The Truth is In Jesus

Ephesians 4:20-22 But you have not so learned Christ; If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts 

‘But you have not so learned Christ.’ Life of saints must contain the following: Learn Christ – get to know Him (4:20; Matt. 11:28-30). Hear and be taught by Christ (4:21). Put off the old man (4:22; 2Cor. 5:17). Be renewed in mind attitude (4:23). Put on the new man (4:24; 2Cor. 5:17). Put away lying and speak truth (4:25). Feel anger without acting on it by sinning (4:26). Give no place to the devil (4:27). Quit stealing (4:28). Work for a living (4:28). Give to the needy (4:28). Use the tongue right (4:29). Grieve not the Holy Spirit (4:30). Put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking, and malice (4:31). Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving as Christ (4:32). Be followers of God (5:1). Walk in love, as Christ did (5:2). Let not fornication, homosexuality, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and sexual jesting be once named among you as becomes saints (5:3-4; cp. Mark 7:19-21; Rom. 1:18-32; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 3:5-10).

‘The old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.’ The “old man” is the spirit and nature of the devil (2Cor. 5:17). Therefore, because we do not know any man after the flesh, not even Christ, it is vain for any man to profess a relationship with Christ according to the flesh, while he is unchanged in heart and life and dead in trespasses and sins. Two old things pass away:

[1] The spirit, nature, and power of sin the old man, which is nothing more nor less than the spirit, nature, and power of the devil working in men of disobedience (2:2; John 8:44; 2Cor. 4:4; 1Jn. 3:8; 5:18). This is what the Bible calls: The old man (4:22; Rom. 6:6; Col. 3:9); Sin (John 1:29; 8:34; Rom. 6:4-8:2); The body of sin (Rom. 6:6); The power of satan (Acts 26:18); The body of this death (Rom. 7:24); The lusts of the flesh (2:3); The lust of the eyes (1Jn. 2:15-17); The pride of life (1Jn. 2:15-17); The works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19); The world (1Jn. 2:15-17; Jas. 4:4); Vile affections (Rom. 1:26, 29); The lusts of the mind (2:3); The lusts of sin (Rom. 6:11-12); The motions of sins (Rom. 7:5); The law of sin and death (Rom.  7:7-8:2); The carnal mind (Rom. 8:1-13); The god of this world (2Cor. 4:4); Spiritual wickedness in high places … rulers of darkness (6:12); The lusts of your father (John 8:44); Sin that dwelleth in me (Rom. 7:17); The course of this world (2:2); The body of the sins of the flesh (Col. 2:11; Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:1-39).

[2] Outward sin or transgression of the law (1Jn. 3:4; Rom. 4:15; Jas. 1:13-15). The outward acts are listed in Mark 7:19-21; Romans 1:18-32; 2Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5-10.

Both outward and inward sin must pass away or one cannot claim to be in Christ. The theory that only outward transgressions are forgiven and one is still under the control of the old man (the devil) is one of the most erroneous doctrines in Christendom (4:24; 2Cor. 5:17-18; 1Jn. 5:18; Rom. 6:6-23; 8:1-13).

Walk Worthy

Ephesians 4:1-6 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 

‘You that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called.’ Six exhortations to the Ephesians: Walk worthy of your calling (4:1). Walk in all lowliness or humility of mind (4:2; Acts 20:19; 1Pet. 5:5). Walk in meekness (4:2; Matt. 5:5). Walk in longsuffering (4:2; 1Cor. 13:1-13). Forbearing one another in love (4:3). Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:3).

‘Endeavouring’ [Greek: spoudazo] be forward (Gal. 2:10); be diligent (Tit. 3:12; 2Pet. 3:14); do diligence (2Tim. 4:9, 21); give diligence (2Pet. 1:10); labour (Heb. 4:11); endeavour (4:3; 1Thess. 2:17; 2Pet. 1:15); and study (2Tim. 2:15).

‘One body, and one Spirit’ – There are seven ones in Ephesians 4:4-6: One body, the body of Christ consisting of all reborn Christians. One Spirit, the Holy Spirit. One hope, the Christian calling. One Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ. One faith, the gospel form of doctrine. One baptism, a baptism into the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:3-7). One God, the Father of all.

