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Duties Which Become the Children of God
Summary —Walking in Love. Flee All Impurity. Let Speech Be Pure. Covetousness a Species of Idolatry. No Fellowship with the Wicked in Their Deeds. Enjoyment to be Sought in the Spirit Rather than in Wine. The Mutual Duties of Wives and Husbands. The Mystery of the Marriage Union and of Christ with the Church.
1, 2. Be ye therefore. “Therefore” refers to God's kindness, spoken of in 4:32. Followers of God. Literally, imitators, “forgiving one another as God … hath forgiven you” (4:32). As dear children. As beloved children seek to do like their father. 2. And walk in love. Thus imitate God, and Christ who gave himself for us. An offering and a sacrifice. In the Jewish temple there were offerings which were not sacrifices. Christ gave himself as an offering and was sacrificed. A sweet-smelling savour. See Gen. 8:21; Lev. 1:9; 2 Cor. 2:15. An expression denoting an offering grateful to God.
3–5. But. Sundry sins are now forbidden which were utterly opposed to the duties just commended. Fornication. This was hardly accounted a sin among the Gentiles. Uncleanness. Every kind of impurity. Or covetousness. This sin is emphasized. The Greek term means “Greediness for more.” It implies an insatiable desire for wealth and for the things which gratify appetite. It is therefore a greed which leads to many sins. Let it not be once named. Such sins must be banished not only in deed, but in word. 4. Neither filthiness. All kinds of indecency. Foolish talking. Buffoonery. Jesting. Wit of doubtful morality, words and suggestions of doubtful and double meaning. Are not convenient. Are not becoming. It is more becoming to Christians to engage in thanksgiving. 5. No fornicator. No person of licentious life, words or thoughts. Nor covetous man, who is an idolater. See note on verse 3. The covetous man gives his heart to the object of his greed rather than to God, and hence is virtually an idolater. Hath any inheritance. None of these are heirs of the kingdom and hence have no promise of heaven.
6, 7. Let no man deceive you with vain words. With artful pleas that sinful things are not sinful. For. Because of just such sins as they excuse, God's wrath will be visited upon all who live in (the children of) disobedience. 7. Partakers. Have no share with them in their sins.
8–10. Ye were once darkness. Not only lived in darkness, but gave off no light and darkened others. Now are ye light. Shining with the light that comes from Christ. 9. For the fruit of the Spirit. To walk as children of light is to bear the fruit of the Spirit. This is shown by goodness and righteousness. See Gal. 5:22. 10. Proving. Showing by walking in the light what is acceptable to God.
11–13. And have no fellowship. See verse 7. Works of darkness are those which please the powers of darkness. The Christian must have nothing whatever to do with these.
We must not countenance any sinful device, but rather reprove it. This would prevent the patronage of many things which the
12. For the things which are done by them in secret. In the works of darkness are many secret sins, some too shameful even to be named.
13. But all things that are reproved. These works of darkness are to be reproved by Christians (verse 11) that their true character may be brought to light. If the light is thrown upon them they will be seen. Everything that is made manifest is light. Whatever is brought to light is light. Even if wicked, when it is brought to light it enlightens men by revealing its real
14. Wherefore he saith. Who says, or where, is uncertain. There is a similar thought in Isaiah 60:1,2 and Isaiah 26:19. He probably means that God, in substance, says. Awake, thou that sleepest. The sleeper represents one not converted. Arise from the dead. From death in sin (2:1). Conversion is often described as a spiritual resurrection (Rom. 6:4–6; Col. 2:12). And Christ. Christ gives light to all who come to him. The Greek quotation is in verse, and has been translated, Sleeper, awake; rise
from the dead,
And Christ on thee his light shall shed.
15–17. Walk circumspectly. The Revision makes the meaning clear. 16. Redeeming the time. Using every opportunity; buying them by giving up present enjoyment. 17. Be ye not unwise. That is, so foolish as to not understand the will of the Lord.
18–21. Be not drunk with wine. Wine was at that time the usual intoxicating drink. The passage forbids intoxication, which was a common vice of the time. Excess. “Riot,” in the Revision. How true! Enjoyment is not to be sought, as the world seeks it, in wine, but rather be filled with the Spirit. Then your songs will not be bacchanalian. 19. Speaking to yourselves in psalms. Under the influence of the Spirit when together you will sing psalms, such as those of the psalmist. And hymns. Songs of praise. Spiritual songs. Songs which express spiritual emotions. We find Christian hymns in the church at a very early period. Singing and making melody. While the lips sing, the heart must join in the melody by an uplifting to God. Too much singing in the churches is only of the lips. 20. Giving thanks always. This is often done in songs. In the name. All our worship is in the name of Christ. 21. Subjecting yourselves. Filled with the Spirit, we “speak in psalms,” etc. (verse 19), “give thanks,” (verse 20), and submit ourselves to each other in the fear of God. This last duty belongs to the relations of life. One of these relations is of husbands and wives (verses 22–32); another of children and parents (6:1–4); another still of servants and masters (6:5–9).
22–24. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands. Mutual duties are named. The husband should “love his wife as Christ loved the church,” and the wife should submit to this loving husband “as unto the Lord.” The husband is the “head” of the family, but must be willing to give himself for it. 23. The husband is the head of the wife. Every organization must have a head. The head of the family can only rule the wife in the most devoted love (verses 25 and 33). 24. As the church, etc. The relation of the wife to the husband is like that of the church in Christ, a close, tender relation, in which there is no bondage, but freedom, because the service is that of the heart.
25–27. Husbands, love your wives. We have here not only the duty, but the measure of the duty. As Christ loved the church. Loved so well as to be willing to give all things, even life, for her welfare. The union of husband and wife were here described is ideally perfect. The tenderest love on one side, and loving obedience on the other. 26. That he might sanctify it. The great love of Christ for the church, his bride, is shown as an example to Christian husbands. Christ gave himself for the church. His object was to sanctify it, make it holy. In order to do this it was needful to cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. All commentators of repute in all bodies refer this to baptism. All in the church pass through the waters of baptism. But the washing of the water would be of no avail without the word. The power is in the word of the Lord which offers the gospel and commands baptism. 27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church. A church cleansed from sin; a bride without a blemish.
28–30. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. The church is the Bride of the Lamb, but it is also Christ's body. As he loved his body, so every husband ought to love her who by the mystery of the marriage tie has become “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh” (Gen. 2:23). 29. No man ever yet hated his own flesh. Or his own body. Yet, wife and husband are “one flesh” (verse 31). 30. We are members of his body. We are all members of Christ's body, the church. But the church is his Bride. Hence the language of Gen. 2:23, where Adam declares that his wife “is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh,” applies to our relation to Christ.
31–33. For this cause. This verse is quoted from Gen. 2:24. It speaks not only a fact of the marriage state, but also implies that Christ left the Father for the sake of his mystical Bride. 32. This is a great mystery. The wonders of this marriage tie, but especially that the marriage of the first Adam should prefigure the relation between the second Adam and the church. 33. Nevertheless. Without regard to the mystery, let every one, etc. The rest of the verse states the mutual duties already so tenderly explained.
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