Christians, we can sometimes be easily tricked by humans. We can also be engage in sexual immorality, greed, human rickety, and cunning. This things can lead us to shame, despair, and even the wrath of God, which is ever a good thing. Therefore, it is necessary for us to walk carefully with wisdom, understanding, and to live out our lives filled with the Holy Spirit. If we live out our life in this manner, then it will be easy for us to give the Lord all the thanks that he deserves for everything that he has done for us.
Walking carefully and being filled with the Spirit is the bottom line of Ephesians 5:15-21. In order for us, as believers, to serve and praise the Lord at our best, we should carefully watch our steps so that we can be wise and live a life filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul also tells his readers to not be drunk on wine and that they should submit their selves not only to God, but the people around them. Context The Apostle and Missionary Paul is credited as the author of Ephesians. It is believed that he wrote it between 60 and 62 A. D. While he was under imprisonment in Rome.
The original audience of this epistle was addressed to Gentile followers of Christ, who attend churches in and near Ephesus. Paul wrote this epistle to encourage the Gentiles (non-Jewish). He also wanted to make it clear that the Gentiles and Jews were rough together as one body in Christ. “Paul wanted to expand the horizons of his readers, so that they might understand better the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for the church. ” (NIB Study Bible, 1791) Paul opens up this letter with a sequence of statements about God’s blessings.
Paul places a special importance on the fact that we were not only saved for our personal benefit, but also to be able to bring God the praise and the glory that he deserves. Knowing this information helps us to better interpret Ephesians 5:15-21, because it lets us know what was going on during the mime that Paul wrote this letter. This is the fifth and final instructions on the Christian’s walk, walking wisely. We see that Pall’s final command is stated in being “filled with the Spirit”. It then goes on to further clarify this. Drunkenness was a scandalous behavior in Judaism.
And this led people to performing sexual acts and other acts of full of sexual symbolism. “Spiritual songs” refers to Spirit-inspired songs, which clearly distinguish Christian worship from nearly all worship in antiquity. In Ephesians 5:8-14, it talks about how before we were born again, that we were without Christ (or didn’t know of him). But once we became saved and got to know him better. It also talks about how we shouldn’t do anything to sin against God thereafter. In Ephesians 5:15-21, it says that we should be careful and walk wisely.
It also says to make the most out of your time, because the world is filled with evil. The word is filled with evil, because of it is in aligned with the devil. Examples of the evil is drunkenness, sexual immorality, lying, bitterness, stealing, and many others. It then goes on to state that we shouldn’t be drunk, but be filled with the Holy Spirit and give he Lord the praise that he desires. Right after that in the Ephesians 5:22-24, it says that wives are to treat their husbands Just like they would treat God. The man is the head of the house hold Just like Jesus Christ is head of the church.
Content Paul issues a warning to his readers (5:15-16) Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. We see that Paul is commending the vast teaching about wisdom to the believers starting with verse 15. He issues that all believers should walk carefully and do it with wisdom. “Paul describes the care that hey should be exercising in their behavior with two phrases” (Thelma, 356). The first one is that people should walk “not as unwise, but as wise. To this point in the letter, the noun “wisdom” has either referred to God’s wisdom (1 :8; 3:10) or the wisdom that God has given about his purposes for his people and also for the universe (1:17). But here, “wise” is used as an adjective and describes a person that is skilled in “finding what is pleasing to the Lord” (Thelma, 356). Secondly, in verse 16, Paul is now beginning to tell his readers a participle manner in which how they should be walking wisely. They should “make the best use of the time”, which this verb simply means to redeem or buy. Here Paul is instructing his readers to “buy the time” away from something that has a grip on it” (Thelma, 356). But what has a grip on the time. Paul then goes on to clarify it with the expression “the days are evil”. With Paul using this phrases, he is saying that the world is aligned with the devil. He wants his readers to buy or redeem back the time out of the hands of evil and use it to please the Lord, which it was intended for. Paul explains to us how as Christians we are to walk carefully. He gives it to us in both a negative and a positive statement.
