Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love.
Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace.
We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future.
There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.
However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ.
That is why the Scriptures say, "When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people." a9
Notice that it says "he ascended." This means that Christ first came down to the lowly world in which we live. b10
The same one who came down is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that his rule might fill the entire universe.
He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ,
until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.
Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.
Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
With the Lord's authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly c do, for they are hopelessly confused.
Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him.
They don't care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed.
But that isn't what you were taught when you learned about Christ.
Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus,
throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception.
Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.
You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness -- righteous, holy, and true.
So put away all falsehood and "tell your neighbor the truth" d because we belong to each other.
And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." e Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry,
for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.
If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need.
Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior.
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)