Ephesians: Walk In Love – True Righteousness & True Holiness


It’s time to begin our services. I greet you in Jesus’ name and am so glad you are joining us today. I am thankful for another opportunity to look into the scripture with you. I also send my greetings to all our friends around the world.

If this is your first time joining us and you wonder who we are and what we are up to, my name is Charles Paisley. I, along with most of our listeners, am a former member of the cult following William Branham, known as “The Message.” The Message is a global doomsday cult with millions of members. It started right here in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and spread all over the world. I was formerly an associate pastor of the second-oldest Message church in the world, right here in the Jeffersonville area. This mission aims to offer encouragement to those leaving the Message and to take a look at the plain reading of scripture as we seek to wash out of our minds what, for most of us, has been a lifetime of indoctrination.

Today’s Lesson

Today we are resuming our study in the book of Ephesians. We have taken the last couple of lessons to look at some topics related to the first half of chapter 4, spending more time there than on any other part of this book due to the importance placed on that section in the places we come from. But today, we are finally moving on to the second half of chapter 4.

For our text today, I am going to read from verse 17 all the way to the end of the chapter. I will also read the first two verses of chapter 5. I invite you to open your Bibles and follow along with me. I am reading from the English Standard Version. And Paul writes:

Scripture Reading

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 4-5 ESV


Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

We approach the scripture today with an honest heart, desiring to learn of you. We pray the Holy Spirit will guide us. Help us to learn Christ. We truly desire to walk as Christ walked. We truly desire to pattern our lives after your holy character as scripture calls us to be.

And Lord, we pray this simple prayer:

What we know not, teach us.
What we have not, give us.
And what we are not, make us.

In Jesus’ name, we ask it. Amen.


Well, brothers and sisters, I am pleased to be getting back to the book of Ephesians. We are going to take at least a couple of lessons to look at these verses we have read today. Let me just remind us all of where we are within the overall book of Ephesians.

In the first half of this book, the Apostle Paul has been walking the Ephesians through different doctrines that are important to the church. He has talked about many different things: predestination, election, spiritual adoption, salvation, grace, holiness, and sanctification. He has talked about the body of Christ and unity with Christ. He has spoken about the mystery of God.

As Paul finished speaking of those important doctrines, he prayed a prayer for the Ephesian church at the end of chapter 3. In that prayer, Paul prayed for God to give the Ephesians hearts that overflow with the love of Christ. He said it was only with that love that anyone could fully comprehend what he was writing to them about.

As Paul came over to chapter 4, he shifted away from explaining doctrine and began talking about the practical matters of Christian living. He began speaking about conduct. It is important to recognize that transition in the letter. It’s also important for us to notice that Paul takes care to cover both of these areas. Doctrines are for the mind, for the way we think. Practices are for our behavior and our conduct. It is important for us to have both sides of that equation. Paul helps us understand both how to think and how to behave.

As Paul opens up at the start of chapter 4, he began by speaking about the fruit of the Spirit: love, peace, patience, kindness. He asked the Ephesians to all get along with each other. Part of that call to get along with each other was an explanation of what teachings and beliefs were a basis of unity and a basis for getting along. Paul made the long digression we spent seven lessons looking at, boiling it down to this: Paul lets the Ephesians know the New Testament writers had the authority to write the books of the Bible and that what came from the first generation of preachers is complete and perfect for them to rely on. We don’t need to look anywhere else but the Bible. There is no need for us to get divided, separate, or fuss and argue about things that are not written in the Bible. People are entitled to their opinions, but it’s not something we are going to make a fuss over or divide over.

As Paul ended that digression, he is still continuing to speak about conduct and behavior. Coming to verse 17, he finally starts to move beyond his initial point that we should all seek to get along with each other. Now he is going deeper into the behaviors and conduct that are part of a Christian life.

The Authority Paul Appeals To

And we notice here in chapter 4, that Paul is describing this Christian life we live as a walk. It’s the way we walk, the way we carry ourselves, the way we behave ourselves. And before we take a deeper dive through all these verses, I want to make sure you first notice the way Paul is laying all of this out.

