Ephesians 4:21 MEANING

Ephesians 4:21
(21) If so be that.--The word is the same which is used in Ephesians 3:2, Colossians 1:23, indicating no real doubt, but only that rhetorical doubt which is strong affirmation.

Ye have heard him . . .--The true rendering here is, ye heard Him, and were taught in Him. St. Paul begins with the first means of knowledge, the "hearing" His voice, directly or through His ministers; and then proceeds to describe the fuller and more systematic process of "being taught," not "by Him" (as in our version), but "in Him," that is, in that unity with Him which embraces both teachers and taught as with an atmosphere of His presence.

As the truth is in Jesus.--Here by the name "Jesus," the personal and proper name of the Lord, St. Paul leads us on from the conception of "learning the Christ," to understand the method of that learning, in the knowledge of the "truth" in the person of Jesus Himself, who declares Himself to be the Truth (John 14:6). By a loving study and knowledge of His person, as set forth to us in the gospel, and brought home to us by His grace, rather than by abstract musing on the office and attributes of "the Christ," we come to learn the Christ also. The use of the simple name Jesus, so common in the Gospels, is rare indeed in the Epistles, where we constantly find the fuller description "Jesus Christ," "the Lord Jesus," "Jesus the Son of God." Wherever it occurs, it will be found to be distinctive or emphatic. This distinctiveness is most strikingly evident in Romans 8:11 : "If the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up [the] Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies." The "raising up of Jesus," is the historical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; the "raising up the Christ" points to the mysterious effect of that resurrection on those for whom He is the Mediator. Of the few other passages in which the simple name occurs, some (as Romans 3:26; 2 Corinthians 4:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 10:10) are mere reiterations of the name occurring above with the due title of honour; others are quasi-recitals of a creed declaring the historic Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; comp. 2 Corinthians 11:4). In the Epistle to the Hebrews, where, in accordance with one main purpose of the Epistle, this usage is least rare (see Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 12:2; Hebrews 12:24; Hebrews 13:12), it will be found that in all cases, either special stress is laid on the lowly and suffering humanity of the Lord, or the historic facts of His ministry on earth are referred to. The modern familiarity of use of the simple name "Jesus" has little authority in apostolic usage.

Verse 21. - If so be that ye heard him. A word of caution. We are not to assume too readily that we are in a right relation to Christ. We must look within and make sure of that. To hear him, here, is to hear him as his sheep hear his voice and follow him, recognizing the voice of the Shepherd, a voice to be implicitly obeyed. And were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. The peculiar force of this clause is the double ἐν, not given in the first clause in A.V., thereby obscuring the sense, which is, that all teaching and all truth acquires a different hue and a different character when there is a personal relation to Jesus. Truth apart from the person of Christ has little power; abstract doctrines have little influence; the very atonement may be a barren dogma. But the atonement taught "in Jesus," in connection with the living, loving, dying, risen Savior tells; the blood of redemption in connection with the Son of God incarnate thus loving us, and meekly, patiently suffering the agonies of the cross in our room, is not only a power, but the greatest moral power that can move the heart.

4:17-24 The apostle charged the Ephesians in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus, that having professed the gospel, they should not be as the unconverted Gentiles, who walked in vain fancies and carnal affections. Do not men, on every side, walk in the vanity of their minds? Must not we then urge the distinction between real and nominal Christians? They were void of all saving knowledge; they sat in darkness, and loved it rather than light. They had a dislike and hatred to a life of holiness, which is not only the way of life God requires and approves, and by which we live to him, but which has some likeness to God himself in his purity, righteousness, truth, and goodness. The truth of Christ appears in its beauty and power, when it appears as in Jesus. The corrupt nature is called a man; like the human body, it is of divers parts, supporting and strengthening one another. Sinful desires are deceitful lusts; they promise men happiness, but render them more miserable; and bring them to destruction, if not subdued and mortified. These therefore must be put off, as an old garment, a filthy garment; they must be subdued and mortified. But it is not enough to shake off corrupt principles; we must have gracious ones. By the new man, is meant the new nature, the new creature, directed by a new principle, even regenerating grace, enabling a man to lead a new life of righteousness and holiness. This is created, or brought forth by God's almighty power.If so be that ye have heard him,.... Not heard him preach, but heard him preached; and that not merely externally, with the outward hearing of the ear; though oftentimes spiritual conviction and illumination, true faith in Christ, real comfort from him, and establishment and assurance of interest in him, come this way, as to these Ephesians, Ephesians 1:13 but internally, so as to know him, understand his word, and distinguish his voice; so as to approve of him and love him, and believe in him; feel the power of his Gospel, relish his truths, and obey his ordinances, and so bring forth fruit to his glory; as such do, who are quickened by him, whose ears are unstopped, and their hearts opened, and their understandings enlightened; and who have hearing ears, and understanding hearts given them:

and have been taught by him: not personally, but by his Spirit and ministers; for Christ is not only the subject of the ministry of the word, and whom the Spirit of God teaches and directs souls to for righteousness, pardon, cleansing, and for every supply of grace; but he is the efficient cause of teaching; and there is none who teaches like him: and those who are taught by him, are taught

as the truth is in Jesus; as the Gospel is in him, as in its original and subject; for he is truth itself, and grace and truth came by him; and as it was preached by him, and so is pure and unmixed.

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