Second Helping: Ephesians 4:17-24

Here are some additional notes from my sermon on Ephesians 4:17-24. The sermon itself can be found here.

1. I have really enjoyed St. Chrysostom’s homilies on Ephesians. His illustrations have been a particular delight. My preaching is not strong on illustrations. He has been a great prod for me to get better at illuminating my points by illustrating them. For example, as he preached on Ephesians 4:19 and the phrase “being past feeling” he said this: “Though thou apply the word to them like fire or steel, yet nothing touches, nothing reaches them; their limb is utterly dead.” Most of his illustrations are like this one, short and taken from everyday life. John Calvin’s sermon illustrations are a lot like Chrystostom’s.

2. There is debate on whether the phrases in Ephesians 4:22-24, “put off and put on” should be translated as something past or something we are to do.  Have we put off the old man and put on the new? (See Colossians 3:9)  Or are we to put off the old man and put on the new? (See Romans 13:14) There are good arguments for both.  I think the context, especially 4:25-5:2, would point towards the latter translation.  In this section, Paul is exhorting us to action. He has already devoted several chapters to discussing who we are. (Chapter 1-3)  Now he is telling us how we are to live.

3. Charles Hodge and John Calvin both think the last part 4:24, (which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness, NKJV) is about the restoration of the image of God in us, which was lost when Adam fell. Here is what John Calvin says, “The regeneration of the godly is indeed…nothing else than the formation anew of the image of God in them.”  And later, “The design contemplated by regeneration is to recall us from our wanderings to that end for which we were created.”

4. “Truth” in verse 21 is a reference to moral truth, or ethical truth. Paul is saying, “how we are to live is found by looking at Jesus.”