“Neither give place to the devil”

Literally:  “nor give place to the devil”–By holding on to anger.

         A person under the dominion of anger is in a fit state to be tempted to evil deeds. That is, occasion, or scope, to the devil, by continuing in “wrath.”  The keeping of anger through the darkness of night, is giving place to the devil, the prince of darkness (6:12).  Either stop doing it or do not have the habit. See Rom.12:19 for this idiom.
         Your adversary will strive to influence your mind, and irritate your spirit; watch and pray that he may not get any place in you, or ascendancy over you. We lay ourselves open to the encroaching tactics of Satan, and permit him to gain an entrance through our defenses.  We must never allow this infernal house-breaker to pick the lock and gain entrance unawares.  Give him a loophole of admission and he will expand the hole and secure a firm foothold of occupation.  “De puerta cerrada el diablo se torna” is a Spanish proverb, which in English, says, “A fast bolted door the devil turns away.”  Therefore, bolt the old serpent out, head and tail!

        PLACE:  (Gr.topon)–Literally:  “room.”  This verse is linked with what has gone before.  Anger gives “place” or opportunity to the devil.  It gives him an “open-door;” an opportunity for the growth of pride or hatred.  Indignation against injustice or for being wronged, good in itself, if retained and nursed has a grievance will allow the devil to lead one on to unkind thoughts, words and actions then work havoc in the believer.

“Let him that stole steal no more:  but rather let him labor, working with
{his} hands, the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

“Let him that stole steal no more”
Literally:  “The one stealing, let him steal no more,”–

            Theft is selected as the foil to honesty and wise generosity.  In fact, lying is really a form of theft, for it is in fact stealing the truth from a person.  Where the fear of God is lacking petty larcenies are sure to abound, even thefts on a more extensive scale may prevail in the life of a believer.  The sin dissuaded from: theft and stealing. This the heathen nations counted no crime; they make no conscience, either openly or fraudulently, to take away their neighbor's goods. Therefore, says Paul, let those of you, who in the time of your paganism and unregeneracy, were given to stealing, now, being converted to Christianity, do so no more.
            Respect for other people’s property, whether personal or public, distinguishes a law-abiding community.  Pilfering cannot always be detected or exposed, because many situationS necessitate the exercise of trust.  But Christians have a prestige all their own and ought to be above suspicion of filching what is not theirs.

        STEAL NO MORE (Gr.mêketi kleptetô)Clearly the meaning here is cease.  The imperfect or past tense is (present continuous action “Let the stealing person steal no more.”  

         People who steal, especially petty theft, do not like to be called thieves., but that is what they are!  The attitude of the worker today is, “I do not receive much salary and my employer is wealthy.  He’ll never miss it.”  Unfortunately, this same attitude seems to be prevalent among Christians; however, a Christian is called upon to walk faithfully, to be honest and to live a life that will bear the spotlight of close observation and watching by unbelievers.  Remember, you Christian are being watched by the world–“You are the best Christian someone knows, and you may never know who that person is.”
         Homer Saps, by his sinful nature, is a thief as well as a liar.  Stealing is in our hearts–the desire to get something for nothing.  Paul says here that we are to steal no more; even when it may look as if it is alright.

         Theft, like lying, was, and is, almost a universal vice among the unsaved. The practice of pilfering prevails in probably every pagan community, and no property is safe which is not guarded, or so locked up as to be inaccessible. Hence as the Christian converts at Ephesus had been long addicted to such there was danger that they would fall into it again; and hence the necessity of special cautions.
         We are not to suppose that pilfering is a common vice in the Church; but the cautions on this point proceed on the principle that where a man has been long in the habit of a particular sin, he is in great danger of falling into it again. Hence we caution the man who has been intemperate against the least indulgence in intoxicating drinks; we exhort him not to touch that which would be so strong a temptation to him. The object of the apostle was to show that the gospel requires holy living in all its friends, and to entreat Christians at Ephesus in a special manner to avoid the vices of the surrounding heathen.

“but rather let him labor”–
The remedy prescribed for the prevention of this sin; and that is diligence and labor in some honest calling:  Let him labor, working with his hands. Idleness occasions poverty, brings men to want, increases their necessities, and then they betake themselves to indirect and unlawful means to supply them.

         Paul was not an advocate of the “free-loader” society which we have today that is sapping this nation dry with its “welfare.”  From the very beginning men were meant to work, (Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden to work it), not to sit idly by with their hands out waiting for government welfare to pay them for being lazy, and living off the labors of others (the tax-payers.).  Paul made it quite clear what he thought of men who would not work for their own living–“If any will not work, neither shall he eat” (II Thess. 3:10).
        Honest labor is the best antidote to a dishonest life. Every man is to labor in order that he may not only supply his needs, but have that which he can give.  Theft and idleness go together.

Here we see the difference between Law and Grace.  Law says we must not steal; grace adds something.  You can keep the Law by refraining from taking anything that is not yours.  Grace says that we are to work and share with those who are in need.  We cannot measure up to God’s holy standard unless we share with others what God, in His Kindness, gives to us.

                 LABOR:  (Gr.kopiaô)–Literally:  “work; work hard, labor.”

        “Greet Mary, who did much work (kopiaô)–on us”
        “Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor (kopiaô) in the Lord.  Salute the beloved Persis, which labored (kopiaô) much in the Lord” (Rom. 16:6, 12).

