Today's Reading: Ephesians 4:22-28
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another . (Ephesians 4:25)
In the Name+ of Jesus. Amen. What does this mean? It means that, "We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.”
But, the prophet, Amos, called the women of Samaria “cows of Bashan.” And John the Baptist called the religious leaders of his day a “brood of vipers.” And what about Jesus, who accused the Pharisees of being, “white washed tombs?” None of this sounds like they had much use for explaining everything in the kindest way. This can't possibly be what Paul meant by speaking truth with our neighbor?
Paul is saying, you've put on the new man by faith in Christ so, "Speak the truth in love.” Or, as Jesus Himself taught, “... let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”
That is, we are free in Christ, a new man, as Paul puts it, so walk in that freedom, that newness of life, the fruitfulness of God's forgiveness that's been sprinkled on you in baptism, fed to you in the Lord's Supper, and expressed to you in the sermon.
So when you misspeak, when your “Yes,” comes out as a “No,” when you sin against your neighbor, don't listen to the old Adam. Don't run away in fear or try to cover up your sin: repent, ask for forgiveness, receive forgiveness, walk with your neighbor in the love of the LORD Jesus. That’s how free people in Christ deal with things. We speak the truth with each other in love for we are members of one another. We have been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
O my Savior, help afford By Your Spirit and Your Word! When my wayward heart would stray, Keep me in the narrow way; Grace in time of need supply While I live and when I die (LSB 611:5)
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