In Ephesians 4:11-13 Paul tells why Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are given to the Church. The purpose of their ministry is to bring the Church into spiritual maturity, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Then in verses 15 and 16 he lays a similar responsibility upon the members of the Church. Every member must be a supplier of love unto the edifying of itself in love. For this reason he then says, This I say, therefore….
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.
The Church Paul is speaking to is a Gentile Church. They are not, however, to walk as other Gentiles in the vanity of their minds. Normal human living is a Gentile walk. Their behavior is a product of the vanity of their mind. Understand that Paul is speaking to Christians, Gentiles who had been brought into the Church of the Lord. They were Christians, but too much of their behavior was influenced by the vanity of the carnal mind. After becoming a Christian it is necessary to learn how to bring your life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, so that you no longer walk in the vanity of your mind.
Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.
This describes a person’s state before he becomes a Christian. It also describes, to some extent, every Christian. You were not totally enlightened at the moment you became a Christian. The ignorance and blindness of heart were not totally eliminated at that time. In fact, you are probably not completely free of those things now. These things are overcome as you learn to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He must become the Lord in you as well as the Lord over you. As His life comes forth in you the darkness, ignorance, and blindness of heart dissipates – but it doesn’t just happen automatically. You must work with the Lord in this process. Reject the darkened understanding! Reject the ignorance and blindness of heart! Go to war against these things and you will find the Lord warring with you. He is your Captain; submit to Him with all your heart!
Ephesians 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
The average person, Christian and non-Christian, would say, “That doesn’t describe me. I haven’t given myself over to lasciviousness to work all uncleanness and greediness!” Even though you are a Christian and have been forgiven, you will not realize how corrupt your human nature is until Christ begins coming forth in your life. It is only in the light of His presence that you will see yourself as you really are.
Isaiah had a revelation of the Lord high and lifted up. Then he said, “Woe is me! I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips!” (Isaiah 6:1-5). Isaiah suddenly became aware of his uncleanness only because he first saw the Lord in His exaltation.
Ephesians 4:20-21 But you
have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus.
To learn Christ does not mean to learn to be like Him. That is the futile attempts of religion. No one can discipline self to be like Christ. That is why we must be born again. When Paul uses the term “learn Christ” he is speaking of receiving the very life and nature of Christ. To learn Christ is to “have heard Him” and to “have been taught in Him,” for the truth is “in Jesus.”
To become as He is it is necessary to “have heard Him.” Anyone can read the Scriptures and learn some things about Christ, but that is not “hearing Him.” When you “hear Him” there is a transference of what He is to you to some degree. The Pharisees were very disciplined in their study of the Scriptures; yet they had not heard the voice of the Lord through those Scriptures. Jesus said to them, “You have not heard His voice at any time” (John 5:37). Again He said, “Every man that has heard and learned of the Father comes unto Me” (John 6:45). To “hear Him” requires the spiritual capacity of hearing beyond the normal range of hearing. Thus, after His teaching Jesus would say, “If any man has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).
The true teachings that will bring change to your life, making you an overcomer of the self-life, are “in Jesus.” Truths about Jesus are not the same as truths “in Jesus.” Truths about Jesus may have some moral value but only truths “in Jesus” will bring real change to your life.
Ephesians 4:22-23 That you
put off concerning the former behavior the old man, which is corrupt according
to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Paul tells them to put off their former behavior because being forgiven and becoming a Christian did not make all things new. They still carried the baggage of former behavior. I have found that one of the greatest problems among Christians that has hindered their spiritual growth is the unawareness of their corrupt nature. They just don’t realize their behavior is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. Their carnal mind still controls them to a great degree. Consequently, they are not being renewed in the spirit of their mind. Since the Ephesian Christians needed to put off their former behavior and be renewed in the spirit of their mind, do you think it could be true for you, too?
Ephesians 4:24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The Pharisees didn’t put on the new man. They rigidly disciplined themselves and made laws and regulations to make them look righteous and holy. They were very religious, but they had not put on the new man. In fact, they rejected the new man. A Pharisee Christian is one that endeavors to look righteous and holy without putting off the old man.
The new man is not religious garb. The new man is new life. The new Man is the Lord Himself. His life cannot be copied, imitated, disciplined or manufactured in any way. This I say therefore, “Make room in your life for the Lord Jesus Christ; make room for the new Man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Copyright © 2006 by Henry DuBose