Ephesians Chapter Five
Moreover, let us remark here, and it is an important feature in this picture of the fruits of grace and of the new man, that when the grace and love, which come down from God, act in man, they always go up again to God in devotedness. Walk, he says, in love, even as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. We see it in Christ. He is this love which comes down in grace, but this grace, acting in man, makes Him devote Himself to God, although it is on behalf of others. So it is in us; it is the touchstone of the christian heart's activity.
The apostle then speaks plainly as to sin, in order that no one may deceive himself; nor be occupied with deep truths, using them intellectually, to the neglect of ordinary morality-one of the signs of heresy, properly so called. He has connected the profoundest doctrines in his teaching with daily practice. If Christ be glorified, the Head of the assembly, He is the model of the new man, the last Adam; the assembly being one with Him on high, and the habitation of God on earth by the Spirit, with whom every Christian is sealed. Every Christian, if indeed he has learned the truth as it is in Jesus, has learned that it consists in having put off the old man, and having put on the new man, created after God in righteousness and holiness (of which Christ is the model, according to the counsels of God in glory); and he is to grow up unto the measure of the stature of Christ, who is the Head, and not grieve the Holy Spirit wherewith he is sealed. The fullest revelation of grace does not weaken the immutable truth that God had a character proper to Himself; it unfolds that character to us by means of the most precious revelations of the gospel, and of the closest relationships with God, which were formed by these revelations: but this character could not alter, nor could the kingdom of God allow of, any characters contrary to it. The wrath of God therefore against evil, and against those who commit it, is plainly set forth.
Now we were that which is contrary to His character, we were darkness; not only in the dark, but darkness in our nature, the opposite of God who is light. Not one ray of that which He is was found in our will, our desires, our understanding. We were morally destitute of it. There was the corruptness of the first Adam, but no share in any feature of the divine character. We are now partakers of the divine nature, we have the same desires, we know what it is that He loves, and we love what He loves, we enjoy that which He enjoys, we are light (poor and weak indeed, yet such by nature) in the Lord-looked at as in Christ. They are the fruits of light  that are developed in the Christian; he is to avoid all association with the unfruitful works of darkness.
But, in speaking of motives, the apostle returns to the great subjects that pre-occupied him, and he returns to them, not only that we should put on the character set forth by that of which he speaks, but that we should realise all its extent, that we should experience all its force. He had told us that the truth in Christ was the having put on the new man, in contrast with the old man, and that we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Now he exhorts those that sleep to awake, and Christ should be their light. Light makes all things manifest; but he who sleeps, although not dead, does not profit by it. For hearing, seeing, and all mental reception and communication, he is in the state of a dead man. Alas, how apt this sleep is to overtake us! But in awaking, it was not that they should see the light dimly, but Christ Himself should be the light of the soul; they should have all the full revelation of that which is well-pleasing to God, that which He loves; they should have divine wisdom in Christ; they should be able to profit by opportunities, should find them, being thus enlightened, in the difficulties of a world governed by the enemy, and should act according to spiritual understanding in every case that presented itself. Further, if they were not to lose their senses through means of excitement used in the world, they were to be filled with the Spirit, that is, that He should take such possession of our affections, our thoughts, our understanding, that He should be their only source according to His proper and mighty energy to the exclusion of all else. Thus, full of joy, we should praise, we should sing for joy; and we should give thanks for all that might happen, because a God of love is the true source of all. We should be full of joy in the spiritual realisation of the objects of faith, and the heart continuing to be filled with the Spirit and sustained by this grace, the experience of the hand of God in everything here below will give rise only to thanksgiving. It comes from His hand whom we trust and whose love we know. But giving thanks in all things is a test of the state of the soul; because the consciousness that all things are from God's hand, full trust in His love, and deadness as to any will of our own, must exist in order to give thanks in everything-a single eye which delights in His will.
In entering into the details of relationships and particular duties, the apostle cannot give up the subject that is so dear to him. The command which he addresses to wives, that they are to submit themselves to their husbands, immediately suggests the relationship between Christ and the assembly, not now as a subject for knowledge, but to unfold His affection and tender care. We have seen that the apostle, having established the great principles displayed in the revelation of our relationship with God-our vocation-then deduces their practical consequences with regard to the life and conduct of Christians: they were to walk as having put on the new man, to have Christ for their light, not to grieve the Spirit, to be filled with the Spirit. Now all this, while the fruit of grace, was either knowledge or practical responsibility.
But here the subject is viewed in another aspect. It is the grace that acts in Christ Himself, His affections, His guardian care, His devotedness to the assembly. Nothing can be more precious, more tender, more intimate. He loved the assembly-that is the source of all. And there are three steps in the work of this love. He gave Himself for it, He washes it, He presents it all glorious to Himself. This is not precisely the sovereign election of the individual by God; but the affection that displays itself in the relationship which Christ maintains with the assembly.  See also the extent of the gift, and how marvellous the ground of confidence that it contains. He gives Himself; it is not only His life, true as that is, but Himself. 
All that Christ was has been given, and given by Himself; it is the entire devotedness and giving of Himself. And now all that is in Him-His grace, His righteousness, His acceptance with the Father, the excellent glory of His Person, His wisdom, the energy of divine love that can give itself-all is consecrated to the welfare of the assembly. There are no qualities, no excellencies in Christ, which are not ours in their exercise consequent on the gift of Himself. He has already given them, and consecrated them to the blessing of the assembly which He has given Himself to have. Not only are they given, but He has given them; His love has accomplished it. We know well that it is on the cross that this giving of Himself was accomplished, it is there that the consecration of Himself to the good of the assembly was complete. But here that glorious work is not exactly viewed on the side of its atoning and redeeming efficacy, but on that of the devotedness and love to the assembly which Christ manifested in it. Now we can always reckon upon this love which was perfectly displayed in it. It is not altered. Jesus-blessed and praised be His name for it!-is for me according to the energy of His love in all that He is, in all circumstances and for ever, and in the activity of that love according to which He gave Himself. He loved the assembly and gave Himself for it. This is the source of all our blessings, as members of the assembly.
