That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men…
The apostle here describes the perfect man, or mature Christian, both negatively and positively.
I. THE NEGATIVE DESCRIPTION.
1. Christians must not remain children. In understanding, constancy, and fortitude, they should be men.
2. Christians must not be tossed to and fro, like a ship rolling on the waves. He who embarks for the heavenly world must consider, that the ocean on which he sails is subject to changing winds and perilous storms. He must not promise himself smooth waters, soft gales, and clear skies; but go provided for all kinds of weather. The word of truth must be his compass, and faith his pilot; hope must be his anchor, and knowledge and good works his ballast; prudence must keep the watch, and sober reason hold the helm. Thus he may sail with safety in all seasons.
3. Christians must not be carried about with every wind of doctrine. False doctrines, like winds, are blustering and unsteady. They blow from no certain point, but in all directions; and they frequently, and sometimes suddenly, shift their course. They make great noise and bustle, disturb the atmosphere, and, by their violent motions, they spread confusion and ruin. Light bodies are easily taken up and driven about by every wind that blows. The gale which cleanses the wheat, disperses the chaff. The deep-rooted oak stands firm in its place, while the dry leaves beneath it are caught up, wafted around, and made the sport of every gust. So the sincere Christian, rooted and grounded in the truth, and grown up to maturity in faith and knowledge, is steadfast in his religion, whatever storms may assault him.
4. The apostle warns us that we are in danger from the sleight of men, and the cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
II. THE POSITIVE DESCRIPTION.
1. We must "speak the truth in love"; or "be sincere in love."
(1) We should acquire a good doctrinal knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
(2) We should be well established in the truth.
(3) We should see that our hearts are conformed to the truth.
(4) We must walk in the truth.
2. As we must adhere to the truth, so we must "grow up in all things into Christ, who is the Head."
(1) Christ is the Head of believers.
(2) They must grow up into Him.
(3) They must grow in all things. A partial religion is worthless.
(J. Lathrop, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;