Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
In verses 20-21, Paul reminds the saints that Jesus Christ was never involved in any act of sin.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
What is often overlooked when it comes to Christianity, is that Jesus Christ is the Head of any true Christian. He is the Head of every true church. No true Christian can look at another Christian and use that person as their ultimate authority. The authority of every true Christian is Jesus Christ. The name “Christian” was given to the people of “this way” first in Acts 11:26. It was a name given to the followers of Jesus Christ by the enemies of Jesus Christ. It was not a name given by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ referred to His followers as “disciples”. The twelve He chose to follow Him closely for the purpose of training them for further duties, were also called “apostles”. It is not that we should not use the name Christian, but we should understand its’ origins.
In our text, Paul was directed by God to remind those who are saved, that they did not learn that Christ was a sinner. The description of the Gentiles in verses 17-19 has no relevance to Jesus Christ. True saints cannot behave like the Gentiles described in those verses. True saints must behave like their Saviour and Lord.
There are too many who like to go to John 2 and suggest that Jesus made alcoholic wine and that He must have had some to drink at times. If you look at John 2:11, that verse settles that argument. Jesus manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him. What did they believe about Him. Was it that He was the best “bartender” around? Was it that they knew He could make people really “happy” with some liquor in their belly? There are so many verses that condemn alcoholic drink that it is impossible to draw that conclusion. Nobody left that wedding drunk. They all left satisfied because Jesus had made such a pure grape juice. The word “wine” in the Bible is a generic word and the context will help to understand whether it is talking of alcoholic drink or grape juice. The many references condemning alcoholic drink help us to know that Jesus never turned water into alcoholic drink. This is just one example of how people distort the Bible to try to make Jesus less than God.
As Paul stated in Ephesians 4:20, no saint will ever be able to accuse Jesus Christ of leading them into sin. You will never learn that from the Bible.
Verse 21 qualifies verse 20 further. God is so gracious and He begins verse 21 with that small but very important word “if”. It is one thing to profess to be saved. It is another thing to actually be saved. It is important to note that the gift of eternal life belongs to God. He must give it, or it has not been given. I cannot make up my own definition of what a Christian is and expect God to accept that definition. He has already declared what a true Christian is and how a person becomes a true Christian, and if I am going to be saved, I must submit to His prescribed way.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Jesus declared that He is the only way to the Father. Mary is not a mediator between God and man. No pastor is a mediator between God and man. Certainly no Catholic priest is a mediator between God and man.
Jesus also made it clear that the person who hears His Word and believes on the One Who sent Jesus Christ, “hath everlasting life.” It is a present reality that from that moment, the person has everlasting life. Jesus continued to make sure that all understood what that means. That person will not come into condemnation. The wrath of God no longer abides on that person. They are now under Jesus’ care and protection. That does not give them a license to sin. We see that already in our text verses.
Jesus further stated that the person who hears Him and believes on His Father, “is passed from death unto life.” Again this is present tense. That person has been given eternal life from that moment and that life cannot be lost or taken away in any way. That person is now under the authority of God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
The person that is truly saved will be eternally thankful that they now have the God of heaven to watch out for them and to guide them in the way that is right. That is the reality for all who are truly saved. That is why “easy believism” is such a dangerous thing. That is why it is so dangerous to lead a lost person in a prayer for salvation.
Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
God is working in the heart of every person to bring them to salvation. The problem is not that God is not working; the problem is with the lost sinner resisting the work of God in their heart. If the lost person is finally listening to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in their heart, they will know how to pray and ask God to save them. In Matthew 28:18-20 we read:
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
God is far more concerned that people get saved than any human being ever will be. He also knows the day of every person’s death. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He is not going to delay His Work in a lost person’s life and heart. As we look at Matthew 28, we see that the duty of the faithful child of God is to teach all nations. That is where we often fall down. We do not work under the guiding of the Holy Spirit to teach the lost person the need to be saved, Who the Saviour is, and the necessity of repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. It requires much more than asking the person if they love Jesus or if they want to go to heaven when they die.
We have been looking at some of what is important in our study of Ephesians 4. When the lost person is listening to God and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, they will be saved. Telling them the truth is not going to drive them away. Deceiving them is going to create confusion in their hearts and minds. I have mentioned my observations as a child with regard to the church I was raised in. In spite of the fact that that church was weak then and gone now, God still worked in my heart and He saved me! It took me a while to get past the false teaching and get saved, but by God’s grace, He saved me!
God told Paul to warn the saints that we should not be a stumblingblock to others. That is what we need to be careful of. Jesus Christ was never a stumblingblock to anyone. He exposed the false teachers. He clarified the Scriptures for the people. He demonstrated what obedience is. He always did the will of His Father.
Death is very final. After death, no one gets the opportunity to come back and try again. I realize there are reports of people who claim to have died and come back. Some of them claim to have seen heaven. Some claim to have heard Jesus talking to them. I even had one person tell me they saw their loved one in heaven dressed in black. The Bible is clear that those in heaven are dressed in white robes. When God ends a person’s life they do not come back. Their soul is immediately either in heaven or in hell. Their body is awaiting the resurrection either in the “first resurrection” or of the “second death.” When a person is truly saved, the Holy Spirit will bear witness with their spirit that they are truly saved. As we note in Ephesians 4, the person that is truly saved desires to walk according to Jesus Christ’s way. He cannot remain in the way of the Gentiles. If a person claims to be saved, but is still stuck in the way of the Gentiles, they are deceived. Our minds are powerful. Some more so than others. We can convince ourselves of many things. Our hearts and our minds and our lives need to add up to what God says they need to be. When that adds up, we have eternal life. God is not trying to hinder anyone from being saved.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
As we see in our text, God has provided His Word through apostles and prophets. He has provided His messengers in this present age through evangelists, pastors and teachers. It is important for each person, saved or lost, to get into a true church and listen to the Word of God. Humbly submit to God’s truth and know His blessings.