But this love of Christ is inexhaustible and unchangeable. It effects the blessing of its cherished object, by preparing it for a happiness of which His heart is alike the measure and the source,  to happiness of perfect purity, the excellence of which He knows in heaven-purity suited to the presence of God, and to her who should be in that presence for ever, the bride of the Lamb-purity which renders it capable of enjoying perfect love and glory; even as that love tends to purify the soul by making itself known to it, and attracting it, divesting it of self, and filling it with God as the centre of blessing and joy.
It is important to remark that Christ does not here sanctify the assembly to make it His own, but makes it His own to sanctify it. It is first His, then He suits it to Himself. Christ, who loves the church as being His own, and who has already made it His own by giving Himself for it, and who chooses to have it such as His heart desires, occupies Himself with it, when He has won it, to render it such. He gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it by the washing of water by the word. Here we find that moral effect produced by the care of Christ, the object which He proposes to Himself in His work accomplished in time, and the means He uses to attain it. He appropriates the assembly morally, sets it morally apart for Himself, when He has made it His; for He can only desire holy things-holy according to the knowledge He has of purity-by virtue of His eternal and natural abode in heaven. He then puts the assembly in connection with heaven, from whence He is, and into which He will introduce it. He gave Himself in order to sanctify it. For this purpose He uses the word, which is the divine expression of the mind of God, of heavenly order and holiness, of truth itself (that is to say, of the true relation of all things with God; and that according to His love in Christ), and which consequently judges all that deviates from it as to purity or love.
He forms the assembly for His bride, a help-meet for Him, in which all is according to the glory and the love of God, by the revelation (through the word, which comes from thence) of these things as they exist in heaven. Now Christ Himself is the full expression of these things, the image of the invisible God. Thus, in communicating them to the assembly, He prepares it for Himself. When speaking therefore in this sense of His own testimony, He says, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen."
But it is this which the word is, as we have received it from Jesus; and more especially as speaking from heaven, with the character of the new commandment, the darkness passing away, and the true light now shining; and consequently, the thing being true, not only in Him, but in us. The ministry of chapter 1 is occupied with this, forming the hearts of the saints on earth in fellowship with the Head from which the grace and the light descended. In this manner then Christ sanctifies the assembly for which He gave Himself. He has formed it for heavenly things by the communication of heavenly things, of which He is Himself the fulness and the glory. But this word finds the assembly mixed up with things that are contrary to this heavenly purity and love. Alas! its affections-as to the old man at least-mixed up with these earthly things, which are contrary to the will of God and to His nature. Thus in sanctifying the assembly He must needs cleanse it. This is therefore the work of the love of Christ during the present time, but for the eternal and essential happiness of the assembly.
He sanctifies the assembly, but He does it by the word, communicating heavenly things-all that belongs to the nature, to the majesty, and to the glory of God-in love, but at the same time applying them to judge everything in her present affections, which is at variance with that which He communicates. Precious work of love, which not only loves us but labours to make us fit to enjoy that love; fit to be with Christ Himself in the Father's house!
How deeply is He interested in us! He not only accomplished the glorious work of our redemption by giving Himself for us, but He acts continually with perfect love and patience to make us such as He would have us to be in His own presence-fit for the heavenly places and heavenly things.
What a character this shews to belong also to the word, and what grace in His use of it! It is the communication of divine things according to their own perfection, and now as God Himself is in the light. It is the revelation of God Himself, as we know Him in a glorified Christ, in a perfect love to form us also according to that perfection for the enjoyment of Him; and yet it is addressed to us, yea is suited in its very nature to us down here (compare John 1:4) to impart these things to us by bringing in light amid the darkness, thus necessarily judging all that is in the darkness, but in order to purify us in love.
Observe, also, the order in which this work of Christ is presented to us, beginning with love. He loved the assembly; this, as we have already said, is the source of all. All that follows is the result of that love and cannot gainsay it. The perfect proof of it is then stated: He gave Himself for the assembly. He could not give more. It was to the glory of the Father, no doubt, but it was for the assembly. Had he reserved anything, the love in giving Himself would not have been perfect, not absolute; it would not have been a devotedness that left nothing for the awakened heart to desire. It would not have been Christ, for He could not but be perfect. We know love and perfection in knowing Him. But He has won the heart of the assembly by giving Himself for it. He has won her thus. She is His according to that love. Yea; it is there that we have learnt what love is. Hereby know we love in that He gave Himself for us. All was for the glory of the Father: without that it wouldnot have been perfection; and the revelation of the heavenly things would not have taken place, for that depended on the Father's being perfectly glorified. In this the things to be revealed were manifested and verified, so to speak, in spite of evil; but all is entirely for us.
If we have learnt to know love, we have learnt to know Jesus, such as He is for us; and He is wholly for us.
Thus the entire work of cleansing and of sanctification is the result of perfect love. It is not the means of obtaining the love, or of being its object. It is indeed the means of enabling us to enjoy it; but it is the love itself which, in its exercise, works this sanctification. Christ wins the assembly first. He then in His perfect love makes it such as He would have it to be-a truth that is precious to us in every way, and first, in order to free the soul from all servile fear, to give sanctification its true character of grace and its true extent here. It is joy of heart to know that Christ Himself will make us all He desires us to be.
We have considered two effects of the love of Christ for the assembly. The first was the gift of Himself, which in a certain sense comprises the whole; it is love perfect in itself. He gave Himself. The second is the moral formation of the object of His love, that it may be with Him; according, we may add, to the perfections of God Himself, for that indeed is what the word is-the expression of the nature, the ways, and the thoughts of God.
