Summary: We are to Give Grace in 1) Truth 2) Anger 3) Possessions 4) Words and 5) Virtue
Should there be a limit to the kindness that we show to others? A big debate is brewing after a recent superior court decision that the government not always demand that immigration sponsors repay government assistance to immigrants who fail to live up to immigration pledges. This is in essence a benefit given to those who, at the present, cannot repay the favour; it is Grace: undeserved favour.
Giving Grace does not come naturally. Paul has just demonstrated (vv. 17–24) that believers know salvation to be laying aside “the old self” and putting on “the new self” (Eph. 4:22, 24). The Grace that we give to others must first come from the inside. The new self of grace comes from the Strength of the Holy Spirit inside of us in subduing our unredeemed humanness (1 Cor. 9:27).
For those who are the redeemed in Christ; there is a new supernatural ability to transcend the past deadly way of life. It should make a difference in how we deal with all the resources that God has given us: In how we act, speak, give and generally treat others: In essence, by Giving Grace.
After showing what believers are and have positionally in Christ (chaps. 1–3), Paul first gives general basic instruction for the practicality of living the new life (4:1–24) and then continues throughout the rest of the letter to give specific commands for the conduct of that life or giving grace. We are to Give Grace in 1) Truth (Ephesians 4:25), 2) Anger (Ephesians 4:26–27), 3) Possessions (Ephesians 4:28), 4) Words (Ephesians 4:29-30), and 5) Virtue (Ephesians 4:31-32).
We are to Give Grace in 1) Truth (Ephesians 4:25),
Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (ESV)
Please turn to Revelation 21
This second therefore of the chapter (see v. 17) provides an anticipated response to the general description of the new life in Christ described in verses 20–24 and introduces the first specific command for the new walk.
Habitual Liars will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (ESV)
• (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9). A believer can fall into lying just as he can fall into any sin, but if a life is a habitual flow of lies that proceed from a heart that seeks to deceive, he has no biblical basis for believing he is a Christian.
Lying includes more than simply telling direct falsehoods. It also includes exaggeration, adding falsehood to that which begins as true. Cheating in school and on income tax returns is a form of lying. Making foolish promises, betraying a confidence, flattery, and making excuses are all forms of lying.
The Christian should have no part of any kind of lying. A believer is to be characterized by having put away/laying aside falsehood, because falsehood is incompatible with a new nature and unacceptable to his new Lord. Apotithçmi, from which put away/laying aside is derived, has to do with discarding, stripping off, casting away, and the like. The Christian put away/lays aside falsehood so they can be free to do the righteous work of the Lord.
Quoting Zechariah 8:16, Paul goes from the negative prohibition on to the positive command, speak the truth, with his neighbor. Christ is Himself “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6); the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (v. 17); and God’s Word is truth (17:17). When a person becomes a believer he/she steps out of the domain of falsehood into the domain of truth, and every form of lying therefore is utterly inconsistent with his new self.
It should be said that telling the truth does not require telling everything we know. Truthfulness is not in conflict with keeping a confidence or other legitimate secrets. Everything we say should be unqualifiedly true, and to purposely withhold information in order to deceive and mislead is a form of lying. But truthfulness does not demand our telling everything we know with no regard for its impact. Nor does it demand that we unburden all our ill feelings, doubts, and hatreds on those whom we dislike—in the kind of pseudo–honesty promoted by Freudian psychology and other such philosophies. Our concern as Christians should be for God to deal with our wrong feelings and remove them, not to wantonly express them in some inept attempt at self–justification or in the misguided expectation that simply expressing them will somehow make them go away or will mend relationships they have caused to be broken. We are to readily admit as Paul did that we are not perfect or free of sin (Rom. 7:15–25; Phil. 4:12–14; etc.). This does not mean we must broadcast detailed accounts of our sin.