God’s Psychology from One Commentary on Ephesians
A Commitment to Ultimate Integration in Christ
Part I of the Commitment.
If you are to get it all together in your life IN CHRIST with some assistance from the Word of God in Ephesians about God’s Psychology. In other words, you should after reading Ephesians know what to do. In order to get that ultimate integration IN CHRIST commitment going, let us see where we are going in a brief outline of God’s Psychology in Ephesians; for of all the preachers you hear or know of would you not like to hear your recommended path and way of life from the Creator, God our Heavenly Father, that knows you best! Then here is an integrated short outline of all you were meant to be when “God from before the foundation of the earth, chose you IN CHRIST.”
God’s Psychology in Ephesians 4-6
Have you noticed, and no doubt you have, that after you have listened one hour to a preacher, you don’t know what to do with the information? Teaching and preaching for results, in the words of Dr. Edge, is not always to goal of every preacher. Some, like in Conferences, just want your two hundred dollars, to come back to another one, and to simulate a Christian revival among millenniums with a simultaneous assembly of 48,000. Or such a dynamic speaker when you shift through all the many words, simple has to say to you “Increase your word of faith by taking a risk”. Not enough, and even questionable as that was what Satan told Jesus during the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness, “Just test your faith by casting yourself off this high place as God has said that He will not allow you to cast your foot against a stone.”
Sometimes there are disagreements in college psychology between behaviorism and cognitive psychology; well, below you will notice that God’s psychology has aspects in it for both behavioral modification in “Walking” (short for living a certain life style) and the cognitive psychology of bad and good attitudes, of mental proverbs, of a readiness for battle with fighting sandals, and above the love vector of the essence of Ephesians.
- Ephesians chapters 4-6: GOD’S PSYCHOLOGY.
- Implementation of the Teachings.
- Behavioral Modification, Walking.
- Fighting Sandals.
- Proverbs from Ephesians.
- Bad Attitudes.
- Ephesians chapters 4,5: ESSENCE OF EPHESIANS.
- 10 Commandments of Ephesians.
- Specifics of the 4:17 thru 5:9 Passage.
- A Liar?
- Love’s Ingredients in Ephesians.
- Some Finals on the Exegesis.
Did you ever notice how long it takes for some people to say, “good bye?” Well, it takes Paul in Ephesians three chapters, 4-6, to give his parting words. Actually, a few parting words in chapter 4; and primarily in chapters five and six, the parting words of Paul on the glorious truths that God has given to him. These parting words are encouragements to implement the teachings and doctrines that have already been presented. In this One commentary, they are divided into two categories: (l) those affecting our behavior and centered around the word “walking”; and (2) those affecting our attitude and which this author calls “Proverbs from Ephesians.”
Implementation of Teachings
Pardon another illustration from technology; but we do speak of what we know, and we do live in a technical society like Henry Adams wrote of. Implementation is important in technology, especially electronics technology. It is noteworthy to have a good design on paper and on the drawing board, but it is also important to implement that design in the “state-of-the-art” of high technology and with good manufacturing processes. As well, skillful and knowledgeable technicians are required. It is a long way from the drawing board to the fully implemented product; and it is a vast distance from the great doctrines of God to the practical implementation in a Christian life. In “Peace and Unity”, and in “Oneness from God” we started that transition from doctrine to the practical’s; now, the wrap-up.
Stott says in his commentary on Ephesians, GOD’S NEW SOCIETY, related to the beginning of Ephesians 4: “So he (Paul) turns from exposition exhortation, from what God has done (in the indicative) to what we must be and do (in the imperative)…from mind-stretching theology to its down-to-earth, concrete implications in everyday living.”
That explains what is meant by implementation for Christians–down-to-earth concrete implications! and everyday living. Implementation is the impression gained as one reads through the last three chapters of Ephesians in the King Janes Version. You’ve heard of letting your fingers do the walking through the yellow pages. Well, the Christian literally walks through the last half of Ephesians. In 4:1 the Christian is to walk worthy of the vocation! In 4:17, he is not to walk as other Gentiles walk, in 5:2 he is to walk in love, in 5:15 he is to walk circumspectly, and then in 6:15 he is to put on the sandals of the gospel of peace in order that he may fight like a soldier. Brother, that is action! That is implementation of teaching into practice. You cannot sit still and think about it if you are walking. Walking implies doing something. It reminds us of the great Commission of Jesus “Go ye therefore…” The admonition at the beginning of Paul’s parting words, to spare no effort, cannot be taken seriously unless we start walking and we start going,
Paul stops preaching and goes to meddling.