There is yet a third effect of this love of Christ's which completes it. He presents it to Himself a glorious assembly without spot or wrinkle. If He gave Himself for the assembly, it was in order to have it with Him; but if He would have it with Him, He must render it fit to be in His glorious presence; and He has sanctified it by cleansing it according to the revelation of God Himself, and the heavenly things of which He is in Himself the centre in glory. The Holy Ghost has taken the things of Christ, and has revealed them to the assembly; and all that the Father has is Christ's. Thus perfected according to the perfection of heaven, He presents it to Himself a glorious assembly. Morally, the work was done; the elements of heavenly glory had been communicated to her who was to stand in that glory, had entered into her moral being, and thus formed her to participate in it. The power of the Lord is needed to make her participate in it in fact, to make her glorious, to destroy every trace of her earthly abode, save the excellent fruit that results from it. He presents her glorious to Himself-this is the result of all. He took her for Himself, He presents her to Himself, the fruit and the proof of His perfect love; and for her it is the perfect enjoyment of that same love. But there is yet more. That sentence discloses to us all the import of this admirable display of grace. The Spirit carries us back to the case of Adam and Eve, in which God, having formed Eve, presents her to Adam all complete according to His own divine thoughts and at the same time suited to be the delight of Adam, as a help-meet adapted to his nature and condition. Now Christ is God. He has formed the assembly, but with this additional right over her heart that He has given Himself for her; but He is also the last Adam in glory; and He presents her glorified to Himself, such as He had formed her for himself. What a sphere for the development of spiritual affections is this revelation! What infinite grace is that which has given place for such an exercise of these affections!
We cannot fail to notice the connection between the cleansing and the glory, that is, that the cleansing is according to the glory and by it; and that the glory is the completeness of, and completely answers to, the cleansing. For the cleansing is by the word, which reveals the whole glory and mind of God. Presented in glory she has neither spot not wrinkle; she is holy and unblamable. This is a most important truth, and recurs elsewhere. Compare 2 Corinthians 3:18, and Philippians 3:11 to the end. So in 1 Thessalonians3:13. What is complete in glory there, is wrought into the soul now by the Spirit operating with the word.
This then is the purpose, the mind of the Lord, with regard to the assembly, and this the sanctifying work which prepares her for Himself and for heaven. But these are not all the effects of His love. He watches tenderly over her during all the time of her sojourn here below.
The apostle, who did not lose sight of the thesis which gave rise to this digression that is so instructive to us, says that the husband ought to love his wife as his own body-that it was loving himself. He was naturally led to this by the allusion to Genesis; but he immediately returns to the subject that occupies him. No one, he says, ever hated his own flesh; he nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the assembly. This is the precious aspect, during time, of Christ's love, which the apostle here presents. Not only has Christ a heavenly aim, but His love performs the work which, so to speak, is natural to it. He tenderly cares for the assembly here below; He nourishes it, He cherishes it. The wants, the weaknesses, the difficulties, the anxieties of the assembly are only opportunities to Christ for the exercise of His love. The assembly needs to be nourished, as do our bodies; and He nourishes her. She is the object of His tender affections; He cherishes her. If the end is heaven, the assembly is not left desolate here. She learns His love where her heart needs it. She will enjoy it fully when need has passed away for ever. Moreover it is precious to know that Christ cares for the assembly, as a man cares for his own flesh. For we are members of His own body. We are of His flesh, and of His bones. Eve is here alluded to. We are, as it were, a part of Himself, having our existence and our being from Him, as Eve from Adam. He can say, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." Our position is, on the one hand, to be members of His body; on the other hand, we have our existence as Christians from Him. Therefore it is that a man is to leave his natural relations, in order to be united to his wife. It is a great mystery. Now it was just this that Christ did as man, in a certain sense, divinely. Nevertheless every one ought thus to love his own wife, and the wife to reverence her husband.
There remain yet certain relationships in life, with which the doctrine of the Spirit of God is connected: those of children and parents, of fathers and children, and of servants and master. It is interesting to see the children of believers introduced as objects of the Holy Spirit's care, and even slaves (for servants were such), raised by Christianity to a position which the circumstances of their social degradation could not affect.
All the children of Christians are viewed as subjects of the exhortations in the Lord, which belong to those who are within, who are no longer in this world, of which Satan is the prince. Sweet and precious comfort to the parent, that he may look upon them as having a right to this position, and a part in those tender cares which the Holy Ghost lavishes on all who are in the house of God! The apostle marks the importance which God attached, under the law, to this duty. It is the first command with which He linked a promise. Verse 3 is only the quotation of that which he alludes to in verse 2.
The exhortation to fathers is also remarkable-that they should not provoke their children; that their hearts should be turned towards them; that they should not repel them, nor destroy that influence which is the strongest guard against the evil of the world. God forms the heart of children around this happy centre: the father should watch over this. But there is more. The christian father (for it is always those within to whom he speaks) ought to recognise the position in which, as we have seen, the children are placed, and to bring them up under the yoke of Christ in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. Christian position is to be the measure and the form of the influences which the father exercises, and of the education which he gives his children. He treats them as brought up for the Lord, and as the Lord would bring them up.
It will be remarked, that in the two relationships we are considering, as well as in that of wives with their husbands, it is on the side from which submission is due that the exhortations begin. This is the genius of Christianity in our evil world, in which man's will is the source of all the evil, expressing his departure from God to whom all submission is due. The principle of submission and of obedience is the healing principle of humanity: only God must be brought into it, in order that the will of man be not the guide after all. But the principle that governs the heart of man in good, is always and everywhere obedience. I may have to say that God must be obeyed rather than man; but to depart from obedience is to enter into sin. A man may have, as a father, to command and direct; but he does it ill if he do it not in obedience to God and to His word. This was the essence of the life of Christ: "I come to do thy will, O my God." Accordingly the apostle begins his exhortations with regard to relationships by giving the general precept: "Submit yourselves one to another." This renders order easy, even when the order of institutions and of authority may fail. Submission, moral obedience, can never in principle be wanting to the true Christian. It is the starting-point of his whole life. He is sanctified unto the obedience of Christ (1 Pet. 1:2).
