Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25, ESV.
In Ephesians 4:25-32 Paul transitions from a general call to put on Christ and walk in the Spirit to specific applications of that call. Given the challenging days in which we find ourselves, each of these applications warrants a close look.
Verse 25 commands to live out our shared life in Christ with integrity. Is it any surprise that following the Savior who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” entails truthfulness? God has always called for His people to practice integrity. Consider what the Old Testament declares:
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Exodus 20:6
Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Proverbs 4:24.
No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. Psalm 107:7.
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace. Zechariah 8:16.
In today’s verse, we are specifically directed to speak the truth with our neighbors because “we are members of one another.” We are to practice integrity in the church. Since we are all brought together by God’s grace into one new man in the body of Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22), we depend on one another in a particular way. The body of Christ is as it should be when all the members are unified in their task (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). This kind of functional unity only occurs when members of the body are honest with one another.
Where does dishonesty sneak into the body of Christ? It shows up when some pretend that they are inherently good people, not redeemed sinners. It shows up when personal preferences are packaged as biblical truth. It shows up when suffering saints hide their pain from saints who are ready and willing to minister. It shows up when cultural practices are treated as religious necessities. It shows up when we say we are family but act like strangers. And this brief list only scratches the surface.
Are there falsehoods that you need to put away today? I pray that God will open all of our eyes to these barriers to unity and help us repent and turn toward integrity, for our good and His glory.