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The Epistles of Paul - Ephesians Part 5: Speaking the Truth with Love.
As we have already discussed at length, throughout most of the first half of this epistle to the Ephesians Paul of Tarsus had explained to them why they should be Christians, because they were indeed of the descendants of Abraham through Jacob Israel, the very people who in the period of the Old Testament had been alienated from God and who were now being reconciled in Christ. Here in this fourth chapter Paul has begun to explain how they should conduct themselves on account of their reconciliation, towards the edification of the Body of Christ which is, as he had described it, the restoration of the saints. Doing this, in the first part of this fourth chapter of Ephesians Paul had explained that these Christians now reconciled to God should find a common bond of unity in their common calling in Christ, and therefore they should seek to walk worthily in that calling with the purpose in mind that, as he had said, “we all would attain to the unity of the faith”.
Paul then professed the objective of that unity of the faith by concluding: “... that we would be infants no longer - being tossed as waves and carried about in every wind of teaching by the trickery of men, in villainy for the sake of the systematizing of deception.” Paul had also informed his readers at the end of chapter 2 of this epistle that the Body of Christ was founded upon the apostles and the prophets. Reading the words of the apostles together with the prophets the Word of God presents a clear narrative focused on a particular family, beginning with the promises to Abraham that his seed would become many nations, and that they would inherit the earth. Examining that narrative, if we observe the words of the apostles and prophets then we must accept that the people who are the called in Christ were those whom the Old Testament informs us would be called, and that the saints are those whom the Old Testament informs us are saints. So Paul refers to the “family of the faith” as the “household of the mystery”, because up until Paul's time it was a mystery as to how those promises to Abraham were kept, and that was the mystery which Paul was commissioned to reveal. Therefore Paul had professed concerning this same faith, in Romans chapter 4, that the promise was indeed certain to all of the seed, meaning all of the people who descended from Abraham through Jacob Israel, as Paul explains in another way in Galatians chapter 3.
Paul had told the Galatians, who were descendants of the Israelites that had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians eight centuries before that epistle was written, that “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law”, and all Israelites were at one time under the law of Yahweh their God, but because of their sins they were subject to judgment under that law after they had been alienated from God. However, in the Divine mercy which Yahweh had promised to the children of Israel, Paul also told them “24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Once the true faith of the Gospel is accepted, one is no longer an infant. Once the true faith of the Gospel is accepted, one no longer needs a schoolmaster, but should gladly endeavor to keep the commandments of God, as Christ Himself had said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Once the true faith of the Gospel is accepted, it should also be realized that the common bond of unity in the faith begins with the fact that the faith is only for those of the seed of Abraham through Jacob Israel, which is consistent with the words of the apostles and the prophets. Anything contrary to the Word of God in the promises to Abraham and the words of the prophets does not belong to the Gospel, but rather it belongs to the system of deception created by the enemies of God which is spoken of here by Paul.
Earlier in this chapter, Paul had described four Christian offices given to men for the purpose of building the body of Christ on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Those four offices are the apostles themselves, prophets or interpreters of prophecy, evangelists, and shepherds or teachers. The purpose of these offices, as Paul explained it, is the restoration of the saints so that the body of Christ may not fall victim to the systematized deception of the enemies of Christ. The entire theme of Paul's epistle to the Ephesians up to this point is therefore summarized in this: that the saints were once the people of God and were alienated because of their sin. But now they are reconciled to God in Christ in the forgiveness of their sin, and they are being called to be the people of God once again. In the knowledge of this they should have a common bond of unity, and therefore care for one another as they are all part of the same body. Caring for one another in Christ, they work towards their restoration as a united people. That is the entire theme of the prophets and the gospel, and that is the primary purpose of the four offices Paul described. Expecting his readers to have a knowledge of the things which he has taught up to this point, Paul informs his readers that they should not any longer be “tossed as waves and carried about in every wind of teaching by the trickery of men”:
15 But speaking the truth with love, we may increase all things for He who is the head, the Christ, 16 from whom all the body is being joined together and is being reconciled through every stroke of assistance according to the operation [P46 has “of assistance and operation”] of each single part [A and C have “limb”] in proportion; the growth of the body creates itself into a building in love.
