Walk in Love
It is impossible to imitate God in everything!But there are a number of scriptures that exhort us to imitate God in particular areas. For example:To be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16)To be merciful as He is merciful (Luke 6:36)Here, as recipients of God’s love, we are told to love others sacrificially just as Christ displayed the love of God by sacrificing Himself for us.
We must turn away from things that are the complete opposite of sacrificial love (5:2), things such as self indulgent sexual immorality.
sexual immorality (porneia) = any kind of sexual relations outside of marriage.impurity = any kind of moral impurity including, but not limited to, sexual impurity.
Some Other Passages to Consider:Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:27-29)Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:9-11)Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)greed –Covetousness (Hoehner) = a desire for something that is not rightfully yours.An insatiable desire to have more, even the [sexual] coveting of someone else’s body for selfish gratification. (O’Brian)A disposition to have more than one's share (Friberg)Is equated to idolatry in vs. 5 (also Colossians 3:5)But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.The word translated hint, literally means “named” (or mentioned).In other words, these kinds of behaviors are so shameful that (ideally) we should not even mention them much less practice them!Compare this with what Paul says in vs. 12: For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
After being warned in verse 3 to avoid sexual sins, we are now warned to avoid perverse speech.All three terms refer to a dirty mind expressing itself in vulgar conversation. This kind of language must be avoided as utterly inappropriate among those whom God has set apart as holy. (O’Brien, p.361)obscenity – shameful, disgraceful speech (or behavior) foolish talk – silly, foolish or senseless talk coarse joking – indicates jesting that has gone too far; it could have reference to dirty jokes or humor with suggestive overtones.
but rather thanksgiving.
Later Paul will tell us that we should be always giving thanks to God the Father for everything. (Eph 5:20)For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving (1Tim. 4:4)
Paul is giving us a strong warning. Take heed!Those who have given themselves over to immorality, impurity and greed, even if they call themselves Christian, show that they are excluded from eternal life. (O’Brien, p.363)The apostle is not asserting that the believer who ever falls into these sins is automatically excluded from God’s kingdom. (O’Brien, p.363)What is being talked about here is a person who without shame or repentance has given himself over to these things as a way of life.
Walk as Children of Light
We are not to be partners with those who are disobedient (i.e., unbelievers)This does not mean we are not to associate with them (1 Cor. 5:10) rather we are not to participate in their immoral way of life.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
Paul had previously contrasted our life as unbelievers with our present life as believers using the terms old and new (4:22).Here he uses the metaphor of darkness and light to express the same contrast.darkness – represents ignorance, error, and evillight – stands for truth, knowledge and holinessBecause we are now those who are characterized by light, we should live like it. Be what you are!
(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
fruit – is a figurative term to denote the result, outcome, or profit of an action.Part of the fruit of living as a child of light is that virtues like goodness, righteousness, and truth begin breaking out in our life.
and find out what pleases the Lord.
Furthermore as children of light, we should make it our business to find out what pleases the Lord.
Not only are we told not to participate in sinful activities, we are told to expose them!Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (John 3:20-21)
As we expose the evil lives of unbelievers around us (by how we live and the gospel we preach) some may respond to the light, abandon their sinful way of life and become light themselves.The citation given here seems to be a combination of OT passages (Is. 26:19; 60:1-2) that had been made into an early Christian hymn.
Live Not as Unwise But as Wise
We are living in an age when Satan is powerfully at work in the world around us (2:2) blinding the hearts of unbelievers and seeking to do us harm.Therefore we must careful, wise, make the most of every opportunity, and have a good understanding of how the Lord would have us live.
Be Filled With the Spirit
We are told not to get drunk on wine, we are not told that we can’t drink wine at all.Other scriptures demonstrate that drinking alcoholic beverages (without getting drunk) is not a sin:Paul recommends that Timothy drink a little wine for his stomach and frequent illnesses (1 Tim 5:23)Jesus turned water into wine at a party (John 2:9)Jesus consumed alcoholic beverages Himself (Mat 11:18-19):
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." 'But wisdom is proved right by her actions."
which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
debauchery –A lack of self control that leads to reckless immoral behavior and a ruined lifeWasting your life in order to indulge your sensual desires (cf. Luke 15:13)
Instead, be filled with [by] the Spirit.