In the case which has led to these remarks, it is striking to see how this principle elevates the slave in his condition: he obeys by an inward divine principle, as though it were Christ Himself whom he obeyed. However wicked his master may be, he obeys as if he obeyed Christ Himself. Three times the apostle repeats this principle of obedience to Christ or the service of Christ, adding, "doing the will of God from the heart." What a difference this made in the poor slave's condition! Moreover, whether bond or free, each should receive his reward from the Lord. The master himself had the same Master in heaven, with whom there is no respect of persons. Still it is to masters that he says this, not to the slave; for Christianity is delicate in its propriety, and never falsifies its principles. The master was also to treat the slave with perfect equity-even as he expected it from the slave-and was not to threaten.
It is beautiful to see the way in which divine doctrine enters into the details of life, and throws the fragrance of its perfection into every duty and every relationship; how it acknowledges existing things, as far as they can be owned and directed by its principles, but exalts and enhances the value of everything according to the perfection of those principles; by touching not the relationships but the man's heart who walks in them; taking the moral side, and that of submission, in love and in the exercise of authority which the divine doctrine can regulate, bringing in the grace which governs the use of the authority of God.
 We should read "fruit of the light," not "fruit of the Spirit."
 It is well to notice here this character of love-love in an established relationship. The word of God is more exact than is generally thought in its expressions; because the expression has its origin in the thing itself. It is not said that Christ loved the world-He has no relationship with the world as it is. It is said that God so loved the world; this is what He is towards it in His own goodness. It is not said that God loved the assembly. The proper relationship of the assembly as such is with Christ, her heavenly Bridegroom. The Father loves us, we are His dear children. God, in this character, loves us. Thus Jehovah loves Israel. On the other hand, all the tenderness and faithfulness that belong to the relationship in which Christ stands are our portion in Him, as well as all that the name of Father means on its side also.
 It is specially the devotedness of His love; He gives and gives Himself.
 When I say (here and above) that the love of Christ is its source, it is not as if the love of the Father and the counsels of God had not their place in it. I speak of the blessing applied and carried out in the relationship presented in this passage; and this relationship exists with Christ. Nevertheless it is the same divine love.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Ephesians》
Exhortation to brotherly love. (1,2) Cautions against several sins. (3-14) Directions to a contrary behaviour, and to relative duties. (15-21) The duties of wives and husbands are enforced by the spiritual relation between Christ and the church. (22-33)
Commentary on Ephesians 5:1,2
(Read Ephesians 5:1,2)
Because God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you, therefore be ye followers of God, imitators of God. Resemble him especially in his love and pardoning goodness, as becomes those beloved by their heavenly Father. In Christ's sacrifice his love triumphs, and we are to consider it fully.
Commentary on Ephesians 5:3-14
(Read Ephesians 5:3-14)
Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross acts of sin, but against what some may make light of. But these things are so far from being profitable. that they pollute and poison the hearers. Our cheerfulness should show itself as becomes Christians, in what may tend to God's glory. A covetous man makes a god of his money; places that hope, confidence, and delight, in worldly good, which should be in God only. Those who allow themselves, either in the lusts of the flesh or the love of the world, belong not to the kingdom of grace, nor shall they come to the kingdom of glory. When the vilest transgressors repent and believe the gospel, they become children of obedience, from whom God's wrath is turned away. Dare we make light of that which brings down the wrath of God? Sinners, like men in the dark, are going they know not whither, and doing they know not what. But the grace of God wrought a mighty change in the souls of many. Walk as children of light, as having knowledge and holiness. These works of darkness are unfruitful, whatever profit they may boast; for they end in the destruction of the impenitent sinner. There are many ways of abetting, or taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them. A good man will be ashamed to speak of what many wicked men are not ashamed to do. We must have not only a sight and a knowledge that sin is sin, and in some measure shameful, but see it as a breach of God's holy law. After the example of prophets and apostles, we should call on those asleep and dead in sin, to awake and arise, that Christ may give them light.
Commentary on Ephesians 5:15-21
(Read Ephesians 5:15-21)
Another remedy against sin, is care, or caution, it being impossible else to maintain purity of heart and life. Time is a talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future. Of that time which thousands on a dying bed would gladly redeem at the price of the whole world, how little do men think, and to what trifles they daily sacrifice it! People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem time. Be not unwise. Ignorance of our duty, and neglect of our souls, show the greatest folly. Drunkenness is a sin that never goes alone, but carries men into other evils; it is a sin very provoking to God. The drunkard holds out to his family and to the world the sad spectacle of a sinner hardened beyond what is common, and hastening to perdition. When afflicted or weary, let us not seek to raise our spirits by strong drink, which is hateful and hurtful, and only ends in making sorrows more felt. But by fervent prayer let us seek to be filled with the Spirit, and to avoid whatever may grieve our gracious Comforter. All God's people have reason to sing for joy. Though we are not always singing, we should be always giving thanks; we should never want disposition for this duty, as we never want matter for it, through the whole course of our lives. Always, even in trials and afflictions, and for all things; being satisfied of their loving intent, and good tendency. God keeps believers from sinning against him, and engages them to submit one to another in all he has commanded, to promote his glory, and to fulfil their duties to each other.
Commentary on Ephesians 5:22-33
(Read Ephesians 5:22-33)
The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Ephesians》
 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Be ye therefore followers — Imitators.
Of God — In forgiving and loving. O how much more honourable and more happy, to be an imitator of God, than of Homer, Virgil, or Alexander the Great!
 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
But let not any impure love be even named or heard of among you - Keep at the utmost distance from it, as becometh saints.
 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Nor foolish talking — Tittle tattle, talking of nothing, the weather, fashions, meat and drink.
Or jesting — The word properly means, wittiness, facetiousness, esteemed by the heathens an half-virtue. But how frequently even this quenches the Spirit, those who are tender of conscience know.
Which are not convenient — For a Christian; as neither increasing his faith nor holiness.
 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Because of these things — As innocent as the heathens esteem them, and as those dealers in vain words would persuade you to think them.
 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Ye were once darkness — Total blindness and ignorance.
Walk as children of light — Suitably to your present knowledge.
 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
The fruit of the light — Opposite to " the unfruitful works of darkness," Ephesians 4:11.
Is in — That is, consists in.