At the end of verse 15, the Greek of the 3rd century papyrus P46 would have us read “for He who is the head of the Anointed”; the text follows and Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), and Ephraemi Syri (C), and the Codex Bezae (D) and the Majority Text which vary slightly.
Speaking the truth with love, when that truth resonates with the people of God, as a natural result the body is reconciled and the disparate members come to work together in unity for the benefit of the entire body. But what does it mean to speak the truth with love? And if the apostles and all of the Christians after them were merely preaching love itself, as today's denominational churches teach, then why were they persecuted and executed by the Jews and the Romans?
Reading the books of the Chronicles of ancient Israel, and the books of the prophets, it is clear that the children of Israel were alienated from Yahweh their God because they had adopted the sexual licentiousness, fornication and other unclean practices of the pagan nations. This licentiousness ultimately led to the most fatal of sins, which is race-mixing, as chapter 5 of Hosea records the God of Israel as saying: “3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. 4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD. 5 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. 6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.”
So for this Israel would be taken off into captivity, and alienated from God. But throughout the books of the prophets we also see the promise of reconciliation in a Messiah, which is the very purpose of the message of the Gospel. That such a Messiah was necessary in order to effect that reconciliation was for reasons related to the laws of God, as a demonstration that God fulfills His Own law, where men are often bound to fail. None of this is taught by denominational churches today, and little of it has ever been taught properly. The entire purpose of Paul's ministry was to bring the Gospel of Reconciliation to the dispersed nations of the Old Testament Israelites. Peter also came to an understanding of this, and in the opening verses of his first epistle he writes concerning the call to obedience being made for those who were “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”, whom he goes on to describe in chapter 2 as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people”. The subsequent verses of that same chapter, where Peter cites the words of Hosea concerning the alienation and reconciliation of the children of Israel, ensure the validity of our understanding.
Likewise, in his epistle to the Romans, in the opening verses Paul announced the purpose of the Gospel of Christ: “5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.” In that chapter, Paul then goes on to describe the disobedience for which the children of God were given up to licentiousness, unnatural sexual relations, fornication and other sins. Then in Romans chapter 4 Paul explained that those nations which are the recipients of this faith are indeed the nations of Old Testament Israel which had descended from Abraham through Jacob.
So speaking the truth with love, we must seek the restoration of the saints by urging them to obedience in Christ. As Paul had explained in Romans chapter 13, “love is the fulfilling of the law”. Saying that, he did not mean that man's perception of love may somehow substitute for the law of God. Rather, Christ said “if you love Me, keep My commandments”, and therefore when we keep the laws of Yahweh our God, by that do we demonstrate our love. Speaking the truth with love, we preach the Gospel message of obedience to God's law, and we speak it to those Old Testament Israelites of the White nations of Europe, because it is they alone who were alienated from God, and it is they alone who may be reconciled to God. For the balance of Ephesians chapter 4, and well into chapter 5, Paul explains that speaking the truth in love must encompass an exhortation for one's fellow man to depart from the idolatry, fornication, and licentiousness for which the children of Israel were punished in the first place.
17 Therefore I say this, and I call you to witness with authority, no longer are you to walk as the nations who walk in the vanity of their minds [literally “mind”], 18 being darkened in understanding, being alienated from the life of Yahweh because of the ignorance that is within them, because of the hardness of their hearts [literally “heart”],
In other places in the epistles of Paul, and especially here in this epistle to the Ephesians, the word κύριος appears where Paul did not use it as a noun referring to “the Lord”, as it is almost always translated in the King James Version. While the word κύριος is often used as a noun, it is also an adjective meaning “having power or authority over” (Liddell & Scott). Therefore the phrase ἐν κυρίῳ, which is not a Substantive, is translated as “with authority” here. Other instances of such a use of κύριος are found later in this epistle. Of course, Paul's primary authority was the prophets of the Old Testament which he so often quoted.
