Category Archives: EPHESIANS 5

The apostle continues his instruction to believers, encouraging them to walk in the light, to walk in love, and to be submissive.

EPHESIANS 5

SURVEY OF CHAPTERS 4-6
Having given us in chapters 1-3 the explanation of the purpose of God, he now gives in chapters 4-6 exhortation concerning the believer’s walk. That is, the way he progresses through this world under the eye of both God and men. This falls into seven parts, and in each case some aspect of the example of Christ is before us:

1. In 4:1-16 the example is “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”. In other words, the whole range of Christ’s graces and virtues. This is summed up in the expression “perfect man”, verse 13.
2. In 4:17-32 the example is Christ as the one who replaces Adam as head, and who brings in new things. Here the expression is “the new man”, verse 24.
3. In 5:1-7 the example is Christ in sacrificial love at Calvary, verse 2. He is the surrendered man.
4. In 5:8-21 the example is Christ as the light we should follow. He is the stimulating man, stirring those who are drowsy, verse 14.
5. In 5:22-33 the example is Christ as the Saviour of the body, and there He is self-less man, nourishing and cherishing His own.
6. In 6:1-9 the example is Christ in relation to others. As a child He was subject; He fathered His disciples, displaying the love of the Father to them, John 15:9, and calling them “children”, John 21:5; He served His Father well, and He was a righteous Master to His disciples. In other words, He was socially-responsible man.
7. In 6:10-24 the example is Christ in His conflict with the enemy. We are to be strong “in the Lord”, recognising, and imitating, the way He battled with the Devil, and conquered. In this He is steadfast and successful man.

With this seven-fold aspect of the example of Christ before us, should we not be motivated to walk in ways that please God, and that fulfill His eternal purpose for us?

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 5, VERSES 1 TO 7:

5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

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 sweetsmelling savour.

5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

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.

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.

5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

SURVEY OF CHAPTER
This chapter falls into three parts, as just set out in Points 3-5 above.
The first, verses 1-7, emphasise that Christ manifests that God is love, and we are to walk in love too.
The second, verses 8-21, stress that God is light, and we are to walk as children of light. If we falter, and sleep by the wayside, Christ will shine light upon us to rouse us to action.
The third, verses 22-33, deals with the way in which Christ nourishes and cherishes the church, and thereby gives example to husbands.

STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER

(a) Verses 1-7 We are to walk in love, as Christ loved us.
(b) Verses 8-21 We are to walk as children of light, being “light  in the Lord”.
(c) Verses 22-33 Wives are to be in submission to their husbands, and husbands are to act like Christ towards them.

(a) Verses 1-7 We are to walk in love, as Christ loved us.

5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

Be ye therefore followers of God- the “therefore” reminds us that the apostle always presents a logical argument to us, for God graciously tells us the reasons behind what He requires of us. We are pointed back to 4:32, where we are reminded that God has forgiven us for Christ’s sake. We are to imitate that characteristic of God, and forgive one another as God has forgiven us. The fact that it was for Christ’s sake assures us that His forgiveness is conditioned by who and what Christ is. Since He is righteous, then forgiveness must be on a righteous basis, and not on the basis of sentiment. The word of the Lord Jesus was, “If he repent, forgive him”, Luke 17:3,4. It is unrighteous to forgive an unrepentant person. God does not do it, and nor should we.
As dear children- as the children of God we share the life of God, which expresses itself in light and love. Love, for the believer, is the expression of the life of God within. And that love is directed towards others who are born of God, for “every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him”, 1 John 5:1. But we are dear children, not just children. It is possible that there are fathers who do not love their children, but our God is not like that. It is possible that there are children who do not appreciate that they are loved of their father, and we should not be like that. His known and appreciated love towards us should be a powerful stimulus to love fellow-believers, and to forgive them when they sin against us.

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 sweetsmelling savour.

And walk in love- the attitude of loving forgiveness the apostle has been encouraging in verse 1, is not to be a passing phase. It is a walk, a life-time’s occupation and endeavour. This demands a high level of commitment, so we are now reminded of Christ’s attitude, so that we may have His example before us constantly.
As Christ also hath loved us- there has been a truly convincing demonstration of Divine love in what the Saviour did at Calvary. Of course He still loves His own, but the apostle is concerned about His never-to-be-forgotten display of love at Calvary. This is additional to the love of God towards us in forgiveness, 4:32, hence the “also”.
And hath given Himself for us- He did not love in word and tongue only, but in deed and in truth, 1 John 3:18. There could be no greater surrender than that of Christ as He undertook to be the sacrifice that would bring us into acceptance and harmony with God. True love always delights to go to the limit, and this is perfectly demonstrated at Calvary. His was not a theoretical love, but very practical; and so should ours be.
An offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour- the offerings detailed in Leviticus chapters 1-7 are divided into those of a sweet smelling savour, and those not. The latter are the sin and trespass offerings. Clearly, then, the apostle is thinking of the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the peace offering. These arose to God as a sweet savour, a foretaste of Calvary, when His Son would give body and substance to the shadows. The burnt offering aspect of His work brings us into acceptance, and Ephesians 1:6 has told us we are accepted in the Beloved. The meal offering was brought by a man in the good of the burnt offering, and told of one whose life was at the disposal of God. This was true of Christ, and should also be true of believers; we should “lay down our lives for the brethren”, 1 John 3:16. The man who brought his peace offering did so because he was in harmony with God through the burnt offering. So Christ, the man pre-eminently in harmony with God in every sense, sacrificed His own interests for the sake of ours, and gave Himself at Calvary. We who are thereby at peace with God should be at peace with our fellow-believers, for the peace offering was a fellowship offering, shared with others.
When Noah emerged onto a new and cleansed earth after the flood, the first thing he did was to offer a sacrifice of a sweet savour. The stench of sin had been purged away by the waters, and now the air is fragrant with that which delighted God, for we read “the Lord smelled a sweet savour”, Genesis 8:21. So the apostle is careful to mention the fragrance of the offering of Christ, for he is going on to write about that which is a stench in God’s nostrils, the false and spurious love of the men of the world.

