As is fitting for saints : This emphasis on sexual sin was appropriate. The sort of behavior Paul says is not fitting for saints was pretty much completely approved by the culture of his day and our own. Covetousness… foolish talking : Paul also included covetousness and foolish talking in this list because of their close association with sexual sin. Yet covetousness and foolish talking also have relevance beyond their relation to sexual sin.
But rather giving of thanks : Positively, the Christian is to give thanks for sex. We receive it thankfully as a gift, and we enjoy sex in a way that glorifies the Giver. Certain expressions of sexuality are sin not because God wants to deprive some aspect of enjoyment, but because they work against His primary purpose for sex. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Therefore do not be partakers with them. Since I am as guilty as that one, and they have no inheritance in the kingdom of God, neither do I, because of my thoughts about fornication. Covetous man, who is an idolater : Significantly, Paul says that the covetous man is an idolater.
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Idolatry happens in much more subtle and powerful ways than simply bowing down before a statue. Let no one deceive you with empty words : We cannot allow empty words to excuse or minimize the judgment due to the practice of these sins. It is certain that because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them : Paul assumes that Christians will not have their lives habitually marked by fornication, uncleanness or covetousness.
Yet we should not even occasionally be partakers with them who are. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth , finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. For you were once darkness : As Paul condemned those who practiced fornication, uncleanness or covetousness as the sons of disobedience Ephesians , he also recognized that this was the exact darkness Christians had emerged from.
But now, having been enlightened, we are to walk as children of the light. He says we were once darkness itself. Now, we are not only in the light, we are light in the Lord. For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth : In contrast to the walk in darkness and wrath is the fruit of the Spirit , more fully described in Galatians Goodness, righteousness, and truth should mark us because we have the Holy Spirit in our life.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them : Instead of associating with ungodliness, we expose the unfruitful works of darkness. However, we do not do this for the purpose of merely talking about them which is shameful , but for the purpose of educating ourselves enough to avoid them. Christians must guard against a prurient interest in the works of darkness , even in times of testimony or research.
Paul was careful to say that we should avoid the unfruitful works of darkness , not the people who are in darkness. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
Ephesians: The Easy Study Bible Commentary
But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light : Even the things done in secret will be exposed. This is a reason for avoiding and exposing the unfruitful works of darkness as described in Ephesians Since those unfruitful works are destined for exposure and their day will be over, it makes sense for Christians to avoid such unfruitful works. Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead : Our participation in the light is shown by our resurrection with Jesus He made us alive together with Christ , Ephesians Paul quoted what was probably a worship chorus from the early church to illustrate this truth.
Remember that this exhortation to awake comes to Christians. A Christian may be asleep and not know it. If you are asleep, you probably do not know it. As soon as you become aware of your sleep, it is evidence that you are now awake. And oh! Some of you Christians do not care whether souls are saved or damned… It is enough for them if they are comfortable. If they can attend a respectable place of worship and go with others to heaven, they are indifferent about everything else. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. See then that you walk circumspectly : Because this light was given to us, we should walk circumspectly — carefully, wisely, not as fools. Adam Clarke thought that the phrase not as fools was connected to the practices of devotion to the ancient god Bacchus, worship with drinking and partying.
Here is a most evident allusion to the orgies of Bacchus , in which his votaries acted like madmen; running about, tossing their heads from shoulder to shoulder, appearing to be in every sense completely frantic. Redeeming the time : There were two ancient Greek words used for time.
Ephesians - Free Bible Commentary in easy English
One had the idea simply of day upon day and hour upon hour. The other had the idea of a definite portion of time, a time where something should happen. It is the difference between time and the time. The idea here is of the time ; it is a definite season of opportunity that Christians must redeem. This same word is translated opportunity in Galatians He tells us to seize opportunity for the glory of Jesus.
The idea behind redeeming the time is that you buy up opportunities like a shrewd businessman. You make the most of every opportunity for Jesus Christ. Because the days are evil : This is another reason why it is important to walk wisely. Jesus spoke of a time when, many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold Matthew Surely we are in those times, because the days are evil.
