In verses 17-32 we see the Apostle Paul exhorting believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to WALK in holiness. Before we were saved, we “WALKED according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as others” (Ephesians 2:2-3…NKJV). But by God’s grace we have been born again and the new life that has been imparted to us is to be on display. People should be able to look at us and say, “Those Christians sure are different, for they don’t live for worldly pleasures, riches and fame, nor do they live to gratify the lusts of the flesh and mind by indulging in immorality.” Paul starts out by telling us, “You should no longer WALK as the rest of the Gentiles WALK, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (verses 17-19). Believers in Christ are no longer considered “Gentiles” who WALK in heathen darkness because they have no life (eternal life) in them. We are “Christians” who have been taught the truth about Christ (verses 20-21) and have become a “new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (verse 24). Because of what we now are as a “new creation in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 5:17), Paul gives us the following exhortations in verses 25-29:

“Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another’” (verse 25). In verse 21 we are taught that “the TRUTH is in Jesus” (see also John 14:6) and now we are to be known for “telling the TRUTH.”

“Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (verses 26-27). If we do get angry, it should be “righteous anger” (anger against sin) and we should not allow it to become “sinful anger” by allowing it to fester. It should be “short-lived” or the devil will come in and turn our “righteous anger” into an “unrighteous anger.” One has said, “If you have to be angry—if the cause is righteous, the provocation severe—then let the storm burst but make sure the expression of your anger is not promiscuous or prolonged. Let calm follow the storm and be sure that your fellowship with God is not broken” (John Phillips).

“Let him who stole steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (verse 28). The Law of Moses said, “You shall not steal,” but God’s grace goes further and says, “work so you have money to give to the poor.”

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (verse 29). The Bible has MUCH to say about our “tongue,” for that little member can do unbelievable damage to others (see James 3:1-12). Gossiping, profanity, dirty jokes/stories, and slander all proceed out of our mouth, and we must constantly be on guard lest we ruin our testimony for Christ with the words that we speak. We should pray as David did in Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth, Keep watch over the door of my lips.” The Lord alone can give us the victory and thus we can also pray (as David did in Psalm 19:14), “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” If it is our earnest prayer to glorify the Lord with “the words of our mouth,” we can be sure that He will fill our hearts with “good thoughts” and they, in turn, will be translated into “good words.” Those words will result in “what is “good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Our words will not only “be acceptable to the Lord,” they will “be a blessing to others who hear us.”  (DO)  (527.5)