EPHESIANS, THE EPISTLE OF THE CHURCH AND THE CROSS (24)


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Walking in love forgiving one another as God forgave us
Ephesians 4: 32-5: 8
Dr. G. Ernesto Johnson
Rio Grande Bible Seminar
I never cease to marvel at the fullness of the riches of God's grace displayed in Ephesians. It seems that it is so big that Paul does not know where to leave a topic and go to another. This is illustrated in the end of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5. Sometimes we think that the new chapter gives beginning to the new theme, but finta the contrary here is the continuation and even the climax of the previous truth. For me, the truth of the end of chapter 4:32 serves to lay the foundation of chapter 5, detecting the virtues of walking in love. As we contemplate this sacred bond, we can not help but be filled with love and gratitude to the Triune God for the work of the Cross.
In brief summary, Paul appeals to the believer on the basis of his new identity, united to Christ, which results in the transforming behavior. The believer realizes that the old life has been stripped away, and on the contrary is renewed in the spirit of the mind and, finally, dresses "the new man, created according to God in justice and holiness of truth" ( Ephesians 4: 22-24). He continues to challenge the believer to shed some seven classic sins. But it is not all negative because at the same time it traces to the believer the virtue corresponding to his new identity.
Give the list of the seven sins unrelated to the believer, a member of the lugar church: lying, anger, giving place to the devil, theft, the corrupted word, grieving the Spirit and finally removing within them all kind of bitterness and malice. But in each case it gives us the very positive of the new life in Christ: speaking the truth, not letting the anger remain of the rectum, working for the good of others, letting the word out of the mouth only the edifying word and, Finally, be benign to each other.
Paul exposes the sin r of not forgiving one another Ephesians 4:32
It is so easy to read the known without thinking about the depth of truth. The last phrase of 4:32 may pass for the missing: "But be kind to one another, merciful, forgiving one another, as God also forgave you in Christ."
It is worth taking note of the verb "pardoned" (aorist or past tense-the Cross). The time of the verb returns us directly to the Cross. He does not continue to forgive us but forgave us merienda and for all. The payment "the kofer" paid for it completely; nothing remains to be done.
Paul has affirmed before the importance of the vicarious death and ours in union with Jesus merienda and for all: "Because the love of God constrains us; thinking this: that if one died for all, then all died (notice the time, the same time of the verbs) and died for all, so that those who live no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died and rose again "( 2 Corinthians 5: 14,15).
In that key portion regarding the victorious life he says the same: "With Christ I have been crucified, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me; and what I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up "(Galatians 2:20). On that love shown merienda on the Cross, it is now up to us to forgive our neighbor from the heart.
On the basis of the complete work of Christ, we must anticipate what is being taught in this chapter. Paul is here to talk about the tense and difficult relationships between the married (5: 22-24); those of the husband who is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (vv.25-30); those of immature children to their parents (6: 1-3); those of the parents to their children (v.4) and the most difficult, the servants to their employers (vv.5-8) and, finally, the masters to their servants (v.9).
Paul will speak in this same chapter not of the theoretical and philosophical relationships that we all have to face, but of the need to submit to one another as the preamble of relations in the lugar church and outside in the world says: "Submit some to others in the fear of God "(Ephesians 5:21). Then follows the test of walking in love. The existente issue that concerns Paul is how the believer has to walk before God in the reality of daily life so that the lugar church is formed according to the plan of the Great Design.
Paul introduced grace and the Great Design in the first section. In the second, he speaks of the provision of the abundant grace of God for the believer to play his role in the lugar church. It seems that he almost mentioned as if for the disappeared the value of forgiveness among the brothers, the true how to walk "worthy of the vocation with which you were called with all humility and meekness, bearing with patience, one another in love" ( Ephesians 4: 1).