When Paul is explaining how we should walk and behave as Christians, Paul is not just telling us a list of dos and don’ts. Paul is also telling us the authority behind it all. He is telling us not just the dos and don’ts, but he is telling us how he arrived at this list of dos and don’ts.

And understanding how he arrived at this list is just as important as the list itself. Let me point it out to you. In verse 20, after Paul tells the Ephesians some things they should not do, he says:

20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!

So we notice there in verse 20, Paul is appealing to Christ for these instructions. He is not going back to the Old Testament as his source of authority but he is instead appealing to the authority of Jesus Christ directly. And by that, I mean Paul is appealing to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ while he was here on earth, during the days of his ministry.

And we will notice the exact same thing at the start of chapter 5. As Paul continues to give all of these dos and don’ts, he says:

5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

You notice the first word in chapter 5 is therefore. That lets us know this is the source of authority for all these dos and don’ts Paul is giving us in chapter 4. Jesus said that we should behave ourselves like our Father in heaven. And Paul is appealing directly to the example of God. That is the source which is informing Paul’s dos and don’ts. And we notice in verse 2, that Paul followed that up by appealing a second time to the personal example of Jesus Christ. He said, let us walk in love as Christ did.

And as we walk through these verses, we cannot help but notice that Paul is basing all of his instructions here on what can be seen and observed in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. And it is so important that we notice that.

Not because it discounts the Old Testament or makes it irrelevant but because it shows us the framework Paul used to arrive at his statements. And it also lets us know that it is important that we learn Christ, as Paul said in verse 20. And that learning Christ is not some advanced deep level of something you need to work your way up to, but learning Christ is about our need to know who Jesus is. We need to know what manner of person he is. And we begin learning that from the moment we learn that he is our savior. When you learn Jesus is someone who would sacrifice his own life to save yours, you are at that moment beginning to learn something about what kind of a person Jesus is.

And everything we learn about Jesus, as Christians, naturally leads to changes in our own conduct and behavior. Not because someone made us change. Not because someone pressured us. But because we love Jesus. Like Paul prayed at the end of chapter 3, it takes a love of Christ to understand these things.

And as we learn about Christ, who he is, what manner of person he is, that is going to have an impact on our own lives and character for the better. Jesus is our pattern. Jesus is our example. And in learning about him, we can start to see changes happen in our own lives.

I hope we also notice in this, that Christianity is more than just emotion and feeling. This is also about learning; it involves the mind. It involves learning. And learning is an activity not of the emotions. Learning is an activity of the mind, it is an activity that involves thinking and considering.

And our Christian life certainly does involve emotion, but it’s not simply emotions. It also involves our minds and our thinking. And we can’t help but notice that as we read this passage of scripture. Because Paul states there in verse 23, that all of this has to do with our minds. And the human mind is the seat of our reasoning, and thinking, and learning. And our mind is not something we can check at the door and say that is all of the devil. Thinking is of the devil. Reasoning is of the devil. Using our mind is of the devil. Because it’s not.

In fact, using our minds is a critical part of being a Christian. And the Bible commands us to use our minds. And we can’t read passages of scriptures like this without seeing that we have to use our minds as Christians. And people who refuse to do that are in rebellion to scripture.

Those of us who do use our minds in the way Paul is speaking of here, we are the ones who are obeying the Bible despite what people who practice only believism might tell you.

And the point being, it is important for us to learn Christ. And learning is an exercise of the mind. And if we do not use our mind to learn about Christ, we are not following Paul’s instructions.

And I want you to also notice that Paul does not expect the Ephesians to change their behavior based only on some emotional experience or only on some mystical unexplainable thing. Paul is saying their behavior is going to change when they love Jesus, and when they understand what manner of person he is.

Paul is giving us two very real, very tangible things that will lead to changes in behavior.

The Ephesians’ behavior is not going to change just because of an emotional or mystical experience. But their behavior change is going to require loving Jesus, and learning what manner of person he is.

And if we want to see people’s behavior become more Christ-like, we are honestly wasting our time if we ignore these two simple things Paul told us are the important ingredients.

If they don’t have a love for Christ, and have never learned much about him in any personal sense, then their growth, at best, is going to remain stunted. They are never going to get anywhere.

