The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 4:25-27 ~ Principles of Conduct for the New Man & The Devil’s Strategies

Vol. 15 No. 44 – November 20, 2016

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We now turn to the next subsection of Chapter 4, vs. 25-32, “Principles of Conduct for the New Man.” Here we are given the lifestyle the New Man should live in. This new lifestyle involves replacing sinful habits with righteous and holy habits. Here we have a short list of some of those characteristics. We should not take this as an exhaustive list of examples on how to live out our new identity, yet, these are characteristics or behaviors we should all endeavor to pursue.

Before we study these behaviors, there are a few important, overarching observations:

1.)  These practical exhortations are relational. That means that our new union with Christ should change the way we live in the community. Our sin affects others negatively, just as our righteousness will bless others positively.

2.)  In each grouping below the negative or sinful action is stated first and then a positive. That is important because holiness is not just about saying no to sin; it is also about saying yes to God. We must not only throw our dirty clothes in the hamper; we must put on the new suit as well!

3.)  We are given theological reasons for each of these mandates.

Vs. 25, “Do not lie, because we are all members of the Church,” we are the body of Christ.

Vs. 26-27, “Do not be angry, because it will give the Devil an opportunity,” Satan does exist and his cosmic system.

Vs. 28, “Do not steal, because we could help others,” our stewardship, care for the poor, and Divine good production.

Vs. 29, “Do not use bad language, because it will not edify and give grace to others,” we are Royal Ambassadors for Christ, act like it. In addition, in vs. 30, if we live by the Old Man with these old characteristics, it will grieve the Holy Spirit.

Vs. 30-32, “Do not have bitterness, rage, anger, shouting, or slander, because you will not be living in the Christ-like nature.”

Vs. 25, The New Man must Replace Lying with Truth-Telling.

Eph 4:25, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH, EACH ONE of you, WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.”

The first Old Man characteristic we are to “put off,” (i.e., no longer use or participate in), is, “lying.” This is a sin in the category of verbal sins.

Therefore,” Is the Inferential Conjunction DIO that means, “Therefore, wherefore, on this account, because of this, or for this reason.” “It is used to pass from one proposition, statement, or judgment considered as true to another whose truth is believed to follow the former, denoting that the inference is self-evident.” (Bauer).  So, we have the transition from the characteristics of the New Man to characteristics of the Old Man that we should not be doing.

The prohibition for Old Man characteristics is noted in the “laying aside,” which is actually the Aorist, Middle, Participle of APOTITHEMI, which we noted in vs. 22 that means, “take off, lay aside, rid oneself of, or renounce.” In vs. 24 it spoke of the overall “putting off” of the Old Man, the old ways of living, and here it speaks to specific characteristics of the Old Man that we are to put off. In the following verses there are four specific characteristics we are to no long participate in; lying, bitter anger, stealing, and using bad/inappropriate language: swearing, coarse joking, gossiping, etc.

As we “put on” the New Man, we are to “take off” these characteristics of the Old Man, Eph 4:22, 31; Col 3:8; Heb 12:1; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1.

Col 3:8, “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.”

Heb 12:1, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

James 1:21, “Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.”

1 Peter 2:1, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”

The word here for lying is “falsehood,” the Noun PSEUDOS, ψεῦδος that means, “lie, falsehood, or lying.” This word is in contrast to a characteristic of the New Man, ALETHEIA, “truth” that we are to “speak,” LALEO. In the contrast between, “the lie” and “the truth,” we also see false doctrine versus the truth of God’s word in view, cf. Rom 1:25; cf. Jer 10:14; 13:25. When someone spreads false doctrine, it is idolatry.

This part of the passage is quoted from Zech 8:16. In addition, we have the same mandate in Eph 4:15; Col 3:9.

Zech 8:16, “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.”

Col 3:9, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.”

Then we see that the believer, “each one of you,” HEKASTOS, has a direction in which to speak truth, “with his neighbor” META HO PLESION AUTOS. The substantive use of the Adverb PLESION means “neighbor, or the one nearby.” To speak truthfully with those we associate with at home, on the job, or wherever we go, is part of “loving our neighbor (PLESION) as we love ourselves,” Mat 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9-10; Gal 5:14; James 2:8.

The reason we are to speak truth to those we associate with is “because we are members of one another,” HOTI EIMI MELOS ALLELON. MELOS, μέλος means, “member, body, part, or limb.” Used figuratively here for members of the Church, the body of Christ, as in Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor 6:15; 12:12-17. Therefore, especially when we are associating with fellow members of the Church, the Royal Family of God, we should be putting on the New Man by speaking truthfully in all situations.

