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(1) Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
(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 sweet smelling savor.

        Professional Imitators


The beginning of this chapter is properly a continuation of the chapter 4.

Therefore You  The Church - His Body - His Fullness - His Holy Habitation

Therefore    Because of what has just been said

We are to submit to the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (3:1,  14)
We are to "walk worthy" (4:1)
We are not to walk (live) as the Gentiles (unbelievers, heathen) (4:17
We are to imitate God and "walk in Love" (5:1, 2)

Followers  (mimeetai)   signifies such as personate others, assuming their gait, mode of speech, accent, carriage; and it is from this Greek word that we have the word Mimic. 

Though this term is often used in a ludicrous sense, yet here it is to be understood in a very solemn and proper sense. Let your whole conduct be like that of your Lord; imitate Him in all your actions, words, spirit, and inclinations; imitate Him as children do their beloved parents, and remember that you stand in the relation of beloved children to Him. It is natural for children to imitate their parents; it is their constant aim to learn of them, and to copy them in all things; whatever they see a parent do, whatever they hear him speak, that they endeavor to copy and imitate.  If ye therefore be children of God, show this love to your heavenly Father, and imitate all his moral perfections, and acquire the mind that was in Jesus.   (Clarke) 

This is a portion of what Jesus had in mind when He said, in Matthew 1.8:3: "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven," 

        The Great Substitute

"For" is "huper" is the great preposition of substitutionary atonement in the New Testament, and means, "instead of, in behalf of."   It does not merely mean that Christ died for us, for our benefit.  He died instead of us, in our place. He substituted for us, receiving the full impact of the divine wrath against sin.    (Wuest) 

AN OFFERINGprosphora (pros-for-ah')
An oblation, an eucharistic offering.  The same as minchah  (Lev.2:l),  which is explained to be an offering made unto the Lord, of fine flour, with oil and frankincense. It means any offering by which gratitude was expressed for temporal blessings received from the bounty of God. 
A SACRIFICEthusia (thoo-see'-ah)
A sin-offering, a victim for sin; the same as zebach, which almost universally means that sacrificial act in which the blood of an animal was poured out as an atonement for sin. These terms may be justly considered as including every kind of sacrifice, offering, and oblation made to God on any account; and both these terms are with propriety used here, because the apostle's design was to represent the sufficiency of the offering made by Christ for the sin of the world
A SWEET SMELLING SAVOUReuodia (yoo-o-dee'-ah)
The same as is expressed in Gen 8:21; Lev 1:9; Lev 3:16 - "a sweet savour unto the Lord".   An offering of his own prescription, and one with which he was well pleased; and by accepting of which he showed that he accepted the person who offered it. The sweet smelling savour refers to the burnt-offerings, the fumes of which ascended from the fire in the act of burning.  God represents himself as pleased with them, when offered by an upright worshipper according to his own appointment. (Clarke) 

The sacrifice Christ made of himself in our stead was one of "love."  He sacrificed himself by "love," and that sacrifice was acceptable to God.   Even so we are to love one another. 


(3)  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
(4)  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
(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.
(6)  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

        Not Even Once

FORNICATION    porneia (por-ni'-ah)
The Greek order of words is, "But fornication and uncleanness, every kind of it." 
Expositors says: " 'but' carries the exhortation over to a prohibition expressed in the strongest terms, which is leveled against one of the deadliest and most inveterate temptations to which Gentile Christians were exposed. The term  is to be taken in its proper sense and is not to be restricted to anyone particular form - the license practiced at heathen festivals. The moral life of the Greco-Roman world had sunk so low that, while protests against the prevailing corruption were never entirely wanting, fornication had long come to be regarded as a matter of moral indifference, and was indulged in without shame or scruple, not only by the mass, but by philosophers and men of distinction who in other respects led exemplary lives." 

UNCLEANNESS   akatharsia (ak-ath-ar-see'-ah)
In a moral sense, the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living  (Rom 1:24; 6:19).  
Used of impure motives in 1 Thes 2:3.

COVETOUSNESS   pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee'-ah)
Greedy desire to have more, avarice.  An inordinate desire for what one does not have. It is also translated "greed"; its basis lies in discontentment with what one has. It has an element of lawlessness. 

Covetousness is sinful because:
It is contrary to the command "Being content with what you have" (Heb 13:5),
It leads to trust in "the uncertainty of riches,"
It leads to love of the world
It leads to forgetfulness of God
It is idolatry (Col 3:5)
It ranks with the worst sins (Mark 7:22; Rom 1:29)
Our Lord especially warns against it (Luke 12:15)

It is associated with the lowest and most debasing vices, and this, as well as those vices, was not once to be "named" among them. What was Paul's estimate then of covetousness? He considered it as an odious and abominable vice; a vice to be regarded in the same light as the most gross sin, and as wholly to be abhorred by all who bore the Christian name see Eph 5:5. The covetous man, according to Paul, is to be ranked with the sensual, and with idolaters (Eph 5:5), and with those who are entirely excluded from the kingdom of God.

