I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,Ephesians 4:1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord — Imprisoned for his sake and for yours; for the sake of the gospel which he had preached to them and other Gentiles: see note on Ephesians 3:1 : this was therefore a powerful motive to them to comfort him under his sufferings by their obedience; beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation, &c. — That is, in a manner suitable to the privileges which you enjoy, and to the state of grace and favour with God into which you have been brought by hearing and believing the gospel. As if he had said, Let there be nothing in your spirit or conduct beneath the dignity to which you are raised, and the illustrious hopes which are set before you; but show that the crown of glory is ever in your eye, and that your hearts are duly impressed with it. Thus we see the great discoveries in the foregoing part of this epistle, to which the apostle has given the appellation of the mystery of God and of Christ, were set forth by him, not merely for the purpose of enlightening the Ephesian believers in the knowledge of these sublime truths, and fixing them in the belief and profession thereof; but also to give him an elevation of sentiment and affection becoming those to whose minds such glorious discoveries were made; and at the same time to lead them to a proper behaviour toward God, one another, and all men, and that in every circumstance and relation of life wherein they were placed; the various particulars of which are specified in the very excellent summary of practical religion contained in the remaining chapters of this epistle.
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;Ephesians 4:2-3. With all lowliness — Or humility of mind, having mean thoughts of yourselves because of your former sinfulness and guilt, depravity, weakness, and misery, and your unworthiness of that mercy which God hath exercised toward you; and meekness — Maintaining calmness, serenity, and peace of mind, amid the infirmities and indiscretions of your Christian friends, and even amid the affronts and injuries of your enemies; with long-suffering — Toward all men, whether saints or sinners, always possessing your souls in patience, and whatever provocations you receive, never seeking revenge, or yielding to resentment or ill-will toward any. Forbearing — Greek, ανεχομενοι, bearing with; one another in love — That is, out of a principle of love to God, your fellow-Christians, and all men; endeavouring, so far as in you lies, to keep the unity of the Spirit — That mutual union, concord, and harmony, which is the fruit of the Spirit; in the bond of peace — In a peaceable, kind, and affectionate disposition toward one another.
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;Ephesians 4:4-6. The apostle proceeds to remind the believers at Ephesus of some of the many very powerful considerations which had force enough, if attended to and laid to heart, to induce them to cultivate and preserve the unity to which he exhorts them. There is one body — One mystical body of Christ, of which he is the living head, and ye all are members; and as such should sympathize with, care for, and assist one another, as the members of the human body do. And in this one body there is one Divine Spirit — Which enlivens, actuates, and fills it, and under his influence it should be your constant concern to act; even as ye are called in one hope of your calling — To the expectation of one and the same common heaven, one and the same glorious abode in the eternal world. One Lord — And Master, of whom you are all servants; one Redeemer and Saviour, who hath assumed our frail nature, lived and died for us, that he might unite us in bonds of mutual, fervent, and everlasting love; one faith — In that one Lord, and in the truths of one and the same divine revelation, all which are designed and calculated to bind the disciples together in the pleasing bonds of love and unity; one outward baptism — Or seal of the covenant of grace, and emblem of the washing of regeneration. One God and Father of all — Whose real people, whose true worshippers, whose beloved children, whose living temples you are; who is above you all — Ruling you as his subjects, and presiding over you as his children; through you all — By his enlightening and directing word; and in you all — By his quickening, sanctifying, and comforting Spirit. Such are the reasons and motives obliging the true disciples of Christ to love and unity with one another; reasons and motives most powerful surely to bind them together in peace and harmony, and such as manifest discord, contention, strife, and division, to be unspeakably unreasonable.
