Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Therefore means several things. Synonyms are, so, consequently, hence, thus, since, because, etc. Paul’s meaning here is ‘since.’ It is as if he was saying, “Since I encouraged you to do those things I wrote previously I this letter…act like God’s beloved children, because that is what you are.” Paul encourages us to be more like God, that is be holy, set apart from the world, and be righteous in all our activities; imitate His attributes.
Remember what Paul urged us to do in the last chapter. He basically told us, “Don’t do or say anything malicious, unkind, cruel, or evil to others; instead, be kind and compassionate to each other. Forgive each other as God, because of the work of Jesus Christ at Calvary, has forgiven each of us.” Of course the last chapter is filled with such exhortations and encouragements. Paul’s ‘therefore’ is in response to all those things he has already written in this epistle.
Some translations employ “imitate God in all you do” or similar, for “Be ye therefore followers of God.” The uninflected Greek word for follower, μιμητής, mimētēs, literally means ‘imitator.’ The plural form, μιμηται, mimētai, is used here in the manuscript. Thus, imitate is a more direct translation. Since Paul has encouraged and admonished us in so many good things, we should be imitators of Christ.
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
This verse and the next verses offer two completely opposite things. In this verse we learn what is good and what the main thing in imitating God is. The next several verses tell of things that will prevent us from imitating God.
Love is the first and foremost attribute of God we must imitate. Jesus told us that there are two commandments that sum up all of the Ten Commandments, and the other precepts of God. Both require love. We are first to love God with the entirety of our being. We are to love Him with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind, and with all of our strength. We are additionally to love others as we love ourselves. If we follow those two commandments, then no other commandment or law is needed. If we love God and our neighbors, we will never do anything to hurt them. No laws will be necessary. Thus love is highly important.
Let me emphasize that this is agape (ἀγάπη) love, which is love that is unconditional, and remains no matter who the subject of our love is or what he or she does. It is the kind of love God has for us. It is the kind of love we have for our family. It is the kind of love a mother has for her newborn child. It is NOT sexual love, so do not say that you live in sexual sin because you love your partner and therefore, that is OK in God’s eyes. It is not. Agape love does not sin. Sexual relations outside of a one man-one woman marriage are sinful. Period. God’s love, which is agape love, is love that expects nothing in return. It is unconditional love that is only interested in the well-being of the one loved. Sexual love expects a return. Agape love does not.
Christ’s offering Himself as a sacrifice to pardon my sins is the ultimate example of agape love. As Paul wrote elsewhere, Christ, “though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Php 2:6-8 NLT). Doing so, He took our sins upon Himself and took our stripes, the ones we deserve for our sins, and died for each of us. There is no greater love than to give up one’s life so another can live. Christ did that for us. The sweet smelling savor tells us that God accepted Jesus’ gift for us and has forgiven the sins of all who believe in Christ. (Compare Genesis 8:20 & 21).
With agape love, no laws would be needed for no one would ever wrong another. Unfortunately, not everyone has agape love, thus laws are necessary. The next few verses explain.
Ephesians 5:3-4 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; (4) Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
This chart is provided to give clarification the words used by the King James translators:
|Word in Verse||Uninflected Greek||Definition|
|fornication||πορνεία, porneia||illicit sexual intercourse|
|uncleanness||ἀκαθαρσία, akatharsia||the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living|
|covetousness||πλεονεξία, pleonexia||greedy desire to have more, covetousness, avarice|
|filthiness||αἰσχρότης, aischrotēs||obscenity, filthiness|
|foolish talking||μωρολογία, mōrologia||foolish talking|
|jesting||εὐτραπελία, eutrapelia||scurrility, ribaldry, low jesting (coarse Jokes)|
|not convenient||οὐκ ἀνήκονια , ouκ anēkoνια||(inflected) not what is due, not duty, not fitting|
No more needs to be said except that all of these things reflect a lack of temperance or self-control. If a Christian has problems with any of these He should pray for deliverance and allow the Holy Spirit to work in him or her and rid them of the problem. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.“
Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Paul first mentioned the inheritance of Christ in chapter one. There he tells us that because of our faith in Christ, which insures our adoption as the children of God, we receive the inheritance of children (Eph 1:11, 14). This is explained in many passages beginning with Abraham leaving his home and going into Canaan where he was looking for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb 11:10). Revelation tells us more: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:4). The only way to receive such an inheritance is to be completely righteous and completely without sin. In ourselves, that is impossible, for we are born in sin (Psa 51:5) and we have a propensity to sin. In Christ, we are credited with the righteousness of Christ (Rom 4:23, 24) and our sins are wiped away (Psa 103:1; Mic 7:19). To be in Christ you must trust him as your Savior (Rom 10:9).
