4 I beg you—I, a prisoner here in jail for serving the Lord—to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. 2 Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.
4 We are all parts of one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. 5 For us there is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and we all have the same God and Father who is over us all and in us all, and living through every part of us. 7 However, Christ has given each of us special abilities—whatever he wants us to have out of his rich storehouse of gifts.
8 The psalmist tells about this, for he says that when Christ returned triumphantly to heaven after his resurrection and victory over Satan, he gave generous gifts to men. 9 Notice that it says he returned to heaven. This means that he had first come down from the heights of heaven, far down to the lowest parts of the earth. 10 The same one who came down is the one who went back up, that he might fill all things everywhere with himself, from the very lowest to the very highest.
11 Some of us have been given special ability as apostles; to others he has given the gift of being able to preach well; some have special ability in winning people to Christ, helping them to trust him as their Savior; still others have a gift for caring for God’s people as a shepherd does his sheep, leading and teaching them in the ways of God.
12 Why is it that he gives us these special abilities to do certain things best? It is that God’s people will be equipped to do better work for him, building up the Church, the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity; 13 until finally we all believe alike about our salvation and about our Savior, God’s Son, and all become full-grown in the Lord—yes, to the point of being filled full with Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. 15-16 Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly[a]—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
17-18 Let me say this, then, speaking for the Lord: Live no longer as the unsaved do, for they are blinded and confused. Their closed hearts are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds against him, and they cannot understand his ways. 19 They don’t care anymore about right and wrong and have given themselves over to impure ways. They stop at nothing, being driven by their evil minds and reckless lusts.
20 But that isn’t the way Christ taught you! 21 If you have really heard his voice and learned from him the truths concerning himself, 22 then throw off your old evil nature—the old you that was a partner in your evil ways—rotten through and through, full of lust and sham.
23 Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better. 24 Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature.
25 Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves. 26 If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry—get over it quickly; 27 for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil.
28 If anyone is stealing he must stop it and begin using those hands of his for honest work so he can give to others in need. 29 Don’t use bad language. Say only what is good and helpful to those you are talking to, and what will give them a blessing.
30 Don’t cause the Holy Spirit sorrow by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who marks you to be present on that day when salvation from sin will be complete.[b]
31 Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.