“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Explanation and Commentary of Ephesians 4:32
If only all people would follow these commands, it would be a heavenly world. Paul’s imperative here encompasses the whole of the Christian life towards one another. Though he does not say in this verse to love one another, he does show key component parts of Christian love by this statement. The previous verse dealt with anger and malice, showing that there is no place for them in the heart of a Christian. Kindness, compassion, and forgiveness are what will take the place of those things in the heart of a believer
The grounds for this behavior is that this is the way our Master, our teacher, Jesus Christ behaved towards us. His death on the cross atoned for our sin, bringing us peace with God, redemption, justification, and adoption as his sons and daughters in Christ. But the other thing Christ accomplished on the cross was a perfect example of how we should be toward others. Our kindness is grounded in God’s kindness for us in sending his Son. Our compassion is modeled on Jesus’ compassion in his earthly ministry, and on the cross. And most importantly, our forgiveness is made possible by his forgiveness of us and is a model for us to imitate toward others. Thanks to Christ’s sacrifice, we are wholly unable to see a person’s sin against us as unpardonable. If we are unable to forgive, then we have not yet been forgiven (Mt 6:15).
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Ephesians 4:32
#1 “Be kind…”
Our being is rooted in God’s creation of us. We exist because he exists and spoke us into being. As we are being, we should live in kindness. Kindness should be a state of our being.
#2 “…and compassionate to one another,”
Compassion comes from being willing to feel along with others what they might be feeling. It is to understand the state and the pain someone is in and to show that we understand.
#3 “forgiving each other,”
Forgiveness is a superpower for the Christian who wants to live in perfect peace. We forgive others because God is the ultimate rememberer of wrongs on our behalf. He wants to be the one to exact vengeance when it is necessary (Ro 12:19). Forgiveness removes anger and wrath from our shoulders and leaves us in peace.
#4 “just as in Christ God forgave you.”
We forgive because we have been forgiven. God forgave us “in Christ.” His amazing plan to save the world was to send his Son to live on the earth, to never sin, but then die for the sin of the world. Whoever believes in him has been forgiven and will be able to forgive others.
Bible Study on Ephesians 4:32
Expert Overview of Ephesians
Biblical Translations of Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.