“For this ye know”—for this reason or because of the things listed in the previous two verses you know that none of the people listed in this verse have Christ or His inheritance. Please realize that not one of the sins mentioned in any of these verses in Ephesians chapter five is unforgivable. Trust in Christ as Savior will remit these sins and all other sins except the rejection of the Holy Spirit’s calling you to repentance. If you reject the Holy Spirit’s call to repentance, you cannot be saved. That is because the only way for anyone to know that he or she needs Christ as Savior is for the Holy Spirit to convince him or her of their sin. In your flesh, your will never truly understand your need for Christ’s salvation. Rejecting the Spirit means you will never understand the need for a Savior; the result is that you will never be saved.
A whoremonger is a person who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, which is sexual intercourse outside a marriage between opposite sexes. Same sex marriages are not included; that type of sexual intercourse is sinful. This sin may be forgiven.
An unclean person is one who is immoral in his or her living and/or thoughts. That would apply to all sinners. The unsaved are unclean and immoral, just as we who are saved were before our salvation.
The Greek word for covet is made up of two other words, one meaning more, the other meaning to hold. One who covets in one who always wants to “hold more.” In other words, a covetous person is a greedy person. Greed is idolatrous because a greedy person loves his or her temporal holdings such as money, power, possessions, etc., more than he or she loves God. This sin can also be forgiven.
For these sins to be forgiven, you must confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 10:9). When you do this, you are saved. Then you must repent of your sin (Act 3:19) and confess it to God and you will be forgiven (1 John 1:9).
Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Paul is writing to Christians, and not the unsaved. It is apparent, then, that there are people who can deceive Christians with empty or vain words. That is why Paul warns us against letting such people deceive us. The word rendered vain, in its simplest form, means empty. Empty words are devoid of Godly truth. We must not allow anyone to use untruthful arguments that try to entice us to sin. These arguments are those that say that a certain sin is okay because it is acceptable to society or that has long been so. These arguments are meant to palliate or excuse such actions as sinless. Arguments like, “We have always done that,” or, “everybody does it” are used to excuse such things.
In Western society, we see these kinds of arguments every day. One example is “We cannot stop teenagers from ________ [sexual relations, smoking, underage drinking, etc.], therefore we may as well accommodate them in a safe, healthy manner.” Handing out free condoms to high school students is one method in which we excuse the sin of sexual immorality among teens.
This example can be expanded to myriads of other sinful actions we excuse in Western society. Sins like greed, predatory business practices, deceitfulness, drunkenness, abortion, adultery, fornication, racism, sexism, classism, rampant immorality, etc. are regularly overlooked with political correctness, alternative labels, and excuses. Such society disdains any semblance of propriety, and especially the proprieties of Christianity and Christians. The coarser or more outlandish an action or a person is, the more our general society exalts that person or action. The more moral, decent, or decorous an action or person, the more our general society disdains that person or action.
Our society has become more and more pagan in recent years. This is the same type of society that Christians at Ephesus lived under. With all the lies out there, it is necessary that we attend to Paul’s words. We must ever be on our guard against heresies, false teachers, ungodliness in our current society, especially when those things sound plausible or acceptable. Remember that Satan masquerades as an angel of light, as do his minions. It is not okay to do something sinful just because everyone is doing it. It is still sin and the wages of sin are still death.
