Daily Devotional Ephesians 4:17–32
Followers of Jesus were not always called Christians. The term Christian first appeared in Antioch (Acts 11:26). It is a Latinized form of the word Christ that indicates allegiance and suggests that it arose among the Gentiles. It may originally have been an insult (1 Peter 4:16). Before Jesus’ followers were called Christians, they were called “the Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:22).
Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Why were followers of Christ called “the Way”? In Ephesians 4:20, Paul explains that Christianity is more than a set of doctrines. It is also a “way of life” that we must learn. Following Jesus begins with a change of thinking (vv. 17–19). Instead of following the pointless way of thinking of our former life, we are to “put off” the old self and “put on the new self” (vv. 22–24). What Paul describes requires more than adopting a new set of morals. The Christian life demands that we become new people. As verse 23 puts it, the Christian way is a path of renewal in which we are continuously being remade in the image of Christ.
Our impulse to sin does not suddenly disappear when we trust in Christ. Nor do we automatically get along with everyone because we belong to Christ. Christians can still behave sinfully and selfishly. Consequently, verses 25–32 call those who follow the way to act out of the new self as they interact with their neighbors. Some of the directives Paul gives may surprise us: stop lying to one another, stop stealing, and get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and every form of malice.
Christianity is not for the perfect but for those who are being perfected. The power to change comes from God through Christ. Our part is to cooperate with the work that God has begun.
>> An old song says, “God’s still workin’ on me.” Where is God working in your life? Today, think about what you need to put off or away and what you need to put on.
Pray with Us
What must we surrender, Father? Convict us of any idols we are clinging to and help us surrender them to You. We repent and turn to You to meet our needs. To be covered in Christ’s blood is to partake of His perfection.