And all the dancing and shouting and speaking in tongues

And all the baptisms. And all mysteries. And all the yelling and screaming at them – is never going to accomplish anything. Because that leaves out what the people need to grow and become more like Christ.

It leaves out the love of Christ. And it leaves out teaching what manner of person he was.

And very sadly, that is what so many of the preachers in the places we come from do. They never teach their people about the Jesus of the Bible.

At best, most of them teach another Jesus.

There is a true Jesus in the Bible. We read about him in scripture. But then there are fake Jesuses too. Any Jesus Christ, besides the one taught in the Bible, is an antichrist. And false preachers were already teaching Antichrist in the days of the New Testament. If we read the New Testament, we will read the apostles warning about the people who preach a false Jesus. Bro. Heflin has preached about that a lot lately. And people who are teaching another Jesus – they are teaching antichrist.

And the same is true today, people who teach a false version of Jesus are teaching Antichrist. I hate to say it, as I reflect back now, I think there was a lot of that in the places we come from. It was certainly true in the more deity-minded churches of the message where the people in those churches don’t know the difference between Jesus Christ and William Branham. And the same is true to a lesser degree in some of the churches I come from. Most of the preachers teach a different Jesus. They don’t teach Jesus as a full savior. The Jesus of the message is not a full savior. He is just a partial savior. The Message Jesus requires us to add things to him, in order to have full salvation.

In our churches, you needed Jesus, but you also needed a message from William Branham. And you needed a message from his successors. And you needed a list of other extra things to have full salvation. Jesus by himself was not enough to save you from wrath, according to them. And depending on what church or what group you were, the things you need to add to Jesus to have full salvation will vary.

But a Jesus who is not a full and a complete savior is not the real Jesus. The real Jesus is a perfect savior. The real Jesus is a total and complete savior. He can save you all by himself. You don’t need to add anything to him. If you believe on the real Jesus, he will save you. And he will even save you from all wrath. That is the real Jesus.

And a Jesus who does not do that is not a real Jesus. A Jesus who is not a full savior all by himself is not the real Jesus.

And besides making Jesus less than a full savior, many preachers in the places we come from do another thing which makes it very obvious the Message Jesus is different from the real Jesus. And they show it by preaching things that turn the real Jesus of the Bible into a sinner. A real simple example of that would be the rules against beards. In most of the message churches, having a beard is a sin. But if having a beard is a sin then the Jesus of the Bible is a sinner. That is just one very simple example of one of the many many different ways Message preachers turn the Jesus of the Bible into a sinner.

But no man speaking by the Holy Spirit can say Jesus is accursed. Yet, that’s exactly the sort of thing Message preachers do many times over in their sermons. But they didn’t learn that from Christ, which is exactly what Paul was talking about here. They didn’t learn that beards are a sin from Jesus Christ.

The truth is, there are liars who can teach in the name of Jesus. But really they’re just liars, they’re not telling the truth. They say all these things in Jesus’ name. But actually thinking about what they say – it is obvious it could not come from Jesus. Because Jesus is not going to call himself a sinner. And the liars who turn Jesus into a sinner – they are teaching another Jesus. Kevin Crase is a good example of one of those men who lie wickedly in the name of Jesus. He says many things which turn Jesus into a sinner – and then tells you it is of the Lord. But the truth is – it’s all just antichrist. They are stealing the name of Jesus. They are frauds.

Let me ask you this: Who would inspire people to say Jesus was a sinner? Who would do a thing like that? It’s the devil. It is the devil that inspires people to call Jesus a sinner. It is not God who inspires these men to turn Jesus into a sinner. It’s a wicked devil that inspires men to turn Jesus into a sinner.

It is a devil who would say having a beard is a sin. Because it is the devil who likes to make Jesus look bad.

And what clearer sign do you need that these preachers are inspired of the devil? They are calling Jesus a sinner.

And someone who loves Jesus cannot do that. Someone who is truly inspired by the Holy Spirit cannot speak that way. It’s impossible. And that is not to say sometimes we cannot misspeak or make a mistake. But we will come back and correct that when we see somebody misunderstood.

But I assure you, Jesus is not a sinner, and nothing Jesus ever did is sin. You have not so learned Christ.

