Commentary on Ephesians, 4:30-32


Ephesians 4:30-32

“30 and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”  LEB

“grieve”

The Greek word for this is lupeo, which means to make sorrowful, to effect with sadness.

In the middle of all these instructions about living the Christian life, Paul tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Meaning, we’re not to make the Spirit of God sorrowful or sad by the way we live our lives. To profess Christ, and but to live in disobedience, or to be half-hearted in our devotion to Him, causes the Holy Spirit to grieve.

I think we tend to have the idea that God is angry with us when we get out of fellowship with Him because of sin, and perhaps He is, but I think He becomes sorrowful in His heart first. I don’t think God is sorrowful simply because we’re out of His will, but perhaps primarily because He knows the fulfillment and rewards of living for Him. He’s our Father, and He wants us to experience the full experience of knowing Him and the joys of walking with Him. He knows that when we’re out of fellowship with Him, we’re missing out on the best things of life in Him.

God has a plan for each one of us. That plan may not include material blessings, but it does include the things that are most important. Which is a close, intimate relationship with Him, and eternal rewards for faithful service to Christ. Like any loving Father, He wants us to experience the best of the best, and so He becomes sorrowful when we throw it all away, and settle for things that will not last.

“by whom you were sealed”

For an explanation of the sealing of the Holy Spirit, click on the link below:

Eternal Security Verses: Sealed With the Spirit

“for the day of redemption”

All of us as born-again Christians have been redeemed. That is, we’ve been set free from the penalty and power of sin; we’ve been purchased by the blood of Christ, providing our eternal salvation.

However, here Paul is referring to our final, or complete redemption, when we are finally out of this body of sin, and in our resurrected bodies. Someday we will no longer have to be concerned about sin or suffering or hardship or heartache or disappointment or trials or anything like it. We will be in our glorified bodies and serving God in His presence forever and ever, experiencing all the blessings and joys of the Eternal Kingdom.

Thus in the context in which Paul is giving this exhortation, I believe he’s telling us, “Look, what sense does it make to live for the things of this world, when it’s not going to last? Why give yourselves to those things, when this is not your true home? Live as who you are in Christ. Live for the things that will last forever. You will be rewarded for your faithfulness”

“31 All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech, must be removed from you, together with all wickedness.”  LEB

“bitterness” (Gr. pikria)

Harboring ill feelings toward others is an indication that we have not forgiven. We must forgive as Christ has forgiven us (vs. 32). Christians should be the most forgiving people on earth, because of all that we ourselves have been forgiven of.

“rage” (Gr. thumos)

This is the explosive type of anger. We’re never to be out of control with our anger, but in all things exhibiting self-control, as part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22,23).

“wrath” (Gr. orge)

This is the deep-seated type of anger, the kind that smolders in resentment. This is the kind of anger that just won’t let go. In some ways this is worse than the explosive type of anger, because it continues for so long. With the explosive type of anger, it can be over almost as quickly as it erupted. Deep-seated anger is closely related to bitterness. It lingers on and on with a certain distasteful attitude.

“clamor” (Gr. krauge)

This refers to noisy shouting. Has the idea of bickering, or the shouting down of opponents. Think of an out-of-control crowd of protesters. Seems to have the idea of saying things we would not normally say when not in the heat of the moment.

“abusive speech” (Gr. blasphemia)

This refers to slander or malicious misrepresentation, where someone deliberately sets out to destroy someone’s good name. You may have noticed that the Greek word looks a lot like blasphemy. That’s because it’s the same Greek word. Thus, it refers to the evil, false speaking of others. A mischaracterization.

“wickedness”  (Gr. kakia)

This is another word for malice. Has the idea of being mean-spirited. Of Vicious character. A vicious attitude or disposition. This attitude is accompanied with a desire to cause pain, harm, or distress to another. It’s the very opposite of kindness and grace and compassion.

As the redeemed of Christ, as those who represent Him, as those who are to exhibit Christ-like character in our lives, none of the above should ever be true of us, or seen in us. Not only is it a bad testimony for Christ, but it effects everyone around us. As Christians, we’re to display nothing but godly, loving, gracious character. When we do, those around us are blessed. However, we can only display that kind of character, if that is who we really are within. Growing in Christ is a life-long process, but if we spend enough quality and quantity time with Jesus, His character will gradually become our character. Like begets like.

“32 Become kind toward one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as also God in Christ has forgiven you.”  LEB

As you can see, these are the same character qualities that we mentioned in our discussion above. We’re to be kind and tenderhearted and compassionate toward others. We’re to forgive as God has forgiven us of all our own sins. This is who we’re to be as representatives of Christ. Yes, this is who we really are in Christ. Thus we’re always to be growing into our position in Christ.