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The Epistle to the Ephesians An Epistle written from Prison

A. General Features

  • The epistle was written from the prison of Rome in year 60, together with other epistles; namely, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon.
  • The nature and style of this epistle is different from the other epistles. It is not set out in the form of questions and answers where the Apostle replies to some questions that have been sent to him; or, where he deduces the questions of his readers and presents the question and the answer, as is the case with other epistles. It is different from that. The apostle actually flows with high and heavenly revelations. It is as though the Lord had turned the economy of the evil one that had led to the imprisonment of the apostle into an opportunity of quietness and contemplation for him where he is taken into these revelations and he releases them. Actually, the highest spiritual revelations were recorded in these two epistles: the epistle to the Colossians and to the Ephesians.
  • Therefore, we also see that as though the apostle noticed what he mentioned and he knew and realised how the believers would need special help and strength to perceive it; and so, he told them about seeking the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
  • The epistle was written to the church of Ephesus which seems to be a centre for the other churches around it. The epistle might have been like a periodical that was sent to these churches.
  • Scholars maintain that we can liken the writings of apostle Paul to a pyramid; its base is the epistle to the Romans in which the apostle explains the theology of salvation; and its top or peak are the epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians.

B. Special Features

  • This epistle reveals to us what has been granted to us in Christ:
    – Chose us in Him: ‘Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should  be holy and without blame before Him in love’ (1: 4).
    – Predestined us to adoption: ‘Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will’ (1: 5).
    – In Him we have redemption: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace’ (1: 7)
    – Made known to us the mystery of His will: ‘Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself’ (1: 9).
  • It reveals to us the mystery of the Trinity and the mystery of the Church.
  • It draws our attention to special spiritual needs:
  • The need for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation:
    – ‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him’ (1: 17).
    – The need to be strengthened with might through His Spirit: ‘That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man’ (3: 16).

C. The parts of the epistle

  • Chapters 1 – 3 : theological, revelatory, theoretical
  • Chapters 4 – 6 : spiritual, experiential, practical

The First Part of the Epistle (Chapters 1 – 3)

  • Chapter 1: The Church as a divine idea in God’s heart before the ages.
  • Chapter 2: The manifestation of the Church in the fullness of her time: the day of Pentecost on earth.
  • Chapter 3: The message of the Church, according to God’s will and desire.

[Chapter 1]

Verses 1 – 14
‘Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (1: 1 – 14).

The Trinity partakes in the work for the sake of the Church.

Each Person of the Trinity has a role; each hypostatic work is concluded by the same phrase which is: ‘to the praise of His grace/ glory’.

  • The Father (verses 3 – 6):
    ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved’ (1: 3 – 6).- He chose us in Him and predestined us to adoption.
    – This is concluded with the phrase: ‘to the praise of the glory of His grace’ (verse 6).
  • The Son (verses 7 – 12):
    In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory’ (1: 7 – 12).- The redemption and the forgiveness of sins (verse 7) –removing the imprint of sin as though we have not sinned.
    – He made known to us the mystery of His will (verse 9).
    – All is gathered together in Christ (verse 10).
    – This is concluded with the phrase: ‘to the praise of His glory’ (verse 12).
  • The Holy Spirit (verses 13, 14):
    In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (1: 13, 14).- He sealed us (put His seal on us).
    – He is the guarantee of our inheritance.
    – This is concluded with the phrase: ‘to the praise of His glory’ (verse 14).

Therefore, the Church is established / built on the image of the Trinity; the Church is the icon of the Trinity.

Verses 15 – 23
‘Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all’ (1: 15 – 23).

  • We need the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation:
    – The eyes of your understanding being enlightened (the insight being opened).
    – The hope of His calling (drawing/attracting us upwards).
    – The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (how amazing!)
  • The Head; fullness; fills all in all (verses 22 and 23):
    – Christ has connected Himself to the body, as the Head who pours out His Spirit on the Church, renewing and filling her.
    – The Church, in turn, fills all, each according to their need, because the Church is the hope of the world!

Clarification and comment on verses 13 and 14:

‘In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (1: 13, 14).

