Ephesians 4 (MW)
1 The fact that I am in prison does not in the least diminish my awareness that I am in Christ! My complete existence is defined and confined in him. The detail of your day-to-day life flows from the consciousness of your true identity and worth as defined in him. (We are indeed seated together with him in heavenly places! [Gal 2:6] No distraction or contradiction can reduce my life to any other reality. To walk worthy, as axios, meaning having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much. Your calling or vocation, from kaleo, to surname, to identify by name and parakaleo, inspired from within to live the life of your design.)
2 Meekness and tenderness are the fabric of your make-up; this enables you to show compassion even in seemingly impossible situations, eagerly bearing with one another in an environment where love rules.
3 Being vigilant to guard your oneness of spirit. We are prisoners of peace. We confirm the fact that there is only one body; also that there is only one Spirit.
4 We are identified in one expectation (hope); there is no plan B. We bear the same surname. (Called, kaleo, to identify by name, to surname.)
5 We are employed by the same Boss; we share the same faith, and our baptism says the same thing. (There is only one faith! Not what we believe about God but what God believes about us! Baptism declares that we are equally included in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our faith does not invent God; his faith defines us!)
6 There is only one God. He remains the ultimate Father of the universe. We are because he is. He is present in all; he is above all, through all, and in all. (He is not far from each one of us; in him we live and move and have our being. We are indeed his offspring. [Acts 17:24-28])
7 The gift of Christ gives dimension to grace and defines our individual value. (Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the gift of Christ. One measure, one worth! Our worth is defined by his gift not by a reward for our behavior.)
8 Scripture confirms that he led us as trophies in his triumphant procession on high; he repossessed his gift (likeness) in man. (See Ephesians 2:6, We are also elevated in his ascension to be equally welcome in the throne room of the heavenly realm where we are now seated together with him in his authority. Quote from the Hebrew text, Ps 68:18, lakachta mattanoth baadam, thou hast taken gifts in man, in Adam. [The gifts which Jesus Christ distributes to man he has received in man, in and by virtue of his incarnation. Commentary by Adam Clarke.] We were born anew in his resurrection. 1 Pet 1:3, Hos 6:2)
9 The fact that he ascended confirms his victorious descent into the deepest pits of human despair. (See John 3:13, “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, even the son of man.” All mankind originate from above; we are anouthen, from above [see Jas 1:17, 18].)
10 He now occupies the ultimate rank of authority from the lowest regions where he stooped down to rescue us to the highest authority in the heavens, having executed his mission to the full. (Fallen man is fully restored to the authority of the authentic life of his design. [Ps 139:8].)
11 What God has in us is gift wrapped to the world: some are commissioned to pioneer, others are gifted prophetically, some as announcers of good news, some as shepherds with a real gift to care and nurture, and others have a gift to ignite instruction through revelation knowledge. (Couriers, communicators, counsellors and coaches. — Rob Lacey)
12 Each expression of his gift is to fully equip and enable the saints for the work of the ministry so that they may mutually contribute in their specific function to give definition to the visible body of Christ.
13 The purpose of these ministry gifts is to present everyone on par and in oneness of faith; believing exactly what the Son of God believes and knowing accurately what he knows concerning us. Standing face-to-face in equal stature to the measure of the completeness of Christ. (The word, pleroma, means a life filled to the brim with Christ, like a freight ship carrying its cargo.)
14 The most dangerous life you can live is an ignorant one. You’re left like an infant on a ship out of control in the waves and winds of the storms of life. The fall of the dice dictates while the deceptive teachings of men and their distracting tricks entertain.
15 Love gives truth its voice. The conversation that truth inspires creates the atmosphere wherein growth is both spontaneous and inevitable. The whole person is addressed in Christ who is the head of the body; he is the conclusion of God’s communication with man. (“Speaking the truth in love” is not only the preferred attitude in our every conversation, but the only option; where truth gives integrity to love, and love gives attraction to truth. Love, agape, comes from ago, to lead as a shepherd leads his sheep, and pao, to rest. God’s rest celebrates our perfection; agape is to see the same value that God sees in every person. Truth as it is mirrored in Christ [v 21].)
16 From him flows the original composition and detail of our design like words intertwined in poetry, (like a conductor of music, epichoregeo) they connect layer upon layer to complete the harmony, following the rhythm of his thoughts like footprints. Meanwhile the body thrives and pulsates with the energy of love. Each individual expression finds its complete measure there. (The church is not a dismembered, dysfunctional body, but a fully functional, coordinated lover of people.” — Rob Lacey)
17 My most urgent appeal to you in the Lord is this: you have nothing in common with the folly of the empty-minded masses; the days of conducting your lives and affairs in a meaningless way are over! (The Gentiles, ethnos, the masses of people who are walking in the vanity of their minds.)
18 The life of their design seems foreign to them because their minds are darkened through a hardened heart ruled by ignorance. They are blinded by the illusion of the senses as their only reference, stubbornly wearing a blindfold in broad daylight. (Hardness of heart is the result of a darkened understanding; a mind veiled through unbelief. [See 2 Cor 4:4])
19 Having become conditioned to a life distanced from God; they are calloused in spirit, and are lust and greed driven; they have totally abandoned themselves to outrageous shameless living. (See Rom 1:19-23)
20 Of what total contrast is Christ!
21 It is not possible to study Christ in any other context; he is the incarnation, hear him resonate within you! The truth about you has its ultimate reference in Jesus. (“The truth as it is in Christ.” He did not come to introduce a new compromised set of rules; he is not an example for us but of us!)
22 Now you are free to strip off that old identity like a filthy worn-out garment. Lust corrupted you and cheated you into wearing it. (Just like an actor who wore a cloak for a specific role he had to interpret; the fake identity is no longer appropriate!)
23 Be renewed in your innermost mind! (Pondering the truth about you as it is displayed in Christ) will cause you to be completely reprogrammed in the way you think about yourself! (Notice that Paul does not say, “Renew your minds!” This transformation happens in the spirit of your mind, awakened by truth on a much deeper level than a mere intellectual and academic consent.)
24 Immerse yourself fully into this God-shaped new man from above! You are created in the image and likeness of God. This is what righteousness and true holiness are all about.
25 Faking it and lying to one another was part of the old life; now truth remains the constant inspiration in your every conversation. We are related to one another like different parts in the same body. (Which means that cheating one another would be cheating yourself! Truth only finds context in Christ [v 21])
26 Even if you think you have a valid excuse, do not let anger dominate your day! If you don’t deal with it immediately (in the light of the likeness of Christ in you) the sun sets for you and your day becomes one of lost opportunity where darkness employs anger to snare you into sin.
27 Any sin that you tolerate is an open invitation to the devil. Do not give him a platform to operate from.
28 If you were a thief before, you are one no more. Find an honest job where the fruit of your labor can be a blessing to others!
29 Instead of cheap talk, your mouth is now a fountain of grace, giving encouragement and inspiration to everyone within earshot.
30 The Holy Spirit is your signet ring from God to confirm that you are redeemed to live your life in the light of day; any conduct that belongs to the night grieves him.
31 Take up the strongest possible position against every form of distorted behavior in your own life. Do not allow yourself to be spiteful; outbursts of violent emotion and rage do not become you. You don’t have to shout in order to make your point. People must feel safe in your conversation; therefore, slander and hurtful words (blasphemy) are out!
32 Be inspired by kindness and compassion; your forgiving one another when you might feel irritated and frustrated demonstrates the way God graciously treated us in Christ.