And one reason I point out Paul’s framework for approaching these dos and don’ts is so you can see more than just a rule. You can see the source of authority behind the rule, or the do, or the don’t. That way when you hear a preacher say something, you know how to test it. You know how to check and see if he actually had any authority to say that or not. Any rule a preacher brings your way, one thing you can do is look at the life of Jesus. Does their rule fit the life of Jesus? And if it doesn’t fit, that preacher has no authority for that rule.

And so, I hope all this helps you see Paul’s source of authority for these dos and don’ts he is giving to the Ephesians. And I wanted to make sure we cover that first, before we actually start to go through the list. Because understanding the why is just as important as understanding the what. And God wants us to understand the why here. He wants us to know WHY it is this way. He wants us to understand WHY these dos and don’ts are here, and what they are based on. If we think God is a father who says “Because I said so,” we are very mistaken.

Our heavenly Father is not a because-I-said-so kind of father. He explains himself, because he wants us to understand why. And it’s because he wants us to know him, in a personal sense. And the only way we can really know him, is to understand the why. To really understand his nature, we have to understand why he is like he is. And I hope you notice, this behavior and conduct Paul is pointing the Ephesians towards is based on knowing and understanding who Jesus is, as a person, as a being. It’s based on understanding the whys.

True Holiness

Now there is one more thing I want to cover in our lesson today, and it is actually the title. In our next lesson, we will start to go through this list of dos and don’ts Paul gives us, but today we are just looking at Paul’s framework.

And the next thing I want to look at is what Paul says in verse 24. Let me read that to you. Paul writes:

24 … put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

That is an interesting phrase Paul uses there in that verse. He says “true righteousness” and “true holiness.”

Paul wants us to know he is talking about genuine, authentic holiness here. It’s true righteousness and true holiness Paul is speaking about.

Why would Paul word it that way? Why would Paul call this true righteousness, true holiness?

The reason someone would say true is because there’s also counterfeit. There is a counterfeit holiness in the world today, there is a counterfeit righteousness in the world today. And Paul does not elaborate here on what that counterfeit is, but when he says the word true, he lets us know he is talking about the genuine, the authentic, the real article. And if we went into his other epistles, we could find out what the fake counterfeit is, because Paul spends a lot of time warning about fake holiness in his other books. And that fake holiness is a form of legalism, and it is a form of externalism. That is fake holiness. But what Paul is writing about here is true holiness. And so as we examine these dos and don’ts, and this lifestyle Paul is speaking of here, this is true holiness that we are going to be examining.

I am someone who doesn’t like to give anything up that belongs to me. And I am speaking about in terms of the Bible. The cult we come from does not own the words in the Bible. We are the children of God, and the words of the Bible belong to us. And I am not going to let a false preacher own the words of the Bible. They don’t get to do that. And I am not going to abandon a word in the Bible for them to just play with like they own it, because they don’t. And the word holiness is one of those words. I am not going to let them own that word. I am not going to stop using that word just because they have twisted it into something false. And if you have listened to me talk about holiness much in the past, you will probably notice that I usually say “true holiness” when I talk about it. And it is actually this verse of the Bible I have in mind when I say true holiness.

And this is what I am talking about when I talk about holiness. I am talking about true holiness.

There is a true holiness, and there is a fake holiness. Very sadly, a lot of the preachers in the places we come from preach a fake holiness. They don’t preach the true holiness.

Fake holiness is focused on externalism. Fake holiness is a form of legalism.

That is not what Paul is talking about when he says holiness.

And I want to encourage you, don’t let the doomsday cult we escaped from own the word holiness. That word belongs to the children of God. It doesn’t belong to them. It’s our word. Not theirs.

And if you have trouble with the word holiness, then maybe you could try saying “true holiness” instead, and that might help.

I know for many people, holiness is just a dress code. Or it’s just a list of rules you are going to get into trouble if you don’t keep them. And they would shame and humiliate and abuse you and do all manner of evil in the name of their fake holiness.

I know it’s true. And I understand how it is that they turned holiness into a dirty word. And I say shame on them for that. And I totally understand why we might avoid using that word, or only using it with a lot of explanation about what we mean when we say it.

