A Profound Mystery

A Profound Mystery

Ephesians 5:1-33
To forgive one another, we must imitate God's example in Christ. Paul encourages churches to imitate him and other churches, but he specifically urges believers to "be imitators of God" in this instance. The phrase "as Christ loved us" not only provides a comparison but also motivates believers to love. We are called to love as Christ loves and because Christ loves. Christ's selfless sacrifice for us clearly demonstrates his love.

To avoid sin, believers should refrain from sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talk, and crude joking. These behaviors are not fitting for those who are set apart. Instead, Christians should be known for their attitude of gratitude. Paul issues strong warnings to motivate his readers. Committing these sins doesn't automatically exclude someone from God's kingdom, but persisting in such sins shows they're not truly living eternally. Greed and covetousness are like idolatry. Paul warns about sexual immorality and greed: God's wrath is coming. He urges his readers not to be deceived by empty words. These deceivers could be unbelievers or Christians who don't take sin seriously. They spread harmful beliefs, leading people away from the truth and towards ungodly desires.

Believers should avoid disobedient behavior as it leads to God's wrath. It's crucial to reject false teachings and immoral lifestyles associated with them. Paul highlights the transformation from darkness to light through union with Christ. He urges believers to walk as children of light. The phrase "fruit of light" suggests that light produces fruit in the New Testament. In Christ, God's power develops qualities that reflect His nature.

As believers united to Christ by faith, our goal is to please our Lord in all circumstances. Living according to goodness, righteousness, and truth requires practical application of ethical standards. Walking as children of light means exposing unfruitful works of darkness through our actions and words. This can convict and guide those who have strayed, transforming both the sin and the sinner into light in the Lord. Those who obey and follow Christ's example are promised His empowering presence. Believers should live wisely, gaining insight into God's will and taking advantage of every opportunity. It's not enough to avoid evil; we must actively use our gifts to further God's kingdom. Walk carefully, understanding the will of the Lord.

Believers, having learned from Christ and becoming light in the Lord, should aim to please Him by doing His will. Drunkenness leads to debauchery, indicating a disregard for consequences. Paul contrasts drunkenness with the command to be filled with the Spirit. Believers are filled with the triune God. Singing serves to worship God and strengthen the faith of others. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs encompass all worship singing. Sing with your heart directed to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.

The act of "giving thanks" is characterized by four modifiers. Christians are instructed to give thanks "always," indicating the importance of regular or constant thanksgiving (1 Thess. 5:18). Christians should also give thanks "for everything," encompassing all circumstances, including trials and suffering. Christians are to give thanks "to God the Father" as the creator and sustainer of all things. Lastly, Christians give thanks "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" to acknowledge the authoritative basis of prayers to God.

The verb "submit" often describes yielding to authority, motivated by reverence for Christ. This refers to believers' reverent awe. "Your own" clarifies that Paul addresses wives, not women in general. A wife is expected to willingly submit to her own husband, but husbands should not demand submission. When a woman voluntarily submits to her husband, she also submits to the Lord.

A wife's submission to her husband is based on his God-given authority, not cultural or societal norms. Submission does not imply inferiority; Christ willingly submits to the Father despite being equal. Men and women have equal value as they are created in God's image, but have different roles in marriage. The comparison is made between Christ as the head of the church and the husband as the head of his wife. Wives should submit willingly, but not to sinful or harmful actions. The husband's love is not a requirement for submission.

After instructing wives to submit, Paul shifts focus to husbands, commanding them to love their wives. This love is compared to how "Christ loved the church," serving as the standard. Christ's selfless sacrifice exemplifies this love. A husband should be willing to sacrifice everything to protect and care for his wife. Christ sacrificed himself for the church with the purpose of sanctifying her. "Sanctify" means to make holy or set apart. The church is purified and made holy by the cleansing power of the gospel. In the end, Christ will present the church as flawless, without any imperfections, so that she may be truly holy.

Paul shows love in marriage by providing practical guidance. Just as a man naturally loves, nurtures, and protects himself, he should do the same for his wife. This is exemplified by Christ's sacrificial love for the church. Paul emphasizes the husband's duty to love his wife and attend to her needs, reflecting Christ's nurturing relationship with the church. Paul explains that Christ lovingly cares for his people as they are part of his body. Similarly, husbands should care for their wives as they do for themselves. This illustrates the union between believers and Christ, like the one-flesh union of husband and wife. Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 to emphasize the significance of this union. While the verse applies to both the Christ-church and husband-wife relationships, Paul's main focus is on Christ and the church. He refers to this relationship as a "mystery," representing God's plan now revealed in Jesus. Human marriage serves as a model for understanding the relationship between Christ and the church. Paul expects husbands and wives to embrace these divine standards personally, regardless of the other's response. The husband is called to love his wife, and the wife to submit to and respect her husband, reflecting Christ's love for the church.





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