Ephesians 4

* Exhortations to mutual forbearance and union. (1-6) To a due

use of spiritual gifts and graces. (7-16) To purity and

holiness. (17-24) And to take heed of the sins practised among

the heathen. (25-32)

1-6 Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures, than

to walk as becomes those called to Christ's kingdom and glory.

By lowliness, understand humility, which is opposed to pride. By

meekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes men

unwilling to provoke, and not easily to be provoked or offended.

We find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgive

ourselves; therefore we must not be surprised if we find in

others that which we think it hard to forgive. There is one

Christ in whom all believers hope, and one heaven they are all

hoping for; therefore they should be of one heart. They had all

one faith, as to its object, Author, nature, and power. They all

believed the same as to the great truths of religion; they had

all been admitted into the church by one baptism, with water, in

the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,

as the sign of regeneration. In all believers God the Father

dwells, as in his holy temple, by his Spirit and special grace.
7-16 Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for their

mutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon

every one. He received for them, that he might give to them, a

large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the

Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging

Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and

obedience. There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of that

fulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we

never come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God's

children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the

Christian's growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a man

finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according

to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good

of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the

grace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart.
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.
25-28 Notice the particulars wherewith we should adorn our

Christian profession. Take heed of every thing contrary to

truth. No longer flatter or deceive others. God's people are

children who will not lie, who dare not lie, who hate and abhor

lying. Take heed of anger and ungoverned passions. If there is

just occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and to

reprove, see that it be without sin. We give place to the devil,

when the first motions of sin are not grievous to our souls;

when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This

teaches that as sin, if yielded unto, lets in the devil upon us,

we are to resist it, keeping from all appearance of evil.

Idleness makes thieves. Those who will not work, expose

themselves to temptations to steal. Men ought to be industrious,

that they may do some good, and that they may be kept from

temptation. They must labour, not only that they may live

honestly, but that they may have to give to the wants of others.

What then must we think of those called Christians, who grow

rich by fraud, oppression, and deceitful practices! Alms, to be

accepted of God, must not be gained by unrighteousness and

robbery, but by honesty and industry. God hates robbery for

burnt-offerings.
29-32 Filthy words proceed from corruption in the speaker, and

they corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them:

Christians should beware of all such discourse. It is the duty

of Christians to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring persons

to think seriously, and to encourage and warn believers by their

conversation. Be ye kind one to another. This sets forth the

principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of

it, in a humble, courteous behaviour. Mark how God's forgiveness

causes us to forgive. God forgives us, though we had no cause to

sin against him. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. All

lying, and corrupt communications, that stir up evil desires and

lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness,

wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve the

Holy Spirit. Provoke not the holy, blessed Spirit of God to

withdraw his presence and his gracious influences. The body will

be redeemed from the power of the grave at the resurrection day.

Wherever that blessed Spirit dwells as a Sanctifier, he is the

earnest of all the joys and glories of that redemption day; and

we should be undone, should God take away his Holy Spirit from

us.

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