on Ephesians 4 :25
Wherefore putting away lying - All falsity, all prevarication, because this is opposite to the truth as it is in Jesus, Ephesians 4:21, and to the holiness of truth, Ephesians 4:24.
Speak every man truth with his neighbor - Truth was but of small account among many of even the best heathens, for they taught that on many occasions a lie was to be preferred to the truth itself. Dr. Whitby collects some of their maxims on this head.
Κρειττον δε ελεσθαι ψευδος, η αληθες κακον· "A lie is better than a hurtful truth." - Menander.
Το γαρ αγαθον κρειττον εστι της αληθειας· "Good is better than truth." - Proclus.
Ενθα γαρ τι δει και ψευδος λεγεσθαι, λεγεσθω. "When telling a lie will be profitable, let it be told." - Darius in Herodotus, lib. iii. p. 101.
"He may lie who knows how to do it εν δεοντι καιρῳ, in a suitable time." - Plato apud Stob., ser. 12.
"There is nothing decorous in truth but when it is profitable; yea, sometimes και ψευδος ωνησεν ανθρωπους, και τ' αληθες εβλαψεν, truth is hurtful, and lying is profitable to men." - Maximus Tyrius, Diss. 3, p. 29.
Having been brought up in such a loose system of morality, these converted Gentiles had need of these apostolic directions; Put away lying; speak the truth: Let lying never come near you; let truth be ever present with you.
We are members one of another - Consider yourselves as one body, of which Jesus Christ is the head; and as a man's right hand would not deceive or wrong his left hand, so deal honestly with each other; for ye are members one of another.
on Ephesians 4 :25
Wherefore putting away lying - It may seem strange that the apostle should seriously exhort Christians to put away "lying," implying that they were in the habit of indulging in falsehood. But we are to remember:
(1) that lying is the universal vice of the pagan world. Among the ancient pagans, as among the moderns, it was almost universally practiced. It has been remarked by a distinguished jurist who had spent much time in India, that he would not believe a Hindu on his oath. The same testimony is borne by almost all the missionaries. of the character of pagans everywhere. No confidence can be placed in their statements; and, where there is the slightest temptation to falsehood, they practice it without remorse.
(2) the Ephesians had been recently converted, and were, to a great extent, ignorant of the requirements of the gospel. A conscience has to be "created" when pagans are converted, and it is long before they see the evils of many things which appear to us to be palpably wrong.
(3) the effects of former habits abide long, often, after a man is converted. He who has been in the habit of profane swearing, finds it difficult to avoid it; and he who has been all his life practicing deception, will find himself tempted to practice it still. It was for reasons such as these, probably, that the apostle exhorted the Ephesians to put away "lying," and to speak the truth only. Nor is the exhortation now inappropriate to Christians, and there are many classes to whom it would now be proper - such as the following:
(1) He who is in the habit of concealing the defects of an article in trade, or of commending it for more than its real value - "let him put away lying."
(2) he, or she, who instructs a servant to say that they are not at home, when they are at home: or that they are sick, when they are not sick or that they are engaged, when they are not engaged - "let them put away lying."
(3) he that is in the habit of giving a coloring to his narratives; of conveying a false impression by the introduction or the suppression of circumstances that are important to the right understanding of an account - "let him put away lying."
(4) he that is at no pains to ascertain the exact truth in regard to any facts that may affect his neighbor; that catches up flying rumors without investigating them, and that circulates them as undoubted truth, though they may seriously affect the character and peace of another - "let him put away lying."
(5) he that is in the habit of making promises only to disregard them - "let him put away lying." The community is full of falsehoods of that kind, and they are not all confined to the people of the world. Nothing is more important in a community than simple "truth" - and yet, it is to be feared that nothing is more habitually disregarded. No professing Christian can do any good who has not an unimpeachable character for integrity and truth - and yet who can lay his hand on his breast and say before God that he is in all cases a man that speaks the simple and unvarnished truth?
For we are members one of another - We belong to one body - the church - which is the body of Christ; see the notes Romans 5:12. The idea is, that falsehood tends to loosen the bonds of brotherhood. In the "human body" harmony is observed. The eye never deceives the hand, nor the hand the foot, nor the heart the lungs. The whole move harmoniously as if the one could put the utmost confidence in the other - and falsehood in the church is as ruinous to its interests as it would be to the body if one member was perpetually practicing a deception on another.
on Ephesians 4 :25
4:25 Wherefore - Seeing ye are thus created anew, walk accordingly, in every particular. For we are members one of another - To which intimate union all deceit is quite repugnant.