By Dr. Harry Bultema
We are going to concentrate this study on the five men of Ephesians. We will call your attention to them as we progress in our study.
- “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the Law of Commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace” (Eph. 2:15). As we think of Christ making Himself of twain one new man, our thoughts can go back to the morning of Creation. After God had made all things, He said, “Let us make man in our own image and likeness.” The Holy Trinity had a special conference when God wished to make a being in His own image and likeness. This is much more reasonable to believe than to hold that there was once a bit of protoplasm in the seas from which all of the big fish and sea monsters originated and that these fish and animals threw themselves on to land and developed legs, feathers, fur, etc., for an existence upon land. Evolution cannot be rightly termed unbelief for it is belief in a million of absurdities. The Christian simply takes God at His Word.
The man God originally made rebelled against Him and after 6,000 years, he is still in open rebellion against his Creator as it is so clearly seen today. In Ephesians 2:15 we find that God created one new man whom He creates through Christ for without Him nothing is made that was made. He was the Creator of the first man and is the Creator of the new man. The name Adam means “red clay” and out of clay he was made. The second creation is red with His own blood, the blood of the Cross. The new man is made in Himself. This means that he is forever safe and secure. In Christ the new man is more safe than the great Cherub before God’s throne in Heaven. There the great and shining Lucifer fell. He is safer than Adam in Paradise for there, he, too, fell and was driven from the presence of God. He is more safe in Christ than with God in the Holy Land for there Israel fell and was scattered from Him. Praise God for the blessed security in Christ.
Christ “gave Himself for our sins” (Gal. 1:4). The Apostle wrote: “Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). “Christ made Himself of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7). “Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it”(Eph. 5:25). Christ “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). He “offered up Himself” and “purged our sins” (Heb. 1:3; 7:27). Oh, how we ought to extol the blessed Christ Who did all this for us. When we speak of our blessings and experiences, we can easily over-exaggerate but it is impossible to make over-statements concerning our wonderful Savior.
He made “twain in Himself one new man.” Here is a contrast to the first creation. There He made of one, twain; here, He makes of twain, one. The old creation was divided, the new is unified. The twain of our text, of course, refers to Jew and Gentile.
- “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16). The inner man stands opposed to the outward man of 2 Corinthians 4:16 and also to the old man of Romans 6:6, Ephesians 54:22, and Colossians 3:9. He also stands in opposition to the natural and carnal man of Romans 8:6 and the body of death of Romans 7:23. From 1 Peter 3:4 we see that the women have “the hidden man of the heart” as well as the men. The inner man is the same as the “good work” mentioned in Philippians 1:6. It is also the same as the new life which is hid with Christ in God. This is the nature that has become partaker of the Divine nature and life. It is not the old man in an improved and new edition. It is not at all the outward man made over. NO, but the inner man is Christ formed in the heart of the believer (Col. 1:27; Gal. 4:19).
The inner man should be filled with strength and heavenly energy. The heart of the unsaved man is Satan’s throne and workshop. There sin sways the scepter undisputedly. It is desperately wicked and incurable. On the other hand, the inner man is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is the habitation of God in the Spirit. The work here translated “might” is “dynamos” from which we have our word dynamite. It stands for great power rather than authority. God wants His own to be filled with inner power and not with outward might. Life has always been strenuous and He wants to see His own un-swayed and unmoveable.
- “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). What is the meaning of perfect man as used in this text? I have seen this verse referred to by our perfectionist brethren in an attempt to prove that a Christian can live a sinless life. But in doing this, they were sinning against all rules of interpretation, because in this very same chapter the Apostle writes of lying (vs. 25), anger and wrath (vs. 26), stealing (vs. 28), corrupt communication (vs. 29), and verse 31 mentions six sins of which the Christian can be guilty.
Others take the term perfect man to mean the oneness of the believers with Christ and this unity in itself is a most blessed fact but is mentioned earlier in the chapter (vss. 4-6). What is spoken of in the two verses referred to have nothing to do with the perfect man. We need only to ask four questions in order to answer this view.
