Ephesians 4:1-3, Exegesis, part 2 (Who is called by God?).

Class Outline:

Wednesday September 23, 2020

The NT is written in Koine Greek or common Greek of the first century. There are excellent English translations, some better than others, but even with the best of these, it is important to get a deeper meaning and nuance by looking at the original Greek text. And in case you did not know, no one possesses the originals, but so many copies of them have been discovered over the centuries that we can compare them all, finding almost all textual errors that inevitably come from copying, resulting in a copy of the original text that is almost without variants, and where we do still find variants so far unresolved, none of them (words or passages) affect any doctrine.


EPH 4:1-3

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


First, we will review the Greek words which we have already seen.

The first word in the sentence is “entreat.”


“I entreat (beseech) you …” - parakaleo = to call to one’s side. It is used of every kind of calling to a person which is meant to produce a particular effect, hence it has various translations: comfort, exhort, desire, call for, beseech.


“ego” - I [entreat] = emphatic personal pronoun. He doesn’t need to use it, but does to emphasize his authority as apostle.


“walk” - peripateo = our lifestyle. Walk worthy of God (1TH 2:12), of the Lord (COL 1:10), walk by the Spirit (GAL 5:16), walk as children of light (EPH 5:8), walk in newness of life (ROM 6:4), walk by faith (2CO 5:7).


There are others.


Walk worthy of the calling (klesis: noun) with which you were called (aorist passive indicative of kaleo: verb). Using both the noun and the verb brings emphasis on our calling. Paul emphasizes his authority as an apostle in exhorting us, and he emphasizes our calling or election as what he is exhorting us to.


You were called - aorist passive indicative of kaleo = at salvation God called you. You couldn’t call yourself.


Aorist points to the moment of your salvation, passive means that God called you and that no one elects themselves, and the indicative means that your calling is not in doubt.


It is of extreme importance that a believer know without a doubt that he is elected. I read and hear of false doctrines concerning salvation hitting the church, which they always have. It may be that lordship salvation is making another surge against the church, which states, sometimes very blatantly and sometime more subtly, that unless your life is completely holy then you’re probably not saved; carnal Christians are out. Such a lie, not in the scripture, though the scripture implores us to be holy it does not at all state that our salvation depends upon it, can plant seeds of doubt in a son or daughter of God who is struggling with certain weaknesses.


Election is the confidence of knowing that God has severed you from Adam that will give you the power to overcome the Adamic nature.


The fact that salvation is not of works means that all the doing is on God’s end, and yet that wonderful truth has led Satan to exploit doubt. If it is a gift from God, a gracious gift, then how do we know we possess it? Is there a determinative, measurable sign that we are saved people? Contrarily, Satan marks his own during the Tribulation.


As we have noted, a saved person, made new in Christ, has the obligation to live holy and blameless. That calling was made by God and not ourselves. If salvation had an element of our own work then we would potentially be able to measure it. Like running a race, we could determine if we crossed the finish line or not. But there is no race to salvation. And for those who promote salvation by works, or some works, there is no way to measure what is sufficient, plus, pastors and theologians who espouse that falsehood do not agree on the amount of works needed. It is obvious why they cannot. God doesn’t tell us anything of the sort.


ROM 3:21-4:5

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.


31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.


4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,


We all run the race set before us after we enter the new and living way. A race is the imagery used by Paul and the writer of Hebrews for our striving and reaching ahead to our upward call. Certainly, it is not a literal race in which we compete with one another, wearing numbers, crossing some designated finish-line. Yet we run with vigor, “Run in such a way that you may win.”


The fact that some claiming to be Christians and some claiming to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ might seem to have questionable character and lifestyles, or are found out to be hypocrites, and to the contrary, some claiming to be Christians look very much like humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, and love, and this brings about a dilemma in the Christian community. Never let a crisis go to waste, is one of Satan’s creeds. He has exploited this dilemma.


1CO 1:2

to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling,


1CO 3:1 … 3

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ… you are still fleshly.



The dilemma has brought about lordship salvation theories.


The pastor of a church can be a very powerful position. He can influence many minds on what matters most, the spiritual life. He can be tempted by that power to inflict personal opinions.


1TI 3:1-7

It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.