The Majority Text has verse 17 to read in part “no longer are you to walk as the remaining nations”, where the King James Version translates the last phrase as “other Gentiles”; the text follows the 3rd century papyri P46 and P49, and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Bezae (D) and the 6th century Codex 082.
By referring to the nations here who were walking “in the vanity of their minds”, it is evident that Paul intended both the other Genesis 10 nations as well as the other nations of the dispersed Israelites which have not yet heard and accepted the Gospel of Christ. This is evident in part in Acts chapter 14, where Paul and Barnabas had addressed certain of the Lycaonians. While there were Greeks and Romans in Lycaonia, it is evident from the context that the people Paul had addressed there were not Greeks or Romans, since they were speaking in Lycaonian rather than in Greek. That indicates that they were of the original Phrygian stock of Lycaonia, and by ancient accounts the Phrygians were descended from the Thracians. The Thracians were ostensibly Japhethites of Tiras (Genesis 10:2), and therefore they were not descendants of the ancient Israelites. So with this in mind, when the Lycaonians imagined the apostles themselves to be gods, Paul had said “15 ... Men! What are these things which you do? We also are men, being of like nature with you! Announcing the good message to you, from these vanities to turn to Yahweh who lives, 'Who has made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all things which are in them.' 16 Who in generations having passed allowed all of the Nations to go in their own ways.”
Paul had spoken in much the same manner to the Athenians, who were not descended from the Israelites but who were instead from the Japhethite tribe of Javan (Genesis 10:2), as it is recorded in Acts chapter 17 where Luke wrote: “22 Then Paul standing in the middle of the hill of Ares said: "Men, Athenians, I observe that in all respects you are most superstitious! 23 For passing through and considering your objects of worship I found even an altar upon which was inscribed 'To The Unknown God'. So that which is unknown you reverence, this I declare to you: 24 Yahweh who made the order and all the things in it. He being Prince of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made by hand. 25 Neither is He attended by the hands of men, being in need of anything, Himself giving to all life and breath and all things. 26 And He made from one every nation of men to dwell upon all the face of the earth, appointing the times ordained and the boundaries of their settlements, 27 to seek Yahweh. If surely then they would seek after Him then they would find Him, and indeed He being not far from each one of us.”
So Paul's message to the non-Israelite nations was from the perspective of those first few chapters of Genesis, from before the call of Abraham. The reference to the boundaries of nations is a reference to the events of Genesis chapter 11, described in Deuteronomy 32:8. Paul did not speak to the Athenians or to the Lycaonians from a perspective of reconciliation and redemption and the forgiveness of sin which are in Christ and which are promised to the children of Israel, as he attests in all of his epistles.
The Old Testament reveals that all of the other Adamic Genesis 10 nations were indeed allowed by Yahweh “to go in their own ways”, as Paul said in Acts chapter 14, and all of them went off into idolatry, as we may even read of the fathers of Abraham in Joshua chapter 24 where it says “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time [referring to the Euphrates River], even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.” It is not often observed that according to the more accurate Septuagint chronology, there are over twelve centuries between the events of chapters 9 and 12 of the Book of Genesis.
There in Joshua chapter 24 it is also explained that Abraham alone was justified by Yahweh out of all of these other Adamic peoples, where it says: “3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.” Therefore the children of Israel are admonished in that same chapter of Joshua to “put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.” When they chose pagan idolatry instead, they were alienated from Yahweh their God, which is the story of the Old Testament. So seven centuries after their alienation was completed, Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, in part: “18 Behold Israel down through the flesh: are not those who are eating the sacrifices partners of the altar? … 20 Rather, that whatever the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to Yahweh. Now I do not wish for you to be partners with demons.”
So we see that Paul is speaking of the nations of Europe who had descended from the Old Testament Israelites, as he called them “Israel according to the flesh”, who were alienated from God because they had turned to idolatry, and he is admonishing them to return to Yahweh their God in Christ. In this same manner the apostle Peter told the scattered Israelites whom he addressed in the first chapter of his first epistle that: “... ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers”. These are the nations of whom Paul speaks here, who are “the nations who walk in the vanity of their minds, 18 being darkened in understanding, being alienated from the life of Yahweh because of the ignorance that is within them”, as punishment for continuing the idolatry of their fathers. Earlier in that same epistle, Peter beckoned the same scattered Israelites in this same way, where he admonished them to be “14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” That is the very essence of the Gospel of Reconciliation.