The negative is “not as wise” and “as wise”, the positive. This wisdom is given to us by God and is to be used to see the true nature of God’s plan (Honker, 691). “God’s children, whom are believers are to supposed to walk carefully, not like to ones who don’t have any true insight into God’s plan, but in a new lifestyle in conformity to God’s wise plan” (Honker, 692). Paul advises his readers not to be foolish (5:17-18) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.
Since the days are evil, Paul tells his readers that they should not be foolish, but understand the Lord’s will (Thelma, 357). The word therefore (tout, because of) refers back to the days are evil in 5:16. The evil times not only provide the cause for redeeming the time, but they also provide the cause for not being foolish and understanding what the Lord’s will is. “This means that redeeming the time and understanding the Lord’s will stand parallel to and define each other” (Thelma, 357). Thelma says that to understand the Lord’s will, and presumably to act on it, is to buy the present “time” out of slavery to evil.
He then goes on to say that the concept of understanding “what the will of the Lord is” is similar to the idea in 5:10 of “trying to find out what the will of the Lord is. ” In 5:18, Paul prohibits his readers to not get drink with wine. Many interprets fill that Paul got off-topic with this, because it doesn’t go along with anything that Paul had previously addressed. Paul had Just been speaking about walking wisely, then goes on to his readers to avoid drunkenness. This Just seems to be out of place. So why does Paul do this? Thelma address several possible reasons why interprets believe is the account for this.
Firstly, some interpreters say that this was a specific problem for some of the readers. Secondly, some believe that the cult of Dionysus, which were involved in ritual drunkenness and frenzied behavior, had influenced the readers’ behavior. Which caused many of the new believers to carry this form of worship into the church and associated the wine with the filling of the Holy Spirit. Others have suggested that the Christians had become debauched by pagan practices of feasting. While others wonder if living in “evil days” led the people to their drunkenness (Thelma, 357-358).
Paul is quick to denounce drunkenness ND associated being filled with the Holy Spirit in other activities (Arnold). Paul urges his readers to be filled with the Spirit instead of being drunk. Paul has not only instructed his readers how not to live, but how they should be living. He has told them to be wise, not to be foolish, but understand the Lord’s will, and not to get drunk on wine. And now he tells them to be filled with the Spirit (Honker, 702). Here Paul probably isn’t referring to the human spirit, but to God’s Spirit. Just as the drunken person is full of, and controlled by, wine, so the believer should be fill of, ND directed by, the spirit” (Thelma, 359). Here we see that the negative is being contrasted with the positive. We see it with the two verbs: being drunk with wine which leads to debauchery, but being filled with the Spirit, which leads to Joy in fellowship and obedience to the commandments of the Lord’s will (Honker, 702). Just like those who become drunk with wine, those who are filled with the Spirit can no longer control their actions. Those who have the spirit give up their own will to the Lord.
Those who walk and are filled with the Spirit, then the Spirit of God is directed ND empowers the believer to live their life in a way that is pleasing to God and also to his will. “Believers are commanded to be filled by the Spirit so that they will understand the will of the Lord and allow God’s control of their lives, thus providing ennoblement to make the most of every opportunity rather than succumbing to the desires of the flesh” (Honker, 705). Believers should not only walk wisely, but be filled with the Spirit. All of these are very beneficial to the believers and are pleasing to God.
Paul expresses his readers to meet together and praise God (5:19-21) Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Paul expresses to his readers that they will meet together to praise God and his instructions. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are a variety of forms of music. Paul says that this is the next result of their growth toward maturity in the realm of the Spirit (Thelma, 361).
Thelma says, “Paul is expressing this in a series of participial constructions. The first of these is speaking among yourselves, which is dependent upon the phrase, being filled with the Spirit. An effect of being filled in the Holy Spirit is being able to speak to everyone in the form of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Thelma, 361). These three are songs of praise to God. They are also forms of “speaking” to each other around the worshiping community. Giving thanks could certainly be given through singing to God, but Paul may have meant to shift this thought to inspire group prayer (Thelma, 362).