Let's ask the question: what is a basis of being benign with each other in the last hallarse of chapter 4? That basis is found in that last sentence: "Forgiving one another, as God forgave you in Christ" (4:32). In short, upon realizing one of his own forgiveness from God, he has no choice but to forgive the other, with all his heart and no matter what the occasion may be.
The parable of the two debtors Matthew 19: 23-35
In his magisterial style, Jesus illustrates the need for our forgiveness to the brother in the parable of the two debtors in Matthew 19: 23-35. "Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants." We know the story. A servant owed his king an incalculable sum. "As he could not pay, he ordered his master to sell him, and his wife and children, and everything he had to pay the debt" (v.25). The poor servant asked for mercy and even promised the impossible; "The king moved to mercy, released him and forgave him the debt" (v.27).
But the same ungrateful man sought and found his fellow servant who owed him a misery and choked him and demanded that he be paid immediately. The poor man asked for the same patience as the first, but far from forgiving him, he threw him in jail. "Then his lord, angry, handed him over to the executioners, until he paid everything he owed him. Likewise, my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive each of your brothers with all your heart their offenses "(vv.34, 35).
In several contexts Jesus emphasized this truth. Whoever holds a grudge, anger and malice towards the other, whoever he is, for a supposed injustice or indirect can not be benign. That root of bitterness and does not allow it. "Take heed, lest anyone fail to attain the grace of God; that some root of bitterness springing up, hinders you, and by it many are defiled "(Hebrews 12:15). Take note of the importance of not being bitter because you do not want to forgive others, whoever they are, as God demands.
Let's examine the phrase "as God also forgave you in Christ" Ephesians 4: 32b
This phrase "in Christ" used 40 times in the Pauline epistles is key. We must not overlook its depth here. Who suffered the most in finding a way to forgive us sin? God himself and his beloved Son.
From Genesis 3:15 God worked out at the precise moment of the fall of our parents the plan
Messianic. He would send his only begotten Son who would take the sin of the whole world. "With all that, Jehovah wanted to break him, subjecting him to suffering. When he has laid his life in atonement for sin, he will see his lineage, he will live for long days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand "(Isaiah 53:10). "Whom God has set as the propitiation by faith in his blood, to manifest his righteousness, because he has passed by, in his patience, past sins" (Romans 3:25). It is impossible for us to understand the cost that God himself paid to forgive us. It cost his beloved Son.
But who also suffered when accepting his Father's plan? "Now my soul is disturbed: and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this I have arrived at this hour. Father glorify your name "(John 12: 27,28). "He who spared not his own Son but gave for all of us. . . "(Romans 8:32). The sufferings of Christs in participating in our flesh and blood will never be understood. "Who, being in the form of God, did not esteem being equal to God as a thing to cling to, but that he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, made like unto men; and being in the condition of a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross "(Philippians: 4: 2).
When we weigh our sin compared to the infinite cost of the Triune God, the sufferings of both the Father in "breaking" his only begotten Son and the Son in dying for our sin, we see the enormity of our sin. God could not forgive our sin for a "fiat" or procesal decree but had to deliver his Son to death, that reveals the enormous guilt of our sin. It is said that "forgiven much, love much, forgive little, little loves" (Luke 7:47).
Such was the cost to God Triune to forgive us and not to want to forgive each other! How tremendous is everything involved in that single phrase "in Christ"!
Walking in love in light of God's forgiveness in Christ Ephesians 5: 1,2
Without introducing a new concept, Paul makes the practical application: "Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children." The small conjunction "well" that we have seen so many times, brings us back to the previous argument already established without any doubt.
Since God at such a great price forgave us completely, it is up to us to follow him as the child imitates his father and mother. Paul puts this privilege for having been forgiven by God in the loving environment of the family where genuine love reigns. There is nothing forced or sintético to be at home. God is our heavenly Father and his treatment of having forgiven us creates love and transforms our walk as a way of living as He lives.
