Here, then, is one who wears chains in the Lord's service, pleading with you to live as befits men called to such a vocation as yours. You must be always humble, always gentle; patient, too, in bearing with one another's faults, as charity bids; eager to preserve that unity the Spirit gives you, whose bond is peace. You are one body, with a single Spirit; each of you, when he was called, called in the same hope; with the same Lord, the same faith, the same baptism; with the same God, the same Father, all of us, who is above all beings, pervades all things, and lives in all of us. But each of us has received his own special grace, dealt out to him by Christ's gift. (That is why we are told. He has mounted up on high; he has captured his spoil; he has brought gifts to men. The words, He has gone up, must mean that he had gone down, first, to the lower regions of earth. And he who so went down is no other than he who has gone up, high above all the heavens, to fill creation with his presence.) Some he has appointed to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, or pastors, or teachers. They are to order the lives of the faithful, minister to their needs, build up the frame of Christ's body, until we all realize our common unity through faith in the Son of God, and fuller knowledge of him. So we shall reach perfect manhood, that maturity which is proportioned to the completed growth of Christ; we are no longer to be children, no longer to be like stormtossed sailors, driven before the wind of each new doctrine that human subtlety, human skill in fabricating lies, may propound. We are to follow the truth, in a spirit of charity, and so grow up, in everything, into a due proportion with Christ, who is our head. On him all the body depends; it is organized and unified by each contact with the source which supplies it, and thus, each limb receiving the active power it needs, it achieves its natural growth, building itself up through charity.
This, then, is my message to you; I call upon you in the Lord's name not to live like the Gentiles, who make vain fancies their rule of life. Their minds are clouded with darkness; the hardness of their hearts breeds in them an ignorance, which estranges them from the divine life; and so, in despair, they have given themselves up to incontinence, to selfish habits of impurity. This is not the lesson you have learned in making Christ your study, if you have really listened to him. If true knowledge is to be found in Jesus, you will have learned in his school that you must be quit, now, of the old self whose way of life you remember, the self that wasted its aim on false dreams. There must be a renewal in the inner life of your minds; you must be clothed in the new self, which is created in God's image, justified and sanctified through the truth.
Away with falsehood, then; let everyone speak out the truth to his neighbour; membership of the body binds us to one another. Do not let resentment lead you into sin; the sunset must not find you still angry. Do not give the devil his opportunity. The man who was a thief must be a thief no longer; let him work instead, and earn by his own labour the blessings he will be able to share with those who are in need. No base talk must cross your lips; only what will serve to build up the faith, and bring a grace to those who are listening; do not distress God's holy Spirit, whose seal you bear until the day of your redemption comes. There must be no trace of bitterness among you, of passion, resentment, quarrelling, insulting talk, or spite of any kind; be kind and tender to one another, each of you generous to all, as God in Christ has been generous to you.