“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Grace Of Renewal: Ephesians 4:17-32
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
With this devotional, we are beginning the second division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.
In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.
- The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
- The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
- The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
- The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
- The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
- The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
- The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
- The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-21)
The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of RENEWAL (4:17-32). The word translated “renewed” is a Greek word that carries with it the ideas of:
1. to reform
2. to make fresh
3. to restore youth
When these are viewed together we can see that the idea of renewal is “a renovation that restores to a previous condition which results in renewed power, refreshment and perception.”
In the context of this study, our mind is spoken of as being “renewed” with the receipt of the new nature given to us at our salvation. Basically this is teaching us that our mind is changed to resemble our minds before the fall of man. Some of these would include:
1. a mind with a greater desire to think on things pleasing to God,
2. a mind with an ability to more clearly perceive and apply God’s Word and will to the life
3. a mind with an ability to perceive and oppose wickedness, temptation and other evil influences.
Keeping all this in mind, lets turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The Walk Of Our Old Man (vs 17-22)
II. Our New Man with a Renewed Mind (23-24)
III. The Walk Of Our New Man (vs 25-32)
(Eph 4:30a) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,…
Paul continues to look at the characteristics of the new man, a blessing given to us by God’s grace…
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
Do not cause the Holy Spirit to be sad, angered or distressed. What causes the Holy Spirit to be “grieved” in our life? Because this is the only verse in the New Testament that mentions grieving the Spirit, we will have to look to the Old Testament to see if we can find any teaching on the subject…
Isaiah 63:10 clearly explains this for us…
“But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, [and] he fought against them.”
Rebellion (willful disobedience) against the Lord is what causes the Holy Spirit to be grieved. This would include any WILLFUL act of sin. As Paul gives us a listing of the characteristics of a new man, we can add another to the list. When we live according to the new man, we will not willfully choose to disobey God and rebel against His authority and guidelines for our lives.
Why would rebellion against the commands of the Lord result in His Spirit being grieved? In Acts 7, we read of the Lord’s great authority (vs 48-50) and the result of stubbornly resisting that authority (vs 51)…
“Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven [is] my throne, and earth [is] my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what [is] the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers [did], so [do] ye.”
Here, we read that when we resist the Lord’s authority, we are resisting the Holy Spirit as well. This is because the indwelling Spirit testifies to us of God’s will, and convicts us of our rebellious spirit and actions.
When we rebel, we are refusing to listen to the Spirit’s leadings in our life and purposefully “shutting Him out” of our decision making process. This is one of the main reasons why He is grieved when we rebelliously sin against our Heavenly Father.
Some of the characteristics of those who live according to the “new man” by a renewed spirit of the mind include:
1. Truthfulness and Transparency
2. Holding Anger Against Sin
3. Prompt Cessation Of Ungodly Anger
4. No Submission To Satan’s Use
5. Laboring To Meet Physical Needs
6. Good and Edifying Speech
7. No willful disobedience against our Heavenly Father and His desires for our lives.
May we all recognize these characteristics are all a result of the Lord’s direct intervention in our lives creating in us the “new man” and giving us the grace to live according to it.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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