24 put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Reflection On This Scripture
Whenever we see “therefore,” it’s important to ask, “what is it there for”? The key is to check out the context! Paul just got done reminding the Ephesians that God has broken down the wall of hostility between Gentiles and Jews, making them members together of one body, in Jesus Christ. He has just urged them to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which they have been called: with humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love and endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Furthermore, he has cast the vision that the goal is for the body of Christ to grow and build itself up in love, as each part (member) does its grace-given work. He then charged them to reject futile thinking and the counterfeit-pleasure lifestyle of the old man/nature.
Having been given a new identity by being made a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), Paul is about to list some distinctives of the character of the “new self” and how one is to live in relationship with others. THEREFORE he transitions by directing people to reject old ways and to live, behave and love others in light of the “new self.” But before we address these distinctives, we want to be reminded that this is not merely a list of do’s and don’ts solely for behavior modification purposes. Rather, this is kingdom life! Ephesians 5:25-31 is what it looks like to live in the truth patterned by Jesus, especially in relationship to one another.
Sometimes, I don’t feel what the truth says, or feel like obeying the truth, but I trust what God has said of my new identity regardless. My feelings will remain subject to the Word of God and given over to the Spirit of God. Jesus said, when you “abide in His word…you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Therefore, when God’s word says we have died with Christ (Gal 2:20) we can accept and know the truth that the “old self/old man/old nature” has been crucified with Christ. Once and for all, the “new self, created after the likeness of God” has been made alive in Christ. We put off that which is now dead and we put on that which is now alive!
So, as we approach these exhortations about a believer’s conduct, we start from the truth that this new creation in Christ is our permanent identity, and that we are no longer alienated, isolated people, but members of one body. Jesus will empower us to live out whatever His Word commands because “the work He began in [us], He will complete” (Phil 1:7). We can trust Him to enable us to do what Paul addresses over the last couple chapters of Ephesians. After all, “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Truth is “conforming one’s words to reality.” As the body of Christ, we are exhorted to speak the truth in love, so we (the body of Christ) will grow up in every way (Eph 4:15). Therefore, lies/falsehood will only hinder the unity and growth of the body of Christ, which is anti-Christ.
See the words of the LORD as delivered to God’s people through Zechariah. “Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD (Zechariah 8:16-17).
Lying is evil because it works in direct opposition to Jesus, who is the truth (John 14:6). Jesus describes Satan as the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning in whom there is no truth and whose native language is lies (John 8:44). Lies erode trust and build barriers and separation between people. In Colossians 3:9-10, Paul again addresses the body of Christ, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
The truth is that one member of the body cannot injure or deceive another, without injuring himself, since we are members one of another. Simply put, just as Jesus is the truth, the character of the new man in Christ will also be truth. His Spirit will empower us to speak the truth in love in order to build one another up.
Pray Through This Scripture
Apply This Scripture