5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

But fornication- the “but” signals that we are about to be reminded of that which is not pleasing to God, although it might be pleasing to men. Ephesus was a city devoted to the goddess Diana, see Acts 19:27. As such, it was given over to licentious and depraved behaviour. And this was made all the worse because it was in the name of their goddess. Vice in the name of religion is the worst vice. Many of the believers in the assembly may have been involved in this, and certainly they had lived in an atmosphere polluted by depravity. They may have become used to this, and thought it to be normal. Now they are saved, however, their attitude should be radically different, and what was perhaps normal to them before must now be seen to be totally abnormal, and abhorrent to God.
Fornication is any illicit sexual activity, whether between men and women, or men and men, or women and women. It is the all-embracing term for immoral physical activity, hence the apostle does not say “all fornication”, as he says “all uncleanness”, for uncleanness has various manifestations, whereas the word fornication itself takes in every sort of manifestation.
Adultery, on the other hand, is immoral behaviour on the part of two persons, one or both of whom may be married to another. Note the way in which the two terms are distinguished by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 19:9. The only exception to the prohibition of divorce is that of fornication. But a person who is divorced and marries another is not said to commit fornication, but to commit adultery. So when fornication is spoken of by the Lord, it means unmarried persons, and does not relate to the immoral behaviour of married persons. The so-called “escape clause”, therefore, (which some would use to allow divorce), does not relate to persons in a marriage situation. If one partner is unfaithful, that is not a ground for divorce, because the sin was adultery and the “escape clause” refers to fornication. (If it is argued that fornication includes adultery, then that is to ignore the fact that the Son of God carefully distinguished them. God does not sanction the divorce of married persons, whether they are believers or unbelievers. He did sanction the divorce of betrothed persons, when one was guilty of fornication. Joseph knew this, which is why his initial thought was to divorce Mary, until the angel informed him of the true situation, and commanded him to marry her, which he did, Matthew 1:18-25.
And all uncleanness- if fornication is the actual immoral act, then uncleanness is the thought that led to the act. Physical uncleanness can be a sign of moral pollution, but it is the latter that is in view here. Just as physical dirtiness means an ill-savour, so mental dirtiness does. It is a stench in God’s nostrils. When the Ephesian idolaters boasted of their fame, they said that the city of the Ephesians “is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana”, Acts 19:31. Literally translated, the word “worshipper” is “temple-sweeper”. In other words, such was their devotion to Diana, that the whole city was prepared to sweep the temple courts for her. No amount of sweeping will do away with moral pollution, however, and of that in Diana’s courts there was plenty.
Or covetousness- this may be taken as a general warning about covetousness, but in the context it would refer to the coveting of another man’s wife, or the coveting of an attractive woman’s body. This attitude of mind which views and covets from afar, leads to the uncleanness the apostle speaks of, and then results in the actual immoral act. Elsewhere the apostle writes, “covetousness which is idolatry”, Colossians 3:5, but there it is the general idea of longing for that which will take the place of God in our thoughts. Here the thought is more limited.
Let it not be once named among you- let your name never have to be read out in the assembly as one who has been disciplined for immoral behaviour. The demand is very strict, for not once is a charge of fornication, uncleanness or covetousness to be laid against any believer. The difference between the assembly at Ephesus and the city of Ephesus must be clear-cut.
As becometh saints- the word saint was used in secular society for one who was dedicated to the gods. This no doubt was true of many in the assembly before they were saved. Now they are dedicated to the true God, but their behaviour must match their position before Him. The first word of the verse has reminded us of this, and now it is reinforced.

5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting- these are things that lead to the sins of verse 3. Filthiness is obscenity, foolish talking is “the talk of fools, which is foolishness and sin together”, and jesting is coarse joking.
Which are not convenient- that is, not suitable behaviour for those who have known the true and pure love of Christ.
But rather giving of thanks- this is the proper alternative. The three things at the beginning of the verse lead to the sins of verse 3, whereas giving of thanks is the outcome of verse 2.

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.

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- in verse 3 the emphasis was on the sins, but here it is the sinner himself. Sins may be forgiven on repentance, but an unrepentant sinner will have no portion in heaven, for “there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth”, Revelation 21:27. Note that a covetous man, because he has elevated the material and visible to prominence, has displaced God, and is therefore an idolater. No man can serve (as a slave) two masters…ye cannot serve God and Mammon”, Matthew 6:24. A person may have two employers at once, for neither can make an absolute claim over his life, but no slave, whose master did have absolute claim, could serve anyone else. So covetous men cannot serve God, and so are banned from any portion in God’s inheritance, for those living there will serve Him eternally. They preferred the material in time, they will be deprived of the spiritual in eternity. They preferred an earthly portion, they will have no heavenly one. Note that it is the kingdom of Christ and God, for they have common ownership; it is not the kingdom of Christ or God, as if there were two kingdoms.

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.

Let no man deceive you with vain words- vain or empty words are teachings which do not produce the walk in love that verse 2 encourages.
For because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience-
the last expression expresses the idea of character. In Colossians 3 the apostle shows that since we shall be coming with Christ when He returns to the earth to take His kingdom, it is inconsistent for us to be engaged now in the things that He will judge then. We should be marked by obedience, as God’s dear children. The great love of Christ for His Father resulted in Him obeying even to the extent of the death of the cross, Philippians 2:8, so “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”, Philippians 2:5.  the last expression expresses the idea of character. In Colossians 3 the apostle shows that since we shall be coming with Christ when He returns to the earth to take His kingdom, it is inconsistent for us to be engaged now in the things that He will judge then. We should be marked by obedience, as God’s dear children. The great love of Christ for His Father resulted in Him obeying even to the extent of the death of the cross, Philippians 2:8, so “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”, Philippians 2:5.  

5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Be not ye therefore partakers with them- believers will not partake of the wrath that sinners shall know, (Romans 5:9), but they are able to partake of the conduct which marks unbelievers now. The sweet-smelling sacrifice of verse 2 reminds us that the peace offering was one that the offerer could share in, feeding upon a portion of it, while the rest gave God pleasure as it burned upon the altar. Believers are able to share in God’s enjoyment of Christ’s loving sacrifice, and therefore should not have any desire to share with unbelievers in their sinful ways.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 5, VERSES 8 TO 21:

5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

(b) Verses 8-21 We are to walk as children of light, being “light in the Lord”.

STRUCTURE OF THE SECTION

Verses 8-10 Reproducing the light
Verses 11-13 Reproving the darkness
Verses 14-17 Reviving the light-giving
Verses 18-21 Rejoicing in the Lord

But there are exhortations for husbands, fathers and masters too.

Verses 8-10 Reproducing the light

5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

For ye were sometimes darkness- the word “for” links back to the previous section, and gives an added reason to walk in the pathway set out for us in eternity, 2:10. We were not simply in the darkness of ignorance, 4:18, but that darkness had so affected us that we had taken on its character, and could be said to be darkness itself. A great change has come about, however, and now believers are so affected by the light of God’s glory and truth that they can be said to be light, but only because they are in the Lord, reckoned by God to have moved from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son, Colossians 1:13. The Lord Jesus exhorted His hearers,“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light”, John 12:36.
But now are ye light in the Lord- the light of the gospel has “shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ”, 2 Corinthians 4:6. So the light shines into the heart, and then it is to be given to others. And this is why it shines into our hearts, so that we may give it out. In the beginning God commanded the light to shine out of darkness, and the apostle implies that letting the light shine from our hearts is a command, for those who have submitted to His lordship.
Walk as children of light- the logical outcome of this is that we walk, or conduct our lives, in accordance with the light that we have received, so that principle becomes practice, and standing becomes state. As those who are born of God we have the capacity and opportunity to reproduce the life of God. And since God is light, we should shine as light.

5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

(For the fruit of the Spirit- only by the power of the Spirit of God can the light of the glory of God be translated into acceptable behaviour, as verse 8 exhorts us it should. We shall recognise when this has happened when goodness, righteousness and truth are in evidence in our lives. Plants do not flourish in the dark, much less produce fruit to the glory of our Father, see John 15:8. One of the reasons why Christ was rejected was that His holy life condemned the lives of men, who refused to come to the light lest their deeds should be reproved, John 3:20. In the beginning God made each plant so that it had seed in itself, ensuring that whatever the nature of the plant, it could reproduce itself and be fruitful, Genesis 1:11. Believers are children of the light, and have the capacity to reproduce that light-nature in the form of goodness and righteousness and truth.
The lampstand in the tabernacle was in effect a golden almond tree, and had decorations in the form of buds, indicating life, flowers, indicating beauty, and almonds, indicating fruitfulness. The golden almond tree was supplied by the fruit of the olive tree, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. So that only is true light that is produced by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Is in all goodness and righteousness and truth- the fruit of the Spirit is expressed in these virtues, and we should demonstrate all of them to the fullest possible extent. Evil deeds, unrighteousness and error are expressions of darkness, and we should distance ourselves from them. The perfect demonstration of these virtues is, of course, in Christ. He “went about doing good”, Acts 10:38; He is “Jesus Christ the Righteous”, 1 John 2:1; He described Himself as “a man that hath told you the truth”, John 8:40. The glory of God is seen in the face, (that is, the person) of Jesus Christ, and as we behold Him, we are enabled to “show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light”, 1 Peter 2:9.

