Ephesians 4

God's people must continue to be united

1 So I, who am in prison for the Lord, ask you something strongly. God has chosen you to be his own people. So, I ask you to live as God's own people should live. 2 Do not think that you are better or more important than other people. Always be kind and patient. Love each other, and do not become angry with each other quickly. 3 Do your best to let God's Spirit keep you united as friends, without any trouble between you. 4 There is one body and there is one Spirit. God has chosen you to be his own people, and all of us wait certainly for the same good things. 5 There is one Lord. There is one true message that we must believe. There is one baptism. 6 There is one God, who is the Father of all of us. He is over all. He works by all, and he is in all.

4:5Baptism is like a picture of what God does in our spirits. Baptism means ‘to put a person or a thing completely into something else (for example, into water)’. When God ‘baptises’ us into Christ, he ‘puts us into’ Christ. He makes us completely united with Christ in our spirits.

7 Christ has given special gifts to each one of us, as he has chosen. He has made each one of us able to do certain things well. 8 This is why it says in the Bible:

‘When he went up to the highest place,

he led many prisoners with him.

And he gave gifts to men.’

9 It says: ‘He went up.’ So, that must mean that first Christ came down, to the lower parts of the earth. 10 So, the same man who came down also went up. He went up, high above all the heavens, so that he would be able to fill all things.

11 It was Christ who gave some of his people the gift to be special workers and leaders on his behalf. He gave to some people the gift to speak messages from him. He gave to some people the gift to bring other people to himself. He gave to some people the gift to be pastors and teachers. 12 He gave all these gifts to prepare God's people, so that they could work together as his servants. So then, as a result, Christ's body would grow and it would become stronger. 13 In this way, all of us will become completely united by what we believe. All of us will become united because we really know God's Son. So, we will be like a man who has grown up properly and completely. We will be like a man who is as tall as Christ himself. We will be completely as God wants us to be.

14 So then we will not be children any more. Clever people may try to make us believe things that are not true. They may teach different kinds of ideas, to confuse us. But we will not be like children, who are easy to confuse. We will not let those different ideas change what we believe. 15 Instead, we must speak the true message because we love people. And, as a result, we will grow up in all things into Christ, who is the head. 16 He holds the whole body together. He joins every part together to make the body strong. So then each separate part can work as it should work. And, as a result, the whole body grows and makes itself stronger by love.

Live a new life in Christ

17 So, I say this to you. I am sure that the Lord wants me to say it. You must not live any longer like the people who do not know God. They do whatever their own silly thoughts cause them to do. 18 They cannot understand because their minds are in the dark. They are strangers to the life that God gives. They do not know him because, deep inside themselves, they are hard. So, they refuse God. 19 They have stopped knowing the difference between what is right or wrong. They have given themselves to do all kinds of bad and dirty things. And they want very much to do those things more and more.

20 But you have not learned anything like that from Christ! 21 And I am sure that you have heard about him. I am sure that people taught you the true message. They taught you the true message that is in Jesus. 22 So, you must put away the person that you were. That old person belongs to the way that you lived before. It wants to do things that are not really good. And those things are destroying it. 23 Let God's Spirit make you think in a completely new way. 24 You must put on the new person, that God has made to be like him. That person only does what is right. That person is really and completely good, like God.

25 So, you must stop saying things that are not true. Everyone must speak only true things to every other person. This is because all of us are parts of the same body. 26 Even if you are angry, you must not let that cause you to do anything wrong. Do not let yourself continue to be angry after sunset. 27 Do not give any room to the Devil. 28 Any person who robbed people before must stop robbing. Instead, he should start to do honest work with his own hands. So then he will have something to give to anyone who needs anything.

29 Be careful not to say anything that is bad. Say only good things that will help people. Then you will help to make them strong. You will help to give them what they need. And so, your words will be good for those who hear them. 30 Do not make God's own, completely good Spirit sad. He is like a mark to show certainly that you belong to God. He shows that God will make you completely free, one day. 31 Do not become angry with people easily. Do not become so angry that you cannot be kind to them. Do not quarrel or fight. Do not shout at anyone or say bad things about them. Stop thinking bad things about anyone. 32 Instead, be kind to each other and try to understand each other. Forgive each other, quite as God has forgiven you. He has forgiven you because you are united with Christ.