To illustrate:

Imagine a person who wanted to purchase a precious gift that he saw in a shop. It was possible that he would pay a deposit and then the gift would be sent to him when he pays the full amount. Yet, he did not agree to this suggestion lest the gift would be lost or damaged while being delivered. Therefore, he decided to send someone to represent him and put his seal on the gift and then carry it all the way, protecting it from any harm or damage until he hands it over to the purchaser.

This is exactly what the wondrous Lord has done for us. He purchased us because He saw us as a precious gift (‘the redemption of the purchased possession’). Because of His care and concern for us, He sent the Holy Spirit (who proceeded from the Father) to seal us and accompany us throughout the whole way. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete who walks alongside us, defending us and fighting any danger in order to finally bring us to our heavenly hometown. He restores us whenever we deviate; He lifts us up whenever we fall; He is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession!

[Chapter 2]

Verses 1 – 10
‘And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’ (2: 1 – 10).

  • We move on from the supreme divine prospective which is: the Church according to the mind of the Trinity, to see her manifestation on earth, in the visible dimension.
  • God choses stones which He protects and shapes; and establishes by them the required building (verses 20 – 22).
  • How amazing are the divine tender-mercies! The stones which He took used to have the following features: dead in trespasses and sins (verse 1), sons of disobedience (verse 2), and children of wrath (verse 3).
  • Grace transformed these stones and made them alive: ‘by grace you have been saved through faith…it is the gift of God’ (verse 8). The gift is faith and grace.
  • In verse 7, we see that God holds a ‘heavenly exhibition’ to show His supreme and manifold grace in His creation: ‘that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus’ (2: 7). How awe striking!
  • In verse 10, we read that we are His workmanship: a poem, a song: ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’ (2: 10). We are God’s harps on which the Holy Spirit plays the tunes of salvation and the coming glory. Are our strings well prepared and tuned? Are our harps ready for Him?

Verses 11 – 22
‘Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit’ (2: 11 – 22).

  • He united the Jews (Israel) with the gentiles, breaking down the middle wall of separation and reconciling them together; creating one new man, fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. God always desires a household, a family: the household of Israel, the household of the New Testament which is the Church.

Verses 20 – 22
‘Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit’ (2: 20 – 22).

  • Being built together (Jews and Gentiles): the bride will only be complete with both of them together.
  • Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets: these are two essential offices/roles.
  • The whole building grows together into a holy temple: in the same way the temple of Solomon was built.
  • A dwelling place of God in the Spirit: God wants to dwell an actual dwelling in our midst; yet, He wants a dwelling place. The living stones may be there; yet, they need to be fitted together so that the dwelling place of God in the Spirit may be built/established.

[Chapter 3]

Verses 1 – 12
‘For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him’ (3: 1 – 12).

  • The apostle highlights and clarifies to us his personal/specific divine commission (verses 1 – 4). He is the one to whom was made known the mystery of the Church, the mystery of Christ, in order to teach the believers. He is an apostle and a teacher (2Timothy 1: 11); he is a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth (1Timothy 2: 7).
  • The Gentiles are partakers (with Israel) of the inheritance, the body, and the promise: ‘that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel’ (Verse 6).
  • The message and mission of the Church is: to declare the unsearchable riches of Christ (verse 8): preaching, teaching, and presenting every man perfect in Christ: ‘Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus’ (Colossians 1: 28).
  • The angels are waiting for us to proclaim and reveal to them the mysteries of redemption (verse 10); ‘things which angels desire to look into’ (1 Peter 1: 12).

Verses 13 – 21
‘Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen’ (3: 13 – 21).

  • My suffering and tribulations are your glory; do not lose heart.
  • You need to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.
  • The dimensions of love: the length (patience and long-suffering); the width (broadness); the depth (humility, and self-denial); and the height (faith and trust).
  • The dimensions of love make us truly know what is the love of Christ which passes knowledge. This leads to the fullness, all the fullness of God.


The Second Part of the epistle: chapters 4 – 6

This part highlights the Christian conduct or how to walk as Christians, the correct form and image of the Christian life (the application).

We notice that the word ‘walk’ is repeated several times in this part (4: 1; 4: 17; 5: 2; 5: 8; 5: 15).