5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord- that which is well-pleasing to the Lord, (the beauty of the almond, see previous verse), will be in evidence in the life of the one who is a child of the light. The proving is done before we act, not after. By taking note of the example of Christ on earth, we may shine as lights in the world, Philippians 4:14-16. We may be sure that what He did is acceptable.

Verses 11-13 Reproving the darkness

5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness- NO FELLOWSHIP. The first way of reproving the works of darkness is by not having any sort of fellowship with them. Abraham was more effective for God in relation to Sodom as he stood outside and prayed, than Lot was as he sat inside at the place of influence. “God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow”, Genesis 19:29.
But rather reprove them- NO COMPROMISE. The second way of reproving them is to speak against them. It is not enough to simply stand apart; we must be active in reproof. This is not necessarily by word, but can be by deed. We could think of John the Baptist before Herod, and the way in which Herod was “reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done”, Luke 3:19. Then there was Paul before Felix, “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgement to come, Felix trembled”, Acts 24:25. But the prime example must be the Lord Jesus Himself before His accusers. Sometimes the reproof was by word, sometimes by silence.
Rebuke by speech:
1. He reproved the high priest by implication for not listening to His teaching, for He spoke openly, often in the temple courts, John 18:19-21.
2. When asked if He was the Son of God, He answered in the affirmative, and then informed the high priest of the consequence of this, namely, that He would come to judge, Matthew 26:64. His right to judge is vested in His Deity, John 5:22, as well as because He is Son of Man, verse 27.
3. He rebuked Pilate with the words, “Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice”, John 18:37. This implied Pilate was not open to the truth.
4. When Pilate claimed to have power over Him to either crucify or release Him, Jesus rebuked him, saying “Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me to thee, hath the greater sin”, John 19:11. This is a rebuke not only to Pilate for thinking that he had ultimate power, but also for Caiaphas the high priest, who should have been in touch with God, and therefore should have welcomed His Son, and not delivered Him to the authorities to be crucified.
Rebuke by silence:
1. He did not respond when the high priest appealed to the testimony of the false witnesses, Matthew 26:63. He does not sanction dishonesty, for he is “Jesus Christ the righteous”, 1 John 2:1.
2. He refused to answer when the high priest acted as judge and witness, Matthew 27:12. He had no legal obligation to respond in that situation. It was also illegal to try to make an accused person condemn Himself.
3. He remained silent throughout His examination before Herod, Luke 23:9. This was a strong rebuke of Herod’s treatment of John the Baptist.
4. He answered nothing when Pilate referred to the accusations of the high priest, Mark 15:3-5. This was a rebuke to Pilate for allowing faulty and flimsy evidence to carry weight.
5. He answered nothing when Pilate questioned Him again about His kingship, John 19:8,9. This was for two reasons. First, He had already answered the question in a previous interview. Second, Pilate had scourged Him, an act that was only supposed to be carried out on a guilty man. But Pilate had pronounced Him innocent, John 18:38, and then scourged Him as if guilty, 19:1.

5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret- NO MENTION. Just as foolish talking and jesting can lead to involvement in the sins of men which are contrary to light, verses 3,4, so speaking of the dark deeds of men may result in us imitating them. Our reproof of the sins of men need not involve detailed exploration. We should limit ourselves to what Scripture says, and not pry, nor make it the subject of discussion.

5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light- NO ALTERNATIVE. If something is reproved by the light of righteousness, then it is a sure sign that it was of the darkness, and that which reproves it is the light of practical righteousness, goodness and truth that is manifest in the lives of God’s people. If reproof happens, then light has done its work. Nothing else will reprove. The apostles did not set up social programmes, for the light of gospel is enough, preached and practised, to rebuke sin. Politics is of this world, and is not light.

Verses 14-17 Reviving the light-giving

5:14 Wherefore He saith, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”.

Wherefore He saith– we have a nature which still responds to the darkness, hence we need these further exhortations. Paul alludes to Isaiah 60:1,2, which reads, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: But the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee”. So in a day to come the glory of the Lord, which is expressed in the Messiah, shall shine upon the darkened hearts of the men of Israel, and they shall arise.
“Awake, thou that sleepest- here is a call to awake from indifference, and to arouse to action. This is very similar to the call in Romans 13:11,12, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light”. In other words, believers in this age are to anticipate what will happen to Israel in the future, and arise from their sleep, and begin to fight with the armour of light. This is not a call to the unsaved, but to sleepy saints.
And arise- it is one thing to wake up, it is a further thing to actually get up, resolved to act. The prodigal said he would arise, and then he did arise.
From among the dead- we can be indistinguishable from the unsaved in our lifestyle. It has been known for soldiers to be on the battlefield surrounded by their dead comrades, and they have saved themselves from being taken prisoner by feigning death. That is understandable behaviour, but in the spiritual warfare with which we are engaged, we need to make sure we are different to those who are dead in trespasses and sins, so that we may have an effectual testimony. Some think they must act like the unsaved in order to reach them. The reverse is the case, for only separated believers have a testimony. Abraham was effective for God because he kept away from Sodom; Lot had no testimony because he was in Sodom.
And Christ shall give thee light”- His promise was that those who followed Him would not walk in darkness, but would have the light of life, John 8:12. If we would have light on our pathway, then we must follow Him, just as Israel followed the pillar of fire in the wilderness.

5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

See then that ye walk circumspectly- this means to make our way through the world accurately. We shall be enabled to do this if our pathway is lit by the glory of Christ.
Not as fools, but as wise- Christ is made unto us wisdom, 1 Corinthians 1:30, and as a consequence our lives can be marked by righteousness, and sanctification and redemption, which results in freedom. Fools walk in the dark and stumble, John 11:10. This is because they have no light in them, for what the light represents must have its right place in the heart.

5:16 redeeming the time, for the days are evil.

Redeeming the time, for the days are evil we are to go to the market-place every morning, so to speak, and sell the hours of the day to the highest bidder. We may be sure that God will offer the highest price. We would be foolish to accept the lower price the world offers.

5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Wherefore be ye not unwise- lacking in light from the Lord.
But understanding what the will of the Lord is- having proved it by watching His life. It is as we present our bodies a living sacrifice, are not conformed to this world, are transformed by the renewing of the mind, that we are in a position to prove what the will of the Lord is in any situation, Romans 12:1-3.

Verses 18-20 Expression of true joy.

5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

And be not drunk with wine- having exhorted the believers to be alert and wise, the apostle now warns against that which will cloud the mind and spoil the testimony of those who are to be light-givers in the world. There is no outright prohibition of drinking wine in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus must surely have drunk wine at the wedding feast in Cana. He would not have turned the water into wine if He disapproved of drinking wine. It was customary for the wedding-guests to supply provisions as gifts for the newly weds, and this was His gift. He instituted the Lord’s Supper with the commodities available at the Passover Supper, and spoke of not drinking again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom, Luke 18, strongly implying that what He had just drunk was the fruit of the vine. And even if we do not accept this implication, then He certainly envisages drinking the fruit of the vine in the kingdom.
The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to no longer drink water, but to “use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and thine often infirmities”, 1 Timothy 5:23. Notice it is “use” not “drink”. The word “use” has the idea of that which is necessary; so this is not drinking for social purposes but medical. The water supply in many parts was not safe, and it was best to drink that which had no water in it. Nowadays in the modern world, there is no problem with the water, so even this medical use is not needed. For the sake of the testimony it is best if believers abstain wholly from alcohol.
Wherein is excess- the word “excess” is connected with the word for prodigal, who engaged in riotous living. He had to come to himself, showing that his behaviour was not under control. There is no doubt a reference to the Baccanalian Feasts, that would be held in honour of Bacchus, the god of wine. This is the depth of excess to which wine-drinking can so easily lead, and so abstention is the best policy.
But be filled with the Spirit- instead of being under the stupifying and evil influence of intoxicating drink, the believer is to be influenced wholly by the Spirit of God. This will mean He will be in control, not wine.
When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, we read that the disciples were all “filled with the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:4. When the Samaritans believed, they “received the Holy Spirit”, Acts 8:17. When Cornelius and his friends believed, they “received the Holy Spirit”, Acts 10:47. When the disciples of John at Ephesus believed, “the Holy Spirit came upon them”, Acts 19:6. These are synonymous terms, so to receive the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And to be filled is not a subsequent event.
The Holy Spirit is a Divine person, and therefore we cannot have part of Him, for He is indivisible. If He indwells a person, that person cannot be anything other than filled with Him, for He cannot be restricted to part of us. So why does Paul exhort us to be filled? For the simple reason that he is always exhorting believers to be in practice what they are in principle. So the exhortation is not “get filled”, but rather, “be in practice what you are in principle, namely, filled with the Spirit”.