(a) Have all believers come to the full measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ? NO!
(b) Have all believers come to the epignosis, i.e., the full and final knowledge of the Son of God? And again the answer is NO. However, there is no perfect man without this knowledge.
(c) Have all believers come to the maturity of perfect manhood? NO.
(d) Have all believers come to the full measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ? It still remains NO.
These questions have all been answered in light of present-day facts as they are. Facts never contradict the faith and faith never contradicts the facts as they are presented to us. The expression “till we all come” reminds us of the phrase that points us to the coming of the Lord. This is the thought also in the Apostle’s mind for he is not thinking of the unity of the believers in general; that is an established fact. The general unity of Ephesians 4:4-6 is not the one pointed out by the “till” for that is already a blessed reality: an established One Spirit, One Hope, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father. All the world and all Hell cannot change this seven-fold unity of the saints.
The Apostle here is clearly thinking of something that will become a bright reality in the future. What is this bright and glorious reality that soars before the Apostle’s mind? It is not unity but the manifestation of unity. That is just the thing that is so sadly lacking in our day. All must admit that today there is no such manifestation.
Has this unity already been here and we somehow lost it? NO, remember, the unity has already been here but its manifestation has never been seen in the history of the Church. It was not found in Corinth with its Petrine, Pauline, Appoline, and Christ denominations. It was certainly not found in the post-Apostolic period and even less in the dark ages that followed. It was not found in the days of the renaissance nor in the days of the Reformation for even between the reformers, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, it was lacking. In the post-reformation period and in the days of rationalism, the believers fought most bitterly over non-essential points. The days of the French Revolution and the revivals that followed have presented the sad spectacle of divided believers.
Some are optimistic and think that this will all change sometime in the near future when Christians come to see the folly of division. What ground is there for such expectation? Can they be past and present facts? What a poor guarantee these are for the future. Is it not a fact that “splitting” and “schisms” in the Body of believers are multiplying with increasing tempo? Is it not an honest fact that the confusion and shame of a divided Christendom is greater than ever? Is it not a fact that the children of God feel this keenly and are really heartbroken about it and seemingly stand powerless against this fact? All these are undeniable facts, beloved, but thanks be to Him, the Author of the unity of believers, because He will bring about the future manifestation of this unity. When, in His mercy, He takes us unto Himself and fashions us like unto Himself, we shall no longer see through a glass darkly as we do now. We will not know in part or bit by bit as now. In the light of His face, we cannot be divided on any article of faith. We shall then be perfect theologians and fully know the mind of the Spirit. We will have a perfect knowledge, the knowledge of the Son of God. We will remember how limited, how dim, how puny, and how weak our knowledge was in this life. Praise His name!
- “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22). The man of this text is a strange old fellow but we see and come in contact with him daily everywhere. He is 6,000 years of age and as cold as an iceberg; cold, because he is dead in his trespasses and sins. He is highly critical, irritable, touchy, loving gold more than God. He has many alias’ but the “old Adam” is the best known. He is not irreligious or un-churchy but he is implacably hostile to the Lord Jesus. He is hopelessly bad in himself. Many have tried to reform and improve him and in the end have been highly unsuccessful. Even God cannot improve for He crucified and buried him at Calvary. Yea, old Adam is dead and buried, Christian friend, why not reckon him so? In our verse under consideration, he is described as “corrupt according to deceitful lusts.” Have nothing to do with him; shun and starve him for he is constantly warring against the new man in Christ.
- “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Here is the regenerate man, the new creation in Christ who never needs to be “put away.” This new man is the one accepted in the Beloved, created in holiness and righteousness. The image of God is restored in this new man.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.”
My dear friend, is Christ your Savior? Put your trust in Him (His sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection) and accept His loving invitation today. And, my dear Christian friend, serve Him with a renewed zeal and love.