Your words greatly affect the whole body. If your eye says to your hand, “The iron is not hot,” and your hand touches it, it will get burned. Since we are united together, false words hurt the whole body. Falsehood stifles unity; truth strengthens unity.

Principles:

  • The fruit that comes from a believer’s life, his actions, proves whether he is yielding to the sinful nature or to the Holy Spirit. Lying is an obvious manifestation of the fallen nature. While speaking truth is a manifestation of integrity inside the New Man.
  • We also learn from Scripture that God hates lying, Prov 6:16-17; 12:22; 12:19; 20:17; 21:6, and that Satan is a liar, John 8:44, “the father of lies.” When you tell the truth, you are imitating God. When you lie, you are imitating Satan.
  • Lying and pathological lying is a sign of tension, a sign of living a life of deceit and constantly being on guard lest someone penetrate the deceit.
  • As a result of putting on the New Man and recovering from reversionism, you recover Divine viewpoint, truth / Bible Doctrine and put away the lying.

Vs. 26, The New Man must Replace Unrighteous Anger with Righteous Anger.

Eph 4:26, “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

The second Old Man characteristic we are to “put off,” (i.e., no longer use or participate in), is, bitter or vengeful “anger.” This is a sin in the category of mental attitude sins. Here too we have both a positive command and a command of negation.

The first half of this passage is a quote from Psa 4:4, “Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.” The second half of this psalm is another way of saying what the second half of our verse is telling us.

The second half of this passage is also a principle found in Deut 24:15, “You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he may not cry against you to the LORD and it becomes sin in you.”

In other words, reconcile all your debts in the day you incur them, rather than putting them off to another day, because as Deut. says, it will cause harm to the other party too. In our verse, we see that it will cause harm to you. So let us break this verse down a bit.

This admonition relates to the proper and improper use of anger. The improper use results from yielding to the Adamic nature, OSN, and the proper use of anger results from yielding to the Holy Spirit.

Be angry” is the Present, Middle, Imperative of ORGIZOMAI, ὀργίζομαι. It is used 8 times in the NT. It represents an inner mental attitude of indignation, wrath, hatred, and fury usually targeted at a specific person, thing, or event, cf. Num 22:22; Prov 16:30. Generally, we are commanded not to be angry in the first place, Mat 5:22; Col 3:8.

Mat 5:22, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘ Raca,’ (Empty-head, numbskull, senseless man, fool), shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

Col 3:8, “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.”

However, there is a righteous anger or indignation that the believer can have. The same root word for anger, ORGE, is used of God in Mat 3:7; Mark 3:5; Rom 1:18; 12:19, so anger in itself is not sinful.

What does this righteous anger look like? Someone said, “It is when you get mad but you do not cuss.” Not exactly. Righteous indignation is a holy anger against sin, and not because your feelings got hurt or something like that. In addition, the context of the previous verse tells us what we can get angry at, “the lie,” false doctrine from false teachers and Satan’s cosmic system. Therefore, legitimate anger is reserved for false doctrine, that which is false compared to God’s Word, for apostasy, for religiosity, for revolution, for antiestablishment, for everything that is contrary to Bible doctrine. In addition, there is a place for righteous indignation toward the “fourth estate,” the press. The press no longer reports news, it comments on it and therefore the news is slanted. If you are going to comment on it, you are going to get the news to support your petty ideas, and that is exactly what has happened to the Press in this country. This command says that you have the right to be angry without sinning.

Our Lord demonstrated this when He turned over the money tables in the Temple, not just once, but twice, Mat 21:12; Mark 11:15; John 2:14-15. This was prophesied of our Lord in Psa 69:9 and noted in John 2:16-17. Matthew and Mark’s account occurred just before His crucifixion; John’s account at the beginning of His ministry. Cf. Mark 3:5.

There are times when righteous anger should be manifested against injustice and other forms of sin. We need to feel anger as Christians. If we are indifferent to injustice, then evil will prevail. Do not encourage the spread of evil through indifference. We should hate sin just like God hates sin, Psa 119:53, cf. Gal 4:16.

Psa 119:53, “Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.”

Gal 4:16, “Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?”

Yet, anger is never to be allowed to fester within our souls, “AND yet DO NOT SIN,” KAI ME HAMARTANO, in the Present, Active, Imperative of command. Then we have the prohibition “do not let go down (set),” ME EPIDUO in the Present, Active, Imperative of prohibition, “the sun on your anger,” HO HELIOS EPI PARORGISMOS HUMEIS. The sunset is the end of the day according to Jewish time.