Understand what the will of the Lord is : This is what real wisdom is. It is the contrast to being unwise. Our main understanding of the will of the Lord comes from a good knowledge of His word. And do not be drunk with wine : In contrast with the conduct of the world being drunk with wine , we are to be filled with the Spirit. Be filled with the Spirit : The filling of the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event that we live off of the rest of our days.
It is a constant filling, asking to be filled, and receiving the filling by faith. There is a wonderful and significant first experience with the filling of the Holy Spirit, often thought of as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Matthew , Acts and This is an experience valid and important for every believer. Much of the weakness, defeat and lethargy in our spiritual life can be attributed to the fact that we are not constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The ancient Greek grammar for be filled also indicates two other important things. First, the verb is passive , so this is not a manufactured experience. Second, it is imperative , so this is not an optional experience. Do not be drunk with wine : The carnal contrast to being filled with the Holy Spirit is being drunk. The Bible condemns drunkenness without reservation. In which is dissipation : Paul says that drunkenness is dissipation. This means that drunkenness is a waste of resources that should be submitted to Jesus. We should listen to what Proverbs tells us about drunkenness in passages such as Proverbs and Being impaired in any way by drink is sin, as well as drinking with the intention of becoming impaired.
Practically, the world pays a high price for the ruin of alcoholism and drug addiction. It is fair to suppose that the figures are comparable if not worse in many other nations. But be filled with the Spirit : Paul contrasts the effect of the Holy Spirit with the state of drunkenness. The Holy Spirit has an exactly opposite effect. He is a stimulant; He moves every aspect of our being to better and more perfect performance.
It is a state of man wholly unattainable by training, by reasoning, by human wish and will. Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,. Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord : When we are filled with the Spirit , we will have a desire to worship God and to encourage others in their worship of God. The connection with being filled with the Spirit and praise is significant.
Those who are filled with the Spirit will naturally praise, and praise is a way that we are filled with the Spirit. Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs : This variety suggests that God delights in creative, spontaneous worship. The most important place for us to have a melody unto God is in our heart. The emphasis is more on variety than on strict categories. Giving thanks always for all things to God : The one who is filled with the Spirit will also be filled with thanksgiving.
Paul recommends the same pattern for our thanksgiving as he practiced in prayer in Ephesians — giving thanks to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Look downward and give thanks, for you are saved from hell; look on the right hand and give thanks, for you are enriched with gracious gifts; look on the left hand and give thanks, for you are shielded from deadly ills; look above you and give thanks, for heaven awaits you.
Submitting to one another in the fear of God : When we are filled with the Spirit , it will show by our mutual submission to each other; and the submission will be done in the fear of God , not the fear of man. It speaks of the way that an army is organized among levels of rank.
You have generals and colonels and majors and captains and sergeants and privates. There are levels of rank, and you are obligated to respect those in higher rank. We know that as a person, a private can be smarter, more talented, and a better person than a general. But he is still under rank to the general. It has to do with a God-appointed order. Submitting to one another : To understand what this means, we can first examine what it does not mean.
We can see how someone might take that impression. So I should be submitting to you and you should be submitting to me. No one has any more obligation to submit than anyone else. We know this is what Paul does not mean because that would be a clear contradiction of other things that he wrote.
For example, in 1 Corinthians , Paul clearly tells the Corinthian Christians to submit to his authority and to do something. So we think you should submit to us here. Or, another example is Hebrews , which says Obey those who rule over you and be submissive. The idea of this military word is more easily applied when one rank is above another. But there is something else important here.
When a man joins the military, the first thing he does is strip away his individuality. He is now the member of a company or a battalion.
He is no longer an individual. When you join the army, you essentially sign away your right to decide what you want to do with your life and your time. An army is filled with individuals, but they can never be individualistic. That is the first thing that a man is broken of when he joins the army.
In the fear of God : This is an important point, because Paul repeats the idea all through the extended section speaking about submission:. The words in the fear of God describe what should be our motive for submitting to one another. We should submit to one other — see ourselves no longer in an individualistic way, but as a unit, as a company or a battalion — out of respect for God the Father respect for Jesus Christ. The motive for submission is not social kindness. The motive for submission is not the law of God. The motive for submission is respect for Jesus Christ.
