“Therefore I beseech you,” etc. If Christ loves us so, and God, what do you want with anything else? That is yours; let go everything else down here. The heart must be taken up with something. God says look at the love of Christ; let that satisfy you. He fills you with heaven that you may let go everything the heart craves after.
“I beseech you;” not command you. Some things are only hinted in the Word; the child of God should be sharp to catch His will.
Ephesians is divided into two parts—chapters 1 to 3 about Christ’s love to us; the last three chapters to beseeching us to walk correspondingly. As we don’t enjoy the love of Christ, we don’t walk in the Spirit (verses i, 2). This is the first piece of God’s entreaty. I have put you so high, be lowly.
“All lowliness;” not sometimes, not lowly outside, and the reverse inside “I am meek and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:29.) “With longsuffering,” etc. Beautiful words. God grant that we may commend them to one another in practice, forbearing one another. I would to God it were more so in my life. He spares me that He may get a new thing into me. If older in grace than others, then these graces ought to be more marked. They have to be learned. “Learn of Me.” That’s the way. To copy Jesus. There is a spurious love, and gentleness which is fleshly—natural amiability; persons can be soft, silky and oily, who are full of sarcasm.
Verse 3.—“There is one body;” not try to make one. Christians strive after uniformity, instead of unity. God works from within. The way for hearts to be drawn together, is to make Christ the centre. To gather on the ground of the one Head, not of the one body. How is it to be done? “In the bond of peace;” in the co-bond of peace; which puts the two hearts in one. (Col. 3:12, 14.) Two ways of growing, “Knowledge puffs up; love builds up.” (1 Cor. 8:1.)
Verses 4, 5, 6.—Seven unities divided into two threes. 1. One body, one Spirit, one hope. The Church, Spirit in the Church, directing the eye to the Hope. 2. About Christ, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Takes in all believers; the larger scope. 3:“One God and Father,” etc.
Verse 4.—“Even as,” throws the weight on the Hope (Rev. 22:17; Heb. 3:6). Something beyond the Hope; to rejoice about it. The object of the Hope is to excite your joy. Joy is a substance, something one can appreciate. “One Hope.” worldly people have twenty hopes; we have one between us to share altogether, —a tremendous Hope. “The hope of the calling” begins with God’s call; then the next step, “the Hope.” God always likes to go on. It is substantial, real.
Verse 5.—“Denying our only Master and Lord” (Jude 4). “One Faith.” Obedience is trusting Him. When I want my own will, I don’t trust Him. “One baptism;” that is in water. Faith precedes baptism.
Verse 6.—Striking variation, “in you all;” that shows limitation.
Verse 7.—“Every one, grace.” Redeemed by the same blood, loved, with the same love, indwelt by the same Spirit, all stand on the same ground, all to be brought to the same home.
Verse 8.—Three points. 1. The eye fixed on Christ in glory. It means the Man. There is a Man on the throne of God looking after us, to whom all power is given in heaven and earth. 2. “He led captivity captive.” The devil led us captive and now he is Christ’s captive. 3. “Gave gifts.” It assumes that until Christ died and rose again, everything was to be done. Now every enemy is worsted. The “rebellious” (Psalm 68:18) left out, because the insubjection has been overcome; it would not be proper to call the church of God, “rebels;” we are His children, His friends, saints. We were rebels, but we desire to be in thorough subjection to our one Lord. In the Psalm, “He received gifts for men;” here, “He gives gifts unto men.” God has given Him gifts, but He does not want them for Himself; He gives.