Then, speaking in relation to those idolatrous nations which remained alienated from God, Paul says:
19 those who feel no sorrow [D has “those driven to despair”] surrendering themselves to licentiousness, to the practice of all uncleanness with arrogance. [D has “...uncleanness and arrogance”; the word translated as arrogance may also have been interpreted as greediness, but arrogance is certainly more appropriate in this context. With this presentation we have just changed our translation slightly, moving the word “all”, which was explained as an alternative reading in our original but unpublished notes.]
This too is a judgement from God, that we are left to the fleshly desires and corruptions of men once we abandon God. Paul describes this process in Romans chapter 1: “21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves; 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
In his first epistle, the apostle Peter also discussed the sin of the scattered children of Israel in the same manner which Paul does here, in 1 Peter chapter 4 where he says “1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you”. And this is the arrogance of sinners which Paul mentions here, where we see that sinful men are offended when they encounter others who do not approve of their sin.
We have frequent examples of this very phenomenon in our society today. There are frequent horror stories about people being sued and losing their businesses because they refuse to cater to sexual deviant and other miscreants. Just two weeks ago, a pair of presumably Christian daycare workers were fired from their jobs for refusing to call a little girl a boy. This story was reported on Breitbart.com and the website of the local Houston, Tx. CBS affiliate. The two workers were employed by the Childrens’ Lighthouse Learning Center in Katy, Texas, a company which is said to run 37 child day care centers in seven states. According to Breitbart, “The two male parents of a six-year-old little girl told employees at the school to refer to their daughter as a boy, and to call her by a new masculine name. The little girl’s hair had also been cut like a boy’s.” The CBS News website interviewed a lawyer hired by the women, reporting that: “'This case involves a little 6-year-old girl who has been attending a private school in Katy, Texas, for the last four months as a little girl. She has parents who are a same-sex couple, two men, who decided she was transgender,' lawyer Andy Taylor said, according to KPRC. 'On Friday, that little girl left school. I’m not going to use names, but (she was) known to everybody as Sally, and on Monday, this little girl returns to school calling herself Johnny.'” The lawyer himself was even quoted as saying that the little girl was the victim of child abuse. When the teachers refused to go along with the scheme, citing their own Christian principles, they were fired.
Of course, the first problem is that this girl has what the reports say are “two male parents”, and then that such sexual deviants are permitted to legally adopt and corrupt young children. Until two males could have a baby together, no Christian should ever consider two males to be “parents” of any child, since the word parent is derived from a Latin verb which means to give birth. Only recently, the actual definition of the word parent has been rewritten to accommodate sexual deviants and perverts who will never give birth. But Christians who are not accepting these blatant sins of these deviants, are now being persecuted more and more frequently. Just as Peter had warned, “they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you”. The Christogenea New Testament translates that last sentence “While they are astonished, they blaspheme at your not running together in the same excess profligacy.” As Paul says here in verse 19, they certainly do engage in the “practice of all uncleanness with arrogance.”
Then in repudiation of such licentiousness and uncleanness Paul says:
20 But you, not in this manner do you learn from Christ, 21 if really you have heard Him and have been taught by Him just as truth is in that of Yahshua. 22 You are to put away that which concerns the former mode of life, the old man which is perishing in accordance with the desires of deceit, 23 and are to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new man, which in accordance with Yahweh has been established in justice and piety of truth.
The Greek word ὁσιότης may have been rendered as holiness, as the King James Version has it here, rather than as piety. This word only appears here and at Luke 1:75 (the root word ὅσιος is found at 1 Timothy 2:8, and the adverb ὁσιόως at 1 Thessalonians 2:10). As ὁσιότης is primarily defined as piety by both Liddell & Scott and Thayer, I thought to distinguish it from ἁγιότης and ἁγιόσυνη, either of which are usually holiness or sanctity.