Rather than becoming drunk, we are to be filled with the Spirit.Drunkenness results in a ruined out of control way of life that dishonors God.The filling of the Spirit results in a productive and satisfying life full of joy and thanksgiving and brings glory to God.Be filled is a present passive imperative (in the Greek):Present – indicates a repeated actionPassive – means that we can’t fill ourselvesImperative – means we have a responsibility to do those thing that involve the Spirit’s filling…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12b-13)
How the context prescribes that we be filled by the Spirit:Be filled by means of the Spirit (vs.18): Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (vs. 19a) Singing and Making Music in your hearts to the Lord (vs. 19b ) Giving Thanks to God for all things (vs. 20) Submitting yourselves to one another (vs. 21)Wives to Husbands (5:22-33)Children to Parents (6:1-4)Slaves to Masters (6:5-9)
The Spirit fills us with a desire to express ourselves through music in two directions:Horizontally we speak to one another through various kinds of songsVertically we sing to the Lord (Christ) from our innermost being (= the heart)These two directions of musical expression are a description of one act viewed from two perspectives.This can be seen even in the choice and ordering of Greek words used here:Making music is the verbal form of psalmSinging is the verbal form of song
psalms, hymns and spiritual songsIt is not possible to distinguish sharply between these three terms. They are the most common words used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew OT used in NT times):psalms (psalmos) – from a word meaning “to pluck” which implies they may have been accompanied by stringed instruments. Used by other NT writers of the OT psalms, but came to be used of any song of praise (1 Cor. 14:26, Col 3:16)hymns (humnos) – denotes a festive hymn of praise (cf. Acts 16:25, Heb. 2:12)spiritual songs (ode) – used in the NT of the song in which God’s acts are praised (Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3). Because this is a more general term for singing, Paul uses the qualifier spiritual to ensure that believers sang songs which come from a heart filled by the Holy Spirit rather than produced by wine.The speaking here refers to the fact that as we sing together we are communicating to one another our shared beliefs. In Colossians Paul describes these same three terms as teaching and admonition:Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
giving thanks here has four modifiers:always (= regularly or constantly)for everythingin the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (name = all that a person stands for and has accomplished)to God the Father
As our lives are filled by the Holy Spirit (vs. 18) with God-honoring attitudes and behaviors, this will be one of the results: We will, out of fear and awe for Christ, submit to and obey those who are in authority over us.
out of reverence for Christ.Many, taking this verse out of context, have taught that all Christians are under obligation to submit to all other Christians!There are two primary reasons why this cannot be what Paul is teaching here:The Greek word for submit (hupotasso) implies a chain of command or authority structure:submit (hupotasso) – to obey or subject yourself to someone who is in authority over you – often used of soldiers submitting to those of superior rank.
This word is never used (in the NT or otherwise) to mean something like “acting in a thoughtful or considerate way, or showing mutual courtesy, deference or respect”.We should not assume that the word submit has a meaning in this verse that it never has anywhere else, especially since the usual meaning of the word makes good sense here.The verses that follow only apply the idea of submission to individuals under authority – not those in authority.to one another (allelon) – some have tried to argue that this phrase changes the meaning of submit and makes it refer to some kind of “mutual submission”.
But one another does not always mean everyone doing something to everyone else. For example:And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another, and he was given a great sword. (Rev. 6:4)Here we are told that if our submission to those in authority over us is a result of the Spirit’s filling, our motivation for submitting will be our of awe and fear of Jesus Christ.
reverence (phobos) – “Although many modern translations tone down the term to ‘reverence’ or ‘respect’ (cf. RSV, NEB, JB, NIV, NRSV) these renderings are too soft to catch the nuance intended. Fear is still the best translation. Although it does not convey the idea of ‘terror’ or ‘intimidation’ for those who are in Christ, it signifies a sense of awe in the presence of one who is Lord and coming Judge.” (O’Brien p. 404)
Submit to One AnotherAs we have already seen, Paul discusses three relationships where Christians are to submit.In each case the subordinate member is mentioned first and exhorted to submit.But then, immediately following, the second member of each pair is addressed and reminded of their responsibilities.
Verse Address Imperative Amplification Motivation 5:22-24 Wives Submit to husbands As to Lord Husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church 5:25-33 Husbands Love wives As their own body Christ gave Himself for the church 6:1-3 Children Obey parents In the Lord Command to honor parents and promise of a long life 6:4 Fathers Provoke not children But nurture In discipline and admonition of the Lord 6:5-8 Slaves Obey masters As to Christ Lord will reward 6:9 Masters Do right by slaves Forebear threats Lord will judge
(Chart taken from Hoehner, p. 728)
Wives are told to submit, not to every man, to their own (idios) husbands.
The wife should submit to her husband as a part of her obedience to the Lord.Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)
When it says that the husband is the head of the wife, it means that God has placed the husband in authority over the wife, just as Christ is the head of (i.e. in authority over) the church.Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)While Paul does not discuss it in Ephesians, he tells us in 1 Cor. 11 that male headship goes back to the order of creation:For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. (1 Corinthians 11:8-9)
his body, of which he is the Savior.
