Grace For The Journey
Yesterday, we began to look at what the Bible teaches in Ephesians 4:20-24 and how Christ changes our lives as a result of the Gospel. In these verses Paul . . .
Gives us a brief sketch of the changed life
That every believer should be experiencing.
He’s saying . . .
The changed life stems from
The transformation that God works in us
Through the gospel as we put off the old life,
Are renewed in our minds,
And put on the new life in Christ.
We began by discussing Verses 20-21 that deal with (1) How Christ changes our life as a result of the Gospel (4:20-21). We saw that . . .
The changed life begins when you learn Christ.
We saw that it is possible . . .
To know all of these facts
And more and yet not
To know Jesus Christ personally.
In John 17:3, Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
The Christian life begins
When you receive
Eternal life from God
Through faith in Jesus Christ.
At that moment, you come to know Him personally. That initial encounter with Christ is only the beginning of an eternal relationship with Him. But . . .
If you have not entered into that personal relationship with Christ,
You are not a Christian in the true sense of the word.
You may be a theologian or a Bible scholar; but you are only like a historian who knows much about the President, but who has never met him or spent any time with him personally.
We also learn that . . .
The changed life continues when you hear Christ.
“If indeed” in Ephesians 4:21 does not express any doubt, but rather affirmation. Paul is saying, “I know that you have heard Him.” Probably none of the Asian believers had heard Jesus in Palestine when He was on earth. None of them had had a personal encounter with the risen Christ, as Paul did on the Damascus Road. Rather, Paul means that when he and others had preached the gospel, these people had heard it as God speaking to them. God opened their deaf ears so that they didn’t just listen to words, but they heard Jesus Christ calling them to Himself.
So as to obey
His call to faith
In today’s blog we will see two more ways Christ changes our lives as a result of the Gospel (Ephesians 4:20-21):
The changed life develops when you are taught in Christ.
The proper translation is not, “taught by Him, but rather, “taught in Him.” The phrase “in Christ” sums up Paul’s view of what it means to be a Christian. Paul wrote earlier in Ephesians chapter 1:
- The saints are “faithful in Christ Jesus” (1:1);
- We have received every spiritual blessing “in Christ” (1:3);
- God chose us “in Him” before the foundation of the world (1:4);
- “In Him” we have “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (1:7);
- He made known to us the mystery of His will, which He purposed “in Him” (1:9);
- “In Him” we have obtained an inheritance (1:10-11).
- “In Him” we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (1:13); and
- God’s surpassing power towards us was revealed “in Christ” when He raised Him from the dead (1:20).
These are just the references to being “in Christ” in chapter 1! The blessings that are ours because we are “in Christ” keep piling up!
So, to be “taught in Him,” means “to be taught from the standpoint of this new relationship with Christ that entails this new position in Christ.” Before, you stood outside, not understanding the things of God. But now, because of God’s mercy and kindness toward you in Christ, you are “in Him” for time and eternity.
To be taught in Him
Is a lifelong process that
Begins at the moment of salvation,
But never ends.
Since Christ is the center of all of Scripture, to be taught in Him is to grow to know the glory of Christ in His person, His offices, and His work on our behalf. Someday when we see Him as He is, we will be instantly changed to be like Him (1 John 3:2). Meanwhile, we must engage in the process of being taught in Him.
The changed life is demonstrated when you know the truth that is in Jesus.
The phrase, “just as truth is in Jesus,” qualifies the preceding comments about learning Christ, hearing Him, and being taught in Him. The reason that Christ is the focus of instruction is that He is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6). The truth of salvation is only in Jesus Christ. In Him, we learn . . .
- The truth about who we are,
- The truth about sin and righteousness,
- The truth about God’s purpose for why we are on this earth.
- The truth about how to love God and how to love one another.
- The truth about the coming judgment, and about heaven and hell.
All of the truth that we need for life
And godliness centers
In the person of Jesus Christ.
Note that Paul here makes a deliberate shift in how he refers to Christ. In verse 20, he talks about learning Christ, but here he says that the truth is in Jesus. This is the only time in Ephesians that he uses the name Jesus by itself. Why did Paul not say, “just as the truth is in Christ?”
The name “Jesus” focuses on the historical person who was born of the virgin Mary, who worked as a carpenter, and who walked around Israel teaching and healing the sick. He was crucified, raised bodily from the dead, seen by many of His disciples after the resurrection, and ascended bodily into heaven. All of these historic facts lie behind the name, “Jesus.”
But, why does Paul want us to think of the truth that is in Jesus? Because the Christian is not saved by a philosophy of redemption; he is saved by that historic Person, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God! Some of the false cults talk about “the cosmic Christ,” or the “Christ principle within us all.” But that is just metaphysical mumbo jumbo! All of the world’s major religions are built around teachings and ideas. But, in sharp contrast . . .
The truth of the gospel is rooted in history.
The Christian message is
The proclamation of certain facts
That happened in history
On the person of Jesus.
If the gospel accounts are fictional stories,
Then there is no salvation in Jesus!
If the historic person of Jesus did not die on the cross and rise bodily from the dead, as testified by many reliable eyewitnesses, then you are still in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Everything in the Christian faith
Rests on the truth being in
The historical person of Jesus,
Crucified and risen from the dead!
So, Paul’s point (in 4:20-21) is that the changed life stems from the transformation that God works in us through the gospel. When we meet Jesus Christ personally through faith, we are changed people!
Monday and Tuesday we will look at what exactly are the changes are that Christ brings into our lives. We will look at Ephesians (4:22-24) to learn about these changes.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”