Paul is preaching unity here, as he emphasizes the church as the body of Christ, with Christ as the head (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 2:16, 1 Corinthians 12:27) – that there is one body and one Spirit, just as we have been “called to the one hope” (verses 4-5) of eternal life in Christ and “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” But in this unity, grace was given to each individual member, according to the measure of Christ’s gift (verses 7-11). This is not speaking just of supernatural gifts, as the age of those will soon pass (though they, too, had their place in “building up the body of Christ”); and Paul is speaking not just to Christians of that age, but to all future Christians. Verse 8 is from Psalm 68:18.
Paul began in verse 1 stating that we must walk in a manner worthy of that calling; and he picks up that thought again beginning in verse 17, as he says they (we) must no longer walk as the Gentiles do. This is relevant to us as well as a reference to all unbelievers, who are “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart…given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”
But instead, a Christian, taught the truth in Christ, is “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds” (verses 21-23). Then, he turns in verses 25-32 to the importance of honesty and being Godly in speech, thought, and heart, which is to rule how we treat each other; and sharing with those in need is to play an important role in our lives (verse 27). Verse 26 says “be angry and do not sin.” One can have anger, particularly “righteous anger,” but it should not rule our hearts or our mouths. Verse 32 sums up that section well – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.