Ephesians 4:17, 22; 5:8-15
When someone decides to become an athlete, he or she must meet some requirements to succeed. These are:
3. Changes in lifestyle
The same requirements apply for a soldier, for a politician, in marriage and for a Christian.
The person who is half committed to a sport or a vocation cannot succeed. He is wasting his time, even though he may feel like he is having some fun.
When there is no commitment in marriage, that union will not succeed and will become a dysfunctional relationship and fail.
Similarly, it takes a total commitment to God and His Son Jesus for a person to become a Christian, not a conditional or part-time commitment.
A disciplined life is a successful life! An undisciplined person will not succeed in life and will usually end up blaming others for his or her plight.
An undisciplined Christian will not be able to rest in God but will wander in the wilderness of religion and doctrines.
Change in Lifestyle
The person who is not willing to change his or her way of life, to let go of or exchange some things that have to go so that other new and better things can replace them, is like a car stuck in ice or sand, spinning its wheels for nothing.
The Christian who has one foot in the Word of God and the other foot in the world is like that car: stuck in ice, going nowhere.
Jesus described such a person this way: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15,16).
To the believers in Ephesus, Apostle Paul wrote: “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking” (verse 17).
With this verse, Apostle Paul began his appeal for a new morality, a new way of life. “In the Lord” means by the authority of the Lord and divine inspiration. He urged the Christian believers to put off every trace of their past life, as though they were dirty clothes, and to put on new, clean ones.
“You must no longer live as the Gentiles do.” They were no longer Gentiles (unbelievers); they were Christians. There needed to be a corresponding change in their lives.
Paul saw the Christ-less world of the nations sinking deeper and deeper in sin and degradation and named at several terrible consequences. They were: aimless, blind, ungodly, shameless, immoral, indecent, and greedy. Their sin created an enormous appetite for more of the same thing. How different this way of life was from the life of Christ whom they had come to know and love!
When we come to know Christ, at the time of conversion, that is when we are born again and we must put off our old self.
“Old self” refers to all that a person was before his conversion; the old life-style must be replaced by a new and pure way of life, a complete change in our thinking, a change from impurity to holiness, holiness of thought and life, not the way we see things but the way God sees us and our lives.
Because believers put off their old self and put on the new self when they become Jesus’ followers, they should demonstrate this change in their daily lives. In verses 23 and 24 we read: “To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Be Pure in Every Way
After naming some of the obvious sins, Paul said: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” Apostle Paul continued in chapter 5, asking the believers to “be imitators of God” (verse 1). They had to learn to be holy and clean.
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person, such a man is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (vss. 3-5)
Some say that morals are a matter of the culture in which we live, and since pre-marital, extramarital, and gay sex are accepted in our culture, they want them legalized. Sad to say, many political and religious leaders promote this idea of freedom to please the flesh without shame or fear.
Come Out of the Darkness
Believers are strongly warned to have no part in ungodly behaviour. To do so is to dishonour God and the name of Christ, to destroy other lives, to ruin one’s own testimony, and to bring retribution and death. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (vs. 8)
Here we have the contrast between light and darkness. Those who belong to Jesus have received His light and now they must reflect and introduce this light where there is darkness.
Yes, there are many who claim to be Christians, who may even be leaders who have one foot in the Word and the other in the world and do things that are sinful or wrong according to the Word of God. But you are a child of Light! Those who live in God’s light produce the fruit of moral, ethical and holy character. Those who live in darkness do not!
What should we do then? Verses 10 and 11 give the answer: “Find out what pleases God,” and “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian