The Pulpit Commentary

Ephesians 4:17-24 (Ephesians 4:17-24)

CONSTRASTED PRINCIPLES OF GENTILE AND CHRISTIAN CHARACTER .

- The Pulpit Commentary

Ephesians 4:24 (Ephesians 4:24)

And put on the new man. As the fruit of inward renewal, let there be outward renovation. A new object is clean, fresh, tidy; let your life have something of the same aspect—let your principles, aims, habits, be new, in the sense of being conformed to Christ, who is your life. Which after God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth. "After God," equivalent to "after the image of him that created him" ( Colossians 3:10 ). Some think" the new man" equivalent to "Christ" ( Romans 13:14 ), constituted the Head of renewed humanity, as Adam of depraved. But this would not correspond with the exhortation to put off the old man, nor should we be exhorted to put on Christ after being exhorted to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. In what sense, then, has the "new man" been created? The idea presented itself to the apostle in the abstract—there has been a creation of a new man; but concretely, we have to conform to the Divine creation, in respect of righteousness and holiness; righteousness denoting personal uprightness and fidelity to all social duties; holiness, the state of the spirit toward God. The last words, "of truth," denote the relation of righteousness and holiness to the truth. The words are opposed to "of deceit" in Ephesians 4:22 . Lust is bred of deceit, but righteousness and holiness of truth. They never deceive, never disappoint, are solid to the end.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Ephesians 4:17-24 (Ephesians 4:17-24)

Contrasted principles of Gentile and Christian character.

We now come more explicitly to the details of Christian duty. The apostle had presented a very high standard of Christian privilege in the preceding chapters, and now he presents an equally high standard of Christian duty . What God gives in the one form is to be given back in the other, and in corresponding proportion. The importance of the subject is indicated by the formula, "This I say, and testify in the Lord." The apostle contrasts the Christian with the Gentile walk, and indicates wherein the latter is to differ from the former,

I.

1. In the vanity of their mind.

2. In the darkness of their understanding.

3. In their alienation from the life of God.

4. In their abandonment to lasciviousness.

Thus even Christian converts need to remember the duty to keep themselves unspotted by the world. There is a world of guilt and godlessness from which it is necessary for them to keep themselves unstained.

II. POSITIVE RULES OF CHRISTIAN LIFE .

1. Their Source. "Ye have not so learned Christ, if so be ye heard him," etc. ( Ephesians 4:20 ). The whole tenor of Christ's teaching and influence is against these things. Only make sure that you have come under it.

2. What they are.

Verse 25-Eph 5:2

Rags of the old man and robes of the new.

The Christian Ephesians somewhat resembled Joshua the high priest, when standing before the angel of the Lord, and when Satan was standing at his right hand to resist him. Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and the angel spake to those that stood before him, "Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." Rags of the old man still hang about these Ephesians, disfiguring their persons and giving them a very different appearance from that which befits the regenerated sons of God. The apostle is giving directions to take away each filthy rag and substitute for it the fair raiment of the new man. And he is doing this under a solemn sense of danger and responsibility, and with the feeling that two great spirits are also interested in the work and actively concerned in it—the one, the spirit of evil, who is trying cunningly but earnestly to spoil the process, and induce the Ephesians to cling to their own garments; the other, the blessed Spirit of God, who in his infinite love is seeking to clothe the Corinthians in the garments of purity, to seal them unto the day of redemption, so that by the brightness of their appearance they shall be known to be God's in the day when he makes up his jewels. And what makes the whole matter so solemn and momentous is that, unless they are ever on their guard, the subjects of this process are ever liable to give place to the one spirit and to grieve the other; the awful danger lying in this, that the spirit to whom they are prone to yield is the spirit of evil, and the Spirit they are apt to grieve is the Holy Spirit of God.

1. The rags of the old man to be put off are lying, anger, stealing, coarse language, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil-speaking, and malice (see Exposition). Three reasons are given, more or less explicitly, why such things should be put away.

2. The robes of the new man to be put on are truthfulness, honest industry, edifying speech, kindness, tenderness of heart, forgiveness, imitation of God, and the loving walk which becomes his followers. Three reasons are given likewise why these robes should be put on.