The Devil is truly evil. He appears to be a very good person with your best interests in mind. He is kind to you and he is very persuasive. He is kind of like an insane murderer that kills for pleasure. He is like that man, who will murder others, but will treat you kindly and respectfully to your face and act like he likes you and would never harm you. Yet you never know that if you turn your back to him you may become his next victim. Be very careful.
“…because of these things” refers to those things Paul mentioned it he previous verse: whoremonger, unclean person, or covetous man. The children of disobedience are those that practice those things. God’s wrath will come; it will be poured out on them. It is a fact. The word rendered ‘come’ is in the present tense and is also in the passive deponent voice. As it is here, the deponent is usually rendered in the future in English. This means it will come in the future but it is already a fact at present. When the present tense is given for the future in Scripture, it means that in God’s eyes it has already occurred. Nothing will stop it. His wrath is coming. Therefore:
Eph 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Who? The children of disobedience in the previous verse.
Eph 5:8-10 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (9) (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) (10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
Beginning here and continuing throughout the remainder to the epistle, Paul outlines how to be not partakers with the children of disobedience.
The word rendered ‘sometimes’ is better understood as ‘formerly’ for the Greek word means once, i.e. formerly, aforetime, or at some time according to Thayer. The darkness is life without Christ and the light is life in Christ. Without Christ we are unable to see the truth because of the darkness. In the light of Christ the truth is written on our hearts—we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Thus as enlightened children we should conduct ourselves as (or walk as) children of the light. We do so by exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, which we will find in Gal 5:22 & 23.
Since we were formerly a part of the darkness but now are the light of the world (Mat 5:14; see also John 8:12), we must let that light shine in public (Mat 5:16), so that people may see the light of Christ in us, which glorifies God. This is what is acceptable to the Lord—that we walk as children of the light, which we are. If we are children of the light, then it is imperative that we conduct ourselves so.
Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Avoid those unfruitful works—the works delineated in Ephesians 5:3-4. To reprove them means to find fault with them and reject them. The word, in this context, means to speak out against sinfulness in our world where and when we find it. Of course, in this fallen world, the when and where is usually here and now. In the West, we have stopped speaking out against sin. It is dangerous to do so. We may be ostracized, humiliated, physically attacked, fined, and yes, even jailed as some have been for speaking out against the sinfulness around them. Unfortunately, even in the USA, where our Constitution guarantees us the right to freely express our religious beliefs, men and women have recently been fined and jailed for speaking out against sinfulness. Many have been accused of hatred when they spoke out against sin. It is becoming more and more hazardous to speak out against sin.
Here are two examples: in the year 2015 AD, Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk in Morehead, Kentucky, was jailed for refusing to grant same-sex marriage licenses. She did so because she believes same-sex marriage “Is not of God.” The second example is from Portland, Oregon. In 2013 AD, Aaron and Melissa Klein, who own the business, “Sweet Cakes By Melissa,” were fined $135,000 when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. In both cases, the folks were jailed and fined respectively for freely expressing their religious beliefs, a right that is outlined in the First Amendment words, “nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.” These are only two of several similar cases here in the USA. The same thing is happening thoughout western countries today. The U S Constitution’s First Amendment religion clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.”
However, such persecution is not the cause of our reticence to speak out against sin; it is the result of our not speaking out against sinfulness over the past few decades. Had we done so, perhaps we would not be under persecution today for doing so. Let us now endeavor to remedy that by speaking out against sinfulness even in the face of persecution. Jesus was persecuted for speaking out as were His original Twelve. All of them died for their truthfulness.
