Ephesians 4:17 – 5:21
- In Eph. 4:17-19 we are exhorted to walk differently than the unconverted Gentile world.
- In Eph. 4:20-24 we are taught about New Creation, the great inward change that occurred when we were saved; i.e. the Old Man was put off, the New Man was put on.
- In Eph. 4:25-32 we are exhorted that this inward change should have a resulting outward change in our lives.
- In Eph. 5:1-7 we are exhorted to walk in love, our hearts responding to Christ’s love-sacrifice. We are given to understand God’s view of sin; that He takes each individual act very seriously.
- In Eph. 5:8-14 we are told what we are (light in the Lord), and exhorted to walk as children of light.
- In Eph. 5:15-17 we are given a divine knowledge of the Lord’s will for our pathway: that we need to be awake, be careful, be prudent, be wise, and be filled with the Spirit.
- How Not to Walk: A Picture of the Unconverted Gentile World (4:17-19)
- New Creation: The Great Inward Transformation (4:20-24)
- The Resulting Outward Transformation of Our Lifestyle (4:25-32)
- Walking in Love: A Life of Sacrifice and Obedience (5:1-7)
- Walking as Children of Light: Living up to What We Are (5:8-14)
- Walking in Wisdom: How to Be Preserved in the Path (5:15-21)
How Not to Walk: A Picture of the Unconverted Gentile World (4:17-19)
- “In the vanity of their mind“. They let their minds wander wherever they wanted. They let their thoughts go beyond the revealed mind of God. When man does this, essentially, man becomes his own god.
- “Darkened in understanding“. They lost the little knowledge they had of God (see Rom. 1:21). Light rejected brings greater darkness. This is the opposite of Ephesians 1:18; “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened”.
- “Estranged from the life of God“. They became greatly distanced from God. The life of God (Eternal life) is only found in His Son; and they were a million miles away. Two reasons:
- By nature (“the ignorance which is in them”). There is nothing in man that responds to God, he is “dead in sins” (Eph. 2:1).
- By practice (“the hardness of their hearts”). They deliberately chose to walk away from God. Their ignorance was because their hearts were hard, not because they were slow mentally.
- “Having cast off all feeling“. Their lusts crossed the barrier of human sentiment. No natural affection, no pride of character, no shame, no prick of conscience, could restrain them from following their lusts.
- “Given themselves up to lasciviousness“. They pulled out all the stops, giving themselves over to, and taking for themselves, whatever they wanted. A viscous cycle developed; “greedy unsatisfied lust” is wanting things, taking things, and never being satisfied.
New Creation: The Great Inward Transformation (4:20-24)
Knowing the Truth in Jesus (vv.20-21)
Knowing What Changes Occurred When We Received Jesus (vv.22-24)
The Resulting Outward Transformation of Our Lifestyle (4:25-32)
Area #1: Truth vs. Falsehood (v.25)
Area #2: Righteous Anger vs. Fleshly Anger (vv.26-27)
Area #3: Giving vs. Stealing (v.28)
Area #4: Gracious Words vs. Corrupt Words (vv.29-30)
- Edifying. It will build the hearer up in some area of need. Perhaps it would be encouragement, comfort, knowledge, wisdom, or correction.
- Gracious. It will always be said with the spirit of Christ (Luke 4:22).
Area #5: Kindness and Forgiveness vs. Bitterness and Wrath (vv.31-32)
Our Walk. In the first twenty-one verses of Ephesians 5, three expressions are found regarding our walk. In v.2 we read “walk in love”, in v.8 we read “walk as children of light”, and in v.15 we read “walk carefully… as wise”. These three things – love, light, and wisdom – are to characterize our walk as believers here in this world.
