How Did You Learn Christ?

In a Manner Worthy
Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

If we are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, then we need to first of all know what our calling is. Biblically speaking, there is a general calling which applies to all followers of Jesus Christ. And, it is that we are called to belong to Christ, to be his saints (his holy ones), according to his purpose. And, we are called to freedom and into fellowship with Jesus Christ. We are called to be holy in all our conduct, and we are not called for impurity. For, we are called out of darkness into HIS marvelous light.

[Rom. 1:6-7; Rom. 8:28; 1 Co. 1:9; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thess. 4:7; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 1:3]

We, as followers of Jesus Christ are also given spiritual gifts that we are to use for the glory of God to minister to other people’s lives. They are the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, spiritual discernment, prophecy, teaching, helps, miracles, healings, and administration, etc. And, then we have each been given a specific assignment (calling) from God – our specific part in the body of Christ which we are to fulfill for the building up of the body of Christ to maturity in Christ Jesus (Rom. 12; 1 Co. 12-14; Eph. 4-5).

So, we are to walk (live, conduct our lives) in a manner worthy (praiseworthy, commendable) of our calling. For example, since we are called to be holy in all our conduct, that means that we are to live our lives separate (unlike, different) from this sinful world, for we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. So, we don’t make it our practice to lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, lust, gossip, overeat (be gluttonous), and the like. Instead, we practice following our Lord in obedience.

But, we have to do so in truth, and in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. We can’t fake this. This is not just a performance. This is us submitting to our Lord and to his rule over our lives, and it is allowing him to live his life in us and out through us for his glory. We just have to humble ourselves before him and yield to his will, and do what he says, in his power. And, if we do, not only will we be at peace with God and be united with him in mind, but we will be at peace and in unity with those of like-mindedness.

Alienated from God
Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”

In Bible times, prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the people of the world were divided into two basic groups: Jew and Gentile. The Jews were God’s chosen people of that time, and the Gentiles were all those out of faith with God, or they were non-Jews.

But, in Jesus’ death and resurrection, he broke down the barrier between Jew and Gentile, and he made them one in Christ Jesus, for those who believe in Jesus. All those who do not believe in Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile by birth, are now in one group. They are unbelievers (Rom. 9:6b-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:22).

So, when this says that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we should no longer walk (conduct our lives) as the Gentiles do, this is saying that we should not live our lives like those who have no faith in Jesus Christ at all. We should not live like the world, in other words. Our lives should be set apart from the world, and set apart to God and to his service. We are not to be given over to impurity, immorality, lying and cheating and the like.

The Truth in Jesus
Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV

“But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Then, it says, for that is not the way we learned Christ, which was true of them, but not necessarily of all of us. For, not all of us have learned Christ in the right way, sad to say. For many are teaching a false christ, and a false gospel, and a false salvation from sin based on a mixture of truth and lies, and based on the distortion of Scripture. So, they are convinced they can live like the “Gentiles” and still go to heaven when they die.

So, what is the truth? What is the way that we should have learned Christ? We should have learned that faith in Jesus Christ means we put off (put to death) our old self (our sinful nature), which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires. And, we should have been renewed in the spirit of our minds, and we should have, by faith in Jesus Christ, put on the new self in Christ Jesus, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Basically, we should have been taught that faith in Jesus Christ means that we die with Christ to sin and that we now live to Christ and to his righteousness, and that this is not optional, but that it is required for our eternal salvation (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26).

For, Jesus Christ didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins, and just to promise us heaven when we die. He died to deliver us out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, and to give us new lives in him to be lived for his glory and praise, in his power and strength within us.

So, being a Christian or being a follower of Jesus Christ is so much more than just a profession of faith, or a religion, or religious practices we may adhere to. For, it is a change in heart and mind and lifestyle, as we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to new lives in him to be lived to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

O Could I Speak the Matchless Worth

Author: Samuel Medley (1789)
Tune: ARIEL

O could I speak the matchless worth,
O could I sound the glories forth
Which in my Savior shine,
I’d soar, and touch the heav’nly strings,
and vie with Gabriel while he sings
in notes almost divine,
in notes almost divine.

I’d sing the precious blood he spilt,
my ransom from the dreadful guilt
of sin, and wrath divine:
I’d sing his glorious righteousness,
in which all perfect, heav’nly dress
my soul shall ever shine,
my soul shall ever shine.

I’d sing the characters he bears,
and all the forms of love he wears,
exalted on his throne:
in loftiest songs of sweetest praise,
I would to everlasting days
make all his glories known,
make all his glories known.

Well, the delightful day will come
when my dear Lord will bring me home,
and I shall see his face;
then with my Savior, Brother, Friend,
a blest eternity I’ll spend,
triumphant in his grace,
triumphant in his grace.

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