Dr. Daniel Strait -- “Learned Christ!”
“That is not the way you learned Christ! For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created and according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:21-24
In this passage, the phrase “learned Christ!” is striking, perhaps strikingly odd. At first glance, it seems to be an ethical exhortation to fellow believers in Christian community who have not learned the “lesson” of Christ very well. In other words, they have been lazy students—poor disciples—inattentive and irresponsible, even immoral. This meaning is true enough, as far as it goes. But the passage has a deeper meaning.
Ephesians 4:21-24 admonishes us to understand that, if we have accepted Christ, if we say we believe in him, and if we say we do all things in His name, then our lives need to show evidence of such Christian devotion—a clear exchange of the old self for the new. To have “learned Christ” means having a new nature made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This new life means living through Christ, in Christ, and for Christ.
To have “learned Christ,” then, is not just a life lesson—or merely a devotional one. It is a change of heart and life—a holy life of love and obedience, word and deed, belief and action.