Learning Christ

Here’s something worth remembering. To know Christ is to learn Christ. Jesus Christ is someone we learn. In the letter of Ephesians, Paul lists certain character traits that clash with the character of Jesus. He then adds this pregnant phrase: “And you have not so learned Christ” Ephesians 4:20.

      This statement should cause us to pause and raise an important question. How could the believers in Asia Minor who received Paul’s letter “learn Christ”? Jesus had ascended into heaven thirty years before Ephesians was written. And the believers in and around Ephesus were hundreds of miles away from Palestine. Therefore, the recipients of this letter never met Christ when He was on the earth. Yet they “learned” Him. But how?

      Very simply. They learned Him because He dwelt inside of them. They learned Him from one another, as they were part of a Christ-indwelt community. And they learned Him from Epaphras (the man who planted the churches in Asia Minor to whom Ephesians was written).

      Learning Christ is learning His glorious Person and work as well as learning His character. And the two should never be separated.

      For this reason, I’m greatly underwhelmed with those who can talk a good game about “the deep things” of Christ when their characters fail to emit His love, His graciousness, His kindness, His inclusiveness of others, and His compassion for everyone, not just those in their particular movement.

      Never forget: The measure of one’s knowledge of the Lord does not rest in their ability to wax eloquent about Him. It lies in whether or not their character reflects Him.

      I’m not speaking of perfection, for everyone of us has flaws, even the most seasoned Christians. I’m rather speaking of the basic traits of Christ’s life. Are they kind-hearted or mean-spirited? Are they truthful or do they deceive? Are they boastful and braggadocios or do they point attention to the Lord and to others? Do they enjoy offending people or do they seek to encourage them? Do they insult and speak ill of those they don’t like or do they speak well of them? Are they sectarian or do they receive all of God’s children? Only by one’s character can you determine if they really know the Lord well.

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