As the children of Israel were being alienated from Yahweh their God, and taken into captivity by the Assyrians, in Isaiah chapter 10 we see a prophecy of the ultimate destruction of Assyria itself at the hands of those same Israelites (which was fulfilled by the Scythians about 140 years later), where it also says in part: “20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.” That entire chapter of Isaiah forebodes the destruction of “the kingdoms of the idols”, which is the term it uses to refer to Israel and Judah as well as Assyria and the other surrounding nations of the Old World. All of those old nations were indeed destroyed, and “the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob” returned to Yahweh where they had resettled in Europe, and departed from their paganism and turned to the Gospel of Christ.
Speaking the truth in love, true messengers of God must continually inform those same children of Israel that they must cleave to their God and His laws lest they suffer His judgments, as they had suffered so long ago. In this modern age, having departed from Christ, they are about to suffer those same judgments once again. Only the most arrogant sinner could consider the present world circumstances and imagine that he could escape judgement, where the White nations are once again caught up in licentiousness and all Christendom is once again being overrun with aliens.
With his Gospel of Reconciliation, with it being accepted that since the Ephesians are reconciled to Christ that they have also departed from sin, Paul admonishes them further:
25 On which account putting away falsehood, “each must speak truth with he who is near to him,” because we are members of one another.
Here Paul makes a citation from Zechariah 8:16. By quoting such passages, Paul is directly relating the return to obedience in Christ by his readers to a repentance from the sinful ways of their fathers about which the prophets had written. That portion of Zechariah is also talking about the same punishment of the ancient Israelites, and the prospect of reconciliation for the remnant of Judah that returned to Jerusalem, which was the very time of Zechariah's prophesying. A fuller citation of the passage, from verse 13: “13 And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen [or the nations where they were originally taken captive], O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. 14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I repented not [meaning that they were indeed punished]: 15 So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. [The remnant of Judah in Jerusalem was considered the house of Judah, while most of the actual tribe of Judah went into Assyrian captivity with Israel.] 16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates”. The same admonition which was made in Zechariah to a restored Jerusalem is being made by Paul here to these restored Ephesians.
The judgment of truth is found by returning to and keeping the laws of God. We speak truth to our neighbor when we judge by those very laws, and we do so because we are an interdependent racial community. For each of us to be healthy, the entire community must be healthy, which means that we all must seek to keep those same laws. As Paul described here in different language in verses 15 and 16, once men return to God the community is healed as a natural result of their keeping God's law. The judgment of men is temporary and irrelevant compared to the judgement of God, and the judgement of God is according to the Word and laws of God, rather than the feelings of men. Thus Paul concludes:
26 “Be angry - and do not commit wrongdoing,” the sun must not set upon your provocation, 27 and do not give occasion to the False Accuser.
The Greek word τόπος (Strong's # 5117) is literally a place, as it is in the King James Version, but here it is metaphorically rendered as occasion, while opportunity also would be acceptable. The word διάβολος (Strong's # 1228) is usually devil in the King James Version, but here it is “False Accuser” which is a more literal meaning of the term.
Where Paul says “be angry - and do not commit wrongdoing”, which may have been rendered “be angry - and sin not”, he quotes verbatim from Psalm 4:4 as it appears in the Greek of the Septuagint. The first four verses of the Psalm, as they are translated by Brenton, read: 1 “When I called upon him, the God of my righteousness heard me: thou hast made room for me in tribulation; pity me, and hearken to my prayer. 2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye be slow of heart? wherefore do ye love vanity, and seek falsehood? 3 But know ye that the Lord has done wondrous things for his holy one: the Lord will hear me when I cry to him. 4 Be ye angry, and sin not; feel compunction upon your beds for what ye say in your hearts.” Paul's statement “the sun must not set upon your provocation” is evidently his own paraphrase of the words in Zechariah which read here “feel compunction upon your beds for what ye say in your hearts.”