"Not once" is "not even," Expositors says: "The strong negative gives it this force.  Not to speak of doing such a thing, let it not be even so much as mentioned among you."  Commenting on ''as becometh saints."  Those that are "set apart to Christ".  Those who imitate Him.

FILTHINESS     aischrotes (ahee-skhrot'-ace)
Obscenity, shameless, immoral conduct.   All wanton and unseemly gestures and behavior.

FOOLISH TALKING    morologia (mo-rol-og-ee'-ah)
Ridicule, or what tends to expose another to contempt.

JESTING     eutrapelia (yoo-trap-el-ee'-ah)
Vincent says: "That which easily turns and adapts itself to the moods and conditions of those with whom it may be dealing at the moment.  
Wuest says:  "Sometimes it is couched in a bold scheme of speech, in a tart irony, in a lusty hyperbole."

They do not come up to the proper standard; they are utterly improper in themselves, and highly unbecoming in those who profess Christianity. (Clarke) 

A happy play on sounds in Greek, 'eucharistia' contrasted with 'eutrapelia';   refined  "jesting" and subtle humor sometimes offend the tender feelings of grace.
"giving of thanks"  gives that real cheerfulness of spirit to believers which the worldly try to get from "jesting"  (vs.19.20J James 5c1J).   (Jamieson. Fausset & Brown) 

This is the hurtful jesting - that which offends and belittles.

Paul reminds the Ephesian saints that they are absolutely convinced of the truth of the facts which he is about to call to their attention. 

WHOREMONGER    pornos   (por'-nos)
"A man who prostitutes his body to another's lust for hire, a male prostitute, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator. " 

UNCLEAN    akathartos   (ak-ath'-ar-tos)
Used in a moral sense. Unclean in thought or life. " 

COVETOUS     pleonektes (pleh-on-ek'-tace)
One eager to have more,  especially what belongs to others.  Greedy of gain.

IDOLATER     eidololatres   (i-do-lol-at'-race)
A worshipper of false gods, a covetous man as a worshipper of Mammon. " (Wuest) 

Suffer no man to persuade you that any of these things are innocent, or that they are unavoidable frailties of human nature; they are all sins and abominations in the sight of God; those who practice them are children of disobedience; 
and on account of such practices the Wrath of God -Divine punishment. must come upon them. (Clarke) 


(7)  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
(8)  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(9)  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
(10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
(11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

LIGHT    phos     (foce)
Referring to light itself, not a mere lamp. Expositors says: "The completeness of the change is indicated again by the use of the abstract term -so possessed and penetrated were they by that truth that they could be described not simply as enlightened but as themselves now light.   And this 'in the Lord,'  for it was in virtue of their fellowship with Christ that this new apprehension of things came to them, transforming their lives." 

Translation by Wuest: 
"Stop therefore becoming joint-participants with them for you were at one time darkness, but now light in the Lord.  As children of light be habitually conducting yourselves; for the fruit of this light is in the sphere of every beneficence and righteousness and truth, putting to the test and then approving what is well- pleasing to the Lord." 

      Partakers of Darkness


Probably alluding to the mysteries among the heathen, and the different rites through which the initiated went in the caves and dark recesses where these mysteries were celebrated; all which he denominates "works of darkness," because they were destitute of true wisdom; and unfruitful works, because they were of no use to mankind; the initiated being obliged, on pain of death, to keep secret what they had seen, heard, and done: hence they were called unspeakable mysteries -things that were not to be divulged. That the apostle may refer to magic and incantations is also probable, for to these the Ephesians were greatly addicted, (Clarke) 

These works of darkness are unfruitful works.  We must therefore have no fellowship with these unfruitful works.   There are many ways of our being accessory to the sins of others, by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment.   But, rather than have fellowship with them, we must reprove them, implying that if we do not reprove the sins of others we have fellowship with them.     (Matthew Henry)

      Reprove Them

REPROVE    elegcho   (el-eng'-kho)
To reprove or rebuke so as to bring out conviction or confession of guilt."  Trench says that the word ( "implies not merely the charge, but the truth of the charge, and further the manifestation of the truth of the charge; nay, more 
than all this, very often also the acknowledgment, if not outward, yet inward, of its truth on the part of the accused; it being the glorious prerogative of the truth in its highest operation not merely to assert itself, and to silence the adversary, but to silence him by convincing him of his error,"   (Wuest) 

"We must prudently and in our places witness against the sins of others, and endeavor to convince them of their sinfulness, when we can do it seasonably and pertinently, in our words; but especially by the holiness of our lives, and a religious conversation."    ( Matthew Henry)

"If a Christian is in fellowship with his Lord, his very life will be a reproof to the world."    (Wycliffe)

Amplified Bible:
 "Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead let your lives be so in contrast as to expose and reprove and convict them."


