(Ephesians 4:20) “But ye have not so learned Christ;”
I learned multiplication in the fourth grade. I remember sitting in the classroom as the teacher would come around and challenge us to recite our multiplication tables. No, it wasn’t abuse – it was education! I “mastered” the tables one through twelve. This was a foundation that carried me all the way through school and into the rest of my life. I couldn’t imagine living without knowing how to multiply (or add, subtract and divide for that matter!) It is a natural part of living to rely on my ability to multiply. I can honestly say that understanding multiplication changed my life.
Notice what this verse doesn’t say. We aren’t told “ye have not so learned about Christ.” The issue isn’t knowledge about Christ. That wouldn’t accomplish anything. If I had learned about multiplication – the history, the reasons for it, the applications of it – but never used or mastered it, what good would it have been other than something trivial? When we “learn Christ” we receive knowledge that goes beyond intellectual understanding. It is knowledge so embedded that it affects how we live. In fact, it changes how we live.
Notice also that we “learn” a Person, not a subject. When we learn this deeply, we identify with the object of our learning – in this case the Lord Jesus Christ. We learn Him by understanding how He thinks, how He acts, how He feels. We learn Christ through the Word of God communicated to our soul. This allows the Holy Spirit to take the Word and transform our lives.
The real point is set up in the word “But,” which contrasts this verse with the preceding verses. God is telling us that life in Christ is radically different than life as an unsaved person. Our behavior should reflect not only the Person who we learned to master in our understanding, but it should reflect the Person who has mastered us.
Renewed Thought – Knowing about Christ is far different that knowing Christ. Only one of them will change your life.