James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,Ephesians 4:1-5:21
THE CHRISTIAN’S WALK
At 4:1 the apostle returns to the exhortation and practical application on which he had started at 3:1. The Ephesian Christians had been called with a holy calling (vocation) and now they were to “walk worthy” of it. “Walk” occurs five times in our lesson, giving completeness to it.
WALK IN UNITY (Ephesians 4:1-16)
The unity referred to is that which has been made among Christians by the baptism of the Holy Spirit into Christ (Ephesians 4:3-6). It is not anything they are to make for themselves, or which they can make, but something they are to endeavor to “keep.” The way to keep it is expressed in Ephesians 4:2. The occasion for the exhortation is suggested in Ephesians 4:7 and following, which recall the strife in the Corinthian church about spiritual gifts, only there the stress was laid on the gifts, while here it bears on the persons who receive the gifts, or rather who themselves are gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:8-11). These apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given for “the perfecting of the saints,” their increase in the knowledge of Christ, and the latter in turn are to engage in ministering for the building up of the whole body (see the Revised Version). This is to continue till the body of Christ is complete, i.e., “till we all come.., a perfect [full grown] man” (Ephesians 4:13). This “man” does not mean any individual man, but the “Man” referred to in chapter Ephesians 2:15, the “Man” composed of the Personal Christ as the Head, and the members of the church as His body. We Christians are all to “grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). Each member of the body has a part to perform in its development (Ephesians 4:16).
WALK IN PURITY (Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 5:2)
“Not as other Gentiles walk,” in vanity, ignorance of God, lasciviousness (Ephesians 4:17-19), falsehood, anger, theft, idleness, corrupt speech, etc. (Ephesians 4:25-31). These things are to be “put off,” or in other words, “the old man,” i.e., our old fallen and corrupt nature is to be put off at the same time that “the new man,” i.e., the new nature in Christ Jesus is to be “put on.” This means as we have seen in Galatians 5:16-25, that there should be an actual, experimental living of Christ in us, and by us, every day. But this is only to be obtained through the renewing of the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4:23). That is, the Holy Spirit must renew us day by day with strength to accomplish it (Ephesians 3:16-19).
WALK IN LOVE (Ephesians 5:2)
This section really begins at Ephesians 4:31. Walking in love is being kind and tender hearted to one another in Christ, which graces show themselves in the absence of bitterness and wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking. Christ Himself is an example, and His work for us the motive of this love.
WALK IN LIGHT (Ephesians 5:8)
This section probably begins at Ephesians 5:3, and runs to Ephesians 5:14. The darkness which is the absence of light is shown in the sins of fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and the like, with which we are to have no fellowship, but rather to reprove (Ephesians 5:11). This very reproof is light (Ephesians 5:13).
WALK IN WISDOM (Ephesians 5:15-21)
“Not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time,” or “buying up the opportunities” as it might be rendered. The wisdom spoken of is “understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17), which can only be ours as we are “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). When we are thus filled with the Spirit, our fellowship with one another in Christ, is one of joy, gratitude, loving submission (Ephesians 5:19-21).
1. What is the title of this lesson?
2. What suggests it in the text?
3. In what five ways is the Christian’s walk outlined?
4. What is the nature of the unity in which they are to walk?
5. How may this unity be kept?
6. What gifts are here referred to?
7. For what purpose are they bestowed?
8. How long is this work to proceed?
9. What is meant by “man” in Ephesians 5:13?
10. What is meant by the “old man,” and the “new man” in Ephesians 5:22 and Ephesians 5:24?
12. What is the result of being “filled with the Spirit”?