‘One baptism’ The one baptism of seven that saves the soul – a baptism into Christ and into His body. There are three baptisms for believers: [1] Into Christ or into His body at repentance and the new birth. Called “one baptism” (4:5), because it is the only baptism that saves the soul and brings into the body of Christ. Baptism into Christ and into His body (Rom. 6:3-7; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12). [2] Water baptism after one is saved. This is the Christian baptism in water (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-16, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; 1Cor. 1:13-17; 1Pet. 3:21). [3] Spirit baptism, the enduement of power for service (Matt. 3:11, 14; 20:22-23; Mark 1:8; 10:38-39; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; 7:37-39; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 19:2-3). It can take place before water baptism (Acts 10:44-48) or after it (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-11; 8:12-21; 19:1-7). The Holy Spirit is the agent to baptize into Christ and into His body (1Cor. 12:13); Christ is the agent to baptize in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; John 1:31-33); and the minister is the agent to baptize into water (Matt. 28:19).

The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

Ephesians 1:17-18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints

‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.’ Twelve things that Paul prayed for the Ephesians: The spirit of wisdom (1:17). The spirit of revelation (1:17). Full enlightenment of truth (1:18). The hope of His calling (1:18; cp. 3:16). The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (1: 7; 18). The exceeding greatness of His power to those who believe (1:19; 3:19-20). Spiritual power in the inner man (3:16). Indwelling Christ (3:16; Luke 22:3). To be rooted in love (3:17). Spiritual understanding (3:18). To know the love of Christ (3:19). To be filled with all the fullness of God (3:19).

‘God of our Lord Jesus Christ’ – He is the God of Jesus Christ as well as His Father (1:17; John 3:16; 20:17; 1Cor. 11:3), proving two separate Persons, not one (1Jn. 5:7).

‘The Father of glory’ – The author and giver of glory to all saints.

‘Spirit of wisdom and revelation’ – They already had the Spirit of sonship – the earnest of the Holy Spirit (1:13-14). Now he prays that they might receive the fullness of the Spirit of which they had only a measure (3:16-21; John 3:34).

‘Eyes of your understanding being enlightened’ – The faculty of receiving knowledge – the spirit of man (1Cor. 2:11). What the eye is to the body, the spirit is to the inner man. Some manuscripts read, “the eyes of your heart.” It is through these eyes that we get to know: The hope of His calling (1:18). The riches of the glory (1:18). The greatness of His power (1:19).

The Word of Truth

Ephesians 1:14-16 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers 

‘Earnest’ [Greek: arrhabon] earnest-money; pledge; or first-payment (1:14; 2Cor. 1:22; 5:5). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption. Sonship through this phase of the Spirit in the life of a believer is the first payment or first-measure of the Spirit and our inheritance until the fullness of the Spirit is received and the fullness of redemption is complete (Rom. 8:17-24; 2Cor. 5:1-10; 1Pet. 1:4-13).

‘Purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.’ This is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in Ephesians (1:14, unfulfilled). [Greek: peripoiesis] keeping safe; gaining possession). It means the full completion of redemption. It is used of obtaining: Final glory (2Thess. 2:14); final salvation (1Thess. 5:9); final inheritance (1:14); final saving of the soul (Heb. 10:39); final purchased people (peculiar [Greek: peripoiesis] purchased, not peculiar as in dress, speech, or manner of life).

‘After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints.’ Two things Paul heard about the Ephesians: Their faith in Christ and their love for all saints. This proves genuine conversion (John 13:35).

‘Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.’ Two things that Paul did for the Ephesians: He gave unceasing thanks for them. He prayed unceasingly for them.

‘Give thanks’ [Greek: eucharisteo] give thanks. Used 23 times in Paul’s epistles and only 14 times in the rest of the New Testament.

To the Saints

Ephesians 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

‘Apostle of Jesus Christ’ [Greek: Apostolos] a delegate, one sent with the full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christ’s apostles, it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went. It is found 81 times and translated apostle 78 times; messenger twice (2Cor. 8:23; Php. 2:25); and once he that is sent (John 13:16). Twenty-four apostles are recorded: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (Matt. 10:2); James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas (Matt. 10:3); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4); Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus (Rom. 16:7); Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Titus (2Cor. 8:23); Epaphroditus (Php. 2:25); Paul (Gal. 1:1; 2:8); Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1). For lists of the twelve apostles see Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13, 26. Their commission, duties, and power (Matt. 10:1-42; 28:19-20; Mark 3:14-15; 6:7-13; 16:15-20; Luke 9:1-5; 24:47-53; John 20:22-23; 21:15-19; Acts 1:4-8).

‘Saints’ – To the holy ones and to the faithful. All saved people are saints, so there are no grounds for making people saints after death (Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 1:2; 6:1-2; 2Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Php. 1:1; Col. 1:2; 2Thess. 1:10; Jude 1:3; Rev. 5:8; 13:7, 10; 17:6).

‘Ephesus’ – A great commercial centre of Asia Minor, at the mouth of the Cayster River and on the shore of the Aegean Sea, about 80 kilometres south of Smyrna. It was noted for the great temple of Diana, one of the wonders of the ancient world (Acts 19:27). The site of the city is now covered with ruins, fulfilling Revelation 2:5.