Goodness and righteousness and truth — Opposite to the sins spoken of, Ephesians 4:25,etc.
 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Reprove them — To avoid them is not enough.
 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
In secret — As flying the light.
 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
But all things which are reproved, are thereby dragged out into the light, and made manifest - Shown in their proper colours, by the light. For whatsoever doth make manifest is light - That is, for nothing but light, yea, light from heaven, can make anything manifest.
 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Wherefore he — God.
Saith — In the general tenor of his word, to all who are still in darkness.
Awake thou that steepest — In ignorance of God and thyself; in stupid insensibility.
And arise from the dead — From the death of sin.
And Christ shall give thee light — Knowledge, holiness, happiness.
 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Circumspectly — Exactly, with the utmost accuracy, getting to the highest pitch of every point of holiness.
Not as fools — Who think not where they are going, or do not make the best of their way.
 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
With all possible care redeeming the time - Saving all you can for the best purposes; buying every possible moment out of the hands of sin and Satan; out of the hands of sloth, ease, pleasure, worldly business; the more diligently, because the present are evil days, days of the grossest ignorance, immorality, and profaneness.
 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
What the will of the Lord is — In every time, place, and circumstance.
 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Wherein is excess — That is, which leads to debauchery of every kind.
But be ye filled with the Spirit — In all his graces, who gives a more noble pleasure than wine can do.
 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Speaking to each other — By the Spirit. In the Psalms - Of David.
And hymns — Of praise.
And spiritual songs — On any divine subject. By there being no inspired songs, peculiarly adapted to the Christian dispensation, as there were to the Jewish, it is evident that the promise of the Holy Ghost to believers, in the last days, was by his larger effusion to supply the lack of it.
Singing with your hearts — As well as your voice.
To the Lord — Jesus, who searcheth the heart.
 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Giving thanks — At all times and places. And for all things - Prosperous or adverse, since al] work together for good. In the name of, or through, our Lord Jesus Christ - By whom we receive all good things.
 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
In the following directions concerning relative duties, the inferiors are all along placed before the superiors, because the general proposition is concerning submission; and inferiors ought to do their duty, whatever their superiors do.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands — Unless where God forbids. Otherwise, in all indifferent things, the will of the husband is a law to the wife.
As unto the Lord — The obedience a wife pays to her husband is at the same time paid to Christ himself; he being head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church.
 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
The head — The governor, guide, and guardian of the wife.
And he is the Saviour of the body — The church, from all sin and misery.
 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
In everything — Which is not contrary to any command of God.
 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Even as Christ loved the church — Here is the true model of conjugal affection. With this kind of affection, with this degree of it, and to this end, should husbands love their wives.
 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might sanctify it through the word — The ordinary channel of all blessings.
Having cleansed it — From the guilt and power of sin.
By the washing of water — In baptism; if, with "the outward and visible sign," we receive the "inward and spiritual grace."
 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
That he might present it — Even in this world.
To himself — As his spouse.
A glorious church — All glorious within.
Not having spot — Of impurity from any sin.
Or wrinkle — Of deformity from any decay.
 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
As their own bodies — That is, as themselves.
He that loveth his wife loveth himself — Which is not a sin, but an indisputable duty.
 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
His own flesh — That is, himself.
Nourisheth and cherisheth — That is, feeds and clothes it.
 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
For we — The reason why Christ nourishes and cherishes the church is, that close connexion between them which is here expressed in the words of Moses, originally spoken concerning Eve.
Are members — Are as intimately united to Christ, in a spiritual sense, as if we were literally "flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone."
 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
For this cause — Because of this intimate union. Genesis 2:24.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Ephesians》
A driver stopped his car at an intersection and waited for the green signal. When the green light came, he waited further to confirm it. That is, he waited until the light turned green a second time! After that, he waited still further until the green light flashed a third time, before he proceeded on his way. Absurd? Of course. No one would drive like that.
But are there not Christians who live like that driver drove? They are so overcautious that they wait for signs from God, wait to reconfirm the signs, and then wait for an auspicious moment to act. They are waiting almost perpetually and can never redeem the time they wasted or the opportunities they lost.
The story is told of a prince and his family who were captured by an enemy king. When brought before the enemy king, the prisoner was asked, “What will you give me if I release you?” “Half of my wealth,” was the prince’s reply.
“And if I release your children?”
“Everything I possess.”
“And if I release your wife?”
“Your Majesty, for her I would give myself,” said the prince.
The king was so moved by the prince’s devotion to his family that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t the king a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could keep my eyes only on the one who was willing to give himself for my sake.”
Chapter 5. Be Full of Christ
Make the Most
of Every Opportunity
Understand the Lord's Will
I. Live a Life of Love
II. Be Filled with the Spirit
III. Relation Between Wives and Husbands
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Five General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THE CHAPTER
1) To see the importance of walking in love, light, and wisdom
2) To understand the responsibilities wives and husbands have toward
3) To appreciate the high esteem and great love the Lord has for His
Paul continues to exhort Christians to walk in a manner worthy of their
calling (cf. 4:1). Having described the need to walk in unity and in
purity, he now urges them to imitate God and "walk in love" with Christ
as their example. Such love requires that all forms of immorality and
filthy speech not even be named among them. Since the wrath of God is
to come upon the sons of disobedience, Christians must not be deceived
by nor partake with those who engage in such evil deeds (1-6).
Having passed from darkness to light in coming to Christ, we should
also "walk as children of light". This includes producing the fruit of
the Spirit such as goodness, righteousness and truth, thereby
demonstrating what is acceptable to the Lord. We cannot participate in
the shameful works of darkness, but instead must expose them. This we
do by letting Christ's light shine in us, for such light will naturally
make the darkness manifest by way of contrast (7-14).
As the days are evil and the time is short, Christians must "walk as
wise" and make the best use of their time. This requires an
understanding of the Lord's will. Christians are also to be filled
with the Spirit, as evidenced by singing together, praying with
thanksgiving, and submitting to one another in the fear of God (15-21).