Men may be angry at the judgment which they receive, but regardless of the feelings of men the judgments of God shall proceed. Therefore men cannot have reconciliation with God until they put away falsehoods and seek His truths, as the same Psalm asks, wherefore do ye love vanity, and seek falsehood? The term holy one, as it is translated by Brenton in verse 3 of the psalm, is from the same word ὅσιος translated as piety here in verse 24. We are informed that Yahweh hears the prayers of deliverance made by those who are pious.
When we hear the truth of God concerning sin and judgment and deliverance, we must accept it without getting angry, because we as men cannot resist the judgment of God. There are few passages in Scripture which better elucidate the situation which we find ourselves in today. Most true Christians may indeed be angry at what is going on in the world around us, but there is no action that we can take to change it because most of our brethren love falsehood and are deserving of that judgment. On the other hand, as Paul warns in verse 27 here, we do not want to give the enemies of God, the princes of this world who are now in control of all of our governments, any good reason to persecute us further, so we cannot give occasion to the devil. Before David became king, that was also his same attitude.
28 He who is stealing must steal no longer, but rather he must labor, accomplishing with his own hands [P46, P49, and B have “with the hands”; the text follows א, A, and D; the mss. of the MT are divided among four variant readings] that which is good, in order that he would have, to share with him having need.
When we are in want, we cannot justify stealing. Rather, we must find a way to work to acquire what we need, and when we do so, we in turn have an obligation to share with others of our brethren who may be needy. Therefore once we have, neither can we be selfish and withhold, just because we ourselves may not have received anything freely. The sin of others is not an excuse to sin ourselves.
Paul uses stealing as an example, but here he will describe many other sins which Christians must repudiate as well.
29 You must not let any corrupt word go out of your mouth, but if anything good is of use for building [D has “if anything is good for building of faith”], that would give delight to those listening.
The Greek phrase πᾶς λόγος σαπρὸς is “any corrupt word”. Literally πᾶς is all or the whole, but in this context, every, where it is best rendered any in English. The word λόγος may alternately have been rendered as a saying or thought, rather than word. The King James Version has communication, which is acceptable in this context. There is more to this passage than is generally perceived by denominational Christians.
The corrupt words to which Paul refers are not simply words which we do not like, which may by some be considered to be bad words or words which are imagined to be dirty or unseemly. A word is a tool used to express an idea, and the word itself cannot be good or bad. Rather, it is the constructed thoughts which the words are employed to represent which may be good or bad. But a particular word may be acceptable in one context, and if the same word is used in another context, the thought it represents is unacceptable. Here Paul is not speaking of merely bad words, but rather he is speaking of lying and falsehood, which is the context of this chapter. Therefore it is these things which are corrupt communications.
In Ephesians chapter 5, where these same admonishments continue, we shall see that Paul makes mention of “abusiveness and foolish speaking or ribaldry”. Of course, abusiveness could also be considered corrupt communication, because Christians should love their brethren. What constitutes foolish speaking can be interpreted quite broadly, but it still describes more than the mere use of certain descriptive words. Ribaldry (εὐτραπελία), or coarse jesting, as the King James Version translates the word, may include things such as making light of fornication or other forms of lasciviousness, things which today we may call dirty jokes. So these things are also forms of corrupt communications. But mentioning them later, Paul distinguishes them from the “corrupt communications” of which he speaks here.
In his epistle to the Romans, in chapter 16, Paul warned: “17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” So we see that corrupt communications can be devised from words which are deceptively beautiful, “good words and fair speeches” made for evil purposes, and therefore by “corrupt words” Paul is not merely referring to what people today may consider bad or naughty words.
In fact, there is no indication whatsoever anywhere in Scripture that any single word in Greek or Hebrew was considered bad or naughty by itself, regardless of what substance or act the word described. More importantly, it is how a word is used that makes it bad, whether or not the word itself is fair or foul in the mind of the hearer. You may not like the use of certain synonyms for dung, or for the act of sexual intercourse, or which describe female dogs or people of mixed race or other such things, but using those seemingly distasteful terms is not a sin by itself. It is the purpose behind the use of such terms which may or may not be sinful. It is not a sin to speak the truth using distasteful words. But it is certainly a great sin to speak lies using “good words and fair speeches”.