5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Speaking to yourselves- drunken feasts are an uproar, but this is calm and controlled, as befits the one who is praised by the singing. Much of what passes for praise in the religious world is simply and only worldliness, whether it be the dreary drone of the chant, or the frenzied “praise service” which bears more resemblance to a rock concert than anything else. Those with spiritual discernment will soon recognise how God-dishonouring such practices are.
Notice that the songs should speak. In other words, they should have spiritual and meaningful content. True believers will not be satisfied with the mindless repetition of meaningless catch-phrases. Nor should they be satisfied with singing songs that contain error. The parallel passage in Colossians 3:16 reads, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another; in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”. So there is a vital connection between teaching and singing, even if we retain the punctuation as in the Authorised Version. If we read the Textus Receptus, (Stephens 1550), then the wording is, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in the heart to the Lord”.
The fact that the songs are spoken allows for the situation where it would be dangerous to sing. Those who meet in secret for fear of their lives may still praise God with songs that they speak quietly amongst themselves.
Notice, too, that the songs are “to yourselves”. In other words, all participate; they are not entertained by a choir. The idea of a group of singers introduces Judaism into the situation, for that is relic from temple-times, when Levites worshipped on behalf of the people. Now every true believer is a priest, and needs not others to worship for him.
The songs are “to yourselves”, showing that it is not singing to the unsaved that is in view. It is doubtful whether the apostles would have sanctioned the current format of gospel meetings, which is really modelled on the religious services in Christendom, and is evidence that we have not broken free from all the trappings of Judaism.
In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs- this may well be a three-fold description of every hymn, rather than three sorts of hymn. A psalm is praise to God, an expression of thankfulness for His works. A hymn is expressly a song to God, and not to man. Spiritual songs emphasises the character of the hymn, that is spiritual in nature, having no likeness to the songs of the drunkard.
Singing and making melody- singing needs more effort than speaking, and so shows enthusiasm. There was singing in the upper room after the Lord jesus had instituted the Lord’s Supper, so the setting aside of the Passover did not involve the setting aside of singing. Making melody- suggests that we should sing with intelligence. Those who are able to harmonise acceptably should feel free to do so. The one setting the tune should also do so with feeling for the hymn being sung. It is not appropriate to sing a serious hymn to a jolly tune, nor vice versa.
In your heart- singing should spring from love to the Lord, not mere love of singing.
To the Lord- so hymns are not primarily for the benefit of the ones singing, but to the glory of God and His Son.

5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father- none have such reason to be thankful as those who believe in Christ, for they have been brought into the highest blessing, as chapter 1 has explained. But also, they are constantly the objects of the powerful interventions of their God, and the loving interventions of that same God as their Father. So whether it be blessings for eternity, or blessing for life now, we have much to be thankful for, and we should express those things “always”.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ- He is the mediator of all spiritual good, and nothing we have is apart from His doing. As we give thanks to our Father in His name, we signify that we recognise our indebtedness to Christ, for the thanksgiving rises to God in all the fragrance of the name of His Son, and is therefore accepted in heaven.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 5, VERSES 22 TO 33:

5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

5:23 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.

5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;

5:26 That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

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.

5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

5:31 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.

5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

(c) Verses 22-33 Wives are to be in submission to their husbands, and husbands are to act like Christ towards them.

This section, and the first nine verses of chapter 6 have to do with submission on the part of various people, as follows:

STRUCTURE OF THE PASSAGE

Verse 22 Exhortation to wives:  Submit.
Verse 23 Explanation to wives: The husband is head.
Verse 24 Example to wives:  The church is subject.
Verse 25(a) Exhortation to husbands:  Love.
Verses 25(b)-29 Example to husbands:  The love of Christ.
Verses 30,31 Explanation to husbands:  By an allusion and a quotation.
Verse 32 Genesis 2 contained a mystery.
Verse 33 Exhortation to husband and wife.

We come now to the first category of persons that should be submissive, namely wives. This submission is carefully safeguarded, and no licence is given to the husband to abuse or ill-treat his wife. Husbands should ever remember that a wife is free to leave, as long as she remains unmarried, and is willing to be reconciled to her husband again, 1 Corinthians 7:10,11. No such option is available to the believing husband. This is a powerful incentive to the husband to treat his wife with consideration.

Verse 22   Exhortation to wives: Submit.

5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands- this is the first example of the submission the apostle appealed for in verse 21. We must be clear that submission is not a position of inferiority, but an intelligent acknowledgement of the order God has set up as Creator. We see this from the fact that Christ, who is equal with God, is also subject to God because He has become man, 1 Corinthians 11:3. He knows what is best for us, and if believers are going to function correctly in relation to one another, then they must realise that they cannot improve on Divine order.
Unmarried couples have no stability in their relationship, because it is not based on Divine order, but is a rebellion against that order.
Submission is seen to be balanced by benefits for the wife, just as the head-ship of the husband carries heavy responsibilities. Christianity is unique in that it elevates womanhood to the highest position. After all, the Son of God came into the world by being born of Mary, thus setting His seal on the value of womanhood and motherhood.
“Own husbands” suggests at least three things. First, that the wife is valued, for she belongs to her husband as a precious possession. Unmarried couples possess one another to get; husbands should possess their wives to give. A husband should not be for-ever telling his wife what he could have done, or been, or had, if he had not married her.
Second, she is legitimate, for they have entered a contract before God and witnesses. That contract is binding. There are those who believe that a couple who have divorced and remarried, and then get saved, are free to continue as they are. This is not the case, for their second “marriage” contract was not valid, since they were not free to marry if their previous husband/wife was still alive. The fact that the law of the land allowed them to do this is not the point. It is what the law of God is that matters, for “we must obey God rather than men”, Acts 5:29.
Of course when a person gets saved they are from that point on “in Christ”, and as such are a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17. However, this does not mean that earthly obligations have thereby been cancelled. A murderer who gets converted cannot plead that he should not be executed for murder because he is a new creature in Christ Jesus and old things have passed away and all things have become new. He must still be subject to earthly laws, even though the crime he committed has been forgiven by God.
So divorced and remarried persons who get saved, whilst the sin of marrying when their wife or husband was still alive has been forgiven of God, nonetheless are still living in sin. If they are truly saved, they will have truly repented. They are now required to “bring forth fruits worthy of for repentance”, Luke 3:8, and break up the illicit relationship. Conversion does not validate a sinful arrangement, any more than it invalidates a non-sinful arrangement. We might just as well say that an unsaved married couple need to get married again if they get saved, since their marriage is not valid. This, of course, is nonsense. It was entered into before God, and He recognises it. But the “marriage” of divorced persons is not recognised by God, and therefore should be abandoned if there is a desire to obey Him, which there should be if they are truly saved.
Third, “her own” indicates he is hers alone by promise. By promising to marry a woman, the man pledges “to have and to hold”, and to be true to that promise. The prophet Malachi spoke of those who dealt treacherously against the wife of their youth, Malachi 2:14, and to act like this is decidedly ungodly.
As unto the Lord- this phrase also suggests three things. First, it reminds us that the character of the submission is to be of the same sort as submission to the Lordship of Christ. It is not the submission of fear, but a ready recognition of the authority of the husband. Of course, this will be easy for the wife if the husband is Christ-like.
Second, the submission is as that given to the Lord, which is, or should be, wholehearted. Can we really call Him Lord and then not submit to Him? As He said to the disciples, “why call ye Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things which I say'”, Luke 6:46.
Third, the submission is limited in extent. It only goes as far as submission to the Lord would go. He would not ask His people to sin, so a husband should not ask his wife to sin either. His authority, and her submission, is not to that extent. Submission to a husband who is himself submissive to the Lord will be easy.

It might be helpful, before we look at the next verses, to look at the various ways head-ship is manifested:

Headship in Scripture involves authority and intelligent control:

1. God is exalted head over all, 1 Chronicles 29:11.
This is the standard. He is the originator of the principle, and the supreme and perfect example of head-ship. All other manifestations take their character from this.

2. Christ is head of the body, the church, Colossians 1:18.
By virtue of His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, Christ has been exalted as a man to the highest place of authority. His people are linked to Him in this exaltation, being quickened and raised with Him, and seated in Him in heavenly places. This link with Him is two-fold. First, it is a work of God. He associates with the Lord in this way those who believe. And second, because the Spirit of God has been sent down from heaven to baptise all of God’s people of this present age into one body, 1 Corinthians 12:13, thus linking them permanently with the head in heaven. The metaphor of the physical head and its relationship to the human body is used by the apostle Paul to illustrate the relationship between Christ and His people.

3. Christ is the head of the church, Ephesians 5:23.
This is slightly different to the second point inasmuch as Christ is not expressly said in this verse to be the head of the body. The emphasis here is on a company that has a will of its own, and that will, ideally, is subject to Christ. The healthy human body has not a will of its own; it must take directions from the head. Situations do arise when the body goes berserk, and refuses the directions from the head, but this is abnormal and alarming.

4. Christ is head of all principality and power, Colossians 1:10.
It is re-affirmed here that Christ is head of the angel host. He is not linked to them in head/body terms, but nonetheless is over them with authority. This was true of Him as one with the Godhead, but it is also true of Him as an exalted man.

5. Christ is head over all things to the church, anticipatively, Ephesians 1:22.
In a day to come the Lord Jesus is going to be in control of everything in both heaven and earth. The church is the only set of people that recognise this at the moment, so He is head as far as the church is concerned.

6. Christ will be head over all things, Ephesians 1:10 manifestly.
This is the mystery of God’s will. It was not evident in Old Testament times that the Messiah would have jurisdiction in heaven as well as earth. This mystery is now disclosed, and we know that God will gather together in one, (the phrase could be translated “head up”), all things in Christ, and there shall be nothing not brought under His righteous rule and authority.

7. The head of Christ is God, 1 Corinthians 11:3.
When He came into manhood, the Lord Jesus took the place as man under the head-ship of God. This is part of His great stoop in humility. He demonstrated the perfect model of subjection, thus showing that it not an inferior position, for he is equal with God. So the Godhead is the prime example of headship, as seen in point 1, whereas Christ in His manhood is the prime example of subjection.

8. Christ is head over every individual believing man.
Every believing man has Christ as his head, and this should caution and humble him as he exercises his head-ship over the woman. This headship of Christ is the reason why the man is to have uncovered head when engaged in spiritual exercises, and short hair.

9. Every believing man is head over every believing woman, 1 Corinthians 11:3.
So that godly order prevails, all believing men are to exercise head-ship over every believing woman, and the women signify their recognition of this by having long hair and their heads covered. This does not extend to the domestic sphere, or give a brother the right to interfere in a believer’s private affairs. The next category safeguards against that.

10. A husband is the head of his wife, Ephesians 5:23.
This is God’s creatorial order, and is for the best interests of both parties. Nothing is gained by contravening this arrangement.

Verse 23  Explanation to wives: The husband is head.

5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:

For the husband is the head of the wife- the word “for” alerts us to the fact that we are now to be given the reason behind the exhortation of verse 22. The apostle introduces the idea of head-ship as being the reason why the wife is to be submissive to the husband. This shows us that head-ship has to do with authority and intelligent, benign control.
Even as Christ is the head of the church- so the pattern for head-ship and submission is seen in the attitude of the church to Christ its head. Clearly the apostle is thinking of the ideal situation, and is not taking account of failures clearly manifested by the church down through the centuries. We have noted the difference between Christ as head of the body, the church, and Christ being head of the church. In the latter case the church is seen to have a will that is subject and submissive.
Since this is the case, it is not part of the husband, (the head without the body) over part of his wife (her body without the head). The husband in his entirety is head over his wife in entirety. Just as the church is an entity of itself, and as such has a collective will, so the wife has not lost her personal identity by being married to the man, but is able to willingly submit to his authority of her own accord. Christ as head of the body is not in view here.
And He is the saviour of the body- instead of being the head of the body here, He is the Saviour of the body. Head-ship speaks of control, whereas saviour-hood speaks of care. The emphasis is now on saviour-hood, not lordship. “And He” is emphatic, meaning “He alone”; “He and none less”; “He consciously and deliberately”. He is saviour of a body that belongs to Him, just as husband saves his own body, verse 29. Why it belongs to Him is seen in verse 25.

5:24  Example to wives: The church is subject.

5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Therefore- on basis of fact that Christ is Head and Saviour.
As the church is subject to Christ- this is the ideal situation from God’s view-point. The word “as” signifies “without reserve”, and “conforming to the ideal”. Since every believer is part of the church which is Christ’s body, and since belief involves submission to His authority, then in principle every believer is subject to Christ. That we are often not subject in practice is sadly true.
So let the wives be to their own husbands in everything- so the ideal example is the church’s submission to Christ; the extent of that submission is said here to be everything. That this does not include absolutely everything, including sin, is obvious from the fact that it is Christ that is submitted to. He will never ask His people to sin.

25(a)  Exhortation to husbands: To love.

5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;

Husbands, love your wives- it is not “tell your wife you love her”, but, since the apostle goes on to speak of the way Christ acts towards us, it is a question of deeds not words. The apostle John wrote, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”, 1 John 3:18. We might think that husbands would love their wives, or else they would not have married them. But love has to develop and grow, and as married life proceeds there may arise situations where love is strained. Nonetheless the word is still binding, that husbands should love their wives.
Even as Christ also loved the church- the Lord Jesus, having loved His own that were in the world, loved them unto the end, John 13:1. There was no extremity to which they could go from which He could not reach and rescue them. Just as love is to be expressed, so Christ expresses His love to the church in five different ways. He gives, He sanctifies, He cleanses, He loves and cherishes, and finally, He presents to Himself. These actions give to us indisputable proof that the Lord loves the church, for they are not words, but deeds. These actions are the perfect display of His Saviour-hood, for each act saves in some way:
He gives Himself to save from the world.
He sanctifies and cleanses to save from defilement.
He nourishes and cherishes to save from hardship.
He presents to Himself to save from loneliness.

Verses 25(b)-29  Example to husbands- Christ’s love.