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.Ephesians 4:7-10. But — Though there be so many, and those infinitely important particulars, in which the true members of the church agree, and which furnish such powerful motives to love and unity, yet there are some things wherein they differ. For they occupy, by God’s appointment, different stations in the church, and for these they are fitted by different gifts. These distinctions, however, ought to be regarded by them, not as matters of emulation, and causes of contention, but rather as additional obligations to love and union, considering the great source and design of them all. For unto every one is given grace — Or some particular endowment proceeding from grace; according to the measure of the gift of Christ — In such a measure as seems best to him, the great Head and Governor of the church, to bestow it; whose distributions, we know, are always guided by consummate wisdom and goodness; so that all his disciples have the highest reason to acquiesce entirely in what he does. Wherefore he saith — That is, in reference to which God saith by David, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive — He took captive those who had held mankind in captivity; he conquered and triumphed over all our spiritual enemies, especially Satan, sin, and death, which had before enslaved all the world. This is spoken in allusion to the custom of ancient conquerors, who led those they had conquered in chains after them. And as they also used to give donatives to the people at their return from victory, so Christ gave gifts unto men — Namely, both the ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit: of the propriety of applying these words of the psalmist to the ascension of Christ, see note on Psalm 68:18. Now this expression, that he ascended, what is it? — What does it imply, but that he descended first? — Certainly it does, on the supposition of his pre- existence as the Son of God, who had glory with the Father before the world was, and who came forth from the Father, and came into the world: otherwise it would not imply that he descended first, since all the saints will ascend to heaven, though none of them descend thence. Into the lower parts of the earth — That is, into the womb of the virgin at his incarnation, and into the grave at his passion; including, however, all the other steps of his humiliation. Bishop Pearson (on the Creed, p. 229) hath shown how very precariously this text is urged as a proof of Christ’s descent into hell, this phrase, the lower parts of the earth, in some other passages of Scripture plainly signifying the womb, as Psalm 139:15, and the grave, Psalm 63:9; Matthew 12:40. He that descended — That thus amazingly humbled himself; is the same that ascended up — That was so highly exalted; far above all heavens — Above the aerial and starry heavens, into the heaven of heavens; or, as the meaning rather is, above all the inhabitants of the heavens, above all the angelical hosts; which is the meaning also of Hebrews 7:26, where he is said to be made higher than the heavens: that he might fill all things — The whole church with his Spirit, presence, and operations.
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;Ephesians 4:11. And — Among other his free gifts; he gave some, apostles — His chief ministers and special witnesses, as having seen him after his resurrection, and received their commission immediately from him. The office of an apostle was to declare, in an infallible manner, the whole gospel doctrine: to qualify them for which they were endowed with the plenary and most abundant inspiration of the Holy Spirit, imparting to them a perfect knowledge of all those truths and mysteries which they were to publish to the world. And some he gave to be prophets — Whose office it was to explain infallibly the true meaning of the ancient prophecies, and also themselves to predict future events, by virtue of the extraordinary revelations made to them. And some, evangelists — Who were to preach the gospel in different Gentile nations, either before or after the apostles, under whose direction they seem generally to have acted. To fit them for this office Christ gave them the gift of tongues, and such other miraculous endowments as were necessary for the exercise of their ministry, and the confirmation of their doctrine. All these were extraordinary officers: the ordinary were some, pastors, (called επισκοπους, bishops, Acts 20:28,) watching over and feeding their several flocks. To fit them for which work, it appears from 1 Corinthians 12:28-31; 1 Corinthians 14:1-5; 1 Corinthians 14:23-26, that Christ bestowed, at least on some of them, the gifts of miracles and tongues, also the gift of prudence, to enable them to govern their particular churches in a proper manner. And teachers — Whether of the same or a lower order, to assist them as occasion might require. It is probable the peculiar office of those here termed teachers, as distinguished from those called pastors, was to instruct the young and ignorant in the first principles of the Christian religion. And they likewise were doubtless fitted for their work, by such gifts as were necessary to the right discharging thereof; and some infer from 1 Corinthians 12:28, that supernatural gifts, such as those of miracles and tongues, were also conferred on some of them.