SUMMARY.--The Exhortation to Unity. The Seven Bonds of Unity. The Various Gifts Given to the Church. The Offices for Its Edification. The Church Compacted in Christ. The Gentiles Called from Their Former Lives. A New and Holy Life Commanded.
14-16. That we henceforth be no more children. This should be the aim; to reach a stature such that we are no more froward children. Children are feeble, inexperienced, and easily deceived. Tossed. Tossed about like a wave by every wind of doctrine. It is "doctrines," in great part, which have broken up unity. By the sleight of men. Their tricks. And cunning craftiness. Craft and cunning, employed by teachers of false doctrine in order to deceive. There can be little doubt that Paul refers to the false teachers against whom he warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:30 . 15. Speaking the truth in love. Truth is never to give way to false doctrine, but it must be spoken in love. Some cling to the truth tenaciously, but forget to speak it in love. May grow. This continues the characteristics of those "who are no longer children." They should grow up into him in all things. In all their growth there should be a growth of Christ's traits, a growth into his likeness. In all their growth there should be a growth of Christ's traits, a growth into his likeness. 16. From whom. The Head of the body, the church. He is the source of all life, power and growth in the body. Fitly framed together. The body of Christ, composed of many individuals, is one, like a building composed of many parts framed together. Through that which every joint supplieth. As in the body every joint and part does its work towards compacting the body into a harmonious whole, and towards its growth, so in the body of Christ every member deriving life from the Head is to work in his place, and harmoniously, for the increase of the body.
17-19. This I say, therefore. Now, after the statement of the great principles named in verses 3-16 , Paul returns to the exhortation of verses 1-3 . Walk not as other Gentiles. Having come out from the heathen and abandoned all their sins. The vanity of their mind. Vanity of mind means what is a waste of life. 18. Having the understanding darkened. He shows how the Gentiles walk in vanity. They are in darkness, unenlightened by the gospel. Alienated. Without the spiritual life that comes from knowing God. Because of blindness of heart. The idea is a willful blindness. 19. Who being past feeling. Having trampled conscience under foot until it is calloused. Having silenced its admonitions, they give themselves over to licentiousness and evil. This description is not overdrawn. Purity of life was not even considered a virtue among the Gentiles of that period.
20-24. But ye have not so learned Christ. You are Gentiles by birth, like those just described, but you have learned otherwise from Christ. 21. If so be that ye have heard him. This does not express a doubt that they had heard and been taught by Christ. The idea is: If ye have heard, etc., as I know you have, you have been taught the truth in Jesus, that ( verse 22 ) ye put off concerning the former manner of life the old man and his deeds. "The old man" is the old sinful life, in contrast with "the new man," or new life in Christ. 23. And be renewed. That is, be made new by having a new mind, or spirit. See Rom. 12:2 . 24. And that ye put on the new man. He who has a new mind within him is a new man. He who is born anew, "of water and of the Spirit" ( John 3:5 ), is newly created in righteousness. This is still part of what they were taught ( verse 21 ). The new creation described took place at conversion.
25-28. Wherefore. Since you were so taught, putting away falsehood, speak the truth. We are members of one another. All members of one Christian household; hence every member has a right to the truth. 26. Be ye angry, and sin not. Quoted from Psalm 4:4 , Septuagint Version. Do not sin through anger is the thought. If circumstances arouse your indignation, do not be led astray. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Let there be no long continuance of your wrathful mind. 27. Neither give place to the devil. By cherishing anger. A person under the dominion of anger is in a fit state to be tempted to evil deeds. 28. Let him that stole. All sorts of sinners had been converted among the Gentiles, even thieves. In this exhortation, "To put off the old man and his deeds" ( verse 22 ), this class is embraced also by name. Let him labor. Honest labor is the best antidote to a dishonest life. Every man is to labor in order that he may not only supply his needs, but have that which he can give.
29-32. Let no corrupt communication. What is rotten. Anything that will demoralize others. Obscene, licentious, or immoral language is forbidden. All that the Christian speaks should be that which is good to the use of edifying, building the hearers up in Christ. 30. Grieve not the Holy Spirit. Such sins as those described above grieve the Holy Spirit, nor will he continue to dwell those addicted to them. Sealed unto the day of redemption. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is an earnest, a proof, an assurance of the final redemption. See 1:13 . If we grieve him away, the seal will be gone. 31, 32. These verses enforce sundry duties essential to keeping "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" plain, every-day duties of life. Those of verse 31 are negative; those of verse 32 are positive.