The translation "Be, then, imitators" may be more precise: "become imitators of God as beloved children" It leaves the idea that it is a "come to be" perpetual to a custom that God himself has and that is already in development in them. (1) You can feel the heat of God in encouraging them to maintain the habit of forgiving the other in the same spirit in which he forgave them.
In that loving spirit Paul adds: "And walk in love, as Christ also loved, and gave himself for us, offering and sacrifice to God in a fragrant odor" (v.2). It is very interesting that Paul ends Galatians 2:20 with the same phrase: "But Christ lives in me; and what I now live in the flesh, I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. "Once again we return to the Cross and our death and resurrection with Him. doubt that the Cross is the axis of all that God has done to us. From the Cross flow the healing waters that bless the lugar church.
With the command to "walk in love" Paul introduces the burden of the rest of the epistle: We have to "walk in love" (v.2), "walk as children of light" (v.8), "diligently how you walk "(V.15). There can be no example of such love (agape) as the Cross. He showed us his love "unto death and death on the cross" (Philippians 4: 6-8). He took our place and the wrath that was ours fell on us, as well as judging the old nature merienda and for all, freeing us from his wickedness.
That vicarious and representative death is the substance of the sacrifices of the Old Testament that were merienda the shadow when offered in the spirit of true adoration; they were a fragrant smell for God. Paul affirms that both the work of the Cross was a fragrant smell for God as it is our custom to forgive one another. Forgiving ourselves is the highest expression of love (agape) displayed on the Cross.
The love of God and the justice of God in full revelation Ephesians 5: 3-8
It seems to be a 180 degree turn from the love of God to the scandal of fornication. Yes, Dio is love and forgiveness to the repentant, but at the same time it is "light and there is no darkness" (1 John 1: 5). There is no discrepancy in describing thus the essence of the Triune God. In dropping his holy wrath on his own Son on the Cross he showed his justice. "For the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18).
God is holy but showed his love in providing a way out by sending his Son. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost, but may have life eternal "(John 3:16).
Solemn and practical warnings are taken to heart
God through Paul gives us a strict prohibition and clear warning that his forgiveness does not extend to the fornicator who practices and even professes to be a believer; it is not. There follows a clear and frank prohibition that reveals such a heart of the God of justice: "but (a strong emphasis in the same spirit of the previous context) fornication and all filthiness, or greed, is not named among you as it suits saints: No words of dishonesty, neither foolishness, nor foolishness, which are not convenient, but rather actions of grace "(vv.3, 4).
We can not understand your overwhelming rejection of this list of sins so common in that Greco-Roman environment (or today too) that can infiltrate their congregations. In the context God solemnly warns the brothers of the presence and power of the flesh, the old man.
The words spoken to Peter shortly before his denial of the Lord are worth remembering: "See and pray, so that I did not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak "(Mark 14:38). I recently heard from a pastor of 28 years of ministry in Peru who fell morally and lost his ministry.
This abrupt change in context should not surprise us. We are capable of the worst sins given in the list that descends to foolishness and trickery. The Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary defines the truhán: "person without shame, who lives by cheating and scams".
Sadly such people have stained the name of God and still profess to be believers. Paul clarifies the following that we take very much to heart: "Because you know this, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous, who is an idolater has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God, let no one deceive you with empty words because these things come the wrath of God on the children of disobedience "(vv.5,6).
End this warning by saying: "Do not be part of them. For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light "(vv.7,8).
Paul began the passage with loving and tender words assuring them of the forgiveness of their already confessed sins. In the same way, they must forgive their neighbors with all their heart. Such is a fragrant smell before God. But a great "but" follows; God is just and holy and does not tolerate the listed sins. They must show "ZERO tolerance" in front of them. Transformed life is the only evidence of his forgiveness and his walk in love based on "you are light in the Lord." Thus they should be encouraged.

(1) H.C.G. Moule, Ephesian Studies, Lessons in Faith and Walk (London: Pickering & Inglis), Second edition, pp.236,237.

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