English blog

Ephesians 4:17 – No longer walking in vanity

10-02-2020 - Posted by Andre Piet

This, then, I am saying and attesting in the Lord: By no means are you still to be walking according as those of the nations also are walking, in the vanity of their mind.

The letter to the Ephesians clearly falls into two (more or less) equal parts. Chapters 1 to 3 are doctrinal: an explanation of the position of the believer(s) in Christ “among the celestials.” Chapters 4, 5 and 6, on the other hand, deal with “the walk” on earth. Many see this distribution as a scale that is kept in balance. With “grace” on the one hand and “law” on the other. Typical of this approach is the NIV, which shows here “… that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do …”. The word “must” does not only not belong in a good translation, it is an outright dissonance in Paul’s argument! A false note. It suggests that something nice is taken away from us.

The walk as Paul writes about it is not a counterpart of grace, but rather an expression of it. It is grace (= joy for naught) to “walk worthily” (4: 1), that is to say, in our walk, the value of our calling. Just as it is a privilege to display meaning, purpose and meaning in our walk!