Paul continues by admonishing:
30 Also, do not vex the Holy Spirit of Yahweh in which you have been approved [literally “sealed”, or even “assured”] for the day of redemption.
The 3rd century papyrus P46 wants “not” here, and therefore verses 29 and 30 would be read thus: “29 You must not let any corrupt word go out of your mouth (but if anything good is of use for building, that would give delight to those listening) 30 and vex the Holy Spirit of Yahweh in which you have been approved for the day of redemption.”
All Israel shall be saved, as it is written, or Paul could not tell these Israelite Christians that they have been sealed, assured, or approved for the day of redemption, since Paul had given no indication of knowing whether any of them would sin in the future. So unless Paul was confident that “all Israel shall be saved”, he could not have spoken in this manner here.
Concerning the vexing of the Holy Spirit, even if there is actually no violation of the law, if we love our brethren we should avoid tormenting them with whatever things they may find distasteful. So, for example, while it is not by itself a sin to use what our brethren may consider to be a naughty word, and therefore our brethren should not condemn us for such things, there are times when it would be better not to use such words, and that is Christian civility. By vexing our brethren, we vex the Holy Spirit of our God. Paul had said in Romans chapter 14: “21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”
Here Paul shows that redemption is something which Christians still await. It is not something which they have already experienced. The receiving of the Spirit of God dispensed to Christians in the first century was only a deposit and an assurance of an inheritance which is yet to be obtained. Paul said this in chapter 1 of this epistle, where he called the Holy Spirit of the promise “a deposit of our inheritance, in regard to redemption of the possession”.
Of course, all of the promises of redemption found in the Old Testament are made only to the Old Testament Israelites, so only those same Old Testament Israelites have that expectation in Christ today. As we read in Hosea chapter 13 concerning the Old Testament Israelites: “9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. 10 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. 12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. 13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” In this common promise which only the Christian Israelite nations can partake, the people of our White Adamic race should find grounds for true unity in Christ.
31 All bitterness, and indignation, and wrath, and crying, and blasphemy must be removed from you, along with all malice.
Bitterness is metaphorically rebellion, which is bitterness towards God. Various forms of the Greek word, πικρία (Strong's # 4088) appear frequently in the Septuagint in that same context, as well as in Paul's epistle to the Hebrews. In Hebrews 12:15 Paul wrote in reference to such rebellion and he said: “14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness [πικρία] springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” So bitterness is rebellion to the law of God, which leads to the defilement of men, just as Esau was rebellious and became a fornicator, forfeiting his birthright.
Likewise indignation, wrath, crying, blasphemy and malice have no place in the assemblies of Christ, as they are detrimental to the body of Christ. In the truth of Christ, men must seek peace with God, and peace with their fellow Christians shall naturally follow. Once men realize that God is sovereign, and that He keeps what He has promised, an inner peace may develop in their hearts. This, in part, is the whole armor of God that Paul discusses in chapter 6 of this epistle, which men must adorn in order to “withstand in the evil day”, and to “stand against the wiles of the devil”, as it reads in the King James Version.
32 Now you must be kind to one another, good-hearted, forgiving with yourselves; just as Yahweh also, in Christ, has forgiven you [P49, B, D, and the MT have “us”; the text follows P46, א, and A].
We should hope for the best in our Christian brethren, and treat them as if we would want to be treated, as Christ said, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 22, “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Of course, one's neighbors are those of ones' same flock, as the Hebrew word and its Old Testament usage insist.
