Ephesians 4* Exhortations to mutual forbearance and union. (1-6) To a dueuse of spiritual gifts and graces. (7-16) To purity andholiness. (17-24) And to take heed of the sins practised amongthe heathen. (25-32)1-6 Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures, thanto walk as becomes those called to Christ's kingdom and glory.By lowliness, understand humility, which is opposed to pride. Bymeekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes menunwilling to provoke, and not easily to be provoked or offended.We find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgiveourselves; therefore we must not be surprised if we find inothers that which we think it hard to forgive. There is oneChrist in whom all believers hope, and one heaven they are allhoping for; therefore they should be of one heart. They had allone faith, as to its object, Author, nature, and power. They allbelieved the same as to the great truths of religion; they hadall been admitted into the church by one baptism, with water, inthe name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,as the sign of regeneration. In all believers God the Fatherdwells, as in his holy temple, by his Spirit and special grace. 7-16 Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for theirmutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow uponevery one. He received for them, that he might give to them, alarge measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of theHoly Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledgingChrist to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust andobedience. There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of thatfulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but wenever come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God'schildren are growing, as long as they are in this world; and theChristian's growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a manfinds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and accordingto his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual goodof others, he may the more certainly believe that he has thegrace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart. 17-24 The apostle charged the Ephesians in the name and by theauthority of the Lord Jesus, that having professed the gospel,they should not be as the unconverted Gentiles, who walked invain fancies and carnal affections. Do not men, on every side,walk in the vanity of their minds? Must not we then urge thedistinction between real and nominal Christians? They were voidof all saving knowledge; they sat in darkness, and loved itrather than light. They had a dislike and hatred to a life ofholiness, which is not only the way of life God requires andapproves, and by which we live to him, but which has somelikeness to God himself in his purity, righteousness, truth, andgoodness. 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 andstrengthening one another. Sinful desires are deceitful lusts;they promise men happiness, but render them more miserable; andbring them to destruction, if not subdued and mortified. Thesetherefore must be put off, as an old garment, a filthy garment;they must be subdued and mortified. But it is not enough toshake off corrupt principles; we must have gracious ones. By thenew man, is meant the new nature, the new creature, directed bya new principle, even regenerating grace, enabling a man to leada new life of righteousness and holiness. This is created, orbrought forth by God's almighty power. 25-28 Notice the particulars wherewith we should adorn ourChristian profession. Take heed of every thing contrary totruth. No longer flatter or deceive others. God's people arechildren who will not lie, who dare not lie, who hate and abhorlying. Take heed of anger and ungoverned passions. If there isjust occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and toreprove, 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. Thisteaches 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, exposethemselves to temptations to steal. Men ought to be industrious,that they may do some good, and that they may be kept fromtemptation. They must labour, not only that they may livehonestly, but that they may have to give to the wants of others.What then must we think of those called Christians, who growrich by fraud, oppression, and deceitful practices! Alms, to beaccepted of God, must not be gained by unrighteousness androbbery, but by honesty and industry. God hates robbery forburnt-offerings. 29-32 Filthy words proceed from corruption in the speaker, andthey corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them:Christians should beware of all such discourse. It is the dutyof Christians to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring personsto think seriously, and to encourage and warn believers by theirconversation. Be ye kind one to another. This sets forth theprinciple of love in the heart, and the outward expression ofit, in a humble, courteous behaviour. Mark how God's forgivenesscauses us to forgive. God forgives us, though we had no cause tosin against him. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. Alllying, and corrupt communications, that stir up evil desires andlusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness,wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve theHoly Spirit. Provoke not the holy, blessed Spirit of God towithdraw his presence and his gracious influences. The body willbe redeemed from the power of the grave at the resurrection day.Wherever that blessed Spirit dwells as a Sanctifier, he is theearnest of all the joys and glories of that redemption day; andwe should be undone, should God take away his Holy Spirit fromus.
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