to God – Sacrificial love for others becomes a sacrifice acceptable to God

The 2020 election for the U.S. presidency has been a contentious one. Seems like Joe Biden has the necessary votes to become the 46th president of the United States.  But it seems that we are not quite done with this election.  And even after the election is well behind us, the pandemic and the divided country will still be here.

When I log onto Facebook, I see many accusations, gloating, whining, despair, and re-posting of questionable “facts” from both sides of the political divide, even among Christians.  If one has strong feelings on this, it is very tempting to join in on the fray.  Before we do so, however, especially if we are followers of Christ, we should look at what Paul has written here.

We have been made new creatures through our faith in Christ, and now we have new rules to live by – Whether in person, via a phone call, email, or postings on social media.

No evil comments – only comments that are useful for building up the others’ faith.  Only words that give grace to those who hear.  Nothing that would grieve the Holy Spirit should come forth from us.

We are to live in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.

Let us keep these verses handy as a reminder.  If each Christian would live according to these words, we could truly act as the preview of the Kingdom to come. 

(the above is a summary of the message shared with us by Shun Takano during our zoom worship session on November 8, 2020.)