Paul has rehearsed the gospel message. He has reminded them that God, in Christ has broken down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile and we are all in Christ, as he said in Ephesians 2:22 “built up together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit”. Now it is time for us to walk in the fullness of Christ, and in Ephesians 4:23–24 “be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man (in accordance with God), who is created in righteousness and holiness from the truth”. There is a new way of living, a new way of behaving, and new power through the gifts and spirit of God.
Strengthened With Power Through His Spirit
Ephesians 3:14 says “On account of this, I bend my knee before the Father” and this is the second time this phrase is used. In Ephesians 3:1 is says, “On account of this I, Paul, the prisoner of the Lord. for the sake of you Gentiles”. Certainly Paul is leading to his prayer in Ephesians 3:16-19 “that he may grant you … to be strengthened … firmly rooted … to know the love … filled up to all the fullness of God”. This is a great prayer for us to be praying for ourselves and for others. But remember the context from Ephesians 2:13-22 where “the whole building, joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” with Jew and Gentile together. And, Ephesians 3:3-6 “that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members of the body, and fellow sharers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” so that when Paul prays in Ephesians 3:16 “that he may grant you …” the prayer is for every one in Christ, Jew and Gentile.
Worthy of the Calling
Paul has declared again the gospel to them in Ephesians 1. He explained the new life we now have through Christ in Ephesians 2. He has explained why this message is different, that it was not revealed in the ages past in Ephesians 3:5 and prays for full revelation and maturity through Ephesians 3. Now, in Ephesians 4, he tells them to live the life! He says in Ephesians 4:3-6 one body, one Spirit, one hope, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all”. Somehow we see the differences and want to band together in our tribes but the gifts given were not to separate us, but to cause us to grow and mature into one body.
The Fullness of Christ
We might have expected Christ to descend and deal with the powers of darkness, as John recorded when he saw Jesus in
Revelation 1:17–18 “I am the first and the last, 18 and the one who lives, and I was dead, and behold, I am living forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of Hades”.
However, Jesus did more than that and in
Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says, “Ascending on high he led captivity captive; he gave gifts to men.”
Jesus also equipped us in Ephesians 4:12 “for the work of the ministry” so that we could become mature as it says in
Ephesians 4:13 until we all reach the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to a measure of the maturity of the fullness of Christ,
And this mature body of Christ is something that is beyond what was ever seen with the children of Israel in the Old Testament.
Renewed in the Spirit of Your Mind
Now Paul draws a line between the ways of the world, being without understanding, “alienated from the life of God”, ignorant, callous, greedy in Ephesians 4:18-19. We would expect that you would add knowledge of the truth and wisdom where there is a lack of understanding. And, in other places, the bible says to be filled with the spirit, but here Paul says in Ephesians 4 22 to “take off, according to your former way of life, the old man” and in
Ephesians 4:24 and put on the new man (in accordance with God), who is created in righteousness and holiness from the truth.
The problem here is that our old nature can’t be cleaned up or polished up or fixed to hold the knowledge and life of God. God didn’t say he would fix their heart, he said in
Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give a new heart to you, and a new spirit I will give into your inner parts, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and I will give to you a heart of flesh.
Or, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus there is a new birth required in John 3:3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3). In other words: “Nicodemus, stop talking about peripheral matters and personal honors. The thing I want to get across to you is this: There is something a person absolutely must do in order to see the kingdom of God.”1
And as Paul will say that we are no longer alive to that old man that was ignorant and callous and greedy in
Romans 6:11 So also you, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Speak Truth Each One of You
There is a change in behavior that results from this new birth. We are no longer controlled simply by fleshly desires of the world, but have a new heart, sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. And now, we can in
Ephesians 4:32 Become kind toward one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as also God in Christ has forgiven you.
There is though, one other truth that we often gloss over in
Ephesians 4:27 nor give place to the devil.
When we accept Jesus Christ, we come into God’s Kingdom and power, “Believers are free from the devil’s rule (Eph 2:2), and they should not allow him to cause division or influence their actions”.2
We can however, provide an opportunity to our enemy, the devil if we do not keep our fleshly nature in check, “A similar term is used in Romans 7:8 for sin as an invading army that seizes the opportunity (aphormē) to gain a foothold in our lives. Aphormē is a military term for a bridgehead from which forays may be sent out to attack the enemy.”3
Become Imitators of God
There is a pure, righteous, and holy life that God has for us to live in Christ.
- Ephesians 3:14–21 Strengthened With Power Through His Spirit
- Ephesians 4:7–16 The Fullness of Christ
- Ephesians 4:17–24 Renewed in the Spirit of Your Mind
- Ephesians 3:14-21
- Ephesians 4:1-32
- Ephesians 5:1-6
- 1. Sproul, R. C. (2010). What Does It Mean to be Born Again? (Vol. 6, p. 6). Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing.
- 2. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eph 4:27). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- 3. Osborne, G. R. (2017). Ephesians: Verse by Verse (p. 151). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.