PARORGISMOS, παροργισμός is the Dative Noun for intensification of anger that means, “provocation, anger, rage, wrath, exasperation.” It is a cognate of the previous anger. The prefix PARA means, side by side, and here it means multiple sins going on in the mentality of your soul. In other words, one sin like jealousy, bitterness, implacability, etc. leads to this anger or wrath that is sinful. One sin provokes another in your soul, so you have multiple sins rather than just one. Therefore, it is an intensified sin.

Wuest puts it like this, “Be constantly angry with a righteous indignation, and stop sinning. Do not allow the sun to go down upon your irritated, exasperated, embittered anger.” So we could say, “do not let the day end on your intensified anger.” In other words, do not end the day by harboring mental attitude sins and accompanying anger.

This is illegitimate anger. Illegitimate anger is a sin; it is a sin based on mental attitude sins. These mental attitude sins, along with the guilt complex, produce pseudo anger or sinful anger. So, we have in the same passage a prohibition of illegitimate anger.

Vs. 31 also mentions unrighteous anger. This anger is self-defensive and being out of control due to emotional revolt of the soul. It leads to murder, jealousy, envy, and a host of other sins. That is sinful anger that we are to put away. We do not have permission to throw a fit, seek revenge, and dishonor the name of God in public by doing those things and others. We are to use Bible doctrine to resolve our anger and in faith turn it over to God.

Here in vs. 26, we again have a command. In this case, to not let our anger fester overnight and into the next day. In other words, at the end of each day, you should reconcile all issues in your life, primarily by turning them over to the Lord and trusting whole-heartedly that He will take care of them. This is a characteristic of the New Man, who has control over his soul, 2 Peter 1:6.

2 Peter 1:6, “And in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness.”

This is important because, anger can easily lead to resentment or bitterness, or worse. If a person becomes angry for some legitimate reason, whatever triggered the anger should be settled before the day is past. This is another way of saying it should be dealt with or taken care of immediately.

So Paul gives us three ways to deal with our anger to make sure it is and remains holy; 1) “Do not sin;” 2) “Do not let the sun go down without resolving it;” 3) “Do not give the Devil an opportunity,” which we will note in the next verse.

“Someone said, “Don’t go to bed with unresolved conflict or else you will sleep with the Devil.” Seek forgiveness and reconciliation quickly. Satan would love to use your anger as an opportunity to make you violent and divisive.” (Christ-Centered Exposition).

The first command demands legitimate righteous indignation as the result of spiritual growth and discernment. The second command demands rebound. The believer must keep short accounts of his sin and anger, otherwise mental attitude sins double and intensify, producing extensive mental attitude sins that produce misery of soul and body.

Furthermore, mental attitude sins combine with reactor factors to provide energy for various stages of reversionism. Like a hurricane gathering energy from heat, mental attitude sins are like the heat in a tropical storm turning into a hurricane because the heat provides energy and intensifies the storm. In the same way, when we have the doubling of mental attitude sins, it provides energy for anger.

Another implication of this verse is that only the mature believer in super-grace can handle legitimate anger and avoid illegitimate sinful anger. Hence, this verse is the result of reversion recovery and going as far as super-grace in the life of the believer. Therefore, when you put on the New Man and have recovery from reversionism, you have objective indignation, righteous anger when appropriate, without sinning.

Vs. 27, The New Man must not give Satan and the Old Man, an opportunity to exploit sin and evil in his soul.

Eph 4:27, “And do not give the Devil an opportunity.”

This is the consequence of not dealing with our sins, problems, or difficulties immediately. We give Satan and the Old Man, an opportunity to exploit the situation to their advantage, which becomes sin and evil in your soul. Our attitude should be not to give place to Satan.

Here we have another Present, Active, Imperative for a command with the Conjunction of connection and negation, MEDE from ME, “do not” and DE, “and,” and the verb DIDOMAI for “give.” The one we are not to give something too here is “the Devil,” HO DIABOLOS, διάβολος that literally means, “slanderer, false accuser, adversary, and the Devil.” The thing we are not to give him is “an opportunity,” TOPOS, τόπος that means, “place, location; area, region,” where we get our English word topography from. However, it can also be used for, “room; station, office; possibility, or opportunity,” as here.

When we have anger upon our soul, and we let it remain there for a prolonged period, even what may have started as righteous indignation, can easily be turned into sin with bitterness and vengefulness. When we let anger fester, the Sin Nature and Satan’s cosmic system are designed to turn your righteousness into sin. So the sooner you deal with your anger in the mentality of your soul, by turning it over to God, the better. In addition, the sooner you reach out to reconcile with the one or thing you are angry with, the better.