         It is supposed that, among the rabbis, stealing was not entirely discountenanced, provided a portion was given to the poor.  The apostle here teaches them a different doctrine: as they should speak truth every man with his neighbor, so they should in every respect act honestly, for nothing contrary to truth and righteousness could be tolerated under the Christian system.  Let no man, under pretense of helping the poor, defraud another; but let him labor, working with his hands to provide that which is good, that he may have to give to him who is in necessity. Stealing, overreaching, defrauding, purloining, etc., are consistent with no kind of religion that acknowledges the true God.  If Christianity does not make men honest, it does nothing for them.  Those who are not saved from dishonesty fear not God, though they may dread man.
         The Christian, instead of robbing others of the fruit of their labor, he is to work for his own living.  The believer is not to get rich for his own selfish ends.  Rather, he is to help others with whatever he has that is surplus.  Today there are many fine Christian ministries that lag and wilt for lack of funds.  Why?  Because many believers are accumulating riches for themselves and not giving as they should.

“the thing which is good,”
Literally:  “what {is} good”–In contrast with theft, the thing which was evil in his past character.  In a lawful and useful business.

“that he may have to give to him that needeth”
Literally:  “that he may have {something} to give to the {one} having need”–To share with another.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”

Here Paul directs us how to manage our tongues, both negatively and positively, telling us what we should not speak, and what we should: Let no corrupt, rotten, filthy discourse, come out of your mouth; such as have rotten lungs have a stinking breath; filthy discourse argues a polluted heart; such noisome discourse is unsavory to an holy ear, and greatly offensive, contagious, and infecting to common and ordinary hearers.

         “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth”
         “Let not any rotten word go out of your mouth–Rotten, putrid, like fruit (Matt. 7:17), or  fish (Matt. 13:48).  Here it is the opposite of “good” (agathos).

                 GOOD:  (Gr.agathos)

        CORRUPT:  (Gr.sarpos)–Literally:  “rotten.”  This word means bad, decayed, rotten, and is applied to putrid vegetables or animal substances.  What is rotten?  Anything that will demoralize others.

Literally, “insipid,” without “the salt of grace” (Col. 4:6), so worthless and then becoming corrupt: included in “foolish talking” (Eph. 5:4).  Its opposite is “that which is good to edifying.” Obscene, licentious, or immoral language is forbidden.  

        WORD:  (Gr.logos)–“Corrupt communication,” (logos sapros)–literally: “rotten word” signifies a useless, putrid, unsavory, and obscene word or conversation.  It is talk that is “rotten,” that spreads rottenness like bad fruit.  Such talk is worthless and leads others to think on the worthless.  It is the opposite of “good” (agathos).

         Oh, how much we need to heed this exhortation, for what terrible things our tongues do!  Some people have tongues that are as sharp as razor blades, and they use them on everyone with whom they come into contact.  Your tongue can be either a mouthpiece for the old nature, or for the new nature.  God wants you to yield that member unto Him. 
         An uncontrolled tongue in the mouth of a believer is the index of a corrupt life.  Believers who use the shady or questionable stories reveal a heart of wickedness.  What is in the well of the heart will come up by the bucket full at the mouth. 

“but that which is good to the use of edifying,”
Literally:  “but if any {is} good to building up{in respect to} the need”–For the build-up of the need, “for supplying help when there is need.” Let no other words come out.

         The phrase, “that which is good,” in the KJV is really not a good rendering of the Greek phrase (ei tis agathos), which would be better rendered as, “if any {is} good.” Next, Paul tells them what they should speak: That which is profitable and edifying, and that which may minister increase of grace to the hearers. Our speech should be so gracious and savory, seasoned with salt, (Col. 4:6).
         Truth, holiness, and prudence, are the salt of our words; Christians must not suffer their tongues to run at random in their ordinary discourse; it is not sufficient that they do not speak to evil purposes, but they must speak to edifying purpose; that which has a tendency to make the hearers some way or other either wiser or better, this the apostle calls that which is good to the use of edifying.

“to the use of edifying
Literally, “for building up {in respect to} the need;” that is, for building up where it is needed.

Seasonably edifying; according as the occasion and present needs of the hearers require, now censure, at another time consolation. Even words good in themselves must be introduced seasonably lest by our fault they prove injurious instead of useful. Our words should be as nails fastened in a sure place, words suiting the present time and the present person, being “for the edifying of the occasion” (Col. 4:6).

        EDIFYING:  (Gr.oikodomên)–Literally:  “building up.” To edify profitably; that is, adapted to instruct, counsel, and comfort others; to promote their intelligence and purity.

Speech is an invaluable gift; a blessing of inestimable worth. We may so speak as always to do good to others. We may give them some information which they have not; impart some consolation which they need; elicit some truth by friendly discussion which we did not know before, or recall by friendly admonition those who are in danger of going astray. He who talks for the mere sake of talking will say many foolish things; he whose great aim in life is to benefit others will not be likely to say that which he will have occasion to regret.

“that it may minister grace unto the hearers”
Literally:  “that it may give grace to the ones hearing”–The word spoken “gives grace to the hearers” when God uses it as His instrument for that purpose.

         The speech of the believer should be on the high plane of instructing and communicating encouragement to other believers.  You can have fun and enjoy life—humor does have its place—but our humor should not be dirty or filthy.  Instead of gossiping about people, let your tongue be used to tell forth the glories of His grace, and produce triumphs instead of tragedies.

This may be understood this way
1.      Let your conversation be pure, wise, and holy, that it may he the means of conveying grace, or Divine influences, to them that hear.
2.      Let it be such as to be grateful or acceptable to the hearers.  This is the meaning of “that it may give grace.”  And if possible, speak so as to please them.
3.      Let your words never wound modesty, truth, or the Christian faith and endeavor to edify those with whom you converse.

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