Treating our brethren as we would want to be treated, we are forgiving when they sin, and seek to correct them with humility, and we can expect the same treatment for the mistakes that we ourselves may make. In the final chapter of his epistle to the Galatians, Paul had advised the assembly: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” And this must be what he means here where Paul advises the Ephesians that “you must be... forgiving with yourselves”. They must take the time to admonish and correct one another in that same humble and brotherly fashion whenever they see someone doing wrong. Likewise James in chapter 5 of his single epistle had said “19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
However men can only be forgiving if the wrongdoers they are compelled to correct are actually repentant. If a wrongdoer denies his sin, or refuses to acknowledge it and continues such behavior, refusing to keep the commandments of Christ, then he must be put out of the Christian assembly. Paul himself made this example, where speaking of a certain fornicator he explained in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 that such a man was to be put out of the Christian assembly.
In correction there is brotherly love, and that is what it means to speak the truth with love. We do not lie to our fellow man, telling him that God hates the sin but loves the sinner anyway. Yahweh did not destroy sodomy, but He did destroy Sodom and all of the Sodomites who dwelt there. Speaking of that fornicator, Paul had told the assembly “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” So the fornicator would be put out of the fellowship of Christians and forced to make his way in the world outside. The spirit may be saved, but at the same time the fornicator would be judged for his works. Paul then said to them that “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”
In Psalm 82 we read “2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?” Likewise, in Proverbs chapter 18 “5 It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.” When a Christian community accepts sinners, such as the two sexual deviants in Texas who are trying to change a little girl into a boy, then righteous people are destroyed because the greater community has failed to correct or to ostracize the sinners. In this case, the greater community has overthrown those who were endeavoring to be righteous (not to say that they were actually righteous, since we do not even know them) and it has defended the Sodomites. Speaking the truth with love we endeavor to correct our brethren for their sins, as it says in Proverbs chapter 13, “24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
Without speaking the Word of truth in relation to the Law of Yahweh God, one cannot hope for the restoration of the saints, which is the very purpose of the Gospel of Christ. But speaking the word of truth, Christians also expect to find contention with the world, as the apostle Peter also said in chapter 4 of his first epistle, “12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
Christians are therefore obligated to express disapproval of sins, and separate themselves from sinners. Neither should Christians adopt the language of sinners. A parent is someone who actually contributed to the birth of a child. Therefore Sodomites are not worthy of the term. A little girl who is told by Sodomites to be a boy is not a so-called “transgender”. That is also a made-up term which cannot really exist, because the biological purpose of gender is the propagation of a species by sexual reproduction. The devils have not yet succeeded in doing that, so they have instead attempted to redefine the term. A man without a penis cannot fulfill the reproductive role of a woman. So he is not “transgendered”, but instead he is merely a modified Sodomite. Rather that little girl is being abused and corrupted. Christians should never accept such things. The New American Standard Bible renders Leviticus 5:1 justly where it says “Now if a person sins, after he hears a public adjuration to testify, when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.”
Therefore Paul says in the opening verses of Ephesians chapter 5: “1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” And in others of his epistles he elaborated in diverse ways, likewise excluding men who are effeminate, or who have sexual intercourse with other men, and adulterers, as well as those who commit other sins.
Accepting such sinners, and not protesting, one becomes liable for the penalty as if having actually committed the sin. That is the meaning of Paul's words in Romans chapter 1 where he said that “knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” We cannot have pleasure in sinners, which is the spirit of the law in Leviticus 5:1. If we do not protest sinners, we share in their guilt. John also speaks in this manner in verses 9 to 11 of his second epistle, where he says that even so much as greeting those who do not bear the doctrines of Christ, one takes a share in their evil works. Speaking the truth with love, Christians should denounce all of those evil works, and also denounce those who perpetrate them without repentance. Concerning this, Paul himself says later on in Ephesians chapter 5 to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead even reprove them.”
When you tell a race-mixer that fornication is evil, and God hates fornicators, or when you tell a Sodomite that sexual deviancy is hateful and evil, and God hates Sodomites, that is not hate. That is love. Christian love. We correct our brethren, those of our race, and we pray that it sinks in one day. Until they repent, we ostracize them to the extent that we can in this wicked world. That is speaking the truth with love.
This is the walk which denominational Christians have long ago abandoned, mostly because they have been under the control of the Jews – the enemies of God and Christ – for so long a time. For that reason the judgment of Yahweh our God on our once-Christian society cannot be forestalled.