Put Off to Put On
1. The Scriptures command us to remove the garment of lying - vs. 25. Returning to the greater imperative of this section, “Walk not as other gentiles walk,” the Apostle directs, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." Such is basic righteousness, for we indeed are members one of another. It also is the essence of the ninth commandment. The context is within the church, but the greater principle is universal. May we be those who embrace truth and put off lying.
2. The Scriptures command us to remove the garment of anger - vs. 26-27.
We now are enjoined to sin not when angry. Though there certainly is such a matter as righteous indignation, rarely are we so afflicted. Rather, anger usually is a work of the flesh. It commonly manifests sinful reactions such as unrighteous communication, loss of temper, malice, and bitterness. Though incidents over which we have no control may anger us, we are directed to so temper our disposition that we sin not. This certainly is walking not as other gentiles walk. He then offers very good advice in the matter. “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” There is wisdom in resolving conflict on the day it occurs. To allow it to smolder only breeds malice, bitterness, and hatred. The injunction of verse 27, "neither give place to the devil," is regarding not giving an opportunity for Satan to oppress you as a believer. We are to allow Satan no place in the concourse of our lives. In ways we do not understand, he is able to influence us through temptation, discouragement, and distraction. Our duty is to be aware of his devices and not allow them.
3. The Scriptures command us to remove the garment of stealing - vs. 28.
The eighth commandment is addressed. "Let him that stole steal no more." Though people of the world may so do, and we may have done so in the past, we now must resist the smallest temptation to be dishonest. The simple solution for each is, "but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." Honest work will not only provide for one’s needs, but will allow the opportunity to help others.
4. The Scriptures command us to remove the garment of corrupt communication - vs. 29
Here now Paul touches upon a way to not walk as other gentiles walk. That is, to "let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." The word translated as "corrupt" has the sense of ‘rotten’ or ‘foul.’ The word translated as communication is the common idea of speech. The injunction is simple. Don’t allow a single foul word come out of our mouth. That certainly is in contrast to how other gentiles walk. In distinction, we ought rather to speak "that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minster grace unto the hearers." Rather than uttering a single word of foul speech, our duty is to build up others when we speak. The final thought literally is that we might give kindness to those who hear us.
5. The Scriptures command us to remove the garment of grieving the Holy Spirit - vs. 30
There are two negative possibilities in the life of the believer concerning the Holy Spirit. We can grieve Him, and we can also quench Him. To grieve is more than to offend. It is to inflict sorrow and grief upon another. If we love the Lord our God including His Spirit, we will be ever so careful not to grieve Him. Paul quickly reminds us that it is He which has sealed us “unto the day of redemption.”
6. The Scriptures command us to remove the garment of unkindness - vs. 31
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Five ugly agents, the antithesis of love, are listed. The whole foul spectrum of bitterness, loss of temper, anger, yelling at another with nasty accusations coupled with ill-will which is so typical of how people of the world deport themselves is thus forbidden. It is the antithesis of love.
7. Finally, the Scriptures command us to put on the garments of the new man - vs. 32
Rather, we are enjoined to "be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you." The antonyms are instructive. They might be described as harsh, hard-hearted, and unforgiving. As God’s people in love, we are directed to do the opposite. It is a manifestation of walking in love. God has so loved us when He forgave us for Christ’s sake. Insight into the heart of God is herein presented.
May our lives reflect the great power of God to save and to change us.
Your Friend and HIS,