Rom 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

The believer gives opportunity to the Devil by entering reversionism. Any believer in any stage of reversionism has given the Devil opportunity. Such a believer who has given opportunity to the Devil has become a casualty to the Angelic Conflict. This is totally incompatible with being a member of the royal family of God.

So remember that the Devil will use anything he can to hinder God’s people, and the improper use of anger is one of his greatest tools, especially because it can exploit the arrogance complex of sins within your soul. And, as you know, arrogance is truly the root of all sins. Therefore, never give Satan an opportunity to take advantage of the situations in your life. As you put on the New Man and have recovery from reversionism, you will have victory in the Angelic conflict.

Outline of the Devil’s Strategies.

The person of the Devil.

  • He has a very pleasing personality, he is a genius, and is the smartest creature ever to exist.
  • He is the highest of all angelic creatures; he is the ruler of all fallen angels, Mat 8:28; 9:34; 12:26.
  • He is a prehistoric creature, Isa 14:12-17; Ezek 28:11-29.
  • He, as the Devil, is the chief antagonist in the Angelic Conflict, Heb 1 & 2; Gen 6; 1 Peter 3:18-22.
  • The Devil has the greatest and most thorough of all organizations, Eph 6:10-12.
  • He was a murderer and liar from the beginning, John 8:44.
  • He is the opponent of Bible doctrine, Mat 13:19, 39.
  • He is the enemy of the Royal Family, Rev 2:9, 13, 24; 12:10.

The Devil’s rulership.

The Devil is not only the ruler of fallen angels but he is the ruler of this world, Luke 4:5-7; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2.

The Devil has strategy regarding nations in the world.

It is his strategy to wipe out the Jew. He always uses nations to try to destroy Israel. The Devil is anti-nationalism; he despises nationalism. Nationalism frustrates the function of his rulership. He desires “internationalism,” one world rule or government, because it is easier to control. Nationalism is a part of the laws of Divine establishment to preserve human freedom in the Devil’s kingdom, Rev 12:9, 19; 20:3, 8. He is the head of any international organization, like the United Nations. He is the chief opponent of the laws of Divine establishment and seeks to break down the sovereignty and the freedom of nationalism. It is his objective to turn those nations, under his influence, into empires and utilize them to further his own purposes in the strategy of nations.

His strategy regarding the unbelievers of this world.

He not only has a strategy for people collectively as nations but he has strategies for persons individually. This runs the gamut from blinding their minds, (scar tissue of the soul in the unbeliever), to every form of unbeliever reversionism, as in 2 Peter 2. Since everyone is born into the world as an unbeliever and spiritually dead, we are born citizens of Satan’s kingdom. Spiritual death is the citizenship papers in cosmos diabolicus. Therefore, the Devil has to have strategy with regard to people. He has to do everything possible to keep people unbelievers. It is the devil’s objective that no one believes in Jesus Christ. References to the Devil’s strategy regarding the unbeliever included, Luke 8:12; 2 Cor 4:3-4; Col 2:8; 2 Thes 2:7-10; Rev 17. Therefore, when a person believes in Christ, the Devil does not give up on them. They are members of the Family of God and in God’s plan and totally separated from Satan’s plan. Therefore, the Devil has a strategy regarding believers, 2 Cor 2:11.

The Devil’s strategy regarding the Royal Family.

  • His primary strategy is accusation. That is his strategy in heaven. He is constantly gathering information with regard to every believer, noting all of their sins. Then comes the accusations in the court of heaven. But the Lord Jesus Christ is not only our high priest but He is our advocate, and He represents us in heaven and the case is always thrown out, Job 1; 2 Cor 2:1; Zech 3:1-2; Rev 12:9-10; 1 John 2:1-2.
  • The Devil is the sponsor of reversionism. Reversionism is a combination of Satanic strategy and the function of the Old Sin Nature and the two combine with the volition of the soul in order to bring about reversionism. This is giving the Devil an opportunity. He is always seeking to frustrate the will of God, Eph 4:14; 1 Thes 2:18; James 4:7-8. The Devil has been working for a long time to get one whole generation of believers in reversionism. 1 Cor 10:19-21. The devil has a communion table and it is designed to sponsor reversionism. This communion table is for reversionists, 2 Cor 11:3, 13-15. Illustration: 1 Chron 21.
  • It is the strategy of the Devil with regard to believers to frustrate the will of God in the believer’s life. The will of God is categorized and classified in three ways: mental, operational, and geographical.