‘Grace be to you’ – The word “grace” is used 12 times in the epistle (1:2, 6-7; 2:5-8; 3:2, 7-8; 4:7, 29; 6:24).

The Works of the Flesh Part 1

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 

‘Works of the flesh are manifest, which are these …’ There are seventeen works of the flesh noted here: Adultery. [Greek: moicheia] unlawful sexual relations between men and women, single or married (5:19; Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21; John 8:3). Fornication. [Greek: porneia] same as adultery above besides all manner of other unlawful relations (Matt. 5:32). Uncleanness. [Greek: akatharsia] whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion (5:19; Matt. 23:27; Rom. 1:21-32; 6:19; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1Thess. 2:3; 4:7; 2Pet. 2:1-22). Lasciviousness. [Greek: aselgeia] licentiousness, lustfulness, unchastity, and lewdness. Translated “lasciviousness” (5:19; Mark 7:22; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 1Pet. 4:3; Jude 1:4); “wantonness” (Rom. 13:13; 2Pet. 2:18); and “filthy” (2Pet. 2:7). Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sex sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians – so that lasciviousness may not be committed. Idolatry. [Greek: eidololatreia] image-worship (5:20; 1Cor. 10:14; Col. 3:5; 1Pet. 4:3). Idolatry includes anything on which affections are passionately set; extravagant admiration of the heart (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). Witchcraft. [Greek: pharmakeia] sorcery, the practice of dealing with evil spirits; magical incantations and casting spells and charms upon one through drugs, medications and potions of various kinds (5:20; Rev. 9:21; 18:23; cp. Rev. 21:8; 22:15.). Enchantments were used to inflict evil, pains, hatred, sufferings, and death, or to bring good, health, love and other blessings. Hatred. [Greek: echthra] enmity (Luke 23:12; Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:15-16; Jas. 4:4); hatred (5:20). Bitter dislike, abhorrence, malice and ill will against anyone; tendency to hold grudges against or be angry at someone. Variance. [Greek: eris] Dissensions, discord, quarrelling, debating; and disputes. Emulations. [Greek: zeloi] envies, jealousies; striving to excel at the expense of another; seeking to surpass and outdo others; uncurbed rivalry spirit in religion, business, society, and other fields of endeavour. Translated “zeal” (John 2:17; Rom. 10:2; 2Cor. 7:11; 9:2; Php. 3:6; Col. 4:13); “fervent mind” (2Cor. 7:7); “envy” (Acts 13:45; Rom. 13:13; 1Cor. 3:3; 2Cor. 12:20; Jas. 3:14-15); “jealousy” (2Cor. 11:2); “indignation” (Acts 5:17; Heb. 10:27); and “emulation” (5:20). Wrath. [Greek: thumos] “wrath” (5:20; Luke 4:28; Acts 19:28; 2Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Heb. 11:27; Rev. 12:12; 14:8, 10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1; 18:3); “indignation” (Rom. 2:8); and “fierceness” (Rev. 16:19; 19:15). Turbulent passions; domestic and civil turmoil; rage; determined and lasting anger. Strife. [Greek: eritheia] “strife” (5:20; 2Cor. 12:20; Php. 2:3; Jas. 3:14, 16); “contention” (Php. 1:16; Rom. 2:8). Disputations; jangling; strife about words; angry contentions; contest for superiority or advantage; strenuous endeavour to equal or payback in kind the wrongs done to one.

By the Hearing of Faith

Galatians 3:1-4 O foolish Galatians, who had bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received you the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 

‘Foolish’ [Greek: anoetos] senseless. Translated “unwise” (Rom. 1:14); “fool” (Luke 24:25); and “foolish” (3:1, 3; 1Tim. 6:9; Tit. 3:3). They make as little use of reason as those who had none.

‘Bewitched’ [Greek: baskaino] to use ill words of another; slander; bewitch by spells or through an evil eye.

‘Obey’ [Greek: peitho] used 55 times and is translated “persuade,” “assure,” “trust,” “obey,” etc. (Acts 5:36-37; Rom. 2:8; Gal. 3:1; 5:7; Heb. 13:17; Jas. 3:3).

‘Set forth’ [Greek: prographo] to write in public; to give public notice of. Translated “write afore” (Rom. 15:4; Eph. 3:3); and “ordain before” (Jude 1:4). The prophecies of Jesus Christ crucified had been set forth and they portrayed the event to them as vividly as a real scene.

‘Received you the Spirit by the works of the law.’ Three things the law could not do (3:3-5): The law could not impart the Holy Spirit. The law could not bring perfection. The law could not work miracles.

