Summary: "Would you like fries with that?" is what we hear whenever we go to McDonalds. Some people think Christianity is like that - that we can order salvation but holiness is an optional extra. Here Paul tells us that holiness is not an optional extra to the
Earlier this year we looked at Eph 2:1-10. We looked at extremes. Do you remember the extremes we looked at? Extremes of weather: 40C Mongolia in winter to +45C Dubai in summer. Think of other extremes. Earlier in the year when we last looked at extremes the Mary River was in flood. We looked at the extremes of wet and dry. Slow and fast. Big and small.
And back then we looked at the ultimate extreme - death to life. Remember, normally we think of death following life. We live our allotted years and then we die. But this is the other way around! Remember, we started off dead as it says in
EPH 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
And then, through Gods amazing grace, he took us from death to life!
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions
This means that if we have been born again through faith and belief in Jesus Christ, then we have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life. And it means that when we physically die, it is not the end, for our soul lives on, and one day, when the last trumpet sounds we will be raised to life and live with Christ forever.
On the other hand if we do not believe in Christ, we remain in our sins, then we remain spiritually dead and under the judgement of God. When we die we will not live forever with Christ but instead the wrath of God will remain on us and we will suffer an eternity of suffering in the Lake of Fire.
What a contrast! On one hand, the state of death where we once were - under the judgement of God because of our sins, destined for an eternity in Hell. But if you are a Christian, if you have believed and trusted in Christ, then you have been taken from death to life. Youve been taken from the weight of sin, the snare of sin, that held you in its death embrace and youve been released from that.
And it was God who did all this. Eph 2:5b - it is by grace you have been saved. You see, being dead in our sins, we lacked the ability to do anything about our condition. We are saved through grace. That means it is the gift of God. Jesus Christ God the Son - who was not dead in sins, but very much alive in holiness and righteousness, came to die for us, in our place. And so life, eternal life, is a gift for those who believe in Jesus. We looked at all that earlier in the year when we looked at Ephesians 2:1-10. So why are we talking about that now, now that we are in chapter 4? Because Paul didnt finish with this theme in Ephesians 2, because you see theres more! You see, in Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul talks about the reality of what has happened, that weve been taken from death to life, from one extreme to another. And now in chatper 4:17 to the end of the book he talks about the consequences of this. And in our verses today, Ephesians 4:17-24, he starts talking about the consequences of going from death to life. Starting our new life in Christ and how it effects the way we live.
In these verses he again uses the language of extremes, comparing our old way of life, to our new way of life in Christ. Then later from verses 25 onwards for most of the rest of Ephesians, he talks about practical, down to earth things. Things we shouldnt be doing as Christians, and things we should be doing. As we go through those verses and chapters in the coming weeks, well be looking at things like
relationships with each other (4:25-32), specific sins we should not be engaging in (5:1-21), and submission in various relationships (5:22-6:9). But today Paul paints a stark contrast between two ways of living. The way of the unbeliever and the way of the believer.
Remember at the beginning of chapter 4 he says EPH 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. We have been called from death to life, into His wonderful kingdom, and therefore we must live lives worthy of that calling. And now from vs 17-24 Paul paints the stark contrast with the life we used to live, when we were dead in our sins, and the life we ought to be living now.
EPH 4:17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.