This is one of the most comprehensive and beautiful summaries of the Christian life. It is the quintessence of practical Christianity. It furnishes an admirable rule for self-examination, and an admirable incentive to progress in the life of God. It is a passage, not only to be got by heart, but written on the heart. We may well say, as we read these verses, "This is Christianity; this is the walk worthy of our vocation." If the writer of the hundred and nineteenth psalm had such boundless delight in the Law of God, though it had not to him the delightful evangelical aroma it has to us, what ought our feelings to be? Under all dispensations of the covenant, the Law is still the rule of our life, though salvation is of grace; and the prayer that continually becomes us is, "Incline my heart unto thy testimonies; quicken thou me, that I may keep thy Law." Rags or robes: why should any hesitate between them?

To most men rags are most repulsive. To wear literal rags—to appear shabby, dirty, untidy, is very unpleasant. How much more, in the eyes of God and the saints and angels, to wear moral rags! Many a one clothed in purple and fine linen wears the filthiest rags of the old man; and some, on the other hand, in the plainest and coarsest attire, have put on the beautiful robes of righteousness, and shall be crowns of glory in the hands of the Lord and royal diadems in the hands of their God.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Ephesians 4:20-24 (Ephesians 4:20-24)

In Christ the transition effected from the old man to the new man.

The apostle represents "believers" as having "learned Christ," not as having learned about him, but as having reached the true knowledge of him, having heard his voice and having been taught by him, as to "the truth as it is in Jesus"—a truth that carried them far apart from the frightful license of the heathen. We now understand the exact import of this truth. It is to put off the old man and put on the new man. It is, in a word, sanctification.

I. THE NECESSITY OF THIS TRANSFORMATION . The question might naturally arise—Had not the saints at Ephesus already put off the old man and put on the new man? Were they not already true believers? Why should they be asked to do it again? We must keep in view the distinction that the apostle clearly maintains in this familiar figure between "the old man" and "the new man." Sometimes he refers to our legal condition, sometimes to our moral condition. "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ" ( Romans 13:14 ). In this Epistle the apostle exhorts the Christians to put off the old man; but in the Epistle to the Colossians he says the old man has been already put off ( Colossians 3:9 ). In this Epistle the exhortation is given, "Put on the new man" (verse 24); but elsewhere that which is new has been already accomplished ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ). We are exhorted again to be " transformed " ( Romans 12:2 ) and "renewed" (verse 23); but we are elsewhere said to be already "transformed" and "renewed" ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ). It is necessary to mark this distinction, that we may not be led aside or into that mysticism which seems to confound justification with sanctification. It is the moral, not the legal, condition that is here in question. It is worse than a mistake to say that we ought not to trouble ourselves about sin, because the new man cannot sin, and that sin comes from the old man, who has been already crucified and put off. This theory makes the work of the Holy Spirit altogether unnecessary.

II. THE NATURE OF THIS TRANSFORMATION . This is evident from the contrast between the old man and the new man.

1. The old man represents corrupt nature, and is called "old" because it is original as opposed to what is new. It precedes what is new. Its character is vividly pictured by the apostle: "waxing corrupt according to the lusts of deceit." There is a progressive moral disintegration, which is inconsistent with the life of God or the happiness of man. The moral nature goes to pieces under the action of this corruption. Then it finds its natural development in" lusts of deceit." These lusts are deceitful, for they promise pleasure and bring pain; they promise liberty and bring bondage; they promise secrecy and bring shame; they promise impunity and bring retribution. Christians are well taught to put off this old man.

2. The new man represents the new nature, with its renewed intellect, its renewed affections, its renewed will. It has been "created after God in the righteousness and holiness of truth;" that is, in the righteousness and holiness which belong to the truth, or which are its essential products. Observe:

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Ephesians 4:17-32 (Ephesians 4:17-32)

Raw material for Christian unity.

It comes upon us with something like a surprise, the exhortations of the present passage after the glories which have gone before. But they are instructive in that they bring out the raw material out of which Paul hoped to manufacture Christian unity. It is evident that he despaired of none, even supposing they had been guilty of the gravest crimes and characterized by the deepest pollution. Does not his grand hope rebuke our faint-heartedness?