And my point is that I want to encourage you to know there is a true holiness, and there is a false holiness.

And we came from a system of religion with a whole lot of fake holiness. And just throw all that out of your mind if it is a burden to you. Start over. And let’s look at true holiness, and throw away fake holiness.

And I have gone through several lessons on that already, and you are hearing another one right now. And the next parts of Ephesians, it is going to be about real, true, genuine, authentic holiness.

And in this first lesson, I want to draw your attention to the fact that Paul is basing all of this on the life of Christ. Paul is not going back to the Old Testament, he’s not using the law of Moses as his basis here. Paul is not reciting to them the commandments of the Old Testament as he speaks of holiness. Paul’s basis and his authority for real, true holiness is the life and character and teachings of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ is the truth. And as we go through the second half of Ephesians, we will find places where Paul does mention Old Testament scriptures. But I want to make sure you notice that Paul uses the life of Christ as the lens for everything. We’re not using the Old Testament to interpret Christ. No, we are doing the opposite here. We’re using Christ to interpret the Old Testament. We’re using Christ as the lens through which to look at the whole. And if we turn it around the other way, then we are making a mistake. We start with Christ, and use that to look at the rest. Not the other way around.

Because Jesus Christ is the perfect encapsulation of the truth. Jesus is the perfect representation of the perfect life. Perfect holiness is the life of Jesus. Perfect righteousness is the life of Jesus. Perfect character is the life of Jesus. Jesus is the only perfect example in the Bible; every other example is imperfect. David was not perfect. Moses was not perfect. The law of Moses was not perfect. Paul tells us the law could never perfect anything. It was not perfect. Noah was not perfect. Isaiah was not perfect. Even Peter and Paul were not perfect. But Jesus was.

You can look at Jesus’s life, and all of it is a perfect example.

You can’t do that with Noah – he did some bad stuff. You can’t do that with Moses – he did some bad stuff too. You can’t do that with David – he did some even worse stuff. And Peter made mistakes. And Paul made mistakes. We can read them in scripture.

They are not perfect examples. But Jesus is.

It is true that we can learn from everyone’s example. And oftentimes, we can learn what not to do from the example of imperfect men and women. But the only perfect pattern we have to follow is the life of Jesus.

And all the Old Testament was a pattern or a type or shadow, pointing to Christ. Jesus said that himself. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law. Everything about Jesus was the embodiment of everything the Old Testament was pointing towards. If you want to know what the patterns of the law are all about, it’s the life and work of Jesus. If you want to understand what all of those symbols of holiness were pointing to, the life of Jesus had the genuine article. Jesus’s life and person were the perfect, genuine article.

And when we look at these dos and don’ts and guidance and instruction Paul is giving to the Ephesians, let’s make sure we understand going in – that he is appealing to the life of Jesus Christ himself as the authority and example for everything he says.

What Makes Us Holy?

Now, I have one more thing I want to cover in this lesson related to the framework Paul is using, and I want to illustrate this last point with a question and an answer. The question is this: What is it that makes something holy? That’s a very simple question. What makes something holy?

Paul actually answered that question back in chapter 2 already. When Paul was speaking on doctrine, he already explained what makes us holy. And I think you probably remember what it was.

What made the temple of God holy? Who or what built it into a holy temple? Was it the gold on the outside of the temple that made it holy? Was it all the sacrifices on the altar that made it holy? Was it the people who worshiped at the temple that made it holy? Was it the priests who made it holy? Was it all the rituals and rules that made it holy? Was it the blood of the animals that made it holy? What made the temple of God holy?

The thing that made the temple of God holy was the holy God who lived in it. The temple was holy because there was a holy God inside of it. God’s presence made it holy. God is the source of holiness. What makes something holy is God. And God explained that himself to Moses in the book of Exodus. God was the one who would come and make a holy place holy.

If God did not come and make the holy place holy, then it would not be a holy place. It would just be a place.

And it’s the same with you and me. It’s not the way we adorn the outside that makes us holy. It’s not the rituals and symbols that make us holy. It’s not the special group of people around us that make us holy. What makes us holy is the holy God who is living inside of us. That is the source from which holiness flows. You can make a beautiful golden building, but that is all it is. It’s just a golden building. It’s only holy if you have a holy God in it. And it’s the same with you and me. It takes a holy God on the inside to make us holy.