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:Ephesians 4:12-13. For the perfecting — Προς τον καταρτισμον των αγιων; in order to, or, for the sake of; completing of the saints — Both in number, and in the various branches of true Christianity, namely, in the knowledge of all Christian doctrines, the possession of all Christian graces, the enjoyment of all Christian privileges, the performance of all Christian duties. Now in order to the attainment of these ends, and thereby the completing the Christian character of each individual member of the church, and of all in general, he appointed the sundry officers above named, whether ordinary or extraordinary, (several of the latter having left their writings for the instruction of the faithful in all ages,) for the work of the ministry — The serving of God and his church, in their various ministrations, especially in dispensing the word, administering the ordinances, maintaining Christian discipline, and performing all other ministerial duties. For the edifying of the body of Christ — The building up Christ’s mystical body, in faith, love, and universal holiness: or by ministering to the increase of the graces of such as were already converted, and by the addition of new members to the true church. Till we all come — Which gifts, offices, and ministrations, are to continue in the church, till every member thereof come to the unity of the faith, and knowledge of the Son of God — To both an exact agreement in the Christian doctrine, and an experimental, practical knowledge, or acknowledgment, of Christ as the Son of God; to a perfect man — To a state of spiritual manhood, both in understanding and strength, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ — Or, to the full measure of his stature, that is, to that maturity of age and spiritual stature, wherein we shall be possessed of his whole mind, and fully conformed to him. But the words εις την ενοτητα της
πιστεως, &c., which we translate in the unity of the faith, &c., ought rather to be rendered, to the unity, or union, of the faith, or that union which is the fruit or consequence of the faith, namely, of perfect faith, even the faith spoken of by our Lord in his intercessory prayer, recorded John 17:20-23, where he says, I pray for them which shall believe on me, that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they may be made perfect in one, that is, may be perfectly united in love to us and one another. The following verses lead us to this meaning of the passage.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;Ephesians 4:14. That we henceforth be no more children — Mere babes in Christian knowledge, experience, and practice; weak and unstable; tossed — Κλυδωνιζομενοι, fluctuating from within, through various restless lusts and passions working in our hearts, even when there is nothing external to agitate or excite them; and carried about with every wind of doctrine — And temptation from without, when we are assaulted by others who are themselves unstable as the wind; by the sleight, or subtlety, of men — Greek, εν τη κυβεια των ανθρωπων, which words Chandler proposes rendering, by the dicing of men; the expression referring to the artifice of those infamous gamesters, who know how to cog the dice. So that the deceitful arts of false teachers and others, who endeavour to draw men from the belief and practice of the truth as it is in Jesus, by their insinuations and wiles, are here compared to the tricks of gamesters, who, by using false dice, and by various arts, cheat those with whom they play. And cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive — Greek, εν πανουργια προς την μεθοδειαν της πλανης, a clause which Beza renders, “veteratoria ad insidiose fallendum versutia,” by the tricking of those long exercised in craftily deceiving others; Doddridge’s translation is, by their subtlety in every method of deceit; and Macknight’s, by craftiness formed into a subtle scheme of deceit. The former noun, πανουργια, signifies the doing of things by trick and sleight of hand, and the latter, μεθοδεια, (which, Ephesians 6:11, is applied to the wiles and subtle contrivances of the devil, in order to deceive and ruin men,) properly signifies a regular plan of proceeding in any affair, and is here used for a regular plan of deceit, formed either for upholding people in their ignorance of, and opposition to the gospel, or for drawing them from their faith in, or obedience to, some article of it. “The men,” Macknight thinks, “whose base arts the apostle describes in this passage, were the unbelieving Jews and the heathen philosophers, who opposed the gospel by sophistry and calumny; also such false teachers as arose in the church itself, and corrupted the doctrines of the gospel for worldly purposes, while at the same time they assumed the appearance of great disinterestedness and piety.”
