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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 5

Godbey's Commentary on the New TestamentGodbey's NT Commentary

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Verses 1-16



26. Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down on your provocation. ” The Greek word translated angry, is the same we have in Luke, who says our Savior “looked on them with anger, being grieved on account of the hardness of their hearts,” revealing our Savior’s holy grief as the definition of orgidzoo, anger.

Hence, we see that if you get angry, and sin not i.e., have no sin in it there will be nothing indulged but holy grief in contemplation of wrong; i.e., you will simply be angry in the sense in which God is angry. God sees all the evil in the world, and is infinitely grieved over it. The more holy we become, the more acutely we discern, disapprove, and grieve over all evil; i.e., we are angry, but sin not; i.e., there is no sin in our anger. The sun is going down every moment on some meridian of the earth.

Hence, the going down of the sun signifies the daily current events of life, involving the idea that we are to receive no provocation at any time, lest the sun go down onit. Wicked men and devils are constantly offering us provocation. But entire sanctification is the investiture of true wisdom, incessantly fortifying us against the reception of evil, though ever so alluringly and importunately enforced on us by human and demoniacal agencies. An insult is a filthy, loathing stench in the nostrils of purity. Shall I be gumpish enough to receive it? God forbid!

28. The man who cheats or defrauds in any way, or endeavors to acquire ill-gotten gains, is a thief in the sight of God. If you cheat a man out of a dollar, God condemns you for stealing the dollar. The little rogues steal in the night,, and expiate their crimes in the penitentiary.

The big rogues steal while looking you in the face. Then you honor them with a place on the judicial bench, where they condemn the little thieves. If a man can steal enough to become very rich, you will promote him to high offices of honor in Church and State. We see from this Scripture that a man is not justifiable for idleness because he is rich. It is his duty to labor with his own hands, that he may have to give to the needy.

29. Your mouth belongs to God. Hence, you can not let the devil use it for obscene, vain, trifling, or foolish utterances with impunity.

30. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you have been sealed unto the day of redemption. ” In regeneration, the Holy Spirit writes you up, and sends you into the world God’s letter, to be read by all men. (2 Corinthians 3:0) In sanctification, the letter is sealed by the Holy Ghost, securing the contents against robbery. If this is not done, Satan will steal away your letter, leaving you the old, empty envelope to meet the “Judge of all the earth.” “Redemption” is the glorious transfiguration of your body,. when “this mortal shall put on immortality, and death shall be swallowed up of life.” The day of “redemption” is the great day of all days when our glorious Lord shall return and call his saints to meet him in the air. The sealing of the Holy Ghost i.e. entire sanctification is the qualification for the momentous ordeal of meeting our descending Lord. Has the Holy Ghost written you into a letter of God to the world, and sealed you against all the intrigues of the devil?

31. Here we have a black catalogue of ugly things, which forever depart with the exit of sin and the ingress of the Holy Ghost. Lord, help us all to verify this commandment!

32. The saints of God are exceptions in the world for their goodness, kindness, and philanthropy, delighted with opportunities freely to forgive, and joyfully to confer benefactions. While Christ sitteth on the mediatorial throne, hidden beyond the glittering stars, his loving bride, exhibiting his image and likeness, still walks the earth, reflecting the loving kindness, tender mercies, and heavenly benefactions of her Divine Spouse.

1,2. Like our ascended Lord, we are to be a perpetual sacrifice on God’s altar, emitting the sweet savor of holiness to the Lord.

3. Here we see covetousness, the crying sin of the popular Churches of this day, and so magnetic as to escape exposition and condemnation from the pulpit, here catalogued with fornication and impurity, and interdicted so much as a mention among the saints.

4. And scandal or foolish talking or indecent jesting, which are unbecoming, but rather the giving of thanks. ” For many years a secular paper has not been permitted to enter my house, from the simple fact that they carry Satan’s carrion. You can not mention “scandal” with impunity. If you tamper with it, you will get polluted. You can not indulge in “foolish talk,” or even listen to it, without grieving the Holy Spirit; while “indecent jesting” is simply abominable in the sight of God and all good people. During the Confederate War, while General Grant was in his headquarters, surrounded by his military magnates, a Federal officer rushes in a great glee, looking around, says: “I believe there are no ladies present. I have something wonderfully good to tell.” At that moment the old General bluntly interjected, “But I will let you know there are gentlemen present.” The man took the hint, and never told the joke.

At that time General Grant did not profess Christianity, but his manly decorum revolted at the thought of hearing anything too obscene for repetition in the presence of ladies. It is scandalous, diabolical, and barbaric for men to indulge in conversation incompatible with the presence of women. This verse ought to be written up in a motto, and rendered conspicuous in every home, church, and business circle. Scandal, foolish talking, and indecent jesting among the laity, and even the ministry, cause wholesale backsliding, as it is impossible to indulge in these vices and frivolities without grieving the Holy Spirit. Inadvertent participation in these vanities will grieve away the Holy Spirit, and superinduce backsliding before you are aware. Thousands fall in this way, and wake up to find the Heavenly Dove mournfully absent, and wonder why he ever retreated away. Thomas a Kempis, the Roman Catholic confessor of entire sanctification, has written clearly and beautifully on this subject, especially warning the preachers.

5. Here again the Holy Ghost not only catalogues the covetous man right along with the fornicator and the debaucher, but he denominates him an idolater, certifying that he “has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” This argument will bear the most logical scrutiny, as the covetous man piling up his hoarded self does not need it for sustenance, it follows, as a legitimate sequence, that he worships the sordid gold, and is therefore as base an idolater as ever bowed at the shrine of Jupiter.

6. Let no one deceive you “ with empty discourses; for through these things the wrath of God cometh on the sons of disobedience. ” The sad verification of this warning everywhere nowadays proclaims the awful apostasy of the latter days. The gospel has well-nigh gone out of the popular Churches. Paul defines the gospel as (Romans 1:16), “the dynamite of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Hence, every discourse which is not charged with God’s dynamite to blow sin out of the heart, is “empty” and degospelized. Songs, prayers, testimonies, and sermons without the Holy Ghost are all “empty,” illusory, and susceptible of utilization by the devil, as greased planks on which to slide people into hell. No wonder our Savior forbade his own apostles to preach the gospel till after they received the Holy Ghost.

What a pity that every preacher does not lie prostrate before God till he fills him with the Holy Ghost, before he assumes the awful responsibility of standing between the living and the dead.

7-9. God is original light, perfectly free from darkness. Satan has not a solitary ray to cheer the black midnight of his hapless soul.

10,11. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather convict them. ” “Convict” is the verb form of elegchos, which is the verdict of the criminal judge against the accused, condemning him to his merited retribution. We are all custodians and exponents of God’s law, revealed in the Bible. Therefore, it is our province, like the criminal judge, to know no favorites, giving the gospel trumpet no uncertain sound, lifting high the glittering sword, cutting right and left without distinction or mercy, never softening what God has made hard, nor smoothing what God has made rough; but ringing out the truth fearlessly of men and devils, though it condemn the priest, the prophet, the king, and the potentate.

12-14. As the sun illuminates the material world, investing every substance with his light, which is reflected indiscriminately, thus rendering visible the material world; so the great Sun of righteousness transmits his light to all of his saints, which by them is reflected throughout the spiritual world. Hence, we are all walking luminaries in the providence of God, sent forth to irradiate the globe. “ Therefore, he says, awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine upon thee. ” Regeneration is the glorious resurrection of the human soul from the dead, rising out of Satan’s dreary kingdom, where black darkness and death eternally reign; the soul sweeps into the kingdom of God, opening his eyes to contemplate the glorious light pouring on him from the effulgent Christ, revealing to him the splendors, mysteries, and beauties of the spiritual world, which he never saw before.

15. This verse, in harmony with the Bible, denominates the people walking straight into hell “foolish,” and those who travel the heavenly highway as “wise.”

16. Buying in the opportunity, because the days are evil. ” When bright den went into eclipse, Satan’s reign of darkness, sin, and death sadly supervened. It has swept along like a desolating avalanche, nearly six thousand years, during which the “saved are few;” only here and there a traveler on the King’s highway, while the pell-mell multitudes rush at racehorse speed into hell. Therefore, it stands us in hand wisely to snatch every fleeting moment, thus “buying in the opportunity” to rescue the perishing.

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.

Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Ephesians 5". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/ephesians-5.html.
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