[Chapter 4]

The apostle presents two opposite pictures in relation to the conduct or the practical walk in life:

  • One of them is the Christian conduct (verses 1 – 4):
    ‘I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling’ (4: 1 – 4).
  • The other is the Gentiles’ conduct (verses 17 – 19):
    ‘This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness’ (4: 17 – 19).

Addressing the believers of the church, it is as though he is saying: let us examine our ways and check if our walk and conduct is truly Christian and is fitting for the children of grace.

The Christian walk or life-conduct is characterised by: lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, etc.

On the other hand, the Gentiles walk, or life-conduct, is characterised by: futility of the mind, darkened understanding, spiritual ignorance, hardness and blindness of the heart, lusts and uncleanness.

There is a clear reference here that there are believers whose mind and conduct is still a gentile one; and there is a need to change.

We notice that each of these categories either allows us to ascend upwards or descend downwards.

 Verses 1 – 16(The first category):
‘I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love’ (4: 1 – 16).

The features of this category are meekness, humility, etc. These are the foundation, the first grace. Yet, this needs to grow to be grace upon grace. The way to receive these graces is to follow the same path which Christ treaded and walked; and that is: descending in order to ascend. He descended into the lower parts of the earth; and so, He ascended far above all the heavens.

This would qualify us for true spiritual growth towards the true purposes. The purpose is: the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

The Lord appointed certain offices (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) for the fulfillment of this purpose. After that, we will all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God.

We already know the work of the Son of God for our sake (salvation, forgiveness, grace, eternal life); but we may not know Him as a Person, as we should. This is because the fall has caused spiritual darkness. This spiritual darkness caused each sector (each church or denomination) to see Christ in a partial way.  Because of this, we quarrel with one another.

However, if the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry and for edification takes place, the light will start to shine, and the knowledge of God will increase: ‘the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God’.

After that, there will be: ‘a perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’.

When the growth is completed, Christ will dwell in each of us. He is the ‘perfect man’. As a result, we will be of one accord, one mind, one heart, and one spirit. We will become knit together as members of a body. These members were disconnected where there was a hand somewhere and another hand in a different place; a leg in one place and the chest in another; and so on. Then, they started to come together and be knit with joints and tendons. This is the perfect man, the stature of the fullness of Christ.

This is the image of the Church (regardless of the number of her members, even if they are few) where Christ is dwelling as a ‘perfect man’; and hence, the Church lives in the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Without this, we would be immature, like children who quarrel and reap nothing (verse 14).

Therefore, let us take heed so that every member completes the things related to them, the members become joined together, and the perfect man and the stature of the fullness of Christ become manifested.

Verses 17 – 32
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you’ (4: 17 – 32).

The other picture of conduct, the gentile way of life or walk, requires a remedy which the apostle presented in verses 20 – 24; and that is: to continually put off the old man and put on the new man.

Because of this, from the early centuries, the Church arranged the divine calendar (the seasons of salvation and the lectionaries) in order to help the believers, perceive the truths of salvation and the process of putting off and putting on in relation to the inner man.

After that, the apostle continues to present some practical clarifications related to their state and circumstances (verses 25 – 32). These practical highlights include: do not let the sun go down on your wrath; do not give place to the devil; let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth; and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

[Chapters 5 and 6]

Verses 1 – 21
Notice the different areas of conduct:

a. Walk in love (verses 1, 2):

‘Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma’ (5: 1, 2).

The mystery of love is: sacrifice –as Christ has done for our sake.

If I offer love and it is rejected, my sacrifice will be before Him and He will bless it.

b. Walk in the light (verses 3 – 14):

‘But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (5: 3 – 14).

The focus of this point is highlighted in verse 8.

We notice the following:

  • The sin of fornication should not even be named among the believers.
  • Taking heed of coarse jesting.
  • Avoiding the works of darkness.
  • Allowing the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested: goodness, righteousness, and truth.

C. Walk circumspectly (verses 15 – 17):

‘See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is’ (5: 15 – 17).

Redeeming the time: According to the original language, the meaning of the phrase redeeming the time is exactly similar to someone who goes to the shops to buy good quality products which are displayed in various places; and he has to find the best product, at the best price, in the least time.

