If you’d like to read Ephesians 5 before reading the below Meditations on Ephesians 5, tap or click here.
Because God has replaced our death with life, he tells us to be imitators of him like a child imitates its father (v. 1). And to walk in love, like Christ loved us.
This kind of love was shown in how he gave himself up for us. And we also are to give our lives up as an offering and sacrifice to God (v. 2).
Then Paul goes through what this sort of life will never look like: sexual immorality, impurity, and covetousness (greediness, insatiable want for more).
These things shouldn’t even be named as something in a single Christian’s life (v. 3)!
There should be zero filthiness, crude joking, or foolish talk. These are out of place, and should be replaced with thanksgiving (v. 4).
This is a conscious choice we are told to make.
Why? Because everyone who is sexually immoral, impure, or covetous (an “idolater”) is not a Christian.
Paul says that person has absolutely zero inheritance in God’s kingdom (v. 5).
Do you see how strong a statement that is?
Paul is literally claiming that anyone living in sexual immorality, or who is impure, or who is more in love with success or money than with God, is riding a speeding motorcycle to you-know-where (hell).
They’re not even fit to call themselves Christians, because they have no inheritance in God’s kingdom!
If we feel the urge to say, “But that’s not REALLY what he means…”
Paul directly addresses our doubt in verse 6-8.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”
We need to stop lying to ourselves.
It’s necessary to gut these things out of our lives immediately, or else we will be the target of God’s wrath.
Instead, we walk as children of the light, because the result of the light is all that is good, right, and true (v. 7-8). And isn’t that what we want in our lives?
Of course it is! So let’s not waste any precious time. But how do we do this?
First, we need to try to discern what pleases God, and what doesn’t (v. 10).
Second, we need to avoid all the unfruitful works of darkness.
Third, instead of indulging in darkness, we expose it through confession and agreeing verbally that it’s as evil as God says it is (v. 11).
Because the works of darkness are so shameful that it’s horrible to even have to talk about them (v. 12).
Still, because anything that’s exposed by the light becomes light, because it’s visible. We expose the darkness to wake ourselves and others up, so that Christ’s light can shine on us (v. 13-14).
That’s why it’s so important to live our lives carefully. Not in unwise ways, but in wise ways (v. 15). Being self-aware, and making the best use of our time, because the days are evil (v. 16).
So, we can’t be content being stupid on purpose. Instead, we are encouraged to learn what God’s will is for our lives (v. 17).
We don’t waste our lives getting drunk, because that’s debauchery. Instead, we are filled with his Spirit, which gives us the peace and happiness so many look to alcohol to provide without addling our brains (v. 18).
We sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to each other, and make melody to God in our hearts, giving thanks for everything in Christ’s name, and submitting to others reverently (v. 19-21).
Wives submit to their husbands as husbands are called to do the same to God (v. 22). Because the husband is called by God to be the leader. It’s his responsibility to give his life up for his wife whether he fails or not (v. 23). So, wives should submit to their husbands so that they are not undermining God’s call on their husbands’ lives (v. 24).
And husbands must love their wives like Christ loved us, and gave his life for us (v. 25). This is the kind of love that is 100% selfless and self-sacrificial.
And why did Christ give himself up for us? So that he might heal, grow us, cleanse us, and strengthen us to be who we were meant to be, pure and spotless, holy and fruitful (v. 26-27).
We husbands need to love our wives like this. Because the man who loves his wife loves himself (v. 28).
No man in his right mind has ever harmed his body on purpose, but rather takes care of his body and fears hurting it (v. 29). So, like God loves and nourishes us, and keeps us healthy and strong with his support, so we husbands should serve our wives like this (v. 29-30).
It’s for this reason that a man leaves his parents and becomes a new family with his wife (v. 31).
Paul says that this relationship, done this way, is actually so good, so wonderful, so enjoyable, that it’s a mirror of God’s relationship to us (v. 32).
So, every husband needs to love his wife as himself, and every wife needs to respect her husband, so that the balance of this relationship is like the balance between us and Christ (v. 33).
Otherwise, if people see that we can’t even have peace with our most precious loved one, how will they trust what we tell them about Christ’s love?
Precious Christ, shine your infinite light through our minds and souls. Reveal in perfect detail everything about our way of life that displeases you, and burn it away! We surrender to your will gladly, with joy! Because we want only to please you and make you glad, because when you are glad, we are overjoyed. We believe you conquered death and sin so that we could live holy lives of servanthood, willingly giving our lives to you for your service, and for the service of our loved ones. Abide in us, as we abide in you, and bear good fruit through us. Amen!
This week, consider how you serve your spouse or family members. Are there areas you have remained selfish in? Have you (like me) grumbled when asked to do the dishes? Instead, this week, seek to do the opposite – to serve your family rather than wait for them to ask you to serve them. Grab that glass of water for your wife with a smile, rather than a grumble. This is the sort of spirit that makes God and your loved ones glad!
Check out Meditations on Ephesians 2 here.
Catch up on the last one, Meditations on Ephesians 4 here.