I. CONSIDER THE MORAL BEACONS HERE BROUGHT BEFORE THE EPHESIANS . ( Ephesians 4:17-20 ) Paul presents in the beginning of the Epistle to the Romans a frightful picture of the immorality of the heathen. He had studied the question carefully, as a missionary to the heathen must. He here gives a briefer analysis, but one exceedingly vivid and instructive. The terrible fact was that many of the Gentiles had "given themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness," and Paul gives us here the reason of it. They had got utterly "hardened" and "past feeling." This was through their ignorance of the holy God, from whose life, with all its purifying power, they were consequently alienated. They had nothing for it in these circumstances but to follow the glimmer of their own darkened understandings, and to walk in the vanity of their minds. It was a case of alienation and isolation from the only Source of purity and of life. Paul consequently holds up the licentious Gentiles as beacons to warn the Ephesians away from the paths of sin, that they may walk worthily as the children of God.

II. CONSIDER THE SPIRITUAL RENEWAL TO WHICH HE SUMMONS THEM '. (Verses 21-24.) The unconverted and lascivious heathen only showed to what excess of sin the old nature within each of us will proceed, if it be not put away. The beacons show the possibility of every sinful soul if it be not converted unto God. Hence Paul counsels the Ephesians to "put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Revised Version). The "old man" is the sinful nature which we all possess as children of Adam; the "new man" is the better nature which God creates within us. But this new nature does not assert itself as new faculties and new powers, but utilizes the understanding and affections and will, which it finds already within us, so that according to proper mental laws we experience our renewal. The means by which this renewal is brought about are Christ and his offices and benefits; in other words, it is effected by "the truth as it is in Jesus." The moral manifestation is in "righteousness and holiness of truth."

III. CONSIDER THE SERIOUS SINS AGAINST WHICH HE WARNS THE EPHESIANS . (Verses 25-29.) It is evident, from the way in which he mentions them, that they prevailed in heathenism, and that the Ephesians had been previously guilty of them. They bring out vividly the raw material with which he had to work, and they should sustain the hope of missionaries still.

1. Falsehood . It is evident that the veracity of the heathen could not be calculated on; and what was true in Paul's time is true still. The testimony of missionaries is to this effect, that you cannot rely on the word of the heathen. An interesting fact may here be quoted in illustration. "A Christian Santal was once going through several villages to make an extensive purchase of rice. In the first of the villages he got part of what he required, in the second also he got some baskets, and so forth, all for cash payments. But when he had brought out his money at the last village, he saw that he had not enough. He was twelve shillings short of the sum necessary to pay what he had bought. It is a thing unheard of among the Santals to give any goods on credit, so that the man saw that he had no alternative but to ask the seller to take back twelve shillings' worth of the rice. Meantime the seller had perceived that he had to do with a Christian, and as this impression was confirmed on his directly putting the question, he declared, without more ado, that he would be content in the mean time with the partial payment, and would trust to the buyer that he would soon bring him the balance. Unfortunately, the tax-collector came next day to the village to collect the dues. The man who had given his rice on credit was not able to pay his dues fully at once, and told, by way of excuse, what had befallen him. But the official deemed it incredible that a Santal should part with his goods without getting the money for them. His suspicion was confirmed by the fact that the man could give neither the name nor the residence of his debtor, and only took his stand upon this, that he was a Christian, and would certainly pay the twelve shillings ere long. Even the other villagers did not believe the story, and the collector sentenced the supposed liar to a suitable measure of stripes. A few days after, that Christian returned and paid his debt. His creditor had scarcely recovered from his undeserved ill treatment; but he forgot his pains through the joy of being able to vindicate himself and his honorable debtor before his neighbors and acquaintances. He called them all together and said triumphantly, 'You laughed at me lately because I trusted the word of a Christian. There he is. Look well at him. I have not dunned him for his debt. I knew neither his name nor where he lives, and yet he has come to pay me the twelve shillings.' "This interesting circumstance brings out at once the falsehood that exists in heathenism and the veracity fostered by the gospel. Before leaving this first sin, however, it is well to notice on what Paul grounds his appeal for veracity. It is on our being "members one of another." "Truth-speaking," says Mozley, "is not a universal isolated obligation which we are under—a law to say truth under all circumstances, and in whatever relations we stand to the other party; but it supposes certain relations, viz. the ordinary relations of man with man, the natural terms of fellowship with man—that we are bound to perform all the offices of humanity to him, and to behave to him as a brother. When we speak of the certain and obvious obligation to sincerity, these are the relations which we suppose; and St. Paul places the duty of veracity upon its proper basis, and gives the law of truth its proper position in the frame and system of morals, when he assigns the duty of truth-speaking this large and deep source, this intelligible connection, and this inclusive rationale ." We do not proceed further in the quotation, but he infers that the relations of man to man may so vary, as when a man turns out assassin, that we are under no obligation to tell truth to him, if it would further his diabolical designs.

2. Sinful anger . This is another sin which is prevalent among unregenerate men. Paul's appeal implies that there is such a thing as sinless anger. God is angry with the wicked, for example, every day. David, again, at the very time when he was calling on God to search him and to try him, could say calmly in the Divine presence, "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred : I count them mine enemies" ( Psalms 139:21 , Psalms 139:22 ). But a great deal of the anger indulged in, both in heathen and in Christian lands, is selfish passion, and so sinful anger. It is against this selfish phase Paul warns them, and as we are peculiarly open to assaults from Satan when thus angry, the Ephesians are warned in this connection not to give place to the devil.

3. Laziness . The heathen will not work if they can help it. They would rather steal than work. Hence the gospel has always had an important mission in the "exaltation of labor." The monks in the Middle Ages did immense service in this direction, and really prepared Europe for the vast development of modern industry. This is one great feature also of modern missions. They give an impulse to industry wherever they are established. But it is to be observed that "the apostle does not honor all industry: far from it. He always reprobates the covetous, money-getting spirit. Fie even says, 'The love of money is the root of all evil,' and he calls covetousness idolatry.... He admires industry, but it must be industry which is consecrated by the nature which he requires; for it is that of duty—when a man fulfils in the fear of God the task which is allotted to him." In the present instance he exhorts them to give up the laziness which would prompt a man to steal, and to work earnestly that they may be able to help others. Labor is exalted when disinterestedness enters in and consecrates it.

4. Filthy conversation . We need not tarry upon this. It is known to be one of the great trials of missionary life in heathen lands. What they hear is something awful. Some time since an enterprising and able young man disguised himself and spent some nights in the model lodging-houses of Glasgow, to report on the way in which they are conducted. His testimony was that it was not so much what he saw or smelt which gave him such pain, as what he heard . This exactly illustrates the point before us. Paul's ear, we may be sure, had been the avenue of exquisite torture as he heard "the filthy conversation of the wicked." He calls upon his converts, consequently, to cultivate a gracious and edifying discourse. It is by speaking that human usefulness is chiefly realized. Men are to be talked into better things ( Romans 10:17 ).

IV. CONSIDER HIS WARNING AGAINST GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD . (Verse 30.) Now, if Paul's ears were grieved with the immoralities of heathenism, how much more must we believe will the Holy Spirit be offended! How needful that those in whose hearts he dwells should abstain from all appearance of evil, and so give no offence to the holy Guest! More especially should this be the case when he condescends to seal souls "unto the day of redemption." If he has come to abide with us forever, surely we ought not to trifle in his presence or to offend his pure and blessed Being!

V. LASTLY , CONSIDER HIS APPEAL FOE MUTUAL FORBEARANCE AND KINDLINESS . (Verses 31, 32.) He brings in the forgiveness of God to us as a reason why we should be forbearing and forgiving to one another. In this way he expects to bring the Ephesians, who bad been so unholy, into the glorious unity of Christian love. The material on which he worked was raw and rough indeed, but not worse than human nature still. But out of the roughest stone hewed from the quarry of nature Divine grace can make polished stones fitted for God's palace.—R.M.E.

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Ephesians 4:17-24 (Ephesians 4:17-24)

Exhortation resumed.

"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord." It is characteristic of the apostle to sink his own personality, and to put forward Christ. He wishes it to be understood that it is not in his own thought, but in the thought of him whom he calls Lord, that he makes his statement and gives his solemn asseveration regarding their duty.

I. EXHORTATION DIRECTED AGAINST GENTILISM . "That ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk." They had formerly been Gentiles in walk or character, as Gentiles in name. Now they were religiously the people of God. It became them, therefore, to have done with Gentile ways.

1. General character of Gentilism . "In the vanity of their mind." That was the moral atmosphere with which they were surrounded. In Romans 1:21 it is said that they "became vain in their reasonings." The word translated " mind " clearly refers to the governing part of the nature. And the meaning is that they wasted their "rational powers on worthless objects." They were made to have to do with great realities ; but they were taken up instead with vanities . They were made to worship God, "who is, and is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him ;" but they were idolaters, making gods of things that were not. They were made for immortality ; but amid the trifles of time they had little or no thought of a hereafter. Of the most privileged populace in ancient heathenism it is said that "they spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing."

