this is a “reprint” of my post on the north point community news from this morning. it’s a thought from yesterday’s sermon that i think deserves some press…
This was a tough passage.
The words are absolutely brutal. It is the strongest language yet coming from the heart of the Apostle Paul in this letter.
In my past, the words of this passage were used to create the dividing wall that existed between me and my unsaved friends. It was the “heart” of the us and them war. The same one that exists today.
“You are to no longer walk just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. ” Ephesains 4:17-19
But here’s the point…from my perspective. Paul is writing these words to believers, not to unbelievers. These are not to be the inflammatory words of a soap-box preacher standing on a street corner or the quad at the university. This is not terminology that is supposed to be delivered to the heart of our neighbors or our co-worker in the cubicle next to us.
These words are for us. To look back. To remember where we have come from…and to vow never to go back. Paul wants to make sure we remember that Christ did not die on the cross so we could live any way we want. The message of redemption is not our license to redefine God’s laws to suit our feelings.
Brutal words? Yes. But we need the truth.