Eph 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
Peaking here of the wicked, the things they do in secret are shameful to those of us who have been lifted out of that sinful life we once led. Here I quote Romans 1:24-32:
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Those are the shameful things Paul wrote about. What is amazing is that the same pagan culture that existed in Paul’s day is once again extant in our day here in the West. The things mentioned in the passage above are all occurring in our present day in one form or another and are already in the mainstream in our Western Societies. They have even been encoded into law.
Homosexual marriage is now the law in most western countries. Men and women live together in sexual relationships outside of marriage; this is morally acceptable in our society today. Youth engaging in extra-marital sex is prevalent today and laws have been passed to help youth engage in those relationships. Condoms are lawfully and freely given to students in our schools. Abortion is prevalent in our societies even up to the moment of birth. Laws have been passed allowing children to have abortions without the knowledge of their parents. Hatred of God, Godliness, and anything associated with Yahweh God is increasing daily. Laws have been passed forbidding even the mention of anything related to Yahweh God in public places. Organizations now deliberately stalk Christians in order to catch them living their faith in defiance of Godless laws passed by our legislators and by a tyrannical judiciary. When they find such folk, they go to court to stop them and even punish them for following their faith.
Entire books could be written demonstrating the things outlined by Paul in the above passage. Yes the paganism around us it like that surrounding the Apostles and early Christians. We have not yet come to the point that we believers are killed for their faith, but one must admit to the possibility of even that happening in the near future. Even so, all the other pagan upheaval going on in our society today is very much like that of the First Century. Our grandparents would be ashamed of what is happening today. We Christians also should be ashamed of those things.
Eph 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Many modern versions separate this at the colon and include that which is after the colon in verse fourteen, while that which is before the colon makes up verse thirteen. We will stick with the King James Version rendering, which is the way many more traditional and some modern versions render it.
The Greek word rendered ‘reproved’ is, ἐλεγχόμενα, elengkhŏmena, present passive participle of ἐλέγχω, elengkhō. The root word can mean to convict, correct, to call to account, or to expose. Calling to account and exposing are synonymous. In context, ‘all things’ cannot conceivably be convicted or corrected, yet all things can be exposed. Thus the verse can be understood to say “But all things that are exposed (or called to account) are made manifest by the light . . .” Many translations render the word ‘exposed.’
All sinful things, such as those in the passage above from Romans, are darkness. When they are reproved, or exposed, it is light that exposes them. It is light that always exposes darkness and opens it up for all to see. Sometimes evil, sinful things are exposed in this life; some will wait until Judgment, but eventually all will be exposed.
Eph 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Who said that? “Awake thou” is recorded in Isa 26:19, 51:17 & 52:1. Yet, this exact quote cannot be found intact in the Scripture. Since God uttered the words “awake now” and “the dead men shall live…they shall arise,” perhaps Paul loosely combined Isa 26:19 and Isa 60:1 in order to make his point here. Paul does not say this is a direct quote; he does not state “as it is written” here like he does in other places where he does directly quote OT scripture.
Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
Isa 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
If that is so, Paul infers that God is the one Who said this because God did say both things, albeit in different places. Isa 60:1 tells us of the light that has come, which is Jesus Christ. Isa 26:19 states that the dead shall arise and it tells those who dwell in dust, which indicates the dead, to awaken and sing.
In the area of Israel and Palestine, dew plays an important part in the rehydration of plant life. The dew in the area is particularly heavy at night. After plants have spent the day in the heat and lack of rain, the dew at night refreshes them. In the evening they are limp and dying from lack of moisture and after basking in the dew at night they are refreshed in the morning. As the dew at night refreshes the plants so God’s dew, which is a refreshing, causes the ground to cast out the dead. In other words, God’s refreshing is for people to arise in the light of Christ to eternal life. Of course only believers in Christ will be in that group.
Paul states that all things, including evil things, will be exposed by the light of Christ and His Gospel. The righteous are included in that light and that refreshing. Because of that Good News, the Gospel of Christ, we should always remember to walk in that light.
