Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4:4-5

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

(a) One body. The body of Christ is the Church, of which Christ is the head (Eph. 5:23). “We who are many are one body in Christ” (Rom. 12:5).

(b) The one Spirit is the Holy Spirit a.k.a. the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9) and the Spirit of Grace (Heb. 10:29). “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13).

(c) One Lord. Jesus Christ is the Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15).

When Jesus walked the earth he was known as Jesus of Nazareth or the Son of Man. But after he ascended to heaven he was given a new name above every name, and that name is Lord (Php. 2:9–11). On the Day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and preached the new name of the Lord. “God has made him both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2: 36). Towards the end of the first century, there was growing pressure to refer to the Roman emperor as lord. But in Asia, the saints refused to call anyone Lord but Jesus (see entry for Rev. 3:8).

(d) One faith. The body of Christ is characterized by the faith or belief or persuasion that Jesus is Lord. Faith is not merely intellectual assent; it is living from the revelation that Jesus really is Lord with all that implies.

(e) One baptism. Several types of baptism are mentioned in scripture including: John’s baptism of repentance (Acts 19:3–4), water baptism done in Jesus’ name (Acts 10:48, 19:5), Holy Spirit baptism (Act 11:16), Jesus’ baptism of suffering (Matt. 20:22), and baptism for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29). Since there are different baptisms, why does Paul say there is only one? He is referring to the baptism that happens to every believer when they are put into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12–13).

The moment you came to Jesus, you were baptized or placed in him by the Spirit. To be baptized means to be dipped or immersed. To use an obscure word, it is to be whelmed. To whelm something is to bury it in dirt or sink it in water. It is what happens when a ship goes down in a storm or a skier is hit with an avalanche. To be baptized or whelmed is a dramatic and catastrophic event and it happened to you (Rom. 6:3).

Your old self had issues that you could never resolve. The Holy Spirit’s solution was to whelm or bury your old nature in the ground with Jesus. This is what it means to be baptized into his death. But the Holy Spirit didn’t leave you in the ground. Just as he raised Jesus, he raised you (Rom. 6:6–7). Because of that one baptism you are now free from sin and free to live in Christ.

Further reading: “What is the baptism that saves?

Ephesians 4:6

one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

See entry for Eph. 3:14.

Ephesians 4:7

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Grace was given. The grace of God is a gift (Eph.3:7). You cannot earn it through your good works and moral excellence (Rom. 11:6, Gal. 2:21). You can only receive it through faith (Gal. 5:4).

Ephesians 4:24

and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

(a) Put on the new self. You are righteous and holy, so act like it. See yourself as God sees you. Be who you truly are.

(b) Created in righteousness. You have been made into a brand new person, as righteous and holy as Jesus.

Jesus was made to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus was not made sin because he was a sinner and you were not made righteous because you acted righteously. God did it all. The moment you put your faith in Jesus, you were stamped righteous for all eternity. At one time you were unrighteous, but you were washed, you were sanctified, and you were declared righteous in the name of the Lord (1 Cor. 6:9–11).

What does it mean to be righteous? It means you have had a complete renovation, a Holy Spirit renewal, an entire rebuild. You have been straightened out. You are no longer the crooked person you used to be. While in Adam you had inclinations that led you towards sin no matter how hard you tried to avoid it, in Christ you are inclined to walk straight and true. Your desire is to please the Lord. It’s not that you are incapable of sinning. It’s just that sinning no longer appeals. When you sin it bothers you—“I wish I hadn’t done that”—testifying that this sort of behavior is contrary to your new nature.

See entry for Righteousness.

Ephesians 4:30

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

(a) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Don’t do things that make God sad.

Our choices bring our heavenly Father pleasure and pain. When we stumble in sin, he grieves because sin hurts his kids. The sins Paul has just listed – speaking falsehoods, stealing, unwholesome speech (which would include quarrelling, gossip, and backbiting) – are all relational sins. When we act like jerks we hurt those around us and make our Father sad.

Your behavior matters to God because you matter to God. He wants you to prosper and thrive in every area of your life. He doesn’t want you opening the door to trouble by sowing to the flesh. But even if you do—even if you make one dumb mistake after another—he will still be your Father and you will still be his dearly loved child. Your actions may be harmful and saddening to him but you will always be the apple of his eye.

Act like a sinner and you’ll grieve the Holy Spirit, but here’s what won’t happen: The Holy Spirit won’t record your sins (he promised not to; Heb. 10:15–17); nor will he send you on a guilt-trip (he’s the Spirit of grace not the spirit of guilt; Heb. 10:29); and he won’t withdraw from you until you get your act together (Jesus said he would never leave you; John 14:16).

When you sin, the Holy Spirit will always point you to Jesus. He knows that as we behold the kindness and compassion of Christ, we become kind and compassionate. As we gaze at his forgiving face, we become forgiving. As we marvel at his beauty, we become beautiful. As we behold Jesus we are transformed into his shining testimonies of grace.

(b) By whom you were sealed. The moment you said yes to Jesus, God stamped you with his seal of ownership and gave you his Spirit as a guarantee of your salvation (2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13).

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

(a) Forgiving… forgiven. The original words (charizomai) mean to show favor or kindness. They are closely related to the word that means grace (charis). In context, both words means unconditional forgiveness (see also Col. 2:13, 3:13). When we receive the unconditional forgiveness of God, we are empowered to be unconditionally forgiving of others. See also the entry for Forgiveness.

(b) God in Christ. God’s forgiveness comes to us through Christ. It is but one of the many blessings that we experience in our union with the Lord. See entry for Philemon 1:6.

(c) Christ has forgiven you. You need to be fully persuaded that you are completely and eternally forgiven. You were not forgiven because you said or did the right things. You were forgiven on account of his great love and grace (Eph. 1:7, 1 John 2:12).

The Grace Commentary is a work in progress with new content added regularly. Sign up for occasional updates below. Got something to say? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links on this page, please use the comment form below.

Leave a Reply