Verses 18 – 21
‘And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God’ (5: 18 – 21).

We need to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Yet, we need to avoid the pleasures of the world (the wine) which hinder the state of infilling.

The apostle then refers to certain means for this infilling (verses 19 – 21).

Verses 22 – 6: 9
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband’ (5: 22 – 33).

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honour your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. 5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him’ (6: 1 – 9).

The apostle addresses and advises the ‘family’, being the main unit of the Church.

This includes:

A husband who is ready to love his wife to the point of death, just as Christ loved the Church.

A wife who respects her husband and who would naturally submit to the one who is ready to die for her sake.

Children who learn to obey their parents; but only in the Lord; and who continue to honour their parents.

Parents who do not provoke their children to wrath.

Bondservants who have sincerity of heart; doing service as to the Lord.

Masters who know that their own Master is in heaven.

[Chapter 6]

Versez 10 – 20 ; The spiritual battle
‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak’ (6: 10 – 20).

As long as the matters of the Kingdom of God are being revealed and manifested, there will inevitably be a confrontation with the kingdom of darkness.

Let us take up the whole armour of God and complete our battles. Yet, we should not forget that after that we need to stand firm (there will be a lash back which we should not forget).

The apostle presents the different spiritual weapons which are derived from the armour of the Roman soldier:

The girdle of truth: the waist controls the movement of the feet. Truth makes one walk in safe and upright paths; and hence, is not hooked by the traps of the enemy.

The breastplate of righteousness covers the area of feelings, making the person not be moody and emotionally vulnerable.

Shod your feet: being always ready and prepared to present the message of the gospel; and also having feet that always walk in the ways of peace with everyone.

The shield of faith: the wicked one aims his darts or arrows; yet, faith sets them back and quenches them.

The helmet of salvation: this is related to one’s thoughts and his assurance in the salvation that was completed for him. The word of God is a sword, granting victory in the battle.

Praying always and regularly/continually.

Verses 21 – 24
‘But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts. 23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen’ (6: 21 – 24).

This is a conclusion or an ending of the epistle where the apostle knows their circumstances and sends them about his circumstances; a traditional ending in all the epistles.

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A. General Features

  • The epistle was written from the prison of Rome in year 60, together with other epistles; namely, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon.
  • The nature and style of this epistle is different from the other epistles. It is not set out in the form of questions and answers where the Apostle replies to some questions that have been sent to him; or, where he deduces the questions of his readers and presents the question and the answer, as is the case with other epistles. It is different from that. The apostle actually flows with high and heavenly revelations. It is as though the Lord had turned the economy of the evil one that had led to the imprisonment of the apostle into an opportunity of quietness and contemplation for him where he is taken into these revelations and he releases them. Actually, the highest spiritual revelations were recorded in these two epistles: the epistle to the Colossians and to the Ephesians.
  • Therefore, we also see that as though the apostle noticed what he mentioned and he knew and realised how the believers would need special help and strength to perceive it; and so, he told them about seeking the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
  • The epistle was written to the church of Ephesus which seems to be a centre for the other churches around it. The epistle might have been like a periodical that was sent to these churches.
  • Scholars maintain that we can liken the writings of apostle Paul to a pyramid; its base is the epistle to the Romans in which the apostle explains the theology of salvation; and its top or peak are the epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians.

B. Special Features

  • This epistle reveals to us what has been granted to us in Christ:
    – Chose us in Him: ‘Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should  be holy and without blame before Him in love’ (1: 4).
    – Predestined us to adoption: ‘Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will’ (1: 5).
    – In Him we have redemption: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace’ (1: 7)
    – Made known to us the mystery of His will: ‘Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself’ (1: 9).
  • It reveals to us the mystery of the Trinity and the mystery of the Church.
  • It draws our attention to special spiritual needs:
  • The need for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation:
    – ‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him’ (1: 17).
    – The need to be strengthened with might through His Spirit: ‘That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man’ (3: 16).

C. The parts of the epistle

  • Chapters 1 – 3 : theological, revelatory, theoretical
  • Chapters 4 – 6 : spiritual, experiential, practical

The First Part of the Epistle (Chapters 1 – 3)

  • Chapter 1: The Church as a divine idea in God’s heart before the ages.
  • Chapter 2: The manifestation of the Church in the fullness of her time: the day of Pentecost on earth.
  • Chapter 3: The message of the Church, according to God’s will and desire.