(Eph 5:15) See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Walk in the light of Christ; do so with wariness, for evil is all around. Avoid fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness—those evil fruits outlined above in Eph 5:3,4,& 5. Do not be ensnared by those things.
Have you ever gotten behind a vehicle operated by a driver that does not seem to realize he is on a busy road? The person never seems to pay attention to what is going on around him. A foolish man does not walk circumspectly, he walks around unaware of the evil around him, similar to that unmindful vehicle operator. Do not be foolish, but be wise. Realize that sin lies at the door waiting to rule over you if you will allow it (Cf. Gen 4:7). Avoid that.
(Eph 5:16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
What does redeem mean? Here is the definition from the 1828 Webster Dictionary:
REDEE’M, v.t. [L. redimo; red, re, and emo, to obtain or purchase.]
1. To purchase back; to ransom; to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage, or from any obligation or liability to suffer or to be forfeited, by paying an equivalent; as, to redeem prisoners or captured goods; to redeem a pledge.
2. To repurchase what has been sold; to regain possession of a thing alienated, by repaying the value of it to the possessor.
3. To rescue; to recover; to deliver from.
4. To compensate; to make amends for.
5. To free by making atonement.
6. To pay the penalty of.
7. To save.
8. To perform what has been promised; to make good by performance. He has redeemed his pledge or promise.
9. In theology, to rescue and deliver from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law, by obedience and suffering in the place of the sinner, or by doing and suffering that which is accepted in lieu of the sinner’s obedience.
Here is the Greek definition:
1. to secure deliverance of, deliver, liberate, rescue
2. to gain something esp. advantage or opportunity
3. to make the most of (when used with καιρον, kairon, as in this verse)
4. to buy off
5. to deliver
6. to ransom
Simply put, in context, this saying means to use your time wisely or make the most of your time. When the second phrase, “because the days are evil” is added, our understanding is enhanced. Since there is much evil in the world and in our days, it would be easy to allow opportunities to do that which is righteous, Godly, and good to be taken away by the evils of the day. Therefore we must continually attempt to liberate or redeem our opportunities to do good from the evil around us. Let us use our time wisely in the pursuit of our understanding of what God’s will is instead of allowing the world to take that time from us.
Worldly pursuits are very enticing. It is easy for us to step off the path and take a detour through the enticements of the flesh—greed, lust, idolatry, prurience, immorality, etc. John Bunyan made a list of these pursuits in Vanity Fair (from “The Pilgrim’s Progress”):
Therefore at this fair are all such merchandise sold: as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms; lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts-as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.
And moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be deceivers, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues and that of every kind.
Here are to be seen, too-and that for nothing-thefts, murders, adulteries, false-swearers, and that of a blood red colour.
We must constantly be aware of these detours. We can easily be taken aside by them and join in the evils of the day. If we redeem those times, then we will remain above those evils and not be overcome by them. Whenever we are enticed to allow such things to take away our valuable time that should be given to accomplishing God’s will, we can rescue that time for good. How? Php 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Let us not allow the culture to guide us; let us allow the Word of God to do so instead. Paul further expands on redeeming the time in the next several verses.
Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
Use you time wisely in all that you do. Be reasonable and not senseless or foolish; act in an intelligent manner. Do not be impulsive, reckless, egotistical, or immoral. Seek to understand God’s will in all things, understanding the He wants us to be sober, just, holy, and temperate.
We are also exhorted to be wise but gentle, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Mat 10:16). Paul puts is another way in his Epistle to the Romans, “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil“(Rom 16:19).
Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
As a Southern Baptist, I covenant with my local church to abstain from drinking, serving, and selling alcoholic beverages. Prescription drugs containing alcohol are exempt, provided the physician’s instructions are followed exclusively. Outside of that covenant, I still do not consume alcoholic beverages. Thus we use grape juice in our local body of believers for communion. There is no Biblical prohibition from drinking alcoholic products, but this verse echoes many others about not drinking wine to excess and getting drunk. Drunkenness is a sin. Be filled with the Holy Spirit instead of consuming to excess.