Usually when people give thanks, they do so in prayer for a certain gift that has been giving to hem. Thelma says, “Paul views giving thanks to God as an obligation of all human beings and it is a part of Christian worship. ” So doing this “always for all things” is a very common way of giving God thanks. And those are filled in the Holy Spirit should express their thanks to God the Father when they gather in groups for Christian worship freely and regularly. When Paul told his readers to be filled with the Spirit, he had in mind giving the thanks to God in group worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The final participial element stands apart from the rest of the three elements. The other three all clustered around the theme of group worship, while this theme of “submitting to one another” is going down another direction of household conduct. “Christians assembling together for worship and the idea of the household were closely connected” (Thelma, 365). Some interpreters say that verse 5:21 is the beginning of a new section, but Honker says, that it is a fitting conclusion to the broader context of wisdom beginning in verse 5:17 and more to the section dealing with being filled with the Holy Spirit beginning in verse 5:18.
Between verses 20 and 21, there should not be a period, but a comma. This is substantiated by the fourth of five participial clauses denoting the results of being filled by the Spirit: first: “speaking to one another”, second, “singing songs and singing psalms”, third, “giving thanks always for all things”, and now the forth, “submitting to one another in the fear of Christ” (Honker, 716). An outcome of believers being filled with the Holy Spirit is yielding to each other in the body of the believers.
Believers of Christ are to act differently from unbelievers. The ones who are not believers intend to take great pride in independence and individualism, which also leads to selfishness. Right here in Pep 5:21, the result is mutual submission. And this can only be done by consciously and continuously under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit (Honker, 718). “Submission” is a term that would imply that someone is willing to submit one’s self to another who has authority over them. It could be in their own home, at their church, or somewhere in society.
Paul continues to show his readers that submission to each other should not be taken lightly, because he says do it “out of reverence for Christ” (Honker, 717). The term “reverence” has been use many different ways throughout the Bible. It has the general meaning of fear, terror, or respect. It most commonly used meaning is fear or awe of God or people, or respect for God or people. But it is the context the really determines what the meaning of the word is in that particular verse. Since the word “reverence” (in verse 21) is used in the context of Chrism’s love, then it is best to view its meaning as fear.
Having “fear” in Christ motivates the believers to be willing to submit their selves to one another within the body. “The practice of mutual submission to one another in the fear of Christ must not be relegated merely to church service, but rather it is it be applied in ally life whenever and wherever they meet” (Honker, 719. ) This can not only be done not only at the church, but at the workplace, at home, or at a social gathering were two or more believers are gathered together (Honker, 719).
These verse not only serves as a hinge verse to the entire following section, but describes the concluding characterization of believers being filled with the Holy Spirit beginning in 5:18. Application Ephesians 5:15-21 was originally written to a group of recently converted believers in the city of Ephesus. Paul wrote Ephesians to assist and advises the Gentiles to develop a more personal Christian lifestyle. Even though the Gentles turned their lives over to Christ and had Joined the community, their fears still didn’t vanish.
Paul need to reassurance these new believers and help them to turn their lives around and over to Christ. So that they could live a life free from drunkenness, sexual morality, stealing, lying, bitterness, and many other things. Christians must do away with their evil ways of their old lifestyles, so that they can allow God to change their life, so that they can live a life pleasing to God in which he intended for us. How could this passage be relevant in the twenty-first century context? Consider this example about a very successful businessman who made a very wise decision at the right moment.
A prosperous executive whose Job required him to travel very frequently decided that he need to buy his very own airplane. The man soon began to take flying lessons and very soon he become so good that he need a more convenient form of transportation. So after a while, the businessman decided that he wanted to purchase a pontoon airplane. He would be using this airplane to fly himself back and forth from his spectacular summer home out by the lake. On his very first escape in the newly purchased airplane, he was heading toward the airport ending strip nearby.