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:Ephesians 4:15-16. But speaking the truth — Or, as αληθευοντες may be rendered, teaching, or maintaining the truth; in love — To God and one another, or in that charitable temper which the gospel enjoins, and without which our clearest and most extensive knowledge will be but of little use to us; may grow up into him — Into his image and Spirit, and into a full union with him; who is the head of guidance, as well as of government, to all the members of his mystical body, the chief teacher and director, as well as ruler of his churches; from whom — That is, by wisdom and grace derived from him; the whole body — Of true Christians; fitly — Or orderly; joined together — Every one being put in his proper place and station: or all the parts of his mystical body being fitted for, and adapted to each other, and most exactly harmonizing with the whole; and compacted — Knitted and cemented together with the utmost firmness; that is, closely and firmly united to Christ and each other, by the Holy Spirit, in faith and love; by that which every joint, or part, supplieth — Through proper channels of communication; according to the effectual working in the measure of every part — According as every part, in its measure, effectually works for the support and growth of the whole; maketh increase of the body — Of the whole church, collectively considered, and of each particular member; to the edifying — Or building up; of itself in love — So that all the members may attain unto a greater measure of love to God, one another, and all men; or, by the exercise of love. For, as no animal body can either have health or growth, unless the members thereof continue in union with each other, each performing its office; so neither can Christ’s mystical body possess spiritual health or growth, unless its members cleave to each other in love. The passage, as the reader sees, is a beautiful allusion to our natural bodies, composed of different joints and members, knit together by various ligaments, and furnished with vessels of communication from the head and heart to every other part. And the apostle’s meaning, explained more at large, is, “That as the human body is formed by the union of all the members to each other under the head, and by the fitness of each member for its own office and place in the body, so the church is formed by the union of its members under Christ the head. Further, as the human body increases, till it arrives at maturity, by the energy of every part in performing its proper function, and by the sympathy of every part with the whole; so the body, or Church of Christ, grows to maturity by the proper exercise of the gifts and graces of individuals for the benefit of the whole. By comparing the church to the human body, the apostle teaches, that there ought to be no envy nor ill-will among Christians, on account of the gifts which individuals possess, Ephesians 4:3. That every one should pay to others that respect and obedience which they owe to them on account of their station and office, Ephesians 4:11. That no teacher should pervert the doctrine of the gospel, Ephesians 4:15. And that each, by employing his gifts and graces properly, should extend the knowledge and influence of the Christian religion to the utmost of his power.” — Macknight.
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,Ephesians 4:17-19. This I say, therefore — For your further instruction, how to walk worthy of your calling; (he returns to the subject which he began, Ephesians 4:1;) and testify in the Lord — In the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus, that ye, being now happily brought into the Christian Church, and made partakers of all the privileges and advantages belonging to its members; henceforth walk not as other Gentiles — That ye live no longer as the unconverted heathen; in the vanity of their mind — Amused with the empty trifles of this world, and enslaved to low and mean pursuits, utterly unworthy of their rational and immortal nature; having the understanding darkened — With respect to all spiritual and divine things, which is the source of all foolish desires and pursuits; see Romans 1:21; being alienated from the life of God — Being estranged in affection, as well as in practice, from the divine and spiritual life, from all union with, and conformity to, the living and true God; or, from that noble principle of all piety and virtue, the life of God in the soul of man, forming it to the love, imitation, and service of him by whom it is implanted; through the ignorance — Of God and his will, and of their duty and happiness; that is inherent in them — Or natural to them, as fallen and depraved creatures; because of the blindness — Την πωρωσιν, the callousness, or insensibility; of their hearts — This is explained by Chrysostom, Whitby, and some other commentators, as referring to their Gentile state; but though there is no doubt but it partly refers to that, yet there can be no sufficient reason to limit such a description to dark and ignorant heathen; it is but too just a representation of all unregenerate men. Who being past feeling — The original word, απηλγηκοτες, is peculiarly significant, properly meaning, past feeling pain, or void of distress — Pain urges the sick to seek a remedy, and distress, the distressed to endeavour, if possible, to procure relief; which remedy or relief is little thought of where pain and distress are not felt. Thus, those who are hardened against all impressions of grief on account of their former sins, are not excited to seek either for the pardon of them or deliverance from them. Some MSS. read απηλπικοτες, hoping for nothing. These wicked men, disbelieving the resurrection of the body, and the immortality of the soul, have no hope of any happiness after this life, and therefore they have given themselves over — Have abandoned themselves freely, of their own accord; to lasciviousness — To wantonness, to unchaste imaginations and desires, words and actions; to work all uncleanness — Impurity of every kind; with greediness — The word εν πλεονεξια, thus rendered, is commonly used to denote covetousness; because the more the covetous man possesses, the more he desires. Hence the word is used (2 Peter 2:14) to denote inordinate desire in general.
