The Book of EPHESIANS
James J. Barker
THE CHRISTIAN’S NEW WALK
- A few weeks
ago we were studying Ephesians 4:1, and I explained what the Bible means by the
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary says “walk” in Scripture means “to live and act or
behave; to pursue a particular course of life,” and this dictionary gives many
- I also pointed out that
Webster’s Unabridged 1996 edition gives no Scriptural references for the
- The 1828 Dictionary says
- To walk in darkness – to live in ignorance, error
and sin, without comfort. “If we
say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and
do not the truth” (I John 1:6).
- To walk in the light – to live in the practice of
religion, and to enjoy its consolations. “But if we walk in the light, as
he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus
Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John
- To walk by faith – to live in the firm belief of
the gospel and its promises, and to rely on Christ for salvation. “For we walk by faith, not by
sight” (II Cor. 5:7).
- To walk after the flesh – to indulge sensual
appetites, and to live in sin.
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom.
- To walk after the Spirit – to be guided by the
counsels and influences of the Spirit and by the word of God, and to live a life
of holy deportment. “There is
therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom.
- To walk in the flesh – to live this natural life,
which is subject to infirmities and calamities. “For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war after the flesh” (II Cor. 10:3).
- With these Scriptural
references in mind, let us continue in our study of the book of Ephesians (cf.
- The Christian’s walk can be
summarized by looking at verses 22 and 24.
We are to put off the old man and put on the new man (cf. Scofield,
bottom of p. 1253).
- One preacher summarized this
section this way: “Take off the grave-clothes and put on the
WE ARE NOT TO WALK LIKE THE
- The Christian is not to
imitate the life of the unsaved people around him (4:17). Unsaved people are “dead in trespasses
and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Why would we
want to imitate dead people?
- Those of us that are saved
think differently from unsaved people.
Salvation begins with repentance, which is a change of mind. When a person truly repents and trusts
Christ, his whole outlook on life changes: his goals, his values, his
priorities, his philosophy, and his entire
- One of the reasons, the
ungodly are so vehemently opposed to Christian schools and homeschooling is they
have observed that young people who are properly educated have an entirely
different worldview than those who have been indoctrinated and programmed by the
- Young people who have been
home-schooled or educated in private Christian schools are Biblically-literate
and tend to be more conservative and
- They do not support
socialism or abortion or so-called gay marriage, etc. (cf. Psalm 1:1).
- What is wrong with the
thinking of the unsaved man? Paul
says they “walk in the vanity of the mind, having their understanding darkened”
- “Vanity” in this context
means “an illusion of the mind.” In
other words, the Bible teaches us that the lives of unsaved men and women are
empty and shallow, purposeless, and
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE UNSAVED
- They are aimless, walking in “the vanity
of their mind.” There is activity,
but no real progress. As far as the
things of God are concerned they do not have a clue. Therefore, they are wasting their lives
and are unconcerned about the judgment of
- They are blind – “having the
understanding darkened…because of the blindness of their heart” (4:18). Sin has a terrible, hardening, blinding
effect upon people. Their hearts
grow harder and harder through the awful deadening power of sin. They are blinded by sin, blinded by the
world, and blinded by the devil.
- They are ungodly – “being alienated from
the life of God through the ignorance that is in them” (4:18b). Lost sinners are far from God,
not because God does not want to save them but because they have chosen
to reject Him. The natural man, the
unconverted man, has a willful, deep-seated hostility toward the things of
God. He is indifferent concerning
God’s ways and ignorant of God’s Word. The unregenerate man has rejected the
Light of God – “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were
evil” (John 3:19). Men prefer their
idols, their alcohol, their money, their pet sins. “Being alienated from the life of God”
(4:18) means the unsaved man has no communication with God. He is a hard-hearted rebel, lost and on
his way to hell. That is why Paul
says: “walk not as other Gentiles walk…”
- They are shameless – “Who being past
feeling…” (4:19). The unsaved are
“past feeling” because they have so given themselves over to sin that sin now
controls them (cf. Rom. 1:18-32).
Shameless describes many people today. Back when President Clinton was caught
in his most notorious sex scandal, Congressman Dick Armey said that if he did
the things President Clinton had done he “would be so filled with shame” that he
would resign.” But Clinton refused
to resign. Why? Because he is
- They are immoral – “having given
themselves over unto lasciviousness” (4:19b). This describes lewd, sordid, and
disgusting behaviour. One preacher
wrote: “The cardinal sin of the Gentiles was and still is sexual
immorality. They descended to
unparalleled depths of depravity; the walls of Pompeii tell the story of shame
and lost decency. The same sins
characterize the Gentile world today” (William MacDonald). How true – pornography, filthy movies
and TV, illegitimacy, homosexuality, etc.