And gave Himself for it- this was the price He was prepared to pay, and since it is in the past tense, we may say it is the price He did pay. Adam gave up a bone to gain a wife, but he still had bones afterwards. Jacob was prepared to work for Laban for many long years to gain his bride, but he had flocks and herds at the end of it. We might think of Boaz, a mighty man of wealth, who was willing to pay the price to redeem Ruth and the field of Elimelech, Ruth 4:10. Yet we may be sure that Boaz was not penniless after he had paid this price. Our Saviour, however, became poor, so that we might be rich, 2 Corinthians 8:9. He became poor as to privilege, so that we might be rich in privilege. As the apostle Paul writes, He “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”, Titus 2:14.
The first mention of love in the Scriptures is that of a father for his son, Genesis 22:2, faint picture of the Father’s love for His only begotten Son. The second mention follows on from this, for in Genesis 24:67 we learn of the love of Isaac, the son of chapter 22, for his wife. Significantly, the genealogy of Rebekah is given at the end of chapter 22, not chapter 24, thus connecting it with Isaac’s experience on Moriah, where he was laid on the altar. Yet Isaac did not die, for a substitute was provided for him. There was no substitute possible for Christ at Calvary, for who could replace Him?

5:26 That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

That He might sanctify- this means to set apart from all that is contrary to Himself, and so prepare the way for the presentation in heaven. Since the church is destined for heaven, it must be rid of everything of earth. The meaning of the name Asenath, the bride given to Joseph in Egypt, is “Dedicated to Neith”, an Egyptian god. But she changed allegiance, and was now, as Joseph’s wife, dedicated to God. This was similar to the experience of the Ephesians. As a city, Ephesus was full of those who were dedicated to the goddess Diana, as is seen from the events of Acts chapter 19. In fact, the Greek word for saint means to be “dedicated to the gods”. The believers in the assembly in Ephesus have now been cleansed from such associations, and are now dedicated to the true God, “the saints which are at Ephesus”, Ephesians 1:1.
In the upper room the Lord Jesus said to His own, after He had washed their feet, “He that is washed, needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him, therefore said He, ‘Ye are not all clean'”, John 13:10,11. These words were spoken after Peter had objected to having his feet washed, and then had gone to the other extreme and asked for his hands and his head to be washed. There are two words used for wash in the verses just quoted. In verse 10 the idea is of an all-over wash, such as one would have at the pools of water provided for the purpose in the temple precincts in Jerusalem. On the way from the pool to the altar, however, a certain amount of defilement would be contracted on the feet. We know the temple courts could be dusty, from John 8:6. This needs to be dealt with, not by another all-over bathe, but by the washing of the feet. Stone foot-lavers were provided for this, too. Examples of these lavers can still be seen in Jerusalem.
At conversion, we were found to be defiled in every part, and so needed to be washed in every part. The apostle calls this “the washing of regeneration” in Titus 3:5. This washing is effected by the application, through the word of God, of the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ. Regeneration is a new state of things, free of that defilement into which our first generation, which brought us into Adam’s world, involved us. Subsequent defilement as we make our way home to heaven is to be dealt with by the application of the word of God to the matter.
Notice that the giving of Himself is so as to sanctify us, it was part of the goal in view when He died for us. We should not think lightly therefore of this matter of defilement.
And cleanse it with the washing of water by the word- there is a sense in which the individual believer is responsible for cleansing himself. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”, 2 Corinthians 7:1. The fact that the apostle used the word “us” shows that even an apostle needed to avail himself of this provision.
There is also a sense in which each believer is responsible to a certain extent for the welfare of his brother. The law said, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him”, Leviticus 19:17. So there is a common responsibility to help fellow-believers to see where they have need of adjustment. The Lord Jesus referred to this when He said, “ye ought also to wash one another’s feet”, John 13:14.
In this passage, however, it is the Saviour of the body who takes the initiative; oftentimes, no doubt, using the other two means we have mentioned.
The Lord poured water into a bason in John 13, so as to give His disciples an object lesson they could not mistake or forget. It was the equivalent of the laver for the priests of old time. They were bathed at the laver on becoming priests, but they needed to wash their hands and feet thereat whenever they ventured into the presence of God, and also when they ministered at the altar, Exodus 29:4, 30:17-21. The word for laver is derived from a Hebrew word which means a washbowl, so would be the equivalent to the bason the Lord filled with water before washing His disciples’ feet in the upper room. The psalmist asked the question, “Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way?” Then he answered it by saying, “By taking heed thereto according to Thy word”, Psalm 119:9.
It is vitally important that we apply the truth of the word of God to our pathway, for the Lord Jesus said, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me”, John 13:8. By saying this He was pointing beyond the washing with literal water, for this could not fit for communion with Him. (After all, Judas was washed with literal water, but he was still not clean from moral defilement, verse 10). When the Word of God has done its cleansing work, then the believer is in a fit state to enjoy the presence of the Lord.

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.

That He might present it to Himself a glorious church- He loved, gave, sanctified, cleansed, and now He is able to present a church to Himself that is fitted for the glory of heaven, but more importantly, is fitted to stand by Him in His glory. In the case of Eve, she was brought to Adam by God, Genesis 2:22. In the case of Rebekah, she was sought by the servant of Abraham and met Isaac as he meditated in the field at eventide, Genesis 24:62-64. In the case of Rachel, Jacob went to seek her himself, Genesis 28:1,2. There are indications in these situations of what has happened with regard to the church, and what will happen. Like Eve, the church is produced by God for the delight of His Son. Like Rebekah, the church is brought by another to Him, for the Holy Spirit is at work forming the church. Like Rachel, the church has been sought by Christ Himself at such cost. So the three persons of the Godhead are involved in this great matter.
But neither Adam, Isaac or Jacob presented a bride to themselves, for every time a marriage takes place, it is as if God as Creator is bringing a woman to the man to present her to him. Only one who is equal in the Godhead, therefore, can do this presentation to Himself. No doubt this was on the mind of the Saviour when He said, in His prayer to His Father, “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given He”, John 17:24. And will this prayer be answered? We know it will because of the basis of the appeal- “for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world”. In other words, the love of the Father for the Son in eternity is the guarantee that His desire will be granted. This involves His Deity, and so His right to present to Himself is established. So the church will be in glory by His side on the sure basis of the love of the Father for the Son, which can never cease.
Not having spot- this is the negative side of things, what she will not have, whereas the end of the verse tells of the positive side. The bride of Christ will be the bride of the lamb, and it is said of Him that He is without blemish and without spot, 1 Peter 2:19. If she is to be with Him in glory therefore, she must be like this too. Spots come on the skin when health is in some way impaired. In verse 29, however, we read of Christ nourishing the church. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about being “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine”, 1 Timothy 4:6. He also wrote in verse 3 about sound doctrine, and the word for “sound” has the idea of being healthy. The psalmist prayed to God that his heart might be “sound in Thy statutes”, Psalm 119:80, and we would do well to pray this prayer also.
In the case of Ruth, she gleaned for herself after the reapers, Ruth 2:3. Then at the harvest-meal Boaz reached her parched corn, 2:14. If the gl;eanings were the provision for the poor, parched corn was considered a luxury. Then at the threshing-floor Boaz gave her an abundance, an earnest of the fact that the whole of the threshing-floor would be hers when she was linked to him in marriage, 3:15. So an ever-increasing supply of nourishment was hers.
Or wrinkle- if spots are prevented by sound nourishment, wrinkles are prevented by loving care, and this the Lord shows too, as we shall see in verse 29. Boaz placed his mantle over Ruth, thus signifying that he was determined to care for her and protect her. In this way, the worries that the famine in Moab, and the loss of her husband would have brought upon her, were removed, and she was introduced into the security that being married to a mighty man of wealth would bring. We too have every need met in Christ. There is no reason for us to worry or fret with Him as our Saviour.
Or any such thing- so thorough will His care be, that not even anything that could be mistaken for a spot or wrinkle will be in evidence.
But that it should be holy and without blemish- the sanctifying and nourishing will have done its work, and there will be everything that corresponds to Christ in His holiness, and nothing that does not correspond to Christ in His blamelessness.

