Our Spiritual Responsibility in Christ: Called to walk in Purity (Ef. 4:17-5:17)
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In this last reflection, we look at our spiritual responsibility to walk in purity as an integral part of our witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul in Ephesians 4:17-5:17 challenges believers not to live as they lived before, with darkened understanding and a life separated from God (Eph 4:18) as well as indulging in every form of impurity (4:19). We pick two lessons from this passage:
Firstly, that believers must put off the old self (sinful nature). In Ephesians 4:22, 25-31, Paul outlines a long list of vices believers are to 'put off'/get rid of. In mentioning these sinful activities, he is reminding us that any indulgence in these things is a drawback from our current positioning in Jesus and a betrayal to the Lord Jesus. Sadly, believers constantly live with this tension of the old nature wanting to consume the new nature in us. This is usually fueled in our Christian walk by the extent to which we 'feed' the old self vis-a-viz the new self. The flourishing of the old self is a consequence of indulging in sinful activities like the things we watch or read as well as keeping wrong company that more often pulls us back into sinful behaviour. Paul uses expressions like "put off", "do not", "get rid of" (4:22, 25,-31), which imply that avoiding or letting go of bad moral behaviour has a personal responsibility and decision. We must therefore each make deliberate decisions to guard against the "resurrection" of our old self largely by; one, weighing our morality against orthodox interpretation of scripture. Two, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit who speaks to our morality (John 16: 8). Three, being open to the correction, in our erring, of the community of faithful believers as Jesus says in Matthew 18:15-17.
Secondly, that believers must put on the new self (new nature). Ephesians 4:24 Paul urges us to 'wear' a new self that is characterized by righteousness and holiness thus bringing out the likeness of Christ in us. This means that we must be deliberate in allowing our spiritual self to thrive. He encourages us to be imitators of God (5:1) and to live as children of light (5:8). These verses remind us that when we accept God's offer of salvation, he lives in us in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14:23). The responsibility being rested on us as believers is to walk in purity and to exemplify integrity in all areas of our lives. There is such a great power in the proclamation of the gospel when our moral values reflect what the scripture demands of us as Christians. When those around us are succumbing to a redefinition of Christian morality around sexuality, love and marriage, as evangelical Christians, we must be bold to both exemplify Christian morality and also defend it without fear or intimidation.
Minister: Rev. Evans Omollo - Assistant Provost at All Saints' Cathedral, Nairobi.
Prayer: Dear Lord we thank for you for calling us to walk in purity as believers so as to reflect your righteousness in us. By the power of your Holy Spirit, give us the grace to starve the old self and feed the new self in us in order that we may win many to you by how we live. In Jesus name. Amen.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
The East African Christian College in Rwanda is accredited to run courses in theology. It is also preparing to run courses in Education. The process for Education accreditation is in the last stages. Pray that they are successful, and that the College can open its Education courses soon.
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