[Chapter 1]

Verses 1 – 14
‘Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (1: 1 – 14).

The Trinity partakes in the work for the sake of the Church.

Each Person of the Trinity has a role; each hypostatic work is concluded by the same phrase which is: ‘to the praise of His grace/ glory’.

  • The Father (verses 3 – 6):
    ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved’ (1: 3 – 6).- He chose us in Him and predestined us to adoption.
    – This is concluded with the phrase: ‘to the praise of the glory of His grace’ (verse 6).
  • The Son (verses 7 – 12):
    In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory’ (1: 7 – 12).- The redemption and the forgiveness of sins (verse 7) –removing the imprint of sin as though we have not sinned.
    – He made known to us the mystery of His will (verse 9).
    – All is gathered together in Christ (verse 10).
    – This is concluded with the phrase: ‘to the praise of His glory’ (verse 12).
  • The Holy Spirit (verses 13, 14):
    In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (1: 13, 14).- He sealed us (put His seal on us).
    – He is the guarantee of our inheritance.
    – This is concluded with the phrase: ‘to the praise of His glory’ (verse 14).

Therefore, the Church is established / built on the image of the Trinity; the Church is the icon of the Trinity.

Verses 15 – 23
‘Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all’ (1: 15 – 23).

  • We need the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation:
    – The eyes of your understanding being enlightened (the insight being opened).
    – The hope of His calling (drawing/attracting us upwards).
    – The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (how amazing!)
  • The Head; fullness; fills all in all (verses 22 and 23):
    – Christ has connected Himself to the body, as the Head who pours out His Spirit on the Church, renewing and filling her.
    – The Church, in turn, fills all, each according to their need, because the Church is the hope of the world!

Clarification and comment on verses 13 and 14:

‘In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (1: 13, 14).

To illustrate:

Imagine a person who wanted to purchase a precious gift that he saw in a shop. It was possible that he would pay a deposit and then the gift would be sent to him when he pays the full amount. Yet, he did not agree to this suggestion lest the gift would be lost or damaged while being delivered. Therefore, he decided to send someone to represent him and put his seal on the gift and then carry it all the way, protecting it from any harm or damage until he hands it over to the purchaser.

This is exactly what the wondrous Lord has done for us. He purchased us because He saw us as a precious gift (‘the redemption of the purchased possession’). Because of His care and concern for us, He sent the Holy Spirit (who proceeded from the Father) to seal us and accompany us throughout the whole way. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete who walks alongside us, defending us and fighting any danger in order to finally bring us to our heavenly hometown. He restores us whenever we deviate; He lifts us up whenever we fall; He is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession!

[Chapter 2]

Verses 1 – 10
‘And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’ (2: 1 – 10).

  • We move on from the supreme divine prospective which is: the Church according to the mind of the Trinity, to see her manifestation on earth, in the visible dimension.
  • God choses stones which He protects and shapes; and establishes by them the required building (verses 20 – 22).
  • How amazing are the divine tender-mercies! The stones which He took used to have the following features: dead in trespasses and sins (verse 1), sons of disobedience (verse 2), and children of wrath (verse 3).
  • Grace transformed these stones and made them alive: ‘by grace you have been saved through faith…it is the gift of God’ (verse 8). The gift is faith and grace.
  • In verse 7, we see that God holds a ‘heavenly exhibition’ to show His supreme and manifold grace in His creation: ‘that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus’ (2: 7). How awe striking!
  • In verse 10, we read that we are His workmanship: a poem, a song: ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’ (2: 10). We are God’s harps on which the Holy Spirit plays the tunes of salvation and the coming glory. Are our strings well prepared and tuned? Are our harps ready for Him?

Verses 11 – 22
‘Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit’ (2: 11 – 22).

  • He united the Jews (Israel) with the gentiles, breaking down the middle wall of separation and reconciling them together; creating one new man, fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. God always desires a household, a family: the household of Israel, the household of the New Testament which is the Church.

Verses 20 – 22
‘Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit’ (2: 20 – 22).

