Ephesians 4:32. Why should we be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving to one another? The answer: "Even as God in Christ forgave you."
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32, NKJV
In Ephesians 4:31 and Ephesians 4:32 we find a summary of the last several verses of this chapter.
Paul said again, Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Now that is truly a tall order. Again, we do not have the ability to just will ourselves to stop sinning, but we do have the Holy Spirit within us directing us and teaching us in the way to go. Christ is available 24/7. When we cry out to Him for help, He hears and responds.
We may ask the question, why should we work so hard to keep from sinning. After all, Christ paid for our sins, so what difference does it make?
Expecting that question, Paul gave the answer in verse 32. Why should we be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving to one another? The answer: "Even as God in Christ forgave you."
Forgiven! Think of the full implications of truly being forgiven. Born into sin, we had no hope of rescue. The penalty for that sin is eternal death, forever! The day will come when our perfect, righteous and holy God will way, "Enough!" No more will He allow sin to dominate the world. This world and all of its people are truly doomed, forever!
Yet, that is not the whole story. God, in His great love and mercy, before the creation of the world, determined to save a people for Himself. Not all of humanity would be condemned. Yet, the price of their sin had to be paid. Who could do such a thing? Only Christ. Christ, the Son of God became the God Man. Being born into this world with no sin, He was the only sinless man who could actually die in our place.
Why would He do such a thing? The love of God is more than we can comprehend. In His great and wondrous love, He reached down, overthrew the power of Satan, and save a people for Himself. Because Christ did so much for us, who are so undeserving of His love, is it too much to ask that we respond in love and kindness to others, forgiving them as Christ has forgiven us?
Frederick Martin Lehman (1868-1953) captured this so beautifully in his song: "The Love of God"
1 The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
Chorus: O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
2. When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love, so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
3. Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Words & Music © 1923, Ren. 1951 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188.
Go, then, to this Christ and cry out to Him for salvation. It shall forevermore endure the saints' and angels' song.