If we respect Jesus, we then should submit to one another because we love Jesus. Paul uses the term fear in this passage, but it is a fear — a respect — that is compatible with love. It is a fear of disappointing Jesus, a fear of grieving Him. That is totally compatible with love. When you really respect someone, you care about pleasing him or her, and you are afraid to disappoint that one. Now if that is still our conception of marriage then we have considered this great paragraph entirely in vain.
Christian marriage, the Christian view of marriage, is something that is essentially different from all views. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Wives : Paul addressed wives and their responsibility in the Christian marriage first. The reason is that the apostle was particularly concerned about this question of submission.
That was the principle that he introduced in Ephesians This aspect of submission has a particular application to wives in a Christian marriage. The same logic continues on into Ephesians 6. Children are addressed before parents because Paul was primarily concerned about submission. Slaves are addressed before their masters because the apostle was primarily concerned about submission. There is no question that the apostle is continuing the thought from Ephesians , submitting to one another in the fear of God. It simply reads wives, to your own husbands.
The topic is submission and Paul focused on a particularly important realm of submission — the Christian marriage, from the wife unto the husband. Now, if you do it in a general way, how much more so should wives do it to their own husbands in this special relationship of marriage. Wives, submit : To submit means that you recognize someone has legitimate authority over you. It means you recognize that there is an order of authority, and that you are part of a unit, a team. You as an individual are not more important that the working of the unit or the team. When we submit to the police, we recognize the authority of the police and act accordingly.
When we submit to our employer, we recognize the authority of our employer and act accordingly. Submission does not mean inferiority. As well, submission does not mean silence. That mission is more important than my individual desires. The Bible never commands a general submission of women unto men in society.
This order is commanded only in the spheres of the home and in the church. God has not commanded in His word that men have exclusive authority in the areas of politics, business, education, and so on. As to the Lord : This is a crucial phrase. It colors everything else we understand about this passage. There have been two main wrong interpretations of this phrase, each favoring a certain position.
The wrong interpretation that the interpretation that favors the husband says that as to the Lord means that a wife should submit to her husband as if he were God himself. This is wrong. It is true that the wife owes the husband a great deal of respect. There are limits to the submission your employer can expect of you. There are limits to the submission the government can expect of you. There are limits to the submission parents can expect of children.
In no place does the Scripture teach an unqualified, without exception, submission — except to God and God alone. To violate this is to commit the sin of idolatry. This interpretation thinks that as to the Lord defines the limit of submission. Except for those who are plainly cantankerous and argumentative, everyone submits to others when they are in agreement. It is only when there is a disagreement that submission is tested.
It is part of your Christian behaviour, it is a part of your discipleship. As to the Lord means…. She is falling short as a follower of Jesus Christ. It has to do with honoring the Lord Jesus Christ. It has to do with Jesus being right. Instead of looking for an attractive man, instead of looking for a wealthy man, instead of looking for a romantic man, a woman should first look for a man she can respect. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
For : The command given in Ephesians is difficult. God knows this, so He also includes reasons for His command. He wants us to understand the principle behind the command. This means that the motive of her submission must be obedience and respect to Jesus, instead of obedience and respect to her husband. It is because the husband is the head of the wife. In its full sense head has the idea of headship and authority. It means to have the appropriate responsibility to lead and the matching accountability.
It is right and appropriate to submit to someone who is our head. When you look at the Biblical idea of headship in other passages such as 1 Corinthians 11 and 1 Timothy 3, the emphasis is put constantly upon the fact that the man was created first and not the woman. So there is a priority by creation for man. The Scriptures also emphasize the fact that that woman was made out of the man, taken out of the man to show a connection to him, and that she was meant to be a help for man, a help for man that was fitting for him.
Man was created first. But not only that; man was also made the lord of creation. It was to man that this authority was given over the brute animal creation; it was man who was called upon to give them names.
Here are indications that man was put into a position of leadership, lordship, and authority and power. He takes the decisions, he gives the rulings. That is the fundamental teaching with regard to this whole matter. Passages such as 1 Corinthians make the point that God created Adam first, and gave him responsibility over Eve. This happened before the fall. Therefore, this passage makes it clear that before and after the fall, God ordained there be different roles between husband and wife.