The chapter ends with what we might describe as a call to "walk in
matrimonial harmony". Wives are exhorted to respect their husbands,
submitting to them as to the Lord. Husbands are commanded to love
their wives as Christ loved the church, and even as they love their own
bodies. In the course of such instructions Paul takes the opportunity
to reveal the Lord's desire to present to Himself a glorious church,
holy and without blemish, which is why He gave Himself for it (22-33).
I. A CALL TO WALK IN LOVE (1-7)
A. AS CHRIST LOVED US (1-2)
1. Be followers of God as dear children (1)
2. Walk in love as Christ loved us (2)
a. Who gave Himself for us
b. As a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God
B. NOT IN IMMORALITY AND WORLDLINESS (3-7)
1. Things which should not even be named among saints (3-4)
b. All uncleanness
e. Foolish talking
f. Coarse jesting
-- Rather, giving of thanks
2. For such have no inheritance in the
and God kingdomof Christ
a. No fornicator or unclean person
b. No covetous man, who is an idolater
3. Upon sons of disobedience will come the wrath of God (6-7)
a. So don't let anyone deceive you with empty words
b. Do not be partakers with them
II. A CALL TO WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT (7-14)
A. AS THOSE WHO ARE NOW LIGHT IN THE LORD (7-10)
1. Though once darkness, they are now light in the Lord (
2. They should walk as children of light (7b-10)
a. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit (or light) in all goodness,
righteousness and truth
b. Proving what is acceptable to the Lord
B. HAVING NO FELLOWSHIP WITH WORKS OF DARKNESS (11-14)
1. Instead expose them (11-12)
a. For they are unfruitful
b. It is even shameful to even speak of those things done in
2. Which shall be exposed (13-14)
a. When made manifest by the light
b. Thus we should be the light which Christ gives us
III. A CALL TO WALK AS WISE (15-21)
A. WALKING CIRCUMSPECTLY (15-17)
1. Not as fools but as wise (15)
2. Redeeming the time, for the days are evil (16)
3. Not as unwise, but understanding the will of the Lord (17)
B. FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT, NOT WINE (18-21)
1. Singing (19)
a. Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs
b. Making melody in your heart to the Lord
2. Giving thanks (20)
a. Always for all things
b. To God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
3. Submitting to one another in the fear of God (21)
IV. A CALL TO WALK IN MATRIMONIAL HARMONY (22-33)
A. DUTIES OF WIVES (22-24)
1. Submit to their own husbands, as to the Lord (22-23)
a. For the husband is the head of the wife
b. Even as Christ is the head of the church and the Savior of
2. Be subject to their husbands in everything, just as the church
is subject to Christ (24)
B. DUTIES OF HUSBANDS (25-32)
1. Love their wives, as Christ loved the church (25-27)
a. He gave Himself for it
b. This He did that He might:
1) Sanctify and cleanse the church through the washing of
water by the word
2) Present it to Himself a glorious church
a) Having no spot or wrinkle
b) Holy and without blemish
2. Love their wives as their own bodies (28-32)
a. For he who loves his wife loves himself
b. For no one hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes
1) Even as the Lord does His church
2) For we are members of His body
c. For in marriage man and woman become one, just as with
Christ and His church
C. SUMMARY OF DUTIES (33)
1. Let each man love his wife as himself (
2. Let the wife respect her husband (33b)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- A call to walk in love (1-7)
- A call to walk as children of light (8-14)
- A call to walk as wise (15-21)
- A call to walk in matrimonial harmony (22-33)
2) What are Christians to be? (1)
- Followers of God as dear children
3) How are we to walk (live)? (2)
- In love, even as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us
4) What things are not fitting for saints? (3-4)
- All uncleanness
- Foolish talking
- Coarse jesting
5) What is fitting for saints? (4)
- The giving of thanks
6) Who has no inheritance in the
and God? (5) kingdomof Christ
- No fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous person
7) Of what is a covetous person guilty? (5)
8) What is to come upon the sons of disobedience? (6)
- The wrath of God
9) What are we now in the Lord? How then should we walk? (8-10)
- Light in the Lord
- As children of light, proving what is acceptable to the Lord
10) What is the fruit of the Spirit (light)? (9)
- Goodness, righteousness, and truth
11) What are Christians to do regarding unfruitful works of darkness?
- Have no fellowship with them
- Expose them
12) How else are Christians to live? Why? (15-16)
- Circumspectly, as wise, redeeming the time
- Because the days are evil
13) What other responsibilities do we have as Christians? (17-18)
- To understand the will of the Lord
- To be filled with the Spirit
14) What is either the means or the evidence of one filled with the
- Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
- Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord
- Giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of
- Submitting to one another in the fear of God
15) What are the responsibilities of wives toward their husbands?
- To submit and be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord
16) What is revealed about the relation of Christ to His church? (23)
- He is the head of the church and the Savior of the body
17) What are the responsibilities of husbands toward their wives?
- To love their wives as Christ loved the church
- To nourish and cherish their wives, as they do their own bodies
18) Why did Jesus love and give Himself for the church? (25-27)
- That He might sanctify and cleanse the church
- That He might present it to Himself a glorious church
- That it might be holy and without blemish
19) What is Paul's summation regarding marital responsibilities? (33)
- A husband is to love his wife as himself
- A wife is to respect her husband
Walking In Love, Light, And Wisdom (5:1-21)
1. Though we now enter chapter five, we are still noticing how to "walk
worthy of the calling with which you were called" - Ep 4:1
a. We have been "called" to be...
1) "holy and without blame before Him in love" - Ep 1:4
2) "sons by Jesus Christ to Himself" - Ep 1:5
3) "fellow citizens with the saints" - Ep 2:19
4) "members of the household of God" - Ep 2:19
5) "a holy temple in the Lord" - Ep 2:21
6) "fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise
in Christ" - Ep 3:6
b. What sort of "walk" is worthy of such a calling? So far we have
seen that it is one in which we are...
