New Life in Jesus Christ
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,and give no opportunity to the devil.Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” — Ephesians 4:25-32
As we said at the beginning of this week, walls divide people. But the walls that God would seek to build for his Temple are not designed to keep people out, rather they are intended to divide virtuous and righteous living from the unrighteous behavior that is manifest in the world. Saint Paul commands that “all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away” from us. These walls would seal out these unrighteous ways from the hearts of those who dwell in Him. The walls that He would have us build would divide the righteousness found in Christ Jesus from the unrighteousness found in the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Paul tells us in his Second Epistle to Corinth (5:16-17) that we are to regard no one from a human point of view but that we are to become a new creation in Jesus Christ. He says that if anyone is in Christ—if anyone dwells in his holy Temple—they are a new creation. And the apostle reminds us in his epistle to Rome (6:4) that we are to continue to walk in that newness of life.
How is all of this supposed to happen? Paul instructs that having put away falsehood we are each to speak truth with his neighbor for we are members one of another. It falls back on what God told us yesterday. It is love that binds us together one with another, and when we walk in love and speak the truth one to another He will build us up into a holy Temple for His praise and His glory, and for our protection from all evil.
It is now time to begin to listen to God and follow His plans for the rebuilding of the walls of His Holy Temple. With Jesus as the cornerstone, the apostles and prophets as the foundation, the members of the Body of Christ as the building blocks, and love to bind us together, we can begin construction. The walls of the Temple of God are built with virtue and righteousness. Over the weeks of this Lenten pilgrimage, let us listen to the instruction found in God’s Word, for as we have been reminded by St. Paul (Romans 15:4), “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” We all need a dose of hope right now, and we need clear direction as we move forward in that hope. Let us listen and obey, and watch God build us up “into a holy Temple…a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”