25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
Beginning with this verse the Holy Spirit launches into challenges for believers. He itemizes five specific exhortations from verses 25 to 32. Christians were to “put off” their past as non-Christians (in verses 20-24), but now they are to live like regenerate people. This is an entirely new way of life.
“Therefore” picks up the practical implications of verses 20 to 24. Doctrine has its applied aspects. When a person becomes a “new man” in salvation, it dynamically affects his life. The Holy Spirit then begins to show us how to apply the principles of our position in Christ; this is a move to change our state in the light of our standing.
The “therefore” in the Greek usually follows a statement of fact. We need fact to make an application of the fact of our positional standing in regeneration. Because the Ephesians converts had already put off the old man and put on the new man, they were to now apply the exhortations that follow.
putting away lying,
The first exhortation is to put away lying so that we can speak truth. The Greek carries this idea: “Having put away lying, speak the truth.” Having first dealt with his lie, a Christian can then speak the truth. We first deal with the negative principle of sin in our lives before we do something positive.
The Greek word for “putting away” occurred previously in verse 22, where the person put off the old man when he became a Christian. That was a past transformation or regeneration. In verse 25 “putting away” is a present exhortation.
The word for “putting away” literally means to take off a garment (Ac 7:58). Metaphorically, it carries the idea of decisively taking off the filthy clothing of lying. This does not mean that we cannot lie after becoming Christians. It simply signifies that lying is incompatible with our “new man,” our regenerate nature.
The fundamental purpose of a lie is to mislead or deceive. “Lying” is falsehood and it may involve exaggeration or other subtler forms of lies. It may include the idea of padding tax statements.
Christianity acts on entirely different principles than the world.
Christianity is not a religion but a radically new kind of life. The old unregenerate man cannot live the Christian life because he does not have the Christian life to live. He is dead spiritually. Neither can the Christian live the Christian life from his old man; he or she must “put off” that life and live an entirely different one. The “new man” is the life of Christ in us. The non-Christian cannot put off what he is, but a Christian can put off what he isn’t.
The Christian does not put his “old man” to death, because Jesus already did that. We claim what Christ has done for us (Ro 6:6-11). Progress or growth in spirituality comes from step-by-step application of positional truth to experience, which is the argument of Ephesians. The entire Christian life rests on what Christ has done for us and our belief in that for addressing issues in our lives. We make it ours in daily experience and practice.
The idea is we put off by applying a principle to whatever temptation we face at any given moment. This is not a one-fell-swoop event where we gain victory once for all time. It is something we practice every day.
Man is a natural-born liar (Ps 58:3). The temptation to misrepresent what is true is universal; it was universally characteristic of our old life in Adam. We did not go to university to learn to lie. We came by it naturally. The core reason we told the truth as an unregenerate person is that we were afraid to get into trouble. However, the Christian does not lie, because he rejected that life as a regenerate person.
Ps 116:11, I said in my haste, “All men are liars.”