Ephesians 5

* Exhortation to brotherly love. (1,2) Cautions against several

sins. (3-14) Directions to a contrary behaviour, and to relative

duties. (15-21) The duties of wives and husbands are enforced by

the spiritual relation between Christ and the church. (22-33)

1,2 Because God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you, therefore

be ye followers of God, imitators of God. Resemble him

especially in his love and pardoning goodness, as becomes those

beloved by their heavenly Father. In Christ's sacrifice his love

triumphs, and we are to consider it fully.
3-14 Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be

dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross

acts of sin, but against what some may make light of. But these

things are so far from being profitable. that they pollute and

poison the hearers. Our cheerfulness should show itself as

becomes Christians, in what may tend to God's glory. A covetous

man makes a god of his money; places that hope, confidence, and

delight, in worldly good, which should be in God only. Those who

allow themselves, either in the lusts of the flesh or the love

of the world, belong not to the kingdom of grace, nor shall they

come to the kingdom of glory. When the vilest transgressors

repent and believe the gospel, they become children of

obedience, from whom God's wrath is turned away. Dare we make

light of that which brings down the wrath of God? Sinners, like

men in the dark, are going they know not whither, and doing they

know not what. But the grace of God wrought a mighty change in

the souls of many. Walk as children of light, as having

knowledge and holiness. These works of darkness are unfruitful,

whatever profit they may boast; for they end in the destruction

of the impenitent sinner. There are many ways of abetting, or

taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel,

consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their

sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not

reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them. A good

man will be ashamed to speak of what many wicked men are not

ashamed to do. We must have not only a sight and a knowledge

that sin is sin, and in some measure shameful, but see it as a

breach of God's holy law. After the example of prophets and

apostles, we should call on those asleep and dead in sin, to

awake and arise, that Christ may give them light.
15-21 Another remedy against sin, is care, or caution, it being

impossible else to maintain purity of heart and life. Time is a

talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not

employed according to his design. If we have lost our time

heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future. Of that

time which thousands on a dying bed would gladly redeem at the

price of the whole world, how little do men think, and to what

trifles they daily sacrifice it! People are very apt to complain

of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem

time. Be not unwise. Ignorance of our duty, and neglect of our

souls, show the greatest folly. Drunkenness is a sin that never

goes alone, but carries men into other evils; it is a sin very

provoking to God. The drunkard holds out to his family and to

the world the sad spectacle of a sinner hardened beyond what is

common, and hastening to perdition. When afflicted or weary, let

us not seek to raise our spirits by strong drink, which is

hateful and hurtful, and only ends in making sorrows more felt.

But by fervent prayer let us seek to be filled with the Spirit,

and to avoid whatever may grieve our gracious Comforter. All

God's people have reason to sing for joy. Though we are not

always singing, we should be always giving thanks; we should

never want disposition for this duty, as we never want matter

for it, through the whole course of our lives. Always, even in

trials and afflictions, and for all things; being satisfied of

their loving intent, and good tendency. God keeps believers from

sinning against him, and engages them to submit one to another

in all he has commanded, to promote his glory, and to fulfil

their duties to each other.
22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the

Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a

principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their

wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is

sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures.

Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in

this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on

all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from

the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those

influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the

outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot

or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are

sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam,

mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but

they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union

between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having

resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides,

in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter

the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity

and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending

love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties

to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many

painful effects would be avoided.

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