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Unity with Christ

As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God’s people. We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.

Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. As the Scriptures say,

“When he went up
    to the highest place,
he led away many prisoners
    and gave gifts to people.”

When it says, “he went up,” it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. 10 This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe.

11 Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12 so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13 This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.[a]

14 We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. 15 Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head 16 of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.

The Old Life and the New Life

17 As a follower of the Lord, I order you to stop living like stupid, godless people. 18 Their minds are in the dark, and they are stubborn and ignorant and have missed out on the life that comes from God. They no longer have any feelings about what is right, 19 and they are so greedy that they do all kinds of indecent things.

20-21 But that isn’t what you were taught about Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and you heard about him and learned about him. 22 You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. 23 Let the Spirit change your way of thinking 24 and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy.

Rules for the New Life

25 We are part of the same body. Stop lying and start telling each other the truth. 26 Don’t get so angry that you sin. Don’t go to bed angry 27 and don’t give the devil a chance.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need.

29 Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say.

30 Don’t make God’s Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that someday you will be free from your sins.

31 Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. 32 Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.

Footnotes

  1. 4.13 and we will be completely like him: Or <<and he is completely perfect.’>

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner(A) for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy(B) of the calling(C) you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another(D) in love.(E) Make every effort to keep the unity(F) of the Spirit through the bond of peace.(G) There is one body(H) and one Spirit,(I) just as you were called to one hope when you were called(J); one Lord,(K) one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,(L) who is over all and through all and in all.(M)

But to each one of us(N) grace(O) has been given(P) as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:

“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives(Q)
    and gave gifts to his people.”[b](R)

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended(S) higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)(T) 11 So Christ himself gave(U) the apostles,(V) the prophets,(W) the evangelists,(X) the pastors and teachers,(Y) 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ(Z) may be built up(AA) 13 until we all reach unity(AB) in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God(AC) and become mature,(AD) attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.(AE)

14 Then we will no longer be infants,(AF) tossed back and forth by the waves,(AG) and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.(AH) 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love,(AI) we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head,(AJ) that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows(AK) and builds itself up(AL) in love,(AM) as each part does its work.

Instructions for Christian Living

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer(AN) live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.(AO) 18 They are darkened in their understanding(AP) and separated from the life of God(AQ) because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.(AR) 19 Having lost all sensitivity,(AS) they have given themselves over(AT) to sensuality(AU) so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off(AV) your old self,(AW) which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;(AX) 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;(AY) 24 and to put on(AZ) the new self,(BA) created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.(BB)

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully(BC) to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.(BD) 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]:(BE) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.(BF) 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,(BG) doing something useful with their own hands,(BH) that they may have something to share with those in need.(BI)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,(BJ) but only what is helpful for building others up(BK) according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,(BL) with whom you were sealed(BM) for the day of redemption.(BN) 31 Get rid of(BO) all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.(BP) 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,(BQ) forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.(BR)

Footnotes

  1. Ephesians 4:8 Or God
  2. Ephesians 4:8 Psalm 68:18
  3. Ephesians 4:9 Or the depths of the earth
  4. Ephesians 4:26 Psalm 4:4 (see Septuagint)