  • Being built together (Jews and Gentiles): the bride will only be complete with both of them together.
  • Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets: these are two essential offices/roles.
  • The whole building grows together into a holy temple: in the same way the temple of Solomon was built.
  • A dwelling place of God in the Spirit: God wants to dwell an actual dwelling in our midst; yet, He wants a dwelling place. The living stones may be there; yet, they need to be fitted together so that the dwelling place of God in the Spirit may be built/established.

[Chapter 3]

Verses 1 – 12
‘For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him’ (3: 1 – 12).

  • The apostle highlights and clarifies to us his personal/specific divine commission (verses 1 – 4). He is the one to whom was made known the mystery of the Church, the mystery of Christ, in order to teach the believers. He is an apostle and a teacher (2Timothy 1: 11); he is a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth (1Timothy 2: 7).
  • The Gentiles are partakers (with Israel) of the inheritance, the body, and the promise: ‘that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel’ (Verse 6).
  • The message and mission of the Church is: to declare the unsearchable riches of Christ (verse 8): preaching, teaching, and presenting every man perfect in Christ: ‘Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus’ (Colossians 1: 28).
  • The angels are waiting for us to proclaim and reveal to them the mysteries of redemption (verse 10); ‘things which angels desire to look into’ (1 Peter 1: 12).

Verses 13 – 21
‘Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen’ (3: 13 – 21).

  • My suffering and tribulations are your glory; do not lose heart.
  • You need to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.
  • The dimensions of love: the length (patience and long-suffering); the width (broadness); the depth (humility, and self-denial); and the height (faith and trust).
  • The dimensions of love make us truly know what is the love of Christ which passes knowledge. This leads to the fullness, all the fullness of God.


The Second Part of the epistle: chapters 4 – 6

This part highlights the Christian conduct or how to walk as Christians, the correct form and image of the Christian life (the application).

We notice that the word ‘walk’ is repeated several times in this part (4: 1; 4: 17; 5: 2; 5: 8; 5: 15).

[Chapter 4]

The apostle presents two opposite pictures in relation to the conduct or the practical walk in life:

  • One of them is the Christian conduct (verses 1 – 4):
    ‘I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling’ (4: 1 – 4).
  • The other is the Gentiles’ conduct (verses 17 – 19):
    ‘This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness’ (4: 17 – 19).

Addressing the believers of the church, it is as though he is saying: let us examine our ways and check if our walk and conduct is truly Christian and is fitting for the children of grace.

The Christian walk or life-conduct is characterised by: lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, etc.

On the other hand, the Gentiles walk, or life-conduct, is characterised by: futility of the mind, darkened understanding, spiritual ignorance, hardness and blindness of the heart, lusts and uncleanness.

There is a clear reference here that there are believers whose mind and conduct is still a gentile one; and there is a need to change.

We notice that each of these categories either allows us to ascend upwards or descend downwards.

 Verses 1 – 16(The first category):
‘I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love’ (4: 1 – 16).

The features of this category are meekness, humility, etc. These are the foundation, the first grace. Yet, this needs to grow to be grace upon grace. The way to receive these graces is to follow the same path which Christ treaded and walked; and that is: descending in order to ascend. He descended into the lower parts of the earth; and so, He ascended far above all the heavens.

This would qualify us for true spiritual growth towards the true purposes. The purpose is: the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

The Lord appointed certain offices (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) for the fulfillment of this purpose. After that, we will all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God.

We already know the work of the Son of God for our sake (salvation, forgiveness, grace, eternal life); but we may not know Him as a Person, as we should. This is because the fall has caused spiritual darkness. This spiritual darkness caused each sector (each church or denomination) to see Christ in a partial way.  Because of this, we quarrel with one another.

However, if the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry and for edification takes place, the light will start to shine, and the knowledge of God will increase: ‘the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God’.

After that, there will be: ‘a perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’.

When the growth is completed, Christ will dwell in each of us. He is the ‘perfect man’. As a result, we will be of one accord, one mind, one heart, and one spirit. We will become knit together as members of a body. These members were disconnected where there was a hand somewhere and another hand in a different place; a leg in one place and the chest in another; and so on. Then, they started to come together and be knit with joints and tendons. This is the perfect man, the stature of the fullness of Christ.

