New Self, New Community
Yesterday's text was Ephesians 4:25-32:
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come our of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.
This passage comes straight after Paul tells us to take off the old self and put on the new self. He gives us extremely practical things to take off, things to put on, and reasons why. Everything that we put on, though, serves to build up relationships within the body of Christ. Paul encourages us to be a community of truth that does not remain angry at one another, gives generously to one another, and speaks graciously to build one another up.
Our new identity in Christ leads to a healthy community. And this healthy community is a living picture of how God has treated us. Our conduct toward one another should resemble God's conduct toward us. In this way, the church is to be a living picture of the gospel.