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But ye have not so learned Christ;Ephesians 4:20-24. But ye — Believers at Ephesus; have not so learned Christ — Or Christianity; that is, ye cannot act thus, now ye are acquainted with Christ and his gospel, which, you know, allows of no sin. If so be — Or rather, seeing that, as ει γε, it seems, should be here rendered; ye have heard him — Teaching you inwardly by his Spirit, as well as outwardly by his word; and have been taught by him — Have been instructed in his religion; as the truth is in Jesus — According to his own gospel, and not in that imperfect and adulterated form, in which some presume to deliver what they call his doctrine: that ye put off — Entirely lay aside; concerning — Or with respect to; the former conversation — That is, those sinful habits and practices to which you were accustomed in your heathen state; the old man — Your old nature and character; or the whole body of sin: which old nature is corrupt — Depraved in every part, so that its dispositions and actions are directed, not by the rules of right reason, or by the word and will of God, but according to the deceitful lusts — Which generally prevail in the unregenerate, and once prevailed in you. Observe, reader, all sinful desires are deceitful, promising the happiness which they cannot give, and deceiving men. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind — That is, in all the faculties of your souls, by seeking and obtaining an enlightened understanding, a rectified will, and holy, well-regulated affections. And that ye put on the new man — That ye apply to God for, and receive from him, a new nature; which after God — That is, after a conformity to his image; is created — For it is his workmanship, see Ephesians 2:10; in righteousness — Toward your fellow-creatures; and true holiness — Toward God. He says true holiness, in opposition to that which is only ceremonial or external, and in appearance. The dispositions of the mind are in Scripture compared to clothes, for two reasons: 1st, Because they render persons beautiful or deformed, according to their nature: 2d, Because they may be put off or on, while we remain in a state of trial, according as we yield to and obey, or resist and reject, the truth and grace of God.
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.Ephesians 4:25-27. Wherefore — Since you have been thus taught what is your duty and interest, let it appear in your tempers, words, and works, that there is such a change wrought in them; and that, having received a new nature, you live in a new manner. The apostle now proceeds to caution them against particular sins, to which they had been habituated, and to urge them to the pursuit of particular graces, and the practice of particular virtues, which they had formerly neglected. Putting away lying — Which many of your philosophers have thought allowable, in certain cases; (so Whitby has shown in his note here;) speak every man truth with his neighbour — In your converse with your fellow-creatures; for we are members one of another — By virtue of our union with Christ our common head, to which intimate union, all deceit is quite repugnant. Be ye angry, and sin not — That is, if at any time ye are angry, take heed ye do not sin. We may be angry, as Christ was, and not sin; when he looked round about upon the people with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts; (Mark 3:5;) that is, we may be displeased and grieved at the sin or folly of others, and not sin by being so. Indeed, if we should observe people to do or say what we know to be sinful, or should see them indulging evil tempers and vile affections, and should not be displeased and grieved, we would commit sin. For to be insensible, and without emotion, when we observe God to be dishonoured, his laws violated, his presence, power, and holiness disregarded, and his justice and wrath contemned, certainly manifests a state of soul devoid of all proper religious feeling. But in what sense we may be angry and not sin, see explained more at large in the note on the above-cited text. Let not the sun go down on your wrath — If at any time you be in such a sense angry as to sin — if your anger imply resentment of an injury or affront received, or ill-will and bitterness of spirit, look to God for grace to enable you to suppress this kind of anger or wrath speedily: reprove your brother for the offence he has given you, and be reconciled immediately: lose not one day. A clear, express command this; but, alas! how few observe it. Neither give place to the devil — By delaying to cast the fire out of your bosom; remembering how much that enemy of mankind labours to inflame the spirits of men with mutual animosity, malevolence, and hatred; and, in order thereto, induces them to give ear to slanderous reports and accusations, that he may make their state and character miserable and detestable, like his own.