Christ's headship over the church is expressed by His loving it and giving His life for it, as vv. 25-27 so clearly show. This will have profound implications for the husbands behavior as head of the wife (v.28). (O’Brien, p.414)
The church’s submission to Christ is now presented as a model of the wife’s submission to her husband.
“ ‘In everything’ indicates that the wife is to be subordinate to her husband in every area of life.” (O’Brien, p.417)Just as the church submits to Christ in everything, so the wife is to submit to her husband in everything.Although Paul does not state it here, it should be understood that a wife should not submit to her husband if he tells her to do something that is contrary to what Christ commands:Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29)
One other passage to consider:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (1 Peter 3:1-6)
In loving their wives, husbands must follow the example that Christ has set in loving the church.
and gave himself up for her
Christ’s love for the church was a sacrificial love – it cost Him his life!
In the same way, husbands must love their wives sacrificially – even to the point of putting their life on the line, if it becomes necessary.
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.Christ’s gave Himself for the church in order to:Sanctify her, having cleansed herPresent her to Himself in splendorEnable her to be holy and blameless
to make her holy, cleansing her
The basic idea of ‘sanctify or make holy’ is that of setting someone apart to God for His service.This does not refer to the ongoing process of sanctification in the life of a Christian, but the church’s special relationship with God brought about by the cleansing effect of Christ’s sacrifice.
cleansing her by the washing with water
The cleansing by washing with water is a metaphor used to describe the church’s spiritual cleansing which was secured by Christ on the cross (cf. 1:7).
“Cleansing her by the washing with water”This may be a reference to a first century Jewish wedding custom where, just before the wedding, the bride was bathed, “symbolizing the cleansing that would set her apart to her husband.” (Hoehner, p.756)It could also have reference to an OT idea where God speaks symbolically of cleansing His bride, Israel: On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised … I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. (Ezekiel 16:4-5; 9-10)
cleansing her by the washing with water through the word
The church is also cleansed through the word – probably a reference to the fact that the church is cleansed by believing in the word of the gospel.
The goal of Christ’s sacrificial work on behalf of the church was to present her to Himself as a radiant bride without spot or blemish.This is best understood as our presentation to Christ at the end of the world:
One of the seven angels … came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. (Revelation 21:9-11)
Just as Christ sacrificially loved the church in order to bring about her spiritual well being so we as husbands should be concerned to provide for the spiritual well being of our wives.
We see an example of this kind of love in Paul’s concern for the spiritual well-being of the churches: I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. (2 Corinthians 11:2)
“The statement applies the second great commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Lev 19:18), in a direct way to the love which the husband should have for his nearest and closest neighbor, namely his wife.” (O’Brien, p.426)
“Similarly, in the golden rule Jesus urged his hearers to treat others as they themselves like to be treated (Mat. 7:12).” (O’Brien, p.427)
Some have tried to make the absurd argument from this text that we must learn to love ourselves first, so that we can then love our wives like we love ourselves!This text assumes that we already love ourselves all too well!
Once again, Christ the Great Shepherd is our example as He feeds and cares for His body – the church!As husbands we must provide and care for our wives like we do for ourselves and like Christ does for the church.
Two other passages to consider:Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. (Colossians 3:19)You husbands … live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 – NASB translation)John Brown in his commentary on 1 Peter 3:7 recites the following poem:
It is well to mark how a passing word
Too lightly said, and too deeply heard
Or a harsh reproof, or a look unkind,
May spoil the peace of the sensitive mind
We are so intimately joined to Christ that we have become part of Him!This truth is so intensely personal that Paul switches to the first person (“we”).
Without any introduction, Paul quotes Gen2:24 – which, in its original context, shows the physical and spiritual oneness of that first marriage which then becomes a model for all marriages.Gen 2:24 has been the underlying foundation for all that Paul has said to this point about the oneness of the husband and wife.
But here, Paul shows us that the ultimate fulfillment of this passage is seen in the union that exists between Christ and His church!So that the relationship between Christ and us as His church now serves as the highest model of what our marriages should be.
This is a profound mystery--
mystery – in the NT refers to something that was hidden in ages past but has now been revealed.The mystery revealed here is the uniting of Christ and the church as exemplified by the spiritual union that is lived out in a Christ centered marriage.
Having reached the crescendo of his discussion of marriage in explaining the now-revealed mystery of the wonderful union that exists between Christ and His church – Paul concludes with these final exhortations:The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the churchAnd the wife is to fear her husband.