Allowing the Holy Spirit to indwell and fill us will allow us to prevent excesses in any walk of life. His infilling will keep us from losing our temper; from gluttony, from the love of money; from bickering; from backbiting, slandering, or gossiping about others. Being filled with the Holy Spirit will always keep us from excesses and on the right track with God in any circumstance.
Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
This means speaking among yourselves (instead of ‘to yourself’) in congregation and in small gatherings of Christians where two of more are gathered in Christ’s Name. This is not talking to oneself, but to others.
The Greek word for ‘psalm’ is taken from a word that means to strike a stringed musical instrument, to make music. So a psalm here can be accompanied by a musical instrument, sung a capella, or even chanted. Since many Psalms of David were accompanied by a harp or lyre, perhaps Paul specifically meant those psalms.
The Greek word for ‘hymn’ intonates celebration; therefore it is a song of praise. Several of David’s psalms are songs of praise. They are sung to praise the Lord.
Spiritual songs are differentiated from secular songs. There may be nothing wrong with a particular secular song (though many secular songs are about sinful things), but Paul exhorts us to redeem the time with songs that are specifically spiritual.
Making melody in your hearts means to sing worshipful songs silently in your mind to yourself.
Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Redeem the time by always giving thanks. Does that mean every second of every minute of every hour of the day? Of course not. It does mean give thanks often. All things meant both good an bad. Be thankful in the good times and in the bad times. Be thankful when good things happen to you and be thankful when the bad happens always remembering that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). Therefore be thankful for all things, no matter what they are.
Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
The Greek word for submit is a combination of two words. The first is s combining form meaning ‘under.’ The other word means ‘to arrange in order’ or to ‘appoint one’s own authority.’ Combining them we get ‘to arrange under’ or ‘to appoint one’s own authority under.’ Thus to submit to others is to arrange myself under other, or to appoint my own authority under or less than others. The acronym J.O.Y. accurately states the meaning of this passage: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Do this in reverence to God.
Eph 5:22-24 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) 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. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Now we get into what is currently controversial. “Wives submit to your husbands” is a passage that flies in the face of modern thought about equality between the sexes. Let me first remind you of the previous passage: submit yourselves to one another. Husbands and wives included. They are to submit to one another. Remember that submitting in this passage means to always put others first.
The bible says for wives to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. How does the church submit to Christ? Christ is the head of the church. The church is the body of Christ. The body does as the head tells it. If the head wants the right arm to move, the right arm moves. If the head wants to talk, it makes the mouth talk. The head, however, cannot tell the arm to speak. The arm was not meant to speak. Husbands cannot expect wives to do that which God didn’t ordain them to do. The head is part of the body. There is no division in the body–all parts have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers, and if one part is honored, every part is honored. 1 Cor. 12:25 & 26. We are all part of the body of Christ and we submit to His headship. This means we follow Christ in the way he wants us to. We obey His commands, we strive to be like Him, we tell others of Him, and we want to please Him. In the same way, the wife ought to submit to her husband.
Submission to your husband does not mean that you are his slave or that he owns you. Many husbands have tried to use the bible as an excuse to mistreat their wives. Submission to your husband does mean that you respect him and that you try to please him; at the same time, though, the husband is also to respect is wife. The church respects Christ and tries to please him. We submit to his authority. When we respect Jesus, he is pleased with us.
This is not politically correct. It is not what the dominant world culture wants you to be. The dominant culture says that a wife should get an education, and then find a career. After she is established in the career, then she might marry, but her marriage never becomes first place. She should always place her career over her marriage. The world says that she won’t be fulfilled if she does not follow this course. There is much pressure on women, even from other Christians, that they pursue careers for their fulfillment. However, this is not God’s way, this is man’s way.
