Monday, 19 September 2016
But you have not so learned Christ, Ephesians 4:20
The sentence begins with an emphatic “But…” as Paul contrasts his readers to the darkened minds of the Gentiles. He is making an adamant statement concerning those who are born again. The words “learned Christ” are unique in the Bible, but they correspond to the idea of Christ being preached and taught. Through the message of Christ, we learn of His Person, His work, the scope of His work, the nature of His many offices, etc. Thus, it is not merely the doctrine of Christ, but rather the fact that He is the subject of His own message. We have learned of Him through the message of Him.
Because of this, we are not darkened in our minds, and we are not set on a path of futility leading to debauchery. In this we see that the term “Christ” is referring to the office which is held. Whereas “Jesus” in the next verse is speaking of the office holder. The Gentiles walk in futility because they are without an understanding of the office which Christ fills.
What Paul is doing is taking the words of verses 9 through 16 and contrasting them to verses 17-19. The offices of verse 11 are given to teach us of Christ and how to conduct ourselves in Him. We are to avoid the state which he describes in verse 14, that of being “children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”
Such an existence in Christ would be comparable to the darkness which still exists in the walk of the Gentiles. We have not so learned Christ. Instead, we are to be sound in our theology; mature and perfect in our doctrine.
Life application: Paul, under inspiration of the Spirit, has shown us that our Christian walk is to be one which is completely contrasted to that of the world in which we walk. We are not to conform to the world and thus be ineffective in our presentation of Christ. If we are like the world, then there is no difference between us and them, and thus there is nothing to emulate.
Lord God, help us to be sound, faithful followers of Your word. If we conform ourselves to the world in which we live, then we have nothing distinctive to offer to those who are without Christ and who are lost. Grant us wisdom to conduct our walk in this world in a manner which will cause others to desire something different; something better. Help us to act out the gospel as well as to speak it out. There is hope in Jesus! Let us be willing to demonstrate this in lives of holiness which are dedicated to You. Amen.