“Remove grace from any community and you will soon have quarrels, strife, bickering, manipulation, envy, hatred, and all the other works of the flesh that Paul lists in Galatians 5:19-21. — Paul Ellis, The Gospel in Twenty Questions
After reading a chapter from The Gospel in Twenty Questions the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance Ephesians 4:19, which in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) says, “and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”
The Apostle Paul wrote about walking by the Spirit in Galatians 5 and about unity of the Spirit in Ephesians 4. In both chapters he writes about the contrast–pursuing the desires of the flesh and continuing to live like the old self when we are new creatures.
However, Paul also offers us the proverbial BUT. He inserts it right into Ephesians 4:20 and, as perusual, follows it with JESUS.
HS reminds me, and corrects me, when I start experiencing some of those effects of falling from grace (or from reliance on Jesus) that are described in Galatians 5:19-21.
I am humbled and thankful when He does too–well, once I get past the “dang ol’ dang” moment.
I need help remembering that by keeping ourselves fixed on Jesus and meditating on the Word we are putting on the new self and being renewed in the spirit of our mind.
The community without grace that Ellis speaks of includes all our relational dynamics– like family, marriage, and friendship.
I know what it is to get entangled with strife or to find myself reacting to the jealousies of others with impatience.
I know what it is to get sucked up into stinking thinking and to have the Holy Spirit remind me to focus on Jesus again and to tell me to continue renewing my mind in the Word (in Jesus).
I am thankful for His faithfulness to do this for us too because I’ve not spent quality time meditating on the Word lately. And, I am finding more than ever that not being as focused on Jesus makes it way too easy to be like that old self who didn’t trust Jesus.
Ephesians 4:20-24 (NASB) with my bracketed commentary:
But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him [and I have] and have been taught in Him [and I have], just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life [trying to do things in my own strength], you lay aside the old self [which is dead], which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth [See, it’s true. We do have a new nature in Christ. We are righteous and holy because He is].