5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

So ought men to love their wives- the apostle has set forth the perfect example in Christ, and the husbands are to love their wives after this sort. It is not possible for husbands to sanctify or cleanse their wives from defilement, but what Christ does in the spiritual sphere they are to do in the natural. They have, in fact, two examples. The example of Christ, and their own example as those who look after their own bodies.
As their own bodies- just as Christ is the Saviour of the body, the church, and expresses that saviour-hood in loving deeds, so the husband is to love his wife as if she were his own body. It is not that the husband owns his wife’s body; the body in view in this phrase is his own, and he must treat his wife as he treats that body of his.
He that loveth his wife loveth himself- such is the union between husband and wife, that they are one, so what is done to one is done to the other. This closeness is not known by those who are not married to one another, for there has not been a formal commitment to each other in that situation. Their relationship is on the level of the body, whereas a married couple have a relationship that is far higher.

Verses 30,31  Explanation to husbands: An allusion and a quotation.

5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh- the apostle widens the application in view of what he will say in the next verse. The flesh in this context is not the soft part of the body, but the nature of man. God said when He was about to judge the world of Noah’s day, “the end of all flesh is come before Me”, Genesis 6:13. And when the Lord Jesus was born Luke quotes from Isaiah’s prophecy which said that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God”, Luke 2:3:6; Isaiah 52:10. He Himself spoke of having “power over all flesh”, John 17:2, by which He meant all men.
So the apostle is saying here that it is not part of man’s constitution to hate what he is. God’s requirement in the law was, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”, Leviticus 19:18. So it is in order for a man to love himself, but he is not to love himself exclusively. He is to love his neighbour as he loves himself. It is normal to love self, but selfishness is abnormal, and contrary to God’s will.
But nourisheth and cherisheth it- not only does he care for his body, but he does that which preserves himself as a person. Just as nourishing and cherishing of a wife means more than providing food and shelter for her, so the man is not content with the bare essentials, but seeks to make himself comfortable as a person.
Even as the Lord the church- what a man does to his flesh, Christ does to the church. And He does it as Lord, for He has total control over all that would harm and distress His people. The reason for this is found in the next verse. We should remember that one of the words for husband in the Old Testament is “baal”, meaning lord. The husband is to take control of the situation for the good of his wife, as Christ does for the good of the church.

5:30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.

For- here is the underlying reason for the foregoing exhortations. The apostle makes a statement of New Testament truth, and then alludes to an Old Testament illustration.
We are members of His body- we should not read this verse as if it said, “For we are members, of His body, of His flesh and of His bones”. In other words, we are not members of three things, but one thing, His body, and the reference to flesh and bones is an allusion to the physical parts of Adam’s body. The body in view is the mystical body of Christ spoken of in verse 23, and not the Lord’s personal body.
Since the body is a spiritual concept here, then the nourishing and cherishing, by the Lord, and therefore by the husband, is more than mere food and clothing. It is only Paul that uses the figure of the human body to help us to understand the relationship of Christ to His people. He is head of that body, and every believer is a member of that body, and as such, may count on the care and support of the head. Notice that the apostle does not liken our relationship to Christ as that of a wife to the husband, but to the head and the body. The actual marriage of the church to Christ has not yet taken place, but our link to Him as His body has.
Of His flesh and of His bones- the expression “of His flesh and of His bones” is omitted in some manuscripts, but it is easy to see it should be there, for the next verse is meaningless if there has been no prior reference to Genesis 2:23. See later for comment on this phrase.
 

At this point we need to take note of what happened when God made man. Verses 1 to 3 of Genesis 2 continue the account of the creation of the heaven and the earth begun in chapter 1. Verses 4 to 6 give a general survey of conditions prevailing at the end of the fifth day, before man was created. Verse 7 tells us how Adam was actually made by God. Verses 8-14 describe the conditions that awaited Adam when he first looked around him. Verses 15 to 17 explain the condition imposed on Adam with regard to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The remainder of the chapter, verses 18 to 25 give us the account of the formation of the woman, as follows:

Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
So the woman is to be a companion and a help, and to be those two things, she must be meet or suitable for him and compatible with him.

2:19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
By means of this process, God impressed upon Adam that no animal or bird could possibly be a wife for him. They had a different nature. Many animals and birds have been and are useful to man, but none share his nature, for “there is one kind of flesh of men, another of beasts, another of birds”, 1 Corinthians 15:39.

2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
The intended result was achieved, for no animal or bird was called “woman” by Adam. This only served to highlight his loneliness, something he was not able to remedy.

2:21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
The deep sleep emphasises that Adam himself had no part to play in the formation of the woman. It is entirely a work of God. This is true of believers, for “we are His workmanship”, Ephesians 2:10.

2:22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.
So she owes her origin to God’s working, and Adam’s rib. Note that God does not take any of Adam’s flesh. He extracts the rib, and closes up the flesh, so that it is as if nothing had happened. This also emphasises that there is to be no second Eve, for we are specially told that the flesh is closed up.

2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
The woman is made from his bone, so she is of his bones. She is made like him as to his flesh, so she has the same nature as Adam. It is in order for them to be man and wife. This establishes who it is that may be married. It is not man and man, or woman and woman, but one man and one woman. Homosexuality is not normal, and it is not in-built into some people’s genes, for conversion cures homosexuality but does not alter the genes, as 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 will show us.

2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
This is Moses’ comment, for Adam knew nothing about leaving father and mother.
In 1 Corinthians 6, the apostle Paul quotes the expression found here like this, “For ‘two’, saith He, ‘shall be one flesh'”. It is important to notice exactly what the apostle writes in this verse. The word “for” is not part of his quotation about marriage. No reference to marriage either in Genesis 2, Matthew 19, Mark 10, or Ephesians 5, uses the word “for”, so this is the apostle’s word, and indicates the answer to an unspoken query by his readers. They might say to the apostle, “Why is it so sinful to be joined to a harlot?” The apostle answers by saying, in effect, “for (because) God has ordained that marriage should be a one-flesh arrangement, not a one-body one”.
The next word is “two”, which is the first word of the quotation. Then comes “saith He”, so some person is being referred to here. Then comes the remainder of the quotation, “shall be one flesh”. So the quotation is “two shall be one flesh”. The “for” is the apostle’s word. But who is the person? Since the apostle is referring to a Divine institution, we would assume the reference is to God as He speaks in Genesis 2. But the words there are, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh”. Two things are noticeable here. First, that the exact expression “two shall be one flesh” is not in Genesis 2. And second, that the words about two being one flesh are not spoken by God, but are a comment by Moses on the situation when God brought the woman to Adam to be his wife. Adam made a comment in verse 23, and Moses made a comment in verse 24. This is not to say that the words are not God’s mind, for they are. But how do we know? We need to look for the answer in Matthew 19:5,6, and the parallel passage in Mark 10:8. where the Lord Jesus is speaking.
His words in Mark were, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then, they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined, let not man put asunder”. Now in Mark the Lord Jesus is speaking in conversation, and using these words. So it is He that the apostle refers to in the statement, “Two, saith He, shall be one flesh”.
Matthew, however, indicates that the Lord is quoting the book of Genesis. The words are, “And He answered and said unto them, ‘Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” Matthew 19:4-6. Notice that the Lord Jesus reckons that Moses’ comment in Genesis 2:24, are God’s words, sanctioned by the inspiration of the Spirit. Notice too that the Lord quotes Genesis 2 using the expression “they twain shall be one flesh”, which give the substance of Genesis 2:24 but are not exactly the same as found there. The Lord is explaining the “they” as meaning the “twain” in question. These twain, (the word simply means “two”), are, on the one hand, the man who has left father and mother, and on the other hand the woman he is now going to cleave to in marriage.
It is only these, who leave and cleave, that are one flesh. A man who consorts with a harlot does not leave and cleave in this way. He does not formally leave the family unit he was brought up in and establish another. Nor does he become one flesh; he only becomes joined in body. It is significant that when the idea of being one flesh is presented, whether in the Old Testament Hebrew or New Testament Greek, the preposition is used which speaks of progress towards a goal. The idea is that “they two shall be set on a course towards being one flesh”. To be one flesh is much more than being one body, for flesh is used of the whole person, as in John 17:2, where “all flesh” means all men. Marriage is a sharing of everything; goals, ambitions, desires, hopes, experiences, joys, griefs. It is an ongoing process of two persons’ lives merging ever more closely. It is a relationship that is on a vastly higher plane, (even in the case of unbelievers), than an immoral and passing affair. So the moment that this process begins is when the man and woman are pronounced man and wife at the marriage ceremony. They are as truly married then as they will ever be, but they are not as closely married then as they will be at the end of their life together, for marriage is a process. . It is very sad when couples drift apart when they get older; they should be bonding even more closely.