Verse 9.—Exactly opposite to verse 10, to impress upon us that wherever Jesus is, He is the same. As He loved us on the cross, so He loves us now, and when He comes again. The same Heavenly Lover. Before He could ascend, He must descend. Think what an exalted High Priest and Lord we have. “He has gone far above,” etc. He came down from there: think what a Saviour and Lord we have. The argument is this. Who has gone up so high? The Person who “humbled Himself, and made Himself of no reputation,” who took upon Him the form of a servant, who walked with all lowliness and meekness. The person who ascended came down. Is your hope to go up, and be with Jesus? Remember He came down. Who is our Lord? He that descended; stopped at nothing, was despised, misunderstood. The great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls descended. We hardly realize we shall never lose by making ourselves of no reputation. “We did think He would have redeemed Israel,” etc. God put Him on His throne. “With all lowliness “to trust Him. “The lower parts of the earth.” “The Abyss,” bottomless pit, the heart of the earth. His sufferings were over on the Cross, but He went down into the lower parts of the earth. Now He has gone up to the throne of God. What a descent! What an ascent! The way to heaven is a subterranean way.
Verse 11.—“He gave some apostles,” etc. To do His work on earth, He keeps on giving. There are two marks of an apostle. He has seen the Lord. He has been sent by Him. Strictly speaking there are no apostles now, only in a subordinate sense. A prophet is one who can unveil the mind of the Lord to a soul walking in darkness. Pastor and teacher may refer to the same person, one who can serve by teaching. An evangelist is a preacher of the gospel. Having more to do with sinners, and getting at souls.
Verse 12.—For the perfectly fitting of the saints in two ways. 1. “For the work of the ministry.” 2. “For the building up of the body of Christ.” The Lord gives all these things, may we keep our eye on the Lord.
Verse 13.—“Till we all come,” etc. As we have not yet come, it is implied that these gifts are continued to the present day. Gifts in 1 Cor. 14:are not promised to the end. “Till we all come.” Oh! what a work God is doing.
Verses 14, 15.—The remedy for all bad doctrine is Christ. It implies as if there were plenty of bad doctrine about. Men do it by cunning craftiness, giving distorted views of truth. “Grow up into Him.” The way to avoid bad doctrine is to attentively survey Christ. There is Christ up there in the glory; we are united to Him by the Holy Ghost, and we are to study Him and so get stronger.
Verse 16.—Christ our Head, and all of us taking our proper place under Him; all life and nourishment, power and growth coming from the Head. When God looks at the Head, He sees the body.
Verses 17, 18.—The way is traced in which this life is to be developed. He begins by showing how we were in a state of death. 1. “In the vanity of their mind,” empty. 2. “Mind darkened.” 3. “Alienated from the life of God.” Did not understand God, His love and grace. (Col. 1:21.) “Alienated from the life of God,” means from the very source and fountain of life. “The Son quickeneth whom He will.” There was death and darkness in our souls. “This is life eternal, to know Thee.” (John 17:3.)
Verse 19.—If we get away from God there is not a sin we may not fall into. What an awful state we were in by nature. All that sin is in our hearts.
Verse 20.—“But ye have not so learned Christ.” The idea is, Do you want to see your standing before God? Christ, the Anointed One, and Christians—anointed ones, stand together. What a change between verses 19 and 20. It also implies, we are learners of our standing, of our completeness and safety in Christ. God make us to enjoy these things as well as talk about them.
Verse 21.—He has to teach us “line upon line.” “As the truth is in Jesus.” “I am the Truth.” What is truth? Truth about God. The glory of God revealed in Him. Peter saw himself there. If we study God as revealed by Christ, we shall see what lost sinners we are. For us Christ had to hang on the cross. “Truth in Jesus” refers to His life all through before God and man. “I am the Truth.” Jesus told the truth about the world, and He told all the heart of God. All outside Jesus is a lie.
Verses 22-24.—These words “put off” and “put on “in the original are in the past tense—have put off, etc. as in Col. 3:9. To put off anger, because you have put off the old man.
Verse 24.—“A new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). lam to live as a risen man. Everything hangs on Christ, and we are to follow Jesus. “Have put off.” “Have put on,” what a perfect deliverance. We have the flesh in us, but God gives us deliverance in this way. God does two things: Forgives my sins, and delivers me from my old nature, by grafting me into a risen Christ. Verse 21, is literally “In the Jesus.” That One who came from the bosom of the Father, and told out His heart of love, that is the One.