1) "Walking Together In Unity" - Ep 4:1-16
2) "Walking In Truth And Holiness - Ep 4:17-32
2. As we come into the fifth chapter, we learn that our "walk" (or
conduct) which is worthy of our calling is one in which we...
a. Walk In Love - Ep 5:1-7
b. Walk As Light - Ep 5:8-14
c. Walk As Wise - Ep 5:15-21
["Walking In Love, Light, And Wisdom": why is this so important? As
indicated in Ep 5:1, we are to be "followers of God as dear children";
and just as God is "love, light, and wisdom" personified, so we should
try to imitate our Father!
Therefore, consider how we should...]
I. WALK IN LOVE (1-7)
A. FOLLOWING CHRIST AS OUR EXAMPLE... (1-2)
1. Jesus certainly has loved us and given Himself for us
2. He offered Himself to God as an offering and sacrifice in our
3. Let His example teach us how to "walk in love" - cf. Jn 13:
34-35; 1 Jn 3:16-17
B. WITH A LOVE THAT IS PURE... (3-7)
1. Our love should be free from any hint of immorality or greed
- Ep 5:3
2. Even words or jokes suggestive of immorality or greed are
unbecoming those who are "saints" (holy, set apart for God's
purpose) - Ep 5:4
3. This is a serious concern, for immoral or greedy persons have
no inheritance in the
, but instead will kingdomof Christ
experience the full wrath of God! - Ep 5:5-7
["Walk In Love", with a love that is sacrificial and free from any hint
of personal gain (either sexual or monetary)...that is the kind of
"walk" worthy of our calling as "saints".
Our "walk" also bears the responsibility of being a positive influence
in the world in which we live, and this Paul discusses as we now
consider our need to...]
II. WALK AS LIGHT (8-14)
A. WE ARE NOW "LIGHT IN THE LORD"... (8-10)
1. Before coming to Christ, we were once "darkness" (remember Ep
2:1-3); but now we are "light in the Lord" and should walk as
"children of light" - Ep 5:8
2. The "fruit" expected of those "children of light" is "goodness,
righteousness and truth" - Ep 5:9
3. By bearing such fruit, we fulfill our role as "light" by
"proving" (demonstrating) what is well-pleasing to the Lord -
Ep 5:10; cf. Ro 12:1-2
B. AS "LIGHT" WE MUST NECESSARILY EXPOSE "DARKNESS"... (11-14)
1. We are not to have fellowship with "unfruitful works of
darkness" - Ep 5:11; e.g., fornication, uncleanness,
covetousness, Ep 5:3-4
2. Instead, our task is to "expose" them - Ep 5:11b-13
a. Things that we must "expose" are often so disgraceful, it is
shameful to speak of them
b. But by "walking in the light" ourselves, we can through
example and word expose by contrast these "works of
3. Thus the need to be "light" ourselves, something that comes
only from Christ - Ep 5:14
a. Christ gives "light" to those who were spiritually asleep
and dead - cf. Ep 2:4-6
b. Some scholars think this verse (14) may have been an early
"baptismal hymn", sung at a person's baptism
[To "Walk As Light" is an awesome responsibility, and some have allowed
the "darkness" to overshadow the "light", rather than the "light"
exposing the "darkness". How can we be sure to carry out our role as
"the children of light"?
This is were "wisdom" comes in, and therefore Paul exhorts us to...]
III. WALK AS WISE (15-21)
A. CHARACTERISTICS OF "WALKING AS WISE"... (15-17)
1. Doing so with great care - Ep 5:15
a. The word translated "circumspectly" means "exactly,
b. Unlike fools, who care little about where they are going or
what is happening
2. Taking advantage of the time available to one - Ep 5:16
a. To "redeem the time" is "to make wise and sacred use of
every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well
doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the
time our own" (from the "Online Bible")
b. This is necessary, because the days are "evil" (bringing
toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to
Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble
- Online Bible)
3. Understanding the will of the Lord - Ep 5:17
a. Only by understanding the will of the Lord can we be a "wise
b. Just as Israel was to demonstrate their wisdom by doing the
will of the Lord, so we can "walk as wise" only if we
understand His will for us - cf. Deu 4:5-6
B. TO WALK AS WISE REQUIRES BEING "FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT"... (18-21)
1. While those who "walk as fools" delight in being filled with
wine, those who "walk as wise" will endeavor to be filled with
2. What evidence is there that one is "filled with the Spirit"?
Paul describes three indications...
a. One indication is singing praises - Ep 5:19
b. Another indication is giving thanks - Ep 5:20
c. A third indication is submitting to one another in the fear
of God - Ep 5:21
1. Children of God who delight in...
a. Singing praises and making melody in the heart
b. Giving thanks always for all things to God
c. Submitting to one another in the fear of God
-- demonstrate that they are "filled with the Spirit", and as such,
truly are "followers of God as dear children" (Ep 5:1)
2. As children of God, and "filled with the Spirit", they are able to
walk in a manner worthy of their calling, as they...
a. "Walk in love"
b. "Walk as light"
c. "Walk as wise"
3. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we live in a world...
a. That has perverted the meaning of "love"
b. That takes perverse pleasure in works of darkness
c. That stumbles around aimlessly, like drunken fools
-- Can we not see the need for the people of God today to live up to
their "calling", and to "prove what is acceptable in the Lord"?
4. May God fill His children with His Spirit...
a. So that we can truly "walk in love", "walk as light", and "walk as
b. And thereby show to the world the "fruit of the Spirit" (i.e.,
goodness, righteousness, and truth)!
Displaying God's Wisdom In Our Families (5:22-6:9)
1. Up to this point Paul has been describing how we can "have a walk
worthy of the calling with which you were called" - Ep 4:1
2. We have seen that conduct "worthy of the calling" involves:
a. Walking in unity - Ep 4:1-16
b. Walking in truth and holiness - Ep 4:17-32
c. Walking in love, walking as light and walking as wise - Ep 5:1-21
3. In what might appear at first to be an abrupt change of direction,
Paul begins to describe how various family members are to conduct
themselves - Ep 5:22-6:9
a. The responsibilities of wives - Ep 5:22-24
b. The responsibilities of husbands - Ep 5:25-33
c. The responsibilities of children - Ep 6:1-3
d. The responsibilities of fathers - Ep 6:4
e. The responsibilities of servants - Ep 6:5-8
f. The responsibilities of masters - Ep 6:9
4. But the subject matter is really not so abrupt as it may appear, for
Paul mentioned earlier...
a. How the church is to "make known the manifold wisdom of God"
- Ep 3:10
b. How we are to walk in "wisdom" - Ep 5:15-17
...and it is through family relationships that we can often do this
more successfully than in any other way!
