Ephesians 4:25-28

Community Life: Having reminded us of our clean break with the old man (4:17), Paul now returns (4:1-16) to the issue of our community life. As the people of God, whose minds are being renewed (4:23), we live as a community that imitates God (4:24) and attains to Christ’s fullness (4:13).[1] Paul first exhorts us toward godliness in the areas of honesty, anger and generosity.

Honesty, Anger and Generosity: Honesty: Pagans lie to one another. They do this to save-face, avoid embarrassment, gain dominance, manipulate, etc. This is not us. We left that old life behind, and we now speak with honesty with one another.[2] We do this because we belong to one another (“members of one another”). Unlike dysfunctional pagan groups, we actually love one another (4:2, 15, 16). Anger: Among saints, there is a place for anger that imitates God’s righteous anger.[3] But we must never confuse this with sinful anger.[4] This is especially important because we have an enemy who wants to drag us into sin. Hence, we are called to deal with whatever may be exasperating us[5] right away—before the sun goes down. Generosity: Unlike pagans who steal from others[6] (in a variety of ways), we work hard (“labor”) and do that which is good (contra stealing), not to amass riches for ourselves (Matt. 6:19-21), but to be generous and to share with those in need (1 Tim. 6:18; Acts 4:34-35).

[1] With the “Therefore” (4:25), Paul argues that as converted people, we are to live as Christ’s community.

[2] We who are heaven-bound (Rev. 21:8) live by Christ's standard of integrity (Matt. 5:37). Cf. also Col. 3:9-10.

[3] Cf. Mark 3:1-5; 2 Cor. 7:11. We ought to hate sin and share in God’s likeness in this regard (4:24; Ps. 7:11).

[4] In 4:31, Paul calls us to put aside sinful anger (alongside other sins). The Lord taught us that anger shares the same indictment as murder (Matt. 5:21-22). Cf. also James 1:19-20 and Gal. 5:19-20.

[5] The term for “anger [par-or-gis-mos (παροργισμός)]” is more precisely “the cause of your anger" (NET).

[6] The present tense of “He who steals” should not be stressed. The Greek here does not require it, and there is no such a thing as a “Christian thief” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). “Him who stole” (NKJV) better fits the context here.