You have God’s program) it is to bring the whole universe under a unity in Christ. You have God’s plant It Is the gospel of the cross of Christ and of the church of Christ* You have God’s power 1 It Is from the Promised Holy Spirit* Now, It Is time for God’s promotions “Spare no effort to make fast with bonds of peace the unity which the Spirit gives.” (Ephesians 4:3 NEV) You have God’s foundation for peace one Lord, one faith, one hope, one baptism, one Spirit, one body, and one God.
Behavioral. Modifications Walking
This commentary divides part of Paul’s parting words into the category of those that affect our behavior. You hear a great deal today about behavioral modification—in psychology, In education, in management, and even in smoking. Well, this is God’s ordained program for behavioral change.
Ephesians 4:1 : “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.,.” (KJV)
Ephesians 4:17: “…walk not as other Gentiles walk, In the vanity of the mind…” (KJV)
Ephesians 5:2 : “And walk in love, as Christ also loved us…” (KJV)
Ephesians 5:15: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil,” (KJV)
Then in chapter six we pass from walking to fighting, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (6:15 (KJV)
As we walk through Ephesians 4-6, the book of Romans and the book of John will be our commentators on Ephesians. This custom was announced at the beginning of our study together. What Romans has to say, and John has to say along with light from the whole Bible will enhance our understanding of walking worthily, differently, in love, circumspectly, and then going to war with sandals of peace.
Paul really starts meddling on the first walk. He is even trying to tell us how to walk. “Walk worthily,” he says.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, for bearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” (Ephesians 4:1-3 KJV)
Do you want something to do, here it is, walk worthy of your Christian vocation! And from an unquestionable source, even if were only for the Apostle Paul, prisoner for the Gentiles, that is us, to get the message; but much more as part of the inspired Word of God, divine in origin, absolute in authority, and sufficient in message on what to think and do!
In the New English Version, it is “I intreat you, then—I, a prisoner for the Lord’s sake as God has called you, live up to your calling.”
This serves to remind us that our primary calling or vocation is to be a Christian, whether we are a farmer, engineer, preacher, or whatever, first, our calling or vocation is to be a follower after Christ, one of God’s children. Elton Trueblood makes this emphasis in his book Your Other Vocation. Your other vocation according to Trueblood is the one by which you make your living or career, your primary vocation is that of being a Christian.
Paul spells out in specific detail what it is to walk worthily.
Ephesians 4:2. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another In love,” (KJV)
And the same verse in the NEV: “Be humble always and gentle, and patient too. Be for bearing with one another and charitable.”
See how good it is to have clear instructions from our Living God on how to live and walk, five characteristics of walking worthily for God to use to modify the behavior of the Christian. Both versions mention the word “agape”: it is love in KJV and charitable in NEV; longsuffering In KJV and patient in NEV, which certainly must have the same practical implications for us; lowliness in the KJV and humble in the NEV mean about the same thing; and finally, meekness and gentle imply the same behavior.
By the way, I didn’t write the book of Ephesians or the other verses about to be used to illuminate it, as if I needed to remind you. This is God’s Word to you and to me, I will make a few comments, but it is your responsibility to search the scripture to see if these things are so. That is the job of any Christian, to search and know Scripture, no age limitations, young or old.
- Humble and with all lowliness. W. 0. Carver says in his commentary on The Glory of God in the Christian Calling of this: “This worthy walk will, then, have to be ‘with all lowliness and meekness’ as to one’s importance and relative standing; not demanding personal recognition or consideration but unselfishly serving. And when contacts prove irritating or discouraging, one’s attitude and conduct must be characterized by unfailing patience, longsuffering.”
The dictionary defines humble as, “having or showing awareness of one’s defects; not proud; not self-assertive.”
Romans comments on the subject; “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” (12:16 KJV)
NOTE: You will see this attitude from Romans 12:16 very absent from Passion Conference leaders, who let you know that they have the answers on everything. Just remember each generation has those would be leaders with a unique message and simulated revival. Ask yourself if they just want to make money and status out of you, or like the pastor of your local church provide you a real ministry.
