KEY THOT: Paul gives a list of do’s and don’ts: do speak the truth in love, don’t speak falsehood; do get angry, but don’t sin; do work, don’t steal; do speak to build up, don’t speak to tear down; do be kind to one another, don’t grieve the Holy Spirit, etc. But the goal of all this is to become “imitators of God” and “walk in love as Christ loved us”. When we do the things Paul lists in this verses, we become godly and Christ-like.
But behind Paul’s list of do’s and don’ts is the truth that we have within us who believe the capacity to do these things because of the “new self” installed into our very being: “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24). It’s like when we accepted Christ, God installed a new spiritual OS (new self) with new capabilities (“created after the likness of God in true righteousness and holiness”) inside us on top of the old OS (old self) which is “corrupt through deceitful desires” (v.22). When we were baptized, the old self OS was deactivated though still present, and the new self OS is now fully operational. But we will need to acquire new habits to operate in the new OS environment—until these new habits become “second nature” in us.
The goal of Christian holiness is not keeping a list of do’s and don’ts but imitating Christ who is God. Christ speaks the truth to build up; he works with his hands; he gets angry but did not sin; he is kind to the weak. He is God—and reveals the Father’s ways. When we speak positively and graciously, when we are kind to the weak, when we walk by the Spirit, we are behaving like God—so that people see Christ in us.
Now that we have a new self OS installed within us, we have to put away the habits of the old self OS (lying, lazing around, cursing when we get angry, speaking disparagingly of others, etc.) and learn the new habits of the new self OS—the end result of which is that people will see the Christ installed within us.
Father, thank You that You have installed the “new self” which is created after the likeness of God inside me. Help me learn the new habits to operate in this new self environment. Amen.