Walking in Love: A Life of Sacrifice and Obedience (5:1-7)
Exhortation to Walk in Love (vv.1-2)
What We Need to Avoid (vv.3-4a)
What We Need to Be Occupied with (v.4b)
We need to Understand about God’s View of Sin (vv.5-7)
Walking as Children of Light: Living up to What We Are (5:8-14)
Light is shown in scripture to acts in two ways. Negatively, the light exposes man’s true condition (John 1:9; 3:20-21). This is what is meant in John 1:9, that He (the Son), "coming into the world, lightens" or illuminates "every man". His life of perfect righteousness and grace here is this world exposed the evil hearts of men. This is pictured in John 8, where Jesus declared "I am the light of the world", after He exposed the true moral state of the Jewish leaders who brought to Him the woman taken in adultery. But the light acts in another way too. Positively, the light gives us the knowledge of God’s character revealed in the Person of the Son (John 1:5; 2 Cor. 4:6). This is pictured in John 9, where Jesus again declared "I am the light of the world", and proceeded to open a man's physical and spiritual eyesight. It is a type of spiritual illumination through new birth. Unless a man is born again (John 3:5), he cannot see the kingdom of God. In that sense, the Divine life in Christ was "the light of men" (John 1:5).Our light will have this same dual effect on this world. Read more…
Love and Light. These two words describe God’s essential character in different aspects. God is said to be light (1 John 1:5) and He is said to be love (1 John 4:16). To "be" something is far deeper that to "do" something. For example, God loves (John 3:16, etc.) but the expression "God is love" has a much deeper thought. Believers are commanded to "walk as children of light" and we are also said to be "light in the Lord" (Eph. 5:8). Light is the state and character of the divine nature, which we share by new birth. But believers are never said to "be" love. This is because love is a motive, a sovereign source that cannot emanate from man. God is sovereign in His love (agápe). As creatures, we are not sovereign. Only God Himself can be love, can be that source. We are privileged to be channels through which that love flows out. Hence, we are exhorted to “walk in love” (Eph. 5:5) and “love one another” (1 John 4:12). If it weren't for the Source, we could never love others with that same settled disposition; "we love because he has first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Light, on the other hand, is a fixed state of purity, and it is characteristic of our new nature.2
What We Are (Light) and the Corresponding Walk (vv.8-12)
What the Light Does for Us: Shows Things as They Are (vv.13-14)
Walking in Wisdom: How to Be Preserved in the Path (5:15-21)
Four Parts to Walking in Wisdom (vv.15-18)
|WALKING IN THE SPIRIT||FILLING WITH THE SPIRIT|
|The Goal||Perfect liberty in our practical walk.||The spontaneous outflow of praise and worship.|
|Grieving the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) – to disobey an impulse of the Spirit.||Quenching the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19) – to block the Spirit’s filling, thus limiting the outflow of praise.|
The Results of Being Filled with the Spirit (vv.19-21)
- Psalms are about the wilderness experience (e.g. "O Jesus, Friend unfailing", "Though dark be our way", "Though in a foreign land").
- Hymns are addressed to a divine person (e.g. "Father, Thy name our souls would bless", "Thou Art the Everlasting Word", "Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour Thou").
- Spiritual songs are songs about the truth of God (e.g. "Amazing Grace", "We joy in our God, and we sing of that love", "How good is the God we adore").
- It has been well remarked that in Ephesians Christ is never spoken of as the image of God; He is so, very expressly, in Colossians. If we may discriminate, what we have in Ephesians is more Christ showing me what God is — not His image, but His moral likeness reflected in Christ. Hence it is said, "Be ye imitators of God, as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us." It is more the notion of resemblance than representation. Still, although you can say of Christ, He is the image of God, He is never said to be in the likeness of God, just because He is God. In Colossians we hear repeatedly of the image of God. Here, for instance, the new man is said to be "after the image of him that created him"; as in the first chapter Christ is said to be the image of the invisible God. The two ideas of likeness and image may often be confounded in our minds, but not so in Scripture, where likeness simply means that one person resembles another; image means that a person is represented, whether it be like him or not — both of course may be together. - Kelly, William. The Epistle to the Colossians.
- J. N. Darby. Love and Light. Notes and Comments, Volume 4, Page 233