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.Ephesians 4:28. Let him that stole — While he was in his heathen condition of ignorance and vice; steal no more — Under a conviction that God is the avenger of all such injuries, 1 Thessalonians 4:6. Stealing, as Macknight justly observes, “is a vice most pernicious to the thief himself. For finding it more easy to supply his necessities by stealing than by working, he falls into a habit of idleness, which, among the lower classes of mankind, is an inlet to all manner of wickedness. Next, the ease with which the thief gets, disposes him to squander thoughtlessly his unjust gain in the gratification of his lusts. Hence such persons are commonly addicted to lewdness and drunkenness.” But rather let him labour — In some honest calling; working with his hands — Which he formerly employed in stealing; the thing which is good — And creditable. The same command the apostle gave to the Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12; that he may have to give to him that needeth — May be able even to spare something out of what he gains by industry in his calling, for the relief of such as stand in need of it; and so may be no longer a burden and a nuisance, but a blessing to his neighbours. Thus every one who has sinned in any kind, ought the more zealously to practise the opposite virtue.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.Ephesians 4:29-30. Let no corrupt communication — Or discourse, dictated by corruption in the heart of the speaker, and tending to corrupt the minds or manners of hearers; proceed out of your mouth — At any time, or on any occasion. The original expression, λογος σαπρος, is literally, rotten or putrid speech; that is, speech offensive to the hearers, or calculated to infect them with sin; and is in direct opposition to that which is seasoned with salt, and is recommended (Colossians 4:6) as tending to preserve persons from corruption. The apostle does not merely include in this expression obscene discourse of every kind, but also all flattery, calumny, railing, boasting, tale-bearing, backbiting, commendations of vice and impiety, profane jestings on religion, its ministers and professors, trifling conversation; and, indeed, all discourse that is not either about necessary business, or, as the next clause expresses it, is not good to the use of edifying — Calculated to instruct, direct, reprove, encourage, excite to duty, comfort, or in some way edify and minister grace to the hearers. And grieve not — By any act of disobedience, particularly by any kind of corrupt discourse, or by any of the following sins; the Holy Spirit of God — The original expression is very emphatical, το Πνευμα, το αγιον, του Θεου, the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, of God. Grief is ascribed to the Holy Spirit here metaphorically; for, strictly speaking, he is incapable of pain or disquiet of any kind. But he acts, on the occasion referred to, as men do who are grieved. And the purport of the caution is, Do not cause him, by any sinful temper, word, or work, to withdraw from you, as a friend does whom you grieve by unkind or improper behaviour. The expression conveys a strong idea of the love which the Holy Spirit bears to men in general, and to the disciples of Christ in particular; and of his desire to promote their salvation. Whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption — The time when you shall receive the redemption of your bodies from the grave; (Romans 8:23;) shall be acquitted at the judgment-seat of Christ, fully delivered from all the consequences of sin, and made perfectly and unchangeably happy: the day when your redemption will be fully completed. See note on Ephesians 1:13.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:Ephesians 4:31-32. Let all bitterness — Of disposition or expression, or, as some render the word, all peevishness; and wrath — Or indignation, as θυμος seems here to signify; that is, anger mingled with contempt or disgust; the next expression in the original, οργη, rather signifying wrath, or lasting displeasure; and clamour — Loud threatenings, brawlings, or other intemperate speeches, whereby inward anger vents itself. And evil speaking — Mentioning the faults of absent persons, be it in ever so mild and soft a tone, or with ever such professions of kindness; with all malice — Every unkind disposition, every temper contrary to love. Here appears to be a beautiful retrogradation, beginning with the highest and descending to the lowest degree of the want of love. Or perhaps, as Dr. Doddridge observes, “it was not the apostle’s intention that a different idea should be annexed to each different word here used: Possibly it might only be his intention, in amassing so many almost synonymous expressions together, to show that he would have them to be on their guard against all the malevolent passions, and those outrages of speech and expression which they tend to produce. And the like remark may be applied to many other passages of Scripture, and particularly to those where all kinds of lewdness are forbidden in such a variety of phrase and language.” And be ye kind one to another — Courteous and obliging in your daily deportment; tender-hearted — Greek, ευσπλαγχνοι, tenderly compassionate; especially toward those that are in any affliction or distress; forgiving one another the injuries done, or supposed to be done you; even as God — Showing himself kind and tender-hearted in the highest degree; for Christ’s sake — Through his atonement and intercession, by which God could exercise his mercy to you in a way consistent with his holiness and justice; hath forgiven you — Such inexcusable and heinous injuries and affronts, as are infinitely greater than any which it is possible for you to receive from your fellow-creatures.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.