5. How can this be? Well, it is through our families that we interact
so much with the society in which we live...
a. Through marriage we immediately come into contact with another
family (our "in-laws")
b. Through children we develop relationships with those in their
schools, their neighborhood, etc.
6. Thus it is through our families we have great potential to
demonstrate the wisdom of God...
a. The same principles that underlie the gospel message (submission,
love, sacrifice, obedience, honesty, fairness) are to be displayed
in our family relationships
b. By example, then, we can demonstrate in our families what is truly
good and right (i.e., God's will), and prepare others to be
receptive to the gospel message!
[Thus Paul is not abruptly changing direction, but continues to talk
about those sort of things which are crucial to having a "walk worthy of
the calling with which you were called".
Consider, then, how those who "walk worthy" conduct themselves in
I. MARITAL RESPONSIBILITIES (5:22-33)
A. THE DUTY OF WIVES... (22-24)
1. They are to submit to their husbands in everything...
a. Just as they are to submit to the Lord ("as to the Lord")
b. Just as the church is subject to Christ
2. The reason: the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is
head of the church
a. Any time you have organization that is functional, you must
have some chain of authority
b. In the family, it is God's Will that the husband be the head
of the wife, and that parents be over their children
3. Here is an opportunity for wives to demonstrate the wisdom and
value of an important principle in God's will: that of
a. Jesus taught by both word and example of the importance of
submission - cf. Jn 13:12-17; Mk 10:42-45
b. Indeed we all are to submit in one way or another - Ja 4:7;
c. Through their submission, wives prove that God's will is
best in such matters!
B. THE DUTY OF HUSBANDS... (25-30)
1. They are to love their wives...
a. Just as Christ loved the church, i.e., with a sacrificial
love designed to bless and benefit their wives
b. Just as they love their own bodies, i.e., with a love that
nourishes and cherishes their wives
2. Just as the wives have the opportunity to demonstrate God's
wisdom concerning submission, so husbands are given the
opportunity to demonstrate Christ's love...
a. As the head over His church, Jesus rules as a "benevolent
b. Some think such a concept as "benevolent monarch" is
impossible (as per the saying, "Power corrupts, absolute
power corrupts absolutely")
c. But when a husband exercises his authority as head of the
family with the kind of love Jesus displays while ruling
over His church, they demonstrate not only the possibility,
but the wisdom of a benevolent monarchy!
[Indeed, the "marriage" between a man and a woman can reflect the
relationship that exists between Christ and the church (31-32). But
this can happen only if...
1) A husband exercises his authority with love (
2) A wife submits to her husband with respect (33b).
Just as there are "marital responsibilities", so there are...]
II. FAMILIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (6:1-9)
A. THE DUTY OF CHILDREN... (1-3)
1. Children are to obey their parents in a way that honors them
2. There are certainly temporal benefits for such obedience ("that
it may be well with you...")
3. But there are also spiritual repercussions - cf. Co 3:20
("for this is well pleasing to the Lord")
4. And by their example, children can show the value of obedience
to the commands of God
B. THE DUTY OF FATHERS... (4)
1. Fathers are charged both negatively and positively..
a. DON'T provoke children to wrath (i.e., discipline without
b. DO bring them up in the "training and admonition" of the
Lord (i.e., discipline tempered with love)
2. In the world, people usually fall into two extremes of child-
a. Discipline without love (child abuse)
b. Love without discipline (permissiveness)
3. But when fathers properly administer both love and discipline,
by example they show how God raises His own children in the
family of God - cf. He 12:5-11
C. THE DUTY OF SERVANTS... (5-8)
1. In the First Century A.D., servants were an intricate part of
many households, which may explain Paul including instructions
to them and masters in this and parallel passages - cf. Co 3:
2. Christians who were servants were expected to exemplify the
proper kind of obedience required of all Christians...
a. Obedience with fear and trembling - cf. Ph 2:10
b. Obedience in sincerity of heart, as to Christ Himself
c. Obedience with good will, as to the Lord
d. Obedience with an understanding that the Lord is an
3. In this way even slaves could demonstrate by example what true
obedience was according to the Will of God
D. THE DUTY OF MASTERS... (9)
1. Those Christians who had slaves (like Philemon) were charged to
treat their servants in very special ways:
a. "do the same things to them", i.e., their treatment of
slaves should be governed by the same sort of principles
given to the servants...
1) "with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to
2) "not with eyeservice...but as servants of Christ, doing
the will of God from the heart"
3) "with good will...as to the Lord, and not to men"
4) "knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive
the same from the Lord..."
b. In particular, Christian slave-owners were to give up
threatening and to remember that God shows no respect of
2. By their example, masters could demonstrate the proper exercise
of authority, and reveal much about how our Master in heaven
rules over us in the kingdom of God!
1. How we conduct ourselves in our marriage and family relationships can
greatly effect our efforts to make known "the manifold wisdom of
a. Marriages and families that are "dysfunctional" serve only to
belie the claims we make about the gospel and its power to
b. Whereas marriages and families based upon the teachings of God's
Word can speak volumes as to the value of principles inherent in
the gospel; such principles as:
1) Submitting to God and others in authority
2) Exercising authority with sacrificial love
3) Obeying those placed over us by God
4) Developing others through training and admonition, not
5) Rendering service that is sincere, not hypocritical
6) Exercising authority with justice and fairness
2. So as we endeavor to "walk worthy of the calling" that we have in
Christ, let's not overlook those areas where it is most imperative to
have a "worthy walk": in our marriages and families!