Ephesians 4 is a great and powerful mirror that God places before His children. As we look at the mirror, we see ourselves and our great need for real and serious change. Millions of people may be “playing church” in our country, but God isn’t playing. He’s more serious about this than many of us imagine. This is how God wants us to treat each other in the Body of Christ:
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
The Apostle Paul began Chapter 4 of Ephesians by telling us “that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk.” That’s the theme of this section of what is one of Paul’s most comprehensive and powerful letters to the Church of the 1st Century. Becoming a Christian means we no longer look like or act like unsaved people in the world. There is a big difference between “saved” and “unsaved” in God’s Economy. We should act “holy” because we are “holy,” however, if at any time we think we have reached perfection in our Christian walk and no have no room for improvement we can look into God’s mirror and see what He sees. That’s one of the spiritual benefits of Ephesians 4. There’s no getting around God’s Word. He says what He says and it’s the truth – “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.”
God does not ask us to do something without giving us the tools necessary to accomplish His commands. Take not walking as the rest of the Gentiles walk, for instance. We have everything we need to make all the changes necessary to do this. We have the Amazing Love of God the Father, the Blood Sacrifice of God the Son, and the Supernatural Power of the Holy Spirit living within us. We have the Writings of the apostles, the foresight and insight of prophets, the heart of evangelists, and the love and care of pastors and teachers to prepare us for works of service. The result of all that God has done for us should be “for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” The goal? Unity. What brings unity into a family? Look at verse 32 again – being kind to one another, being tenderhearted toward each other, and forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Kind — chrestoi means “good, good-natured, gentle, pleasant, gracious, mild, useful toward others.”
Tenderhearted — eusplanchnos means “compassionate, of good heartedness, pitiful, merciful.”
Forgiving — charizomenoi means “to bestow favor unconditionally, to give willingly and graciously, to pardon, to graciously remit a penalty.”
We come now to the 7th step in walking like a brother. KTV – Kind, Tenderhearted, Forgiving. Think about that for a minute. What would the Church in America look like if we all treated others like that? Picture the members of your church and other Christians in the community. Now picture them as good-natured, gentle, pleasant, gracious, mild, useful toward others, compassionate, merciful, giving to others willingly and graciously, bestowing favor unconditionally, pardoning, and graciously remitting penalties. What do you think would happen in just one week if every Christian in America acted like that? for just one week? Can you see it? Can you see the love as it permeates every family, every church, every community, every state in our nation? How would you feel if every Christian you met was kind to you? Tenderhearted toward you? Forgiving you for the wrongs you committed against them? How would other believers feel if you were kind to them? Tenderhearted toward them? Forgave them for the wrongs they committed against you? That’s what our God wants from us. What will we do?
You’re probably thinking there’s no way it can happen. The Church is too far gone. There’s no way all these Christians will ever get along. Really? Never? What do you think will happen the first minute we all get to Heaven? Do you think we’ll hold grudges against each other walking the Streets of Gold? Do you think we’ll enjoy seeing each other hurting and in pain next to the Pearly Gates? When we get to Heaven God will make everything right. He will literally change our hearts and minds. Take a good look at any Christian – even the ones you don’t want to look at – and think what you will feel about them when you’re both in Heaven. I’ve done that and it puts a smile on my face. No matter what anyone has done to you, when you are with them in Heaven you will have new thoughts and feelings for everyone there. You will be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving – “even as God in Christ forgave you.”
I don’t how to say this any more plainly – we need to get over ourselves and do what God tells us to do here on earth. We are such a selfish bunch of children. We think everything’s about us. “They said bad things about me.” “They hurt my feelings.” “I’ll show them they can’t treat me that way!” What in the world are we doing? Who do we think we are? Can’t we see what God has done for us? HE FORGAVE US! God forgave us in Christ. Jesus had to suffer and die because of us. Not because of somebody else. He died because of us and our sin. We need to feel that deep in our bones. We need to get that fact through our heads – God forgave us in Christ – and our Savior wants us to forgive others in the same way. Is that asking so much? Is that so hard? Is that unfair of God to ask us to forgive others? I don’t think so.
Take this to heart, brothers and sisters. We can see a great revival of change in these last days as we treat each other the way God treats us.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”