The difference in roles between husband and wife are not the result of the fall, and are not erased by our new life in Jesus. What he does prohibit is that woman should seek to be manly, that is, that a woman should seek to behave as a man, or that a woman should seek to usurp the place, the position, and the power which have been given to man by God Himself. That is all he is saying. It is not slavery; he is exhorting his readers to realize what God has ordained. That is Biblical, and also the custom of the whole world.
That teaches us the relationship between the husband and the wife. It is not the husband who changes his name, but the wife.
She should submit because the relationship of the husband and wife is a model of the union between Jesus and the Church. This point is simple and clear. We have a model for the marriage relationship: the relationship between Jesus and the church. In that relationship, the headship of Jesus Christ is unquestioned.
If that is the case, the wife does not understand a Biblical marriage, and will always work against it in one way or another. And He is the Savior of the body : We can understand how the husband is head of the wife in the same way that Christ is head of the church. Sometimes it is difficult to see how the husband is the Savior of the body in the way that Jesus is the Savior of the body , that is, of the Church.
Lloyd-Jones thinks Paul used the wider understanding of the word Savior , which can simply mean preserver. How can Jesus be the Savior of all men? In the sense that He preserves all men and blesses all men with good things from heaven above. Paul essentially repeats the same idea in Ephesians So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. It is clearly this. Perhaps they might think that the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles will be greatly hindered because the champion of the Gentiles is in prison.
Paul reminds them that the afflictions through which he is going are for their good. I pray that you may have your root and your foundation in love, so that, with all God's consecrated people, you may have the strength fully to grasp the meaning of the breadth and length and depth and height of Christ's love, and to know the love of Christ which is beyond all knowledge, that you may be filled until you reach the fullness of God himself.
To him that is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think, according to the power which works in us, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations for ever and ever. It is here that Paul begins again the sentence which he began in Ephesians and from which he was deflected. It is for this cause begins Paul. What is the cause which makes him pray? We are back again at the basic idea of the letter. Paul has painted his great picture of the Church.
This world is a disintegrated chaos; there is division everywhere, between nation and nation, between man and man, within a man's inner life. It is God's design that all the discordant elements should be brought into one in Jesus Christ. But that cannot be done unless the Church carries the message of Christ and of the love of God to every man. It is for that cause that Paul prays. He is praying that the people within the Church may be such that the whole Church will be the body of Christ.
We must note the word used for Paul's attitude in prayer. The ordinary Jewish attitude of prayer was standing, with the hands stretched out and the palms upwards. Paul's prayer for the Church is so intense that he prostrates himself before God in an agony of entreaty. His prayer is to God the Father. It is interesting to note the different things which Paul says in this letter about God as Father, for from them we get a clearer idea of what was in his mind when he spoke of the fatherhood of God.
It is not true to say that Jesus was the first person to call God Father. But there are two closely interrelated words which have a certain similarity and yet a wide difference in their meaning. There is paternity. Paternity means fatherhood in the purely physical sense of the term. It can be used of a fatherhood in which the father never even sees the child.
On the other hand there is fatherhood. Fatherhood describes the most intimate relationship of love and of fellowship and of care. When men used the word father of God before Jesus came, they used it much more in the sense of paternity. They meant that the gods were responsible for the creation of men. There was in the word none of the love and intimacy which Jesus put into it. The centre of the Christian conception of God is that he is like Jesus, that he is as kind, as loving, as merciful as Jesus was. It was always in terms of Jesus that Paul thought of God.
The essence of the Old Testament is that God was the person to whom access was forbidden. When Manoah, who was to be the father of Samson, realized who his visitor had been, he said: "We shall surely die, for we have seen God" In the Jewish worship of the Temple the Holy of Holies was held to be the dwelling-place of God and into it only the High Priest might enter, and that only on one day of the year. The centre of Christian belief is the approachability of God. Gee tells a story. There was a little boy whose father was promoted to the exalted rank of brigadier.
When the little lad heard the news, he was silent for a moment, and then said, "Do you think he will mind if I still call him daddy? Here is the necessary other side of the matter. If we simply spoke about the accessibility of God, it would be easy to sentimentalize the love of God, and that is exactly what some people do. But the Christian faith rejoices in the wonder of the accessibility of God without ever forgetting his holiness and his glory. God welcomes the sinner, but not if he wishes to trade on God's love in order to remain a sinner.
