By Oscar M. Baker
"Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice" (Eph. 4:31). Note what is to be put away. And at the bottom of all this trouble is the little word malice. You just do not like someone. And that is the start of all the other evils. The basic cause of malice is selfishness, the flesh taking over.
"And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted,forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32). Note the contrast of this verse with preceding one. Letting the new take charge and having the mind of Christ, we will have a great transformation as indicated here. These things are an aid to good health, even as malice can result in poor physical health. Love to one another fulfills the law of God. We are to love Him and our neighbor as ourself. If we really realize the truth of
2 Cor. 5:19, how can we judge our neighbor or hate him?
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children" (Eph. 5:1). In other words, be imitators of God, as beloved children. If children could only comprehend the love of their parents for them, they would not be disobedient. And so if we could only realize the love of God, we would be careful about our actions, that we do not grieve Him. Also there is the outward aspect of this exhortation. If we can know that we are in a world that is watching us, we would be more careful to walk, to act as if we were indeed children of God.
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour" (Eph. 5:2). Three times in this chapter we are to walk in certain ways, and these ways have human relationships in mind. Walk in love here refers to the husband and wife relationship as put forth in 5:22-33. Read and study this very carefully in relation to this verse quoted above. You will see the relationship, I am sure. If we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, how else should we walk?
"...let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints ... but rather giving of thanks ... For this ye know, that no ...hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Eph.5:3-5). There are some things one should not talk about. We have left them out here. You may look for yourself. The conversation of the world is not fit for the believer to imitate. A pure mind and a clean heart are a part of the Christian walk. And it is sad, but true, that one can miss the inheritance, suffer loss. Israel in the wilderness suffered great loss. Those who make their belly their god can suffer loss
(Phlp. 3:19). The standing before God cannot be lost, but the reward, the prize, the crown can be missed. Yet all these practical warnings are in the main unheeded today. Beware!
(Reprinted from Truth For Today, Vol. 31, No. 6)