Whether we are decked in gold like Solomon’s temple, a tent in the wilderness, or the humble temple that Ezra and Nehemiah built, it is the God on the inside that makes it holy.

Jesus Christ sanctified us through his death on the cross. When we come to saving faith, the Holy Spirit lives in us as children of God. The Holy Spirit makes us holy. I mean, you even have “Holy” right there in His name: Holy Spirit.

If you have the Holy Spirit, then you have holiness, because that is what makes you holy.

The Holy Spirit teaches us the things of Christ and puts a desire in our hearts to want to be like Jesus. It puts that love in us—the love Paul has said we need to be able to understand what he was writing about. And that is the only way we can get that love: the Holy Spirit putting it in us. You can’t manufacture it. You can’t work it up. It takes a divine act of God to put this love in you. And if you love Jesus today, that is the holy fruit of the Holy Spirit in you. You didn’t get that by yourself. The Holy Spirit put it in there.

The same Holy Spirit who gives us that love is also our teacher. The Holy Spirit helps us understand what Jesus was like. If you are learning Christ, it is the Holy Spirit who is teaching you. A preacher might speak words, or you might read it off a page in the Bible, but it’s the Holy Spirit which imparts the understanding. It’s the Holy Spirit that actually brings it to your knowledge and attention and helps you digest and understand it.

A preacher could speak till he is blue in the face, but it takes the Holy Spirit to actually teach anyone anything.

And my point is this: The love and the understanding both come from the Holy Spirit. And guess what that will do? If the Holy Spirit puts the love of Christ in you and the Holy Spirit is teaching about the things of Christ, what will that do? The answer is, it will make the fruit of the Spirit grow in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, humbleness, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, and so forth. When you love Jesus and you learn about Jesus, then those things are going to gradually grow to define your life because that is what Jesus is like.

The holy fruit of the Holy Spirit—that is holiness. That is personal holiness. But you didn’t work your way up to it. It was the work of God in your life.

The fruit of the Spirit is not something focused on externalism, just like Jesus was not focused on externalism. The fruit of the Spirit is not based on legalism. The fruit of the Spirit is an authentic, genuine something within your character and your nature.

And you can’t fake that.

Now you can fake legalism. You can fake externalism. There are whole religious systems that are built around faking it.

But you can’t fake the fruit of the Spirit. God sees inside. He knows if it is real or not.

Remember, Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you. It’s something inside of you that Christ is after. It’s your nature, your character, your manner of being. And I want you to notice, as we will read through Paul’s dos and don’ts, Paul is focused not on externalism. What Paul is focused on is our manner of being. He’s focused on things that are the fruit of the Spirit—things that come from love and joy and peace and patience and humbleness and gentleness and kindness. As we go through our next lessons, I will point that out to you. And I want to close by reading to you the start of chapter 5 again. I want you to notice that Paul brings all of this back to the fruit of the Spirit. He brings it all back to an inward focus first and foremost. Paul says:

5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Paul brings all this back to love, to something on the inside. This is a matter of the heart: love.

Love is the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, because you love one another as I have loved you.” Isn’t that exactly what Paul is saying in the verse we just read? This whole thing is built on that one command given by Jesus: to love each other like he loved us. And for us to understand that command, we have to look at his life. We have to understand how he loved us so that we can love other people that same way.

As I end this lesson, let me once again encourage you: Don’t be afraid of true holiness.

Do be afraid of fake holiness. That will hurt you. That will turn you into a miserable person.

But true holiness, which comes from a life centered on the love of God, is something to be desired and pursued. That is a great treasure. That is something that will make you better in every way. And it is something that will make the world a better place for all of us.


Let me close in prayer.

Lord God, I thank you for being so kind to us, your people. You have delivered us from delusion and into understanding. You have shown us the way and the truth and the life, and his name is Jesus. If we want to know what kind of life we need to live, we only need to look at him. Help us to grow up in every way to be like our Lord, so that we show others the same love that he has shown us. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.