20 “But that is not the way you learned Christ! — 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,” (Ephesians 4:20–21 (ESV).
Believers in Christ are to no longer be callused, sensual and greedy (Ephesians 4:19). That was the way, to a greater or lesser extent, we used to live. It was our life prior to our justification by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-5:11). It was our living prior to our sanctification unto holiness by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6-8).
The Apostle Paul gives his readers three words describing the new birth (John 3:1-8). He provides three phrases describing the inner change which God has accomplished in our souls.
First is the word learned; But that is not the way you learned Christ! To learn (μανθάνω; manthano) means to understand or to come to realize a truth. This is a personal and inward understanding which actively impacts the believer in Christ. It is a stark contrast to our lack of desire and understanding of Christ prior to salvation.
I Corinthians 2:14 says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” The unconverted individual lacks supernatural life and wisdom to comprehend God’s Word. These spiritually dead individuals are unable to understand the truth from, and of, God (John 5:37-39).
When the apostle refers to Christ, he is referring to all that Jesus Christ is and all which He accomplished while on this earth (Hebrews 1:1-13; I John 1:1-4). Therefore, the learning of which Paul speaks is not solely a knowledge about Jesus Christ, but rather a saving knowledge of Christ.
Nineteenth century theologian Charles Hodge states, “To learn Christ does not mean merely to learn His doctrines, but to attain the knowledge of Christ as the Son of God, the Holy One of God, the Savior from sin, Who to know is holiness and life. Anyone who has thus learned Christ cannot live in darkness and sin. Such knowledge is in its very nature, light. Where it enters, the mind is irradiated, refined and purified.”
Have you been so irradiated, refined and purified by the knowledge of Christ? Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!