God is holy and those who seek his friendship must be holy too. No man, no Church, no nation has exclusive possession of God; that is the mistake which the Jews made. The fatherhood of God extends to all men, and that means that we must love and respect one another. The fatherhood of God implies the debt of man. It is wrong to think of God as helping us only in the great moments of life. Because God's gifts come to us so regularly we tend to forget that they are gifts. The Christian should never forget that he owes, not only the salvation of his soul, but also life and breath and all things to God.
That lays a tremendous responsibility on all human fathers. Chesterton remembered his father only vaguely but his memories were precious. He tells us that in his childhood he possessed a toy theatre in which all the characters were cut-outs in cardboard. One of them was a man with a golden key. He never could remember what the man with the golden key stood for but in his own mind he always connected his father with him, a man with a golden key opening up all kinds of wonderful things.
We teach our children to call God father, and the only conception of fatherhood they can have is that which we give them. Human fatherhood should be moulded on the fatherhood of God. Paul prays that his people may be strengthened in the inner man. What did he mean? The inner man was a phrase by which the Greeks understood three things. It was Paul's prayer that Jesus Christ should strengthen the reason of his friends.
He wanted them to be better able to discern between what was right and what was wrong. He wanted Christ to give them the wisdom which would keep life pure and safe. It was Paul's prayer that the conscience of his people should ever become more sensitive. It is possible to disregard conscience so long that in the end it becomes dulled. Paul prayed that Jesus should keep our consciences tender and on the alert. So often we know what is right, and mean to do it, but our will is not strong enough to back our knowledge and to carry out our intentions.
As John Drinkwater wrote:. The strengthening of the inner man comes when Christ takes up his permanent residence in the man. The word Paul uses for Christ dwelling in our hearts is the Greek katoikein Greek which is the word used for permanent, as opposed to temporary, residence. Henry Lyte wrote as one of the verses of Abide with me:. But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples. The secret of strength is the presence of Christ within our lives. Christ will gladly come into a man's life--but he will never force his way in. He must await our invitation to bring us his strength. Paul prays that the Christian may be able to grasp the meaning of the breadth, depth, length and height of the love of Christ.
It is as if Paul invited us to look at the universe to the limitless sky above, to the limitless horizons on every side, to the depth of the earth and of the seas beneath us, and said, "The love of Christ is as vast as that. It is not likely that Paul had any more definite thought in his mind than the sheer vastness of the love of Christ. But many people have taken this picture and have read meanings, some of them very beautiful, into it. One ancient commentator sees the Cross as the symbol of this love. The upper arm of the Cross points up; the lower arm points down; and the crossing arms point out to the widest horizons.
Jerome said that the love of Christ reaches up to include the holy angels; that it reaches down to include even the evil spirits in hell; that in its length it covers the men who are striving on the upward way; and in its breadth it covers the men who are wandering away from Christ. If we wish to work this out we might say that in the breadth of its sweep, the love of Christ includes every man of every kind in every age in every world; in the length to which it would go, the love of Christ accepted even the Cross; in its depth it descended to experience even death; in its height, he still loves us in heaven, where he ever lives to make intercession for us Hebrews No man is outside the love of Christ; no place is out with its reach.
Then Paul comes back again to the thought which dominates this epistle. Where is that love to be experienced? We experience it with all God's consecrated people. That is to say, we find it in the fellowship of the Church.
John Wesley's saying was true, "God knows nothing of solitary religion. Paul ends with a doxology and an ascription of praise. God can do for us more than we can dream of, and he does it for us in the Church and in Christ. Once again, before we leave this chapter, let us think of Paul's glorious picture of the Church. This world is not what it was meant to be; it is torn in sunder by opposing forces and by hatred and strife. Nation is against nation, man is against man, class is against class. Within a man's own self the fight rages between the evil and the good.
It is God's design that all men and all nations should become one in Christ. To achieve this end Christ needs the Church to go out and tell men of his love and of his mercy. And the Church cannot do that, until its members, joined together in fellowship, experience the limitless love of Christ. Copyright Statement These files are public domain.
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