God’s way is for a man and a woman to unite and become one flesh. Whatever happens to one happens to other. The husband is to be the spiritual leader. He is the provider, the protector, and the leader, just as Christ is. The wife is to submit to him and he is to love her. They are to submit to one another. Each is to put the other first. One is not to lord it over the other. The wife is the heart of the family. She is the child bearer and child rearer. If there are children, there is no more important job for her than raising the children.
I believe that women should not work in a career or job during the years that the children are growing up. However, I am not naive, I know there are times when, because of economic reasons, that women must work outside the home. When they do, the children are usually placed in day care, or become latch key kids. They do not get the upbringing they need in these circumstances. This is the very reason that crime is on the increase. Outside the home, children do not get taught about the values they need to become Godly citizens. This is important. Child rearing is the most important job parents can do. If it is at all possible, mothers should stay home while their offspring are children and raise them.
(Eph 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
If husbands will love their wives as Christ loves the church, marital problems would end. We can surmise that at large percentage of husbands would give their lives to save their wives. Love is about putting the needs of others above yourself. As discussed in verse 21, submitting is about putting others first. Christ put all of us before Himself for “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
(Eph 5:26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
There are many and varied comments about the phrase, “the washing of water by the word.” A simple explanation is the best. The word here is speech; the spoken word. Paul tells us in Rom 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” That is the spoken word.
What are we to preach? The Gospel. We preach the Gospel with the spoken word and then baptize new converts. The washing of water in baptism symbolizes our dying with Christ and being raised with Him to new life in Christ; in other words, our being cleansed of sin. Thus the church is sanctified by the word and symbolically cleansed by the water of baptism.
(Eph 5:27) 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.
He cleansed his church, not because we are pure and spotless, for we are soiled, filthy in our sins. He cleansed us of our filthy, of our sin because of His grace. He has graciously made atonement for our sins and when He comes to get His church, we will be spot, wrinkle, and blemish free; a chaste bride, dressed in white raiment, glorified, and He will take us home.
Eph 5:28-33 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (29) For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (31) 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. (32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (33) Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
The major reason for the breakdown of the family in this world is the abdication, on the part of the husband, of his responsibilities as the leader of the family. The husband is the spiritual leader and responsible to God for his family. Husbands have become so involved in their jobs and leisure activities that they have given the responsibility of family leadership over to their wives. Many wives do not want this position.
God took part of the first man and made the first woman. She was to be the man’s co-equal helper, for Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23). That they are co-equal is proven by Gen 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The two are one; not two separate people, but one unit.
The current cultural mind set is to be sensitive and not to offend anyone. Some would say that this passage and those like it are offensive to women. Offensive or not, it is the Word of God that states this. I am going to obey God over man.
Men are supposed to be involved in making the decisions in the family. Many wives want them to be. This is how God made them. Men are the spiritual leaders, and they are responsible to God for the decisions they make. However, husbands and wives, being one flesh should make decisions together. God holds the man ultimately responsible for leadership, yet it is acceptable for both to make mutual decisions.
The husband is the spiritual leader of the family, but that doesn’t mean that a husband is to lord it over his wife. No, the bible tells a man to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Christ doesn’t lord it over us, he gently guides us and protects us. If I tried to lord it over my wife, she would not allow it.
The wife is the heart of the family. With our minds we think, but with our hearts we feel. The mind without the heart can be cold and calculating. The heart keeps the mind from being that way. Marriage is just like the body. The head controls, the heart moderates. The husband is the leader, the wife is the mediator. A husband can make a decision and act on that decision and be wrong. But if he had included his wife in the process of the decision, and accepted input from his wife, he would have had a better likelihood of being right. You see, the wife, being the heart of the family, would have mediated the decision, and brought some feeling to it, and it would have been right.
Sometime our head gets us into trouble, but if our heart would have been in it the trouble would have been avoided. The same is true with husbands and wives. Personally, when my wife says something, I can take it to the bank that she is correct, therefore I listen to her.
Paul writes about children in the next chapter.