(12)  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
(13) But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

       Don't even talk about it

This no doubt refers to the I Eleusinian and Bacchanalian mysteries, which were performed in the night and darkness, and were known to be so impure and abominable, that the Roman senate banished them both from Rome and Italy. (Clarke) 

If the apostle would not allow them to name those things, or to "speak" of them, is it wise or safe for Christians now to be familiar with the accounts of those practices, and for ministers to portray them in the pulpit, and for the friends of "moral reform" to describe them before the world?  The very "naming" of those abominations often produces improper associations in the mind; the description creates polluting images before the imagination; the exhibition of pictures, even for the purpose of condemning them, defiles the soul.  Paul did not "describe" these vices, he denounced them; he did not dwell upon them long enough for the imagination to find employment, and to corrupt the soul. He mentioned the vice-and then he mentioned the wrath of God. 
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

"For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that such people practice in secret."  Amplified) 


The Amplified Bible translates:  "But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear, there is light."

The NIV translates:  "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,"

The NASU translates: "But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light."


(14)  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
(15)  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
(16)  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
(17)  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
(18)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
(19)  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
(20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
(21)  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.


As the dead can perform no function of life, so the Gentiles and the unconverted were incapable of performing any thing worthy either of life or being. But though they were asleep - in a state of complete spiritual torpor, yet they might be awoke by the voice of the Gospel; and though dead to all goodness, and to every function of the spiritual life, yet, as their animal life was whole in them, and perception and reason were still left, they were capable of hearing the Gospel, and under that influence which always accompanies it when faithfully preached, they could discern its excellency, and find it to be the power of God to their salvation. (Clarke) 

    As Wise

Circumspectly      (akriboos)    
"correctly, accurately, consistently, perfectly"

Be ye, who have received the truth, careful of your conduct; walk by the rule which God has given you; do this as well in little as in great matters; exemplify your principles, which are holy and good, by a corresponding conduct; do not only profess, but LIVE the Gospel.  As you embrace all it's promises, be careful also to embrace all its precepts; and behave yourselves so, that your enemies may never be able to say that ye are holy in your doctrines and profession, but irregular in  your lives.                (Clarke)
    The Root of the Matter 
We must not be, as mentioned above, holy in doctrine, but irregular in our lives as were the Corinthians, but it is equally important to be careful not to be caught in the trap of  "law" as were the Galatians.  King David put it properly when he said; "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." (Ps.19:14)    And "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Ps.51:10)

When we see Christ as our Redeemer, the one who forgives completely and covers absolutely, and that our own works avail nothing, then we should throw ourselves completely and absolutely on Him. It is when we fail to fully yield that we have the problems Paul warned the Ephesians about.  As we yield to the Holy Spirit, He will indeed put within us a right spirit and create for us a clear heart. 

When we yield to Him to the extent that our attitudes and motives are pleasing to God, and we have His power at work in us to the extent that we are able to control that deadliest of all members, the tongue, then the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts are acceptable unto Him.  It is at this point that we come to the experience of Galatians 5:16: "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."  And it is just such an experience that Paul is emphasizing in Ephesians chapter 5.  And this is Sanctification. 

Time    (kairos)

Time is not 'chronos' (time as such), but 'kairos' - time as regarded in its strategic, epoch-making, seasonable, opportune seasons.  The idea is not to make best use of time as such, which is what we should do in the sense of not wasting it, but taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.    (Wuest) 

Be filled       (pleerousthe)  
Continuously being filled.    Strong's: (literally) to cram.   There is room for nothing other than the Spirit in our life.  And it is not enough that we were filled with the Spirit yesterday - we must be filled anew each day.

It is our choice - we can choose to be drunk with wine (or the thoughts, words and deeds of the ungodly), or we can choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

When we choose to be filled daily with the Spirit:

Outwardly Speaking in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs
Inwardly Making melody in your heart to the Lord
Inwardly Giving thanks always for all things
Outwardly Submitting yourselves one to another


(22)  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
(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.
(24)  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.