Returning to Ephesians 5:30:
Of His flesh-  this is not to be taken literally, as if we share the soft parts of His body. The phrase is an allusion to Adam’s words when Eve was brought to him, and he did not refer to his own flesh, but to his nature. Eve was indeed made from Adam’s rib, so was “bone of his bones, but God did not take Adam’s flesh to make Eve’s flesh. Our flesh is our self, our real being, our ego. So when the apostle says, alluding to Adam’s remark, we are of His flesh, he means that everything we are as believers, we owe to Christ.
As we have seen, when God brought the first woman to Adam, having formed her from him, Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”, Genesis 2:23. This is what the apostle is alluding to here. But it is only an allusion, not a direct quotation, for the words of Genesis 2 are not quoted exactly. Adam spoke of bones first, and then flesh, for that was the order in which the woman was made; first the rib was taken, and then the woman was formed. When God brought the animals to Adam, he assessed their characteristics, and named them accordingly. Not one of them had the same nature as he had, so none of them could appropriately be called woman. There are very marked distinctions between them. This is why Adam said “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh”, for before, in connection with the animals, this was not the case.
When the Lord Jesus came into manhood, He took part, extraordinarily, of the same flesh and blood we partake of ordinarily. He came in by means of conception through the Holy Spirit and birth of the virgin Mary. Nonetheless, the manhood He took was our manhood, but sin apart. Now we are said to be of His flesh. We have existence as members of the church because He has imparted to us that which He is in Himself. What He is has given us a new beginning.
And of His bones- Adam spoke of bone of his bones, for Eve was literally made from his rib-bone. So close was their relationship that his bone was hers. The church is not made literally from the bone of Christ, but the church can be said to derive existence from what He did in the body at Calvary. When God took a rib from Adam and formed a woman therefrom, Adam was asleep. Christ was fully alert when He suffered at Calvary and gave Himself for the church. Adam gave a rib, Christ gave Himself. If Adam gave a rib and gained a wife, then Christ gave His all and gained His people. Is this why God was so insistent that the bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken? The true Passover Lamb is going to produce the one who is without blemish and without spot, and as such, is suited to Him. And also, is this why, when the Lord Jesus was found to be dead without His bones being broken, a soldier pierced His side? Both the unbroken bones and the pierced side were required to fulfil Scripture, as John shows in John 19:36,37.
When David repented of his great sin, he wrote a psalm in which he spoke of wanting the bones that God had broken to rejoice, Psalm 51:8. He was referring to the practice among Eastern shepherds of breaking the leg-bone of a lamb that showed a tendency to stray, so that it was forced to stay close by its shepherd’s side. This discipline David had administered no doubt on many an occasion as he kept his father’s sheep on the hills around Bethlehem. He himself had strayed from the will of God badly, in connection with bathsheba, but God had “broken his bones” in discipline. But now, having repented, his bones were rejoicing as they knit together again. No such discipline would need to be administered to God’s Son, so it is fitting that, to mark the fact, His bones were kept intact. It was the walk of Christ that attracted the attention of John the Baptist, and he exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God”, John 1:36. There was no limp or lameness through bones broken, either literally or metaphorically.
So just as God took an unbroken rib from the side of Adam, and formed the woman, so from the pierced side of Christ has been taken, figuratively speaking, an unbroken bone to form the church. The church is formed as a consequence of His unbroken allegiance to God.

5:31 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.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother- the apostle now quotes directly from Genesis 2:24. Of course, in the case of Adam there was no father or mother to leave, but God established the principle at the beginning, and this justifies the use of these words.
Matthew records the Lord Jesus quoting these words from the book of Genesis. The words are, “And He answered and said unto them, ‘Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” Matthew 19:4-6. Notice that the Lord Jesus reckons that Moses’ comment in Genesis 2:24, is God’s word, sanctioned by the inspiration of the Spirit. Notice too that the Lord quotes Genesis 2 using the expression “they twain shall be one flesh”, which give the substance of Genesis 2:24 but are not exactly the same as found there. The Lord is explaining the “they” as meaning the “twain” in question. These twain, (the word simply means “two”), are, on the one hand, the man who has left father and mother, and on the other hand the woman he is now going to cleave to in marriage.
And shall be joined unto his wife- a new sort of relationship is established, totally different to the relationship a man has with his father and mother. They are related, but not joined. The man leaving his parents is in no sense divorce. He leaves the head-ship of his father to establish another household of which he is the head. It is important to notice this matter of leaving, for the man must not be in bondage to the will of his father. It is good to have respect for our fathers, but the relationship with them must not interfere with the marriage relationship.
The man and his wife can be joined together because they share the same nature. She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh in a less literal way than Eve was in relation to Adam, but nonetheless she is this in a very real way.
And they two shall be one flesh- it is only those who leave and cleave, that are one flesh. See the comments above on Genesis 2:24.

5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

This is a great mystery- we should notice that the apostle does not actually say that the church is the bride of the lamb, but he certainly implies it. It is John who tells us about the Lamb’s wife in Revelation 19:7. He cannot be referring to Israel, for the nation is already married to the Lord. God says “I was a husband to them”, Jeremiah 31:32. Now we know that Paul was entrusted with the task of fulfilling the word of God, Colossians 1:25. In other words, he revealed those mysteries that God had in reserve for the present age, so that all that God desires us to know is available to us. That which is perfect is come, 1 Corinthians 13:10. This being the case, it was not John’s remit to unfold new truth, but simply to elaborate on what had been known from the beginning. So the idea of the lamb having a wife must be in Paul’s writings somewhere, and this is the place. The apostle hinted at this mystery in 2 Corinthians 11:2,3, where he wrote, “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”. The apostle sees the assembly at Corinth as a betrothed maiden, and does not want her to be drawn away to a rival. What is true of the local assembly is also true of the church as a whole. Functioning now as a body does in relation to its head, we shall function in a day to come as a wife does in relation to her husband. But just as betrothal was a legally binding contract, so we should be aware of our commitment to Christ, and not let our affections wander.
But I speak concerning Christ and the church- the apostle is still at pains to keep the Lord and the church distinct in our minds. The working principles that operate in the case of a married couple, are to be worked out with us now, for the betrothed maiden was reckoned to be the wife of her intended spouse, as we see from Matthew 1:20,24. And the working principles of marriage are worked out by Christ, as He deals with us as His mystical body.

5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself- the apostle does not want a husband to be so taken up with the spiritual truths he is setting out that he forgets his responsibility to his wife. He does not say “Love his wife as Christ loved the church”, for that would be an impossible task.
And the wife see that she reverence her husband- the wife should not pretend to be so spiritual, absorbed with relationship to Christ, that she forgets her duty to reverence her husband, giving him his due, not necessarily because he is particularly spiritual, but because he has been given a position by God for her welfare.