- Meekness and gentle.
According to Stott, “Meekness (praotes) was warmly applauded by Aristotle. Because he hated extremes and loved ‘the golden mean’, he saw in praotes the quality of Moderation, ‘the mean between being too angry and never being angry at all.’” Stott also furnishes a good definition of meekness—one contrary to what is often thought! “…it is the quality of a strong personality who is nevertheless master of himself and the servant of others. Barclay’s definition of meekness is “the absence of the disposition to assert personal rights, either in the presence of God or of men.”
- Longsuffering and patient.
This characteristic of human behavior is best illustrated by the example of God Himself “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Pet. 3:9 KJV)
Forbearing must be a good word for this characteristic of walking worthily, for it is used in the two versions quoted earlier. It, “anoche” in Greek, is also mentioned in Ephesians 6:9, with an admonish to supervisors.
“And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening, knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” (KJV)
- Love or charitable.
Always we come back to the love vector. Always, there is the attempt to look ahead and keep Christians from leaving their first love. Love covers the other characteristics of walking worthily. According to I Corinthians 13 love suffers a long time. It is kind, does not envy, and does not build itself up. Love does not behave unseemly. Love does not rejoice in evil. Love beareth all things— this is certainly longsuffering and love never fails.
“This I say therefore and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind…” (Ephesians 4:17 KJV)
I think we can all benefit from such a serious study. Hold UP these ideal characteristics of one that strives to spare no effort to make fast with bonds of peace the unity which the Spirit gives; compare ourselves to them; and then where we find ourselves to fall short, to modify our own behavior. We don’t need a psychologist to do that, only God’s Word.
Walking differently reminds one of the Before and After conditions of the Christian life. Other Gentiles are still dead in trespasses and sins; still walk according to the course of this world and still fulfill the desires of their flesh. Not that Christians don’t do these things to a certain extent. We all are sinners, some saved sinners and some unsaved. And there are three great differences between the saved and the unsaved sinner (l) on the After side of salvation, we confess our sins and God is faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness; (2) on the After side of salvation, our affections are above; and (3) on the After side of salvation, sinning is an exception rather than the general rule.
NOTE: Try this prayer often. “Heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ and my faith in Him, forgive my sins, cleanse me from all unrighteousness, and create in me a clean heart, a clean mind, and a right attitude. Amen.”
John R. V, Stott calls this section of Ephesians “A new set of clothes” as part of God’s New Society. It is an excellent treatment of the verses that herein is called walking differently. Some of his statements–
“The gist of his message is plainly, you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,”
“Yet just as there is a typical Christian life, so there is a typical pagan life,”
“What is immediately noteworthy is the apostle’s emphasis on the intellectual factor in everybody’s way of life.”
First, it is walk different from what? Found in verses Ephesians 4:17-19, this is another description of the Before condition, Stott calls it the pagan life. …he seems to be depicting the terrible downward path of evil, they pass from obstinacy to darkness to death or Judgment to recklessness. Thus, hardness of heart leads first to darkness of mind, then to deadness of soul under the Judgment of God, and finally to recklessness of life. Having lost all sensitivity, people lose all self-control. It is exactly the sequence which Paul elaborates in the latter part of Romans 1.”
NOTE: Dr. Peter Jones is one Presbyterian preacher and scholar from Harvard that you can have confidence in, and please recall his prediction that paganism and Gnosticism is rapidly gaining control of Biblical studies, theology, and democratic preaching.
Second, it is walk different. How? Found in verses Ephesians 4:20-24, this is another description of the After in Christ condition. “.. .Paul sets a whole process of Christian moral education.” (Stott) Stott sees the sequence of the After condition of the Christian’s life or education as (1) they learned Christ; (2) they heard him; and (3) they were taught in him.
“According to the first, Christ Is Himself the substance of Christian teaching.”
“Secondly, Christ who is the substance of the teaching is Himself also the teacher.”
“Thirdly, they had been taught in Him.”