The Command Submit to your husbands.  (vs. 22)
How? As unto the Lord  (vs. 22)
When your relationship with your husband is on the rocks, check  your relationship with Christ - that could be the problem. If you have a hard time submitting to Christ, you  will find it extremely difficult, if  not impossible, to submit to your husband. And you will also find it difficult to submit to Christ if you refuse to submit to your husband.
Why? Because the husband  is head of the wife  (vs. 23)
How? As Christ is Head of the Church   (vs. 23)
As Christ is Saviour of the Body   (vs. 23)
This speaks of a total dependency of the Church on the Saviour, or the Body on the Head, and therefore of the Wife on the Husband.)
The Command

Let the wives be subject to the Husband.   (vs.24) 

To What Extent?
As the Church is subject to Christ   (vs. 24)
In everything   (vs. 24)
This is qualified by the comparison of Christ and the Church -
When the line  of command comes directly from Christ, through the husband, to the wife. In cases where the husband is outside of Christ, Christ must be first and fore most to the wife.
The Command

The wife is to reverence her husband.   (vs. 33)

This is an outright command. It is the wife's responsibility to see to it that she has this attitude toward her husband. This comes from looking at the good qualities, and not trying to pick him apart. 
There is another aspect of a wife bringing honor to her husband, and that is to conduct herself in such a way in private and in public, so as to cause others to respect him. 
And also as the Church, we are to live in such a way  as to cause the world to reverence the Lord Jesus Christ. 
(25)  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
(26)  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
(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.
(28)  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
(29)  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
(30)  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
(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.
(32)  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
(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.
The Command Love your wives.   (vs. 25)
How? As Christ loved the Church   (vs. 25)
And gave Himself for it.   (vs. 25)
Why? To sanctify it    (vs.26)      To " set it apart" to Himself
To cleanse it.   (vs. 26)
How? By washing of the water of the word.  (vs. 26)
Some commentators liken this to water baptism and the cleansing of the doctrines of Christ and the experience of the Holy Spirit. 
I believe this goes much deeper - to the total union of the  Church and Christ.  This is when we truly become one with Christ, and it is as the husband and wife experience total unity physically, emotionally, ideologically,  and spiritually that they ultimately be come one. 
Although this responsibility of this rests on  the husband (as with Christ), it is also qualified by the wife's being subject (as with the Church).
Why? That he might present it to himself    (vs. 27)
How? A Glorious Church  (Bride)   (vs. 27)
Without spot    (vs. 27)
Without wrinkle   (vs. 27)
Without any such thing   (vs. 27)
Why? That it should be holy   (vs. 27)
That it should be without blemish   (vs. 27)
Strange as it may seem, even as the honor of the husband depends on the wife, so the perfection of the wife depends on the husband.
The Command So ought men to love their wives   (vs. 28)
How? As their own bodies   (vs. 28)
The Fact He that loves his wife loves himself   (vs. 28)
Why? Because no man ever yet hated his own flesh    (vs. 29)
But nourishes it    (vs. 29)
And cherishes it   (vs. 29)
How? Even as the Lord does the Church   (vs. 29)
This speaks of utter tenderness and concern. This is a "giving" relationship.
Why? Because we are members of his body   (vs. 30)
The Result Because of this   (vs. 31)
A man leaves his father and mother  (vs. 31)
He shall be joined unto his wife   (vs. 31)
And they shall be one flesh   (vs. 31)
Here again, the primary thought is the relationship between Christ and the Church.   Even as a man leaves everything and everyone for his wife, so we must lay aside everything for Christ. On the other  hand, even as Christ left all and gave  up all for the Church, even so must the  husband leave family and friends, any thing that could cause sorrow to his bride, in order to have her for himself.  However, this does not speak of weakness of character. Christ does not want a "spoiled" church, and  He does ask us to make certain sacrifices for Him - these being for our ultimate good.  This is where the  "being subject"  comes in.

There are books and books written on this subject, from all angles and from all points of view.  We submit that the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,  gave the most beautiful advice to the Corinthian Christians around A.D.59.  The Living Letters translates it something to this effect: 

Very Patient
Very Kind
Never Jealous
Never Envious
Never Boastful
Never Proud
Never Haughty
Never Selfish
Never Rude
Does not demand its own way
Is not Irritable
Is not Touchy
Does not hold Grudges
Will hardly even notice when others do it Wrong
Never glad about Injustice
Rejoices whenever truth wins out
Always loyal no matter what the cost
Always believes in him or her
Always expects the best
Always stands its ground in defense of the loved one
Lives Forever.
(I Cor.1314-8)

Love is a two-way street, This is the kind of Love Christ has for the Church, It is the kind of Love the Church must have for Christ, This is the Love the husband and wife must have for each other.  This is not something that God gives us, but this Love is God Himself   (I Jn.4:8). 


End of Chapter 5


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