‘Have you suffered so many things in vain’ – This could refer to their sufferings for Christ which were now in vain if they left Christ to go back to the law of works, as is clear in Galatians 1:6; 3:1-5 and 5:1-4.

So Soon Removed

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel 

‘Removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ’ Twenty things wrong with the Galatians: Being so soon removed from Christ (1:6). Permitting false teachers to pervert the gospel (1:7; 5:8-12). They were bewitched from obedience to the gospel of Christ (3:1; 5:7). They were crucifying Christ anew (3:1). Attributing their gospel blessings to the law of Moses (3:2). Beginning in the Spirit and seeking perfection in the flesh (3:3). Suffering for the gospel in vain by losing gospel benefits (3:4). Going back to the law of works to be justified (3:10-12; 5:4). Turning back to the weak and beggarly elements of the world (4:9). Desiring to be in bondage (4:9, 21). Going back to the observance of sabbaths and other festivals of the law (4:9-10). They considered Paul an enemy for telling them the truth (4:16). Were zealous for wrong things (4:17-18). Backslidden and in need of rebirth again (4:19). Were back in bondage to the law (5:1). Being convinced of circumcision (5:2). Were fallen from grace (1:6; 5:4). Using liberty as an occasion for the flesh to sin (5:13). Biting and devouring one another (5:15, 5:26). Seeking to escape the persecution of the cross of Christ (6:12).

‘Another gospel’ – the other gospel was the law which: Cannot justify (2:16; 3:11; 5:4); brings only the curse (3:10); is not of faith (3:12); cannot give an inheritance (3:18); was added only to make sin sinful (3:19; Rom. 3:19-20; 7:13; 1Jn. 3:4); was given only until Christ came (3:19, 23-25; Heb. 7:28; 9:9-10; Luke 16:16); could not give life (3:21); could not give righteousness (3:21); was a schoolmaster to lead to Christ (3:24-26; Matt. 11:11; Luke 16:16); is not in force for Christians (3:19-25); makes servants, not sons (4:1-3); brings bondage (4:9, 24; 5:1); was a religion of days, etc. (4:10); could not give the new birth (4:28-30); was cast out (4:21-31); demanded circumcision (5:2-3); if observed, cancels grace (5:4).

Revelations of the Lord

2Corinthians 12:1-5 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 

‘It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory.’ Paul admits that it was not profitable for him to boast, but since it is necessary to answer his enemies at Corinth, he will continue his boasting about visions and revelations.

‘Revelations’ [Greek: apokalupsis] unveiling of things not known before and which God alone could make known.

‘Fourteen years ago’ – this takes us back to about 46 A.D., some 14 years after Christ died. Just where he saw the vision is not known.

‘In the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell.’ It could have been in the body, as in the case of Enoch, Elijah, and John (Gen. 5:24; 2Kin. 2:1-25; Rev. 4:1). The fact he did not know proves the possibility of a natural body going to heaven. It also proves that he believed in the consciousness of souls after leaving the body (5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:23).

‘Caught up to the third heaven’ – caught up, like in 1Thessalonians 4:16-17. Paul was not doubtful about being caught up to the third heaven. He was certain about that (12:2, 4). It was whether in the body or out of it that he was doubtful (12:2-3).

‘Third heaven’ – there are three heavens: the clouds or atmospheric heavens (Gen. 1:8; Ps. 77:17-18; 104:2-3); paradise (12:4; Luke 23:43; Rev. 2:7); and God’s heaven (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 14:12-14; 66:1; Rev. 21:2, 10).

‘Unspeakable words’ – this simply means that human lips and tongues could not express them. They were too sacred to repeat.

‘It is not lawful for a man to utter’ Paul may have been forbidden to utter these words like John was commanded to seal up and write not what the seven thunders uttered (Rev. 10:4).

‘Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory’ – again he repeats that he will not glory in himself and his attainments, but in his infirmities and other experiences suffered for Christ (12:1, 5; 11:30).

Paul’s Sufferings Part 3

2Corinthians 11:29-33 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knows that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. 

‘Who is offended, and I burn not.’ The idea here is that no man is offended without Paul burning with zeal to restore him.

‘If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.’ He explained that if he must boast, he will not brag on his natural and acquired powers or what God has done for him, but rather in what he has suffered for Him. Paul stated in 2Corinthians 4:15 that all their sufferings counted as nothing if they could win them and others to Christ.

‘In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me.’ He refers to the events of Acts 9:23-25 where the Jews planned to kill him and the disciples helped him escape.

‘Aretas’ – the father-in-law of Herod Antipas.