Verse 24.—“True holiness,” no ceremonial holiness. It denotes a very intense thing. A delight in God, (Phil. 4:8).
Verse 25 and following, apply to those things in everyday life. God takes notice of matters we might be tempted to think unimportant. The Apostle appeals to us by the love of God, the Holy Ghost and Christ to have done with sin. It is an appeal for holy living by the love that has been shown to us by each Person in the Godhead. How affecting! There is an allusion also to the commandments, though we are not under law. All negatives were the old, but if grace has been given and the Holy Ghost is in us, we are exhorted to keep from sin.
Verse 26.—Be angry at nothing but sin; don’t be angry about your own interests but God’s. Take care of God’s, and God will take care of yours. “Let not the sun go down upon your exasperation” If exasperation is not stopped, it will degenerate into hatred.
Verse 27.—Not only to not do that which is wrong, but do what is right: and we have power, there is nothing we cannot do. “I can do all things through Christ.”
Verse 29.—God tells us a deal of what comes out of our mouth. We are surrounded with shams. There is a deal made of what goes in. The Lord keep us from all such spurious Christianity! O Lord write on our hearts, “Not that which goeth into a man defileth.” Don’t let lewd things come out of the mouth, but good things “that may minister grace to the hearers.”
Verse 30-32 to ch. 5:2. Three wonderful appeals to walk in this holy, happy way. Think of being sealed by the Holy Ghost; of the love of God in Christ forgiving you; and of Christ giving Himself. One would think they were too grand for such simple things. Life is not made up of a few grand things, but a great number of trivial circumstances. God would have us control even our ordinary conversation, He would have us weigh our words, control our thoughts. 1 Cor. 6 says—Don’t commit fornication, for don’t you know your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost? God brings these great realities to influence us in everyday life, and yet we are prone to forget them.
Verse 30.—“Day of redemption,” Redemption in right is a fact, not a power. (Chap. 1:14.) Of all He purchased. He bought the whole of you, He will have everything, not “a hoof left behind.” (Rom. 8:23.) Redemption in Power and Glory: when He asserts His right in power. Have them He must, blessed be His name. Our part reminds me of the book of Ruth, “Sit still my daughter, for the man will not be in rest, until He hath finished the thing.” We are to take care not to let the flesh reign in us, for all is His by right. “We are sealed.” Did He redeem me? There is the mark. When Jesus has bought me, He puts the mark. Every time you walk after the Spirit, other people can see the mark; when you enjoy fellowship with God in the closet, you feel the mark. God knows them that are His. We are “to depart from iniquity.” The main point is, Think of the Holy Ghost condescending to dwell in us. What a wonderful thing that is, “I will dwell in the high and holy place,” etc. It is by little matters the Holy Ghost is grieved, either by giving way to the flesh or by not walking after the Spirit. Wonderful, that God should take such pains, such amazing pains, with such hell-deserving sinners. God is doing every thing He can to bless us, and He can only bless us by making us holy. Between the first and second appeal, appears again verse 31.
Verse 31.—“Forgiving one another” should be “forgiving yourselves,”—as if all were one, and if we wronged others we wronged ourselves. “Even as God in Christ hath forgiven you.” As a matter of doctrine, God has forgiven all our sins, but He forgives in practical detail every time we confess. “Don’t let any corrupt communication,” etc. I have forgiven you. “The love of God is poured out,” etc. These are pathetic appeals for holy walking. God expects us to be very precise and upright, for He is holy. Let us show grace, but take care of righteousness. We should always begin at the top, and what we are in Christ. We should be always correcting our experience and walk by this wonderful love of God. Don’t let there be any bitterness or wrath, for God in Christ has forgiven you. Let us get a correct view of God. God could not forgive us as He wanted to do until the Cross. Before the Cross He loved us, but His love was blocked up by ours sins. He is a righteous God.