Summary: Walking in the light

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Ephesians 5:1-17

August 29, 2012

We’re to put off the old man and be renewed in the spirit of our mind. We’re also to be kind and forgiving towards each other since God has been so towards us:

Be ye therefore followers of God,

The Greek word here (μιμητής, mimetes) is connected to our English word “mimic.” In fact, most of the newer translations tell us to be “imitators.” “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Pt. 1:16).

as dear children;

“Dear” is ἀγαπητός (agapetos) which is elsewhere translated as “beloved.”

2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us,

Here it is: imitate God as beloved (ἀγαπητός) by walking in love (ἀγάπη). Do what you have seen done; you’ve seen that Christ has loved (ἀγαπάω) us,

and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Compare this to Exodus 29:15-18—“Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram. 16And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar. 17And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head. 18And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the LORD: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

Now compare it to Isaiah 1:11-12—“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith theLORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?” and Amos 5:21-22—“I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. 22Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.”

Proverbs 21:27—“The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?”

Hebrews 10:5-7—“Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

God required the sacrifice but refused to accept it from the wicked. All those deaths were only a picture of Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29). This Lamb was perfect and without blemish. The blood of bulls and goats could never atone for sin, but God’s Lamb took it all away (Hebrews 10:4).

Now remember that we’re mimicking God—not only in love, but also in purity:

3But fornication,

The Greek is πορνεία (porneia) which is a big deal in the Bible: I Corinthians 6:13-20—“Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

and all uncleanness,

Which is the opposite of our spotless Example,

or covetousness,

Which also is a contradiction of the one who gave Himself over on our behalf,

let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

It shouldