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Bible Commentaries

Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

Ephesians 5

Verses 17-20



17. Therefore be ye not foolish, but understand what is the will of the Lord.

Verse 18

18. Be not drunk with wine, in which there is riot, but be ye filled with the Spirit. ” This verse is beautifully and lucidly expository of the preceding, warning us not to be “foolish,” but to understand the will of the Lord. Now, what is the will of the Lord? The eighteenth verse answers, “ Be ye filled with the Spirit. ” Hence, we see that the will of the Lord is that we all “ be filled with the Spirit, ” and in case ofdelinquency we are denominated “foolish.” O how few people in this ‘world are “filled with the Spirit” The virgins in the parable were called “foolish,” because they were not “filled with the Spirit.” We can well afford to let the people call us “foolish,” for that is no evidence that it is true. But we can not afford to have the Holy Ghost pronounce us “foolish,” for in that case we are fools to an absolute Certainty. Then let us all get “filled with the Spirit,” and keep full, as only in this way we can escape the imputation of folly by the Infallible One. Bear in mind, you must be completely emptied of sin before you can be “filled with the Holy Ghost.” Then expeditiously get under the blood, and trust for a radical emptying of your spirit from all evil. Then trust your Savior to fill you with the Holy Ghost, and there abide forever.

19,20. These verses establish the fact that the Holy Ghost not only fills the heart, but he opens the mouth and makes us sing, testify, and speak fluently and indefatigably for God. It is simply awful to spend an hour in a fashionable city church listening to Satan’s giggling choir squeal out a few operatic songs, utterly unintelligible to the congregation sitting dumb as tombstones. These graveyard Churches are the devil’s counterfeits. God’s Churches are like a graveyard on the resurrection morn, when the awful excitement of the archangel’s trump is bursting every tomb. Bishop FitzGerald well says, that “when the singing is confined to the choir, it is very inappropriate to sing anything except ‘Hark, from the tombs a doleful sound!’ as it is a funeral occasion; the Church is dead.” Rest assured the Holy Ghost always makes people sing. So when a congregation quits singing, they have already become a good missionary field.

Verses 21-33



21-24. Here the apostle gives the beautiful and instructive similitude of the matrimonial alliance, unifying husband and wife, and thus vividly illustrating the mysterious unity of our Lord and his bride.

Verse 25

25. Husbands love your wives with Divine love, as Christ also loved the Church with Divine love, and gave himself for her. ” According to this Scripture, it is the duty of every man to get his soul saved before he takes a wife; as he is utterly incompetent to love her with Divine love till he receives it, poured out into his heart by the Holy Ghost in regeneration. You must not confound the popular Church with the Church of God here described, consisting only of the souls having been called out from this wicked world by the Holy Ghost, and separated unto God. Mark it down, the Church of God does not contain a solitary sinner. Hence, these Churches professing and practicing a sinning religion are all Satan’s bogus.

Verse 26

26. That he may sanctify her, and purify her by the washing of water through the Word. ” No honest Bible reader will fail to see the second work of grace here revealed beyond the possibility of doubt. The regeneration of the Holy Ghost takes sinners out of Satan’s kingdom, transforms them into saints, and constitutes the Divine Ecclesia here mentioned. The Lord does not sanctify this wicked world, but Ecciesia, i.e., his own Church. Hence, no one can be so stupid as not to see that sanctification here revealed is a work distinct from regeneration, and subsequent to it. What is sanctification? The Holy Ghost here defines it a purification, illustrated by the “washing of water;” not literal water, as we here learn it is “through the Word.” The Bible teaches that we are sanctified by the Spirit, blood, faith, and Word. These are all in perfect harmony, either with other. The Holy Spirit is the omnipotent Agent who sanctifies us; the blood, the Divine elixir by which he effects the purgation; the Word, God’s appointed medium through which we are sanctified; and faith, the condition on which we receive it.

Hence, the Spirit, blood, Word, and faith are but counterparts of the same great transaction. The instantaneity of our sanctification is here confirmed by two infallible witnesses in this short verse; i.e., hagiasee, sanctify, and katharisas , purifying, are both in the aorist tense, which God put in the Greek language to reveal to all honest readers that he actually sanctifies in the twinkling of an eye. You may long approach the experience, but suddenly enter it, the gradualism always being on the human side, as Omnipotence needs but a moment to do his work. I write these pages in California, three thousand miles from home. I spent weeks on my western- bound tour, approaching the land of gold. But the time came when, in a moment, the iron horse leaped over the State line, and I found myself in the land of perennial fruits and fadeless flowers.

Verse 27

27. That he may present to himself a glorious Church, having neither spot nor wrinkle nor any of such things, but she may be holy and blameless.

“‘Tis a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle, washed in the blood of the Lamb!” What a contrast this plain, simple, and unmistakable statement of the Holy Ghost affirming so positively and lucidly the purity of God’s Church, with the materialistic, skeptical, worldly, proud, pompous, money-loving ecclesiasticisms of the present day, not only utterly ignorant of the sweet and simple experience of heart-purity and the indwelling Comforter, but even waging an exterminating war in pulpit and pews against the very religion revealed throughout the New Testament as the blessed and happy experience of God’s children!

Verse 28

28. Here we have the love of Christ for his Church, which constrained him to shed his blood to sanctify her, held up as the example for every husband to emulate in his love for his wife, thus confirming the sanctity of Christian wedlock beyond the possibility of cavil.

Verse 29

29. This verse not only recognizes the mysterious problem of conjugal unity; but either is to esteem the other the better half, confirming their mutual fidelity by martyrdom, if necessary.

Verse 30

30. Because we are members of His body, as I freely use all of my members conservatively of my body, so Christ has a perfect right to use every saint in perfect harmony with his sovereign will and infinite wisdom conservatively of his glory.

Verses 31-33

31-33. No one can read these verses, and call in question the Bible doctrine of conjugal unity. It is not only repeatedly affirmed, but even enforced by the example of Christ and his bride. As we receive his nature, and become one with him in spirit, mind, life, purpose, and enterprise for time and eternity, so husband and wife are “no longer twain, but one flesh.” In harmony with this truth, we must receive the doctrine of literal and actual conjugal unity in the Divine institution of Christian matrimony. Hence, we should watch and pray, lest we infringe upon the rights and privileges of this God-given blessing to the world. It was instituted in Eden, and survived the fall, to bless mankind to the end of time. The social purity problem is not to be construed interconjugally so as to antagonize conjugal unity. Husband and wife are to walk in the clear light of God’s Word, Spirit, and providence, lest they deflect into fanaticism, and mar the beauty, chill the bliss, and darken the brightness of the Christian home.

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Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Ephesians 5". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament".