Ephesians Chapter 4


Paul begins this section of Ephesians by once again mentioning that he is a prisoner because of his service to Christ. The implication is “if I can do this in my circumstances then you certainly can as well.” He then begins to exhort the Ephesians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. It is good to note that Paul spent the previous three chapters telling of all the wonderful things that God has done for us who are in Christ before he begins to speak of what our manner of living should now be like. First we learn to sit in heavenly places with Christ (2:6) and then we are able to begin walking in a manner that is worthy of our calling. Relationship first and then our behavior will not become a matter of performing to please God but the anointed outflow of Christ’s life now residing in us.

Unity is one of the marks of a mature believer walking daily in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells the Ephesians to "walk in unity". With humility, gentleness, longsuffering, forbearance and love, they should be diligent to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The unity of the Spirit is then defined as consisting of one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God (1-6).

Perhaps as motivation, Paul reminds them of the gracious gifts Christ gave His church following His ascension to heaven. Such gifts included the offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, which are designed to equip the saints for ministry and bring the body of Christ to maturity. In this way, it should not be misled by false doctrine, but instead by speaking the truth in love should grow in Christ as each member does it share (7-16).

The last half of this chapter addresses the need to "walk in purity". Contrasting how they once walked as Gentiles in licentiousness and greediness, they are reminded of the truth which is in Jesus. This truth calls upon them to put off the old man with its deceitful lusts, to be renewed in the spirit of their mind, and to put on the new man that is created in righteousness and holiness. Therefore they are called upon to put away lying, anger, theft, and all forms of evil speaking and instead, they are to speak with truth and grace, work hard to help those in need, and be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving just as God has forgiven them in Christ (17-32). If we walk in purity we will not grieve the Holy Spirit by whom we were sealed for the day of redemption.[1]

[1]This summary is adapted from Executable Outlines, Mark A. Copeland, 2001, Ephesians, executableoutlines.com/pdf/ep_se.pdf