This is the image of the Church (regardless of the number of her members, even if they are few) where Christ is dwelling as a ‘perfect man’; and hence, the Church lives in the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Without this, we would be immature, like children who quarrel and reap nothing (verse 14).

Therefore, let us take heed so that every member completes the things related to them, the members become joined together, and the perfect man and the stature of the fullness of Christ become manifested.

Verses 17 – 32
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you’ (4: 17 – 32).

The other picture of conduct, the gentile way of life or walk, requires a remedy which the apostle presented in verses 20 – 24; and that is: to continually put off the old man and put on the new man.

Because of this, from the early centuries, the Church arranged the divine calendar (the seasons of salvation and the lectionaries) in order to help the believers, perceive the truths of salvation and the process of putting off and putting on in relation to the inner man.

After that, the apostle continues to present some practical clarifications related to their state and circumstances (verses 25 – 32). These practical highlights include: do not let the sun go down on your wrath; do not give place to the devil; let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth; and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

[Chapters 5 and 6]

Verses 1 – 21
Notice the different areas of conduct:

a. Walk in love (verses 1, 2):

‘Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma’ (5: 1, 2).

The mystery of love is: sacrifice –as Christ has done for our sake.

If I offer love and it is rejected, my sacrifice will be before Him and He will bless it.

b. Walk in the light (verses 3 – 14):

‘But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (5: 3 – 14).

The focus of this point is highlighted in verse 8.

We notice the following:

  • The sin of fornication should not even be named among the believers.
  • Taking heed of coarse jesting.
  • Avoiding the works of darkness.
  • Allowing the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested: goodness, righteousness, and truth.

C. Walk circumspectly (verses 15 – 17):

‘See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is’ (5: 15 – 17).

Redeeming the time: According to the original language, the meaning of the phrase redeeming the time is exactly similar to someone who goes to the shops to buy good quality products which are displayed in various places; and he has to find the best product, at the best price, in the least time.

Verses 18 – 21
‘And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God’ (5: 18 – 21).

We need to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Yet, we need to avoid the pleasures of the world (the wine) which hinder the state of infilling.

The apostle then refers to certain means for this infilling (verses 19 – 21).

Verses 22 – 6: 9
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband’ (5: 22 – 33).

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honour your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. 5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him’ (6: 1 – 9).

The apostle addresses and advises the ‘family’, being the main unit of the Church.

This includes:

A husband who is ready to love his wife to the point of death, just as Christ loved the Church.

A wife who respects her husband and who would naturally submit to the one who is ready to die for her sake.

Children who learn to obey their parents; but only in the Lord; and who continue to honour their parents.

Parents who do not provoke their children to wrath.

Bondservants who have sincerity of heart; doing service as to the Lord.

Masters who know that their own Master is in heaven.

[Chapter 6]

Versez 10 – 20 ; The spiritual battle
‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak’ (6: 10 – 20).

As long as the matters of the Kingdom of God are being revealed and manifested, there will inevitably be a confrontation with the kingdom of darkness.

Let us take up the whole armour of God and complete our battles. Yet, we should not forget that after that we need to stand firm (there will be a lash back which we should not forget).

The apostle presents the different spiritual weapons which are derived from the armour of the Roman soldier:

The girdle of truth: the waist controls the movement of the feet. Truth makes one walk in safe and upright paths; and hence, is not hooked by the traps of the enemy.

The breastplate of righteousness covers the area of feelings, making the person not be moody and emotionally vulnerable.

Shod your feet: being always ready and prepared to present the message of the gospel; and also having feet that always walk in the ways of peace with everyone.

The shield of faith: the wicked one aims his darts or arrows; yet, faith sets them back and quenches them.

The helmet of salvation: this is related to one’s thoughts and his assurance in the salvation that was completed for him. The word of God is a sword, granting victory in the battle.

Praying always and regularly/continually.

Verses 21 – 24
‘But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts. 23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen’ (6: 21 – 24).

This is a conclusion or an ending of the epistle where the apostle knows their circumstances and sends them about his circumstances; a traditional ending in all the epistles.

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