2. Gentilism in its most offensive form . "Who being past feeling." This was one form of the hardening. The result of a course of dissoluteness was that they were past all feeling, i.e. of shame. That feeling of shame is given as guardian of the purity of the body. But habitually disregarded, it is lost. "Gave themselves up to lasciviousness." Such was their fearful self-abandonment. Instead of abandoning themselves to God (which would have been deliverance from all possible thraldom), they abandoned themselves to what (with specialty) is called lust. That is, they made a god of lust. They degraded self , their glorious personality, by. making it a means to lust. Thus abandoned to lust, it became their conscious aim or business " to work all uncleanness." And that does not complete the description of their guilt and degradation. For it is added, as indicating the frame of mind in which they wrought uncleanness, that they did it "with greediness." And there is no reason to think that this description, or the description in Romans 1:1-32 ., is exaggerated, Not that there were not some virtuous heathen; but impurity was so rife as to be characteristic of heathenism. And when it is considered how it was not an object of public reprobation, and how it was associated with religion and also with art, it can be understood what foul shapes (amid a certain refinement and luxury) it would take.

II. EPHESIANS REMINDED HOW GENTILISM IS CONTRADICTED BY CHRISTIANITY . "But ye did not so learn Christ." It will be observed that Christ is not put forward here as our Teacher, but as our Lesson . It is stronger language than is employed by Christ when he says, "Learn of me," where he puts himself forward as our Example. It corresponds to what the apostle says in 1 Corinthians 1:23 , "We preach [not 'concerning,' but] Christ crucified." A lesson is what we have to get into our minds; so we have, as it were, to acquire or get into ourselves, by learning, the person of Christ himself. There is the commencement of the lesson . "If so be that ye heard him? In this clause Christ is put forward as the Teacher of the lesson. They heard him when they were converted. At such a critical time it becomes us to know what we are really doing, under whose instructions we are putting ourselves. A parent sees to his son being put to a school or university where he thinks he will get for him satisfactory instruction. So we should be sure, as taught here, that at the great turning-point it was not the voice of a hireling or the mere echo of our own voice that we heard, but the voice of him who has authority to speak to us. There is the lesson in its continuance . "And were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus." This refers to the further instruction which they had received as those who had heard Christ. Here again Christ is the Lesson—"taught in him," as we might say taught in languages or in philosophy. And not merely so, but the historical Jesus is pointed to as the embodied Lesson— "even as truth is in Jesus." He contains all the truth of God, and especially as he is brought before us in the Gospels, all that we need to know for salvation. He is a Lesson we cannot learn in a lay or in a lifetime. Even eternity will not suffice to exhaust its contents. But let us learn Christ as we can now, in the excellence of his character, in the greatness of his work, and in the purport of his doctrine.

1. Christianity in its negative aspect . "That ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit." He has in view, it will be seen, their former, i.e. their Gentile or pre-Christian manner of life. In this he sees what he calls the old man , viz. the sinful type of humanity . Originating in opposition to God, there is a type (such as there is in the development of a tree) according to which the corrupt development goes forward. There is a necessity of nature or of Divine government by which, as sinners, we grow worse and worse, and in the way in which we grow worse and worse. There is a law (appointed order) of sin and death under which we are placed. With the same essential type in all sinners, the corrupt development takes a special form from the lust (or desire in a sinful state) that is dominant , whether it is what is called lust, or the lust of money, or the lust of power. These lusts all agree in being intimately connected with or in the service of deceit . That is to say, under different disguises, we are promising ourselves independence and satisfaction, or making ourselves believe that we are pleasing God or benefiting men while really all our relations are wrong. The old man, then, as truth as it is in Jesus requires, is to be put away . That is better than the old translation. We are not merely to put it off, as we put off our clothes at night; but we are to put it away, as an old garment never to be put on again.

