God's people are like one body
1 Because I serve the Lord, I am here in prison. I really want you to live as God's own people should live. God has called you to come to him. He has chosen you to be his own people. 2 Do not think that you are better than other people. Always be kind and patient with each other. Love one another, so that you do not quickly become angry with each other. 3 Do your best to let God's Spirit keep you united. You belong together so live in peace with each other. 4 As God's people, you are like one body. There is one Spirit that gives you life. God has chosen you to be his own people. So you all expect to receive the same great things from God. 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 has authority over all of us. He works through all of us. He is in all of us.
4:5Baptism shows that a Christian has been united with Christ. All Christians have died with Christ and they have risen up to a new life, as Christ did. This is the same for all Christians, so there is only one kind of baptism.
7 But God has been kind to all of us. Each of us has received a special gift, just as Christ has decided to give us. 8 This is what it says about him:
‘When he went up to the highest place,
he led many prisoners with him.
Then he gave gifts to his people.’
4:8This is like Psalm 68:18. Or it may have been a song that the Christians sang. Christ takes things from his enemies and he gives them to his own people.
9 It says: ‘He went up.’ That must mean that Christ had also come down. He came down to a lower place, the earth. 10 So the man who came down is also the man who went up, high above all the heavens. He did that so that he would fill everything everywhere.
11 It was Christ who chose to give different gifts to his people. He chose some to be apostles. He chose some to speak messages from God. He chose some to tell God's good news to many people. He chose some to take care of his people, and to teach them. 12 He gave all these gifts to help God's people to serve him in different ways. As a result, the church, which is like Christ's body, would become strong. 13 In that way, all of us will become united, like one person. We will all believe in Jesus as the Son of God. We will all know him. We will become like a man who has grown up well. We will be completely as God wants us to be, just like Christ himself.
14 So then we will not be like children any more. Our minds will not become confused by strange ideas. We will not change what we believe, from one thing to another. Some people teach things that are not true. They do clever things to deceive people. But we will not agree with their false message. 15 Instead, we will love each other and we will speak God's true message. As a result, we will become more and more like Christ in every way. He is the head of his body, which is the church. 16 As its head, he helps the whole body to grow well. Each part joins with the other parts so that the whole body becomes strong. As each separate part does its proper work, we love each other more and more.
Live in a way that pleases God
17 So I say this to you. I am sure that I have the Lord's authority to say it. You must not live any longer like the Gentile people who do not know God. They do whatever their silly ideas teach them to do. 18 They cannot understand God's true message because their minds are in the dark. They have not accepted the life that God gives. They have decided that they do not want to know about God. They do not even try to understand. 19 They do not feel ashamed when they do all kinds of disgusting things. They do more and more bad things just to please themselves.
20 But when you learned about Christ, you did not learn to do things like that! 21 I am sure that you have heard about him properly. People taught you the true message that comes from Jesus. 22 They taught you to change the way that you live. You must put away the nature that you had before. That old nature deceived you. As a result, you wanted to do things that would destroy you. 23 Instead, let God's Spirit make you think in a new way. 24 Take up the new nature that God has prepared for you. That nature is like God's own nature. Then you will live in a truly good way that pleases God.
25 So you must stop telling lies. Each of you must say only true things to one another. Remember that all of us belong to one another, like parts of the same body. 26 When you are angry, do not do anything bad as a result. Once the day comes to an end, do not continue to be angry. 27 Do not give the Devil a chance to hurt you like that.
28 Any of you who robbed people before must now stop taking things. Instead, you should work hard with your own hands. Then you will be able to share what you have with people who are poor.
29 Do not say bad things that hurt or insult people. Instead, say only good things that will help people. Your words should help people to become strong when they hear them.
30 Do not do anything that will make God's Holy Spirit sad. God gave his Holy Spirit to you to show that you belong to him. As a result you know that God will make you completely free one day.
31 Do not be jealous of other people. Do not become angry or shout at them. Do not quarrel with other people or insult them. Do not do anything or say anything that will hurt other people. 32 Instead, help one another and be kind to each other. Forgive one another. Remember that God has forgiven you because of what Christ has done.