In short, walking differently is not necessarily to walk in an odd manner, but in such a manner and method that others can tell the difference between us and other Gentiles. Romans says it like this: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1,2 KJV)
Walk in Love.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us…” (Ephesians 5:2 KJV)
Back to love again. Paul has prayed for us to comprehend the length, height, breadth, and depth of love that is beyond understanding, to love like Christ loved when He died on the cross. In the words of NEV: “In a word, as God’s dear children, try to be like him, and live in love as Christ loved you, and gave himself up on your behalf as an offering and sacrifice whose fragrance is pleasing to God.” Another challenge to the love vector, but it is moving; for if we are walking with it, then it must have the dimension of time.
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV)
In the NEV: “Be most careful then how you conduct yourselves like sensible men, not like simpletons. Use the present opportunity to the full, for these are evil days. So, do not be fools, but try to understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
- Walking circumspectly is to redeem or buy up each moment of time.
Time shares it seconds, moments, hours with every creature born,
With each new day from morn to eve and then from eve to Morn,
Each one is given equal chance to make his choice of use, if he will from it profit gain or mar it with abuse.
- Walking circumspectly is to try to understand what the will of the Lord is. It is not easy, and it doesn’t just fall out of the sky or else the Apostle Paul would not say, “…try to understand…” You probably will not learn how to walk or live circumspectly by the questionable preaching of some fly-by-night preacher.
- Walking circumspectly is to walk with singleness of purpose with our eyes straight ahead, fixed on Christ and with our affections above. It reminds one of the military orders for standing guard duty, “I will walk my post in a military manner keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
“I will talk to no one except in the line of duty.”
“I will repeat all calls more distant from the guardhouse than my own.”
The soldier or sailor on guard duty has one purpose for being there and the Christian has one function—the glory of God in the Christian calling.
Finally, In God’s behavioral modification given in Paul’s parting words we pass from walking to running to fighting. It is God’s analogy In His Word, not simply the words or thoughts of this preacher. “Put on the whole amour of God, that ye nay be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:1 KJV)
“Fight the good fight of faith,” we are told.
And passing from walking to running to fighting reminds one of Isaiah 40:31: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.” (KJV)
Put on the sandals of the gospel of peace, we are told. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15 KJV)
These are warriors’ shoes that the Apostle Paul is talking about as he writes from prison, watching the Ronan soldier go about his duties in a military manner. They were cleated shoes much like the track athlete wears, designed to dig into the earth and give firm footing. Simpson says of this: “The chief requisite regarding an army’s shoe-leather consists in facility of motion. Long marches formed one of Julius Caesar’s most successful tactics again and again, his picked troops vanquished their enemies by surprising them unawares. Alexander had practiced the same device long before. Readiness for the field, qualification for expeditious mobility, such as the Caligae or military shoe of the Roman legionaries was designed to facilitate, presents an appropriate emblem of the adaptation of the gospel watchword to give alacrity to the evangelical soldier,”
THE EMPHASIS, HOWEVER, IS ON PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. It is not on walking for the sake of walking or exercise. It is not on marching or running or even fighting. The end goal or objective, the singleness of purpose if you will for the soldier walking his post in a military manner, is on preparation for the gospel of peace. It is the same emphasis, only in different words, found in the scripture when we read “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (I Peter 3:15b KJV)
And it reminds one of Romans 10:15: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!” (KJV)
The emphasis, repeatedly, is on preparation and on the gospel of peace. That gospel of peace is given in the same passage from Romans that talks about feet prepared to walk with the gospel, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy hearts that is, the word of faith, which we preach,” (Romans 10:8 KJV)
NOTE: This is the real word of faith (WOF) of the Bible rather than what you will hear in fly-by-night self-appointed and self-called preachers, or those that have been perverted after a breakdown or self-inflicted accident, becoming Satan influenced according to his wiles of the 3 main temptations to have the world, to risk by tempting God, or to live by bread alone. It is so close that you don’t to take a risk to find it; in fact, once you believe IN CHRIST, it is right there in your mouth. It is in your heart already so that you do not have to do some weird ways and things to get it. It is the word of faith that is always preached in the Bible, the kind of faith that saves souls.
And then the gospel of peace is spelled out: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness^ and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9,10 KJV)
As usual you may free download this blog/message on God’s Psychology in Ephesians of the Gospel of God’s Psychology from One Commentary on Ephesians