1) Mental will of God: What does He want me to think?

2) Operational will of God: What does he want me to do?

3) Geographical will of God: Where does He want me to be?

It is the Devil’s objective to frustrate all three categories. The mental, Eph 4:14, he tries to frustrate Divine viewpoint. Operational, James 4:7-8. Geographical, 1 Thes 2:18.

  • He also seeks to neutralize Bible doctrine, doctrinal application, through worry and anxiety. Worry is the way the Devil makes a believer indifferent to the Word of God. Worry is a total soul function just as occupation with Christ is a total soul function. Occupation with Christ is the total soul occupation with Bible doctrine, whereas worry is the total soul function of facing your problems erroneously, 1 Peter 5:7-9. Worry is one of the greatest ways to eliminate doctrine on the negative volition basis. Obviously, the Devil seeks to get the believer’s eyes on people, self, and things. He tries to get believers so involved in improving the Devil’s world that they have no time for reaching super-grace because they have no time for doctrine. In addition, there are things that distract the soul. The soul is turned on by socialism, social action, social gospel, operation bleeding heart, and many other ways of trying to solve man’s problems. The inculcation of fear regarding physical death has always been the capstone on Satanic strategy for the believer, Heb 2:14-15.
  • It is Satan’s objective to obscure the focus of the believer — occupation with Christ or the supergrace life. He does this in three ways:

1) Getting eyes on self, 1 Kings 19:10.

2) Getting eyes on people, Jer 17:5.

3) Getting eyes on things, Heb 13:5-6.

  • It is the Satanic objective to involve the believer in humanistic, temporal solutions to man’s problems so that Divine solutions are obscured and excluded, e.g. the so-called social gospel (social action).

Religion is the Devil’s basic strategy; it is his counterfeit of the plan of God. Christianity is a relationship with God through Christ, whereas religion is man by man’s efforts using man’s ability and man’s ingenuity to gain the approbation of God. The basic principle of religion is to counterfeit what God has done. There are nine different counterfeits in religion:

  • Counterfeit gospel, 2 Cor 11:3-4.
  • Counterfeit ministers, 2 Cor 11:13-15.
  • Counterfeit doctrine, 1 Tim 4:1.
  • Counterfeit communion table, 1 Cor 10:19-21.
  • Counterfeit righteousness, Mat 19:16-28.
  • Counterfeit way of life, Mat 23:27, (Whitewashed tombstones).
  • Counterfeit power, 2 Thes 2:8-10.
  • Counterfeit gods, 2 Thes 2:3-4.

Satan himself is a great communicator and great in inculcating false doctrine. False teachers are his basic strategy for the communication of false doctrine, 2 Cor 11:13-15.

  • False teachers always have a phony façade, Mat 7:15; Rom 16:18. This facade is a kind of Maddison Avenue presentation to impress people.
  • False teachers court believers, Gal 4:17-18; 2 Tim 3:5-7.
  • False teachers always appeal to human pride, 2 Cor 10:12.
  • False teachers like to promote idolatry because it is a quick way to demon possession, Hab 2:18-19.
  • False teachers often promote legalism, 1 Tim 1:7-8.
  • False teachers will continue throughout the cosmic era of Satan’s rulership, 1 John 4:1.

Chafer notes, “Next to the lie itself, the greatest delusion Satan imposes — reaching to all unsaved and to a large proportion of Christians — is the supposition that only such things as society considers evil could originate with the devil — if, indeed, there be any devil to originate anything. It is not the reason of man, but the revelation of God, which points out that governments, morals, education, art, commercialism, vast enterprises and organizations, and much of religious activity are included in the cosmos diabolicus. That is, the system which Satan has constructed includes all the good which he can incorporate into it and be consistent in the thing he aims to accomplish. A serious question arises whether the presence of gross evil in the world is due to Satan’s intention to have it so, or whether it indicates Satan’s inability to execute all he has designed. The probability is great that Satan’s ambition has led him to undertake more than any creature could ever administer. Revelation declares that the whole cosmos-system must be annihilated — not its evil alone, but all that is in it, both good and bad. God will incorporate nothing of Satan’s failure into that kingdom which He will set up in the earth.” (Lewis Sperry Chafer, “Systematic Theology”).

To overcome the devil’s schemes and strategies the unbeliever must receive salvation and the believer must put on the New Man through the consistent inculcation of God’s Word and the Filling of the H.S. with the result of spiritual growth. When he does,he will be an overcomer and achieve the super-grace life.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 16-129 through 16-133

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you.  He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins.  He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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