With no feeling of wrongdoing, they plunge deeper and deeper into
sin. It will get worse as we get
closer to the tribulation (cf. Rev. 9:21).
- They are indecent – “to work all
uncleanness” (4:19c). Note the word
“all” – incenst, adultery, fornication, rape, homosexuality, and other
perversions. Wicked, ungodly people
give themselves over to all sorts of uncleanness. They throw off all restraints and by
doing so they destroy themselves and others as
- They are insatiable – “with greediness”
(4:19d), i.e. they are never satisfied.
They cannot get enough of sin.
Their sinful pastimes create an enormous appetite for more and more
filth. J. Vernon McGee writes about
this verse: “The meaning here is to covet the very depths of immorality. Men in sin are never satisfied with
sin. They become abandoned to
sin. That is what it means in
chapter 1 of Romans that God gave them up to all uncleanness through their own
lusts.” A friend of mine heard a
radio interview with Ted Bundy, the serial killer. Bundy described how he got hooked on
pornography and then needed dirtier and more violent pornography to be
satisfied. This led
eventually him to rape and murder.
CHRISTIANS HAVE A NEW NATURE
- “But…” (4:20) – what a
contrast now – from the wicked depravity of the heathen to the beauty of the
Lord Jesus Christ, whom Paul had preached to the Ephesians
- Jesus Christ is the
personification of purity and chastity.
Elsewhere Paul says He “knew no sin” (II Cor. 5:21). John says “in Him is no sin” (I John
3:5). Hebrews 4:15 says Christ “was
in all points tempted like as we are, yet without
- “As the truth is in Jesus”
(4:21) – He not only teaches us the truth (“and have been taught by
Him”), He is the truth (John
- “The old man” (4:22) refers
to all that we were before we were converted to Christ. The old nature is “corrupt according to
the deceitful lusts” (4:22).
- In other words our old
nature has been corrupted as a result of giving in to deceitful, evil cravings
and desires. They are called
“deceitful” because oftentimes they appear attractive and perhaps even beautiful
in anticipation, but are in reality horrible and destructive. Many a soul has been damned to hell on
account of continually yielding to these deceitful
- I read a story of an old
teacher taking a walk through a forest with a pupil by his side.
The old man suddenly stopped and pointed
to four plants close at hand. The
first was just beginning to come up out of the ground, the second had rooted
itself pretty well into the earth, the third was a small shrub, while the fourth
was a full-sized tree. The teacher
said to his young student:
“Pull up the first one.” The boy easily pulled it up with his
fingers. “Now pull up the second.”
The boy obeyed, but this one wasn’t as easy. “And now the third.” The boy had to put forth all his
strength and after pulling at it with both his arms, he eventually was able to
“And now, try the fourth,” the old man
said. The young boy grabbed the big
tree and wasn’t even able to shake it.
The teacher explained his lesson: “Son, this is what
happens with our bad habits. When
they are young, we can cast them out more readily with God’s help. But when they are old, it is hard to
uproot them, though we may sincerely pray and struggle with them.”
- As far as our
position in Christ is concerned, our old man was crucified and buried
with Christ. But
practically, we need to reckon it to be dead (cf. Eph.
- We are to put off the old
man and put on the new man in the same manner that we change our clothes. It is like putting off an old dirty
garment and then putting on one that is new and clean (Eph.
- Paul says to be “renewed in
the spirit of your mind” (4:23). This means a complete change in our thinking, a
change from impurity and worldliness to purity and
- The Holy Spirit influences
our thought processes to give us the mind of Christ. We need to see everything from God’s
perspective – not man’s.
- It is all too easy to see
everything from man’s viewpoint – all you have to do is sit back and turn on the
TV. Don’t read your Bible, just
read worldly newspapers and magazines, and only talk to worldly, unsaved
- But God wants us to “be
renewed in the spirit” of our mind, and that takes some effort
- Whereas “the old man” refers
to our old Adamic nature and all that we were before God saved us, “the new man”
(4:24) refers to what we are in Christ (cf. II Cor. 5:17; II Peter
- “Righteousness” (4:24) means
right conduct towards others, and “true holiness” (4:24) means right conduct
before God. Holiness means being
separated unto God and from the
- What Paul is saying here in
Ephesians 4:24 is that the imputed righteousness of Christ should be reflected
in our lives. In other words, our
walk down here should be commensurate with our
- A man stood up to testify at
a meeting one night, and said: “Praise God, I am standing on holy ground.” Another man got up and said: “Do not
believe a word he says. He is
standing in a pair of shoes he bought from me months ago, and he still hasn’t
paid me for them!”
- Because we have put off the
old man and have put on the new man, we should demonstrate this in our daily
- Paul gives several practical
areas where there should be a true, recognizable change, and Lord willing we
will look at them next week (Ephesians