2009-10-21 - How Have You Learned Christ?
Ephesians 4:20, 21, "But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus."
We have to begin by commenting that this passage starts with a "but," so it is in reference to what has been said previously. Paul is telling the Ephesians that they have not learned Christ in a manner that is in accord with the world. Christians are different. Paul says right before this "but" that the "Gentiles," which is a reference to those outside of Christ, are "darkened in their understanding," "excluded from the life of God," "walk in the futility of their mind," are full of "ignorance," have hard hearts, are "callous," and are given over to "sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness." That is the "but" reference. Paul says that Christ gives us another way, a better way, and Paul continues, in this passage, (which I encourage you to read) to admonish us to put off this "old self," and to put on the "new self" found only in Jesus Christ. It is a good consideration for us this day. We have learned Christ different, if we have learned Him at all, than the things we find in the world.
In our verses, Paul speaks of having learned Christ. We don't usually learn a person. We can know all the data about Christ from Scripture, and not know Christ. It is more than that. We can read our Bible and be very familiar with it, but not have "learned Christ." So what does Paul mean? Certainly he is making a distinction here between knowing of Christ, and knowing Christ and there is a difference. It means that we must know Christ as a personal Christ, as our Messiah. We need to know the Christ that we have spoken to, and Who has spoken to us in His Word. We know his heart, his voice speaking into our lives. The Christian knows Christ in a way that is unique. It is personally living with our Savior, trusting Him in all we do, are, and aspire to be. For many, Jesus is just a name to be held in reverence, but the Christian knows Him, really knows Him, and has intimacy with Christ.
Knowing Christ is a personal experience with the Savior. It is a personal experience of both His power to save, and His power to change our lives. It is surrendering ourselves unto Him. Scripture tells us of three offices that Christ holds: Prophet, Priest, and King. In His prophetic role, He, by the Holy Spirit draws us to Himself. In His priestly role, He made atonement for our sin and reconciled us to God. He also serves today to continually make intercession for us before God the Father (Hebrews 7:25). In His office as our king, He subdues us to Himself, rules and defends us, restrains and conquers all His and our enemies. Do you know this Christ? Have you so learned Him? This is having learned Christ. It really is a package deal. We get one, and we have all, because Christ cannot be separated from His offices, and His offices cannot be divided from one another. As our passage says, the "truth is in Jesus" - and it is our wisdom - to get deep into Christ and His truth.
Soli Deo Gloria,