Unity with Christ
1As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. 3Try your best to let God's Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. 4All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God's people. 5We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. 6There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.
7Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. 8 As the Scriptures say,
“When he went up
to the highest place,
he led away many prisoners
and gave gifts to people.”
9When it says, “he went up,” it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. 10This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so he would fill the whole universe.
11Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12so his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.
14We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. 15Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head 16 of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.
The Old Life and the New Life
17As a follower of the Lord, I order you to stop living like stupid, godless people. 18Their minds are in the dark, and they are stubborn and ignorant and have missed out on the life that comes from God. They no longer have any feelings about what is right, 19and they are so greedy they do all kinds of indecent things.
20-21But this isn't what you were taught about Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and you heard about him and learned about him. 22 You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. 23Let the Spirit change your way of thinking 24 and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy.
Rules for the New Life
25 We are part of the same body. Stop lying and start telling each other the truth. 26 Don't get so angry that you sin. Don't go to bed angry 27and don't give the devil a chance.
28If you are a thief, quit stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need.
29Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say.
30Don't make God's Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that someday you will be free from your sins.
31Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. 32 Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.