2. Christianity in its positive aspect . "And that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth." The new man is the type of redeemed humanity, or, as it is put, "the holy form of human life which results from redemption." A condition of this is renewing in the spirit of the mind. We are not to interpret this as though it were renewed by the Spirit in the mind. The spirit is the center where we appropriate the blessing of redemption, where we choose Christ instead of self, where we put ourselves in a right relation to the holy type of humanity. We are taught that renewal must be from within outwards. If there is only life lingering at the outside, it will never penetrate from thence to the center. But if there is still life at the center, though the old forms may have to be cast away, it will clothe itself in new forms. The new man is described as that which hath been created . In one view of it, this is what Christ did in his work. He created a holy type , which may be assumed by us sinners. And that was surely creation by pre-eminence . It was creation after God , even as man was created at first in the image of God. And we are here helped to the understanding of what that image was. It did not consist in anything accidental, but it consisted in what is most essential (what presupposes free-will), viz. rightness of moral disposition. It is here referred to as righteousness and holiness of truth . "Righteousness betokens a just relation among the powers of the soul within and towards men and duties without. But holiness betokens the integrity of the spiritual life, and the piety towards God of which that is the condition." There is a truth in such relations upon which righteousness and holiness are founded. We are made with a subordination of our lower powers to our higher. We are made to be mutually helpful. And we are made to be dependent on God and to trust in him. In all these respects man was rightly dispositioned at first. And what we lost in Adam we have more than regained in Christ in the creation of the new man. This new man, then, let us put on as that which we are never to put off. Let us pray for a constant renewing in the spirit of our mind, that, after God, we may have righteousness and holiness of truth—that every relation which God has made for us may be honored by us.—R.F.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Ephesians 4:20-24 (Ephesians 4:20-24)

The true method of studying Christianity.

"But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." These verses, including those back to the seventeenth, contain a general exhortation to holiness. The exhortation takes two forms—the negative and the positive. The negative we have noticed in our previous homily, Ephesians 4:17-19 ; the positive is now before us. The subject is—The true method of studying Christianity . Christianity is to be "learned." It is not an inbred knowledge. Man has no intuitions about it. Nor is it a knowledge imparted in any way irrespective of the use of our faculties and means. It comes to a man as the result of "learning." The man who does not rightly study will never know it. But what is the true method of studying? This is our present question, a question which we shall endeavor to answer in the light of the passage before us.

I. THE TRUE METHOD OF STUDYING CHRISTIANITY REQUIRES THAT IT SHOULD BE STUDIED IN CHRIST . "Truth … in Jesus." Christianity must be looked upon as seen in Christ.

1. Not as seen in religious professors . This would give a false view.

2. Not as seen in religious books . This would give a false view.

3. Not as seen in religious institutions . These would give a false view. There is nothing cold in truth or narrow, as seen in Jesus, but all that is broad, warm, free, sublime.

II. THE TRUE METHOD OF STUDYING CHRISTIANITY REQUIRES THAT IT SHOULD BE STUDIED UNDER THE TUITION OF CHRIST , We are "taught by him," or, as some translate it, "taught in him." Christ is the only effective Teacher of his own religion. If the sun is to be seen it must show itself—all the stars and moons of the universe cannot reveal it; so with Christ. But how are we to place ourselves under his tuition? Three things are necessary.

1. We should realize our true moral relation to truth as it is in him . Truth in him has a special relation to us, not merely as men, but as corrupt, guilty, and ruined sinners. We must feel ourselves to be the character to which it is specially addressed.

2. We must endeavor to identify ourselves with the particular class of character which it indicates . "Truth in Jesus" has reference to special classes of sinners, such as the worldling, the formalist, the hypocrite, the inquirer, the penitent. We must put ourselves in the right class.

3. We must invoke the aid of his Spirit . Christ's body is not in the world, but his Spirit is. The bodies and souls of ether great men have left the world—Plato, Seneca, etc. They are not with the students of their works, but Christ is. He is with all his students.

III. THE TRUE METHOD OF STUDYING CHRISTIANITY REQUIRES THAT WE SHOULD STUDY IT IN ORDER TO BE MADE CHRIST - LIKE . "Which after God"—that is, God's image—"is created in righteousness and true holiness." It is not to be studied for intellectual, ecclesiastical, secular, or professional purposes, hut for moral ends—studied in order to make us like God. The moral transformation is here indicated as consisting of two things.

1. The renunciation of the old and corrupt character . The "old man" is put off.

2. The adoption of a new principle of character . "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind." Renewed in the central springs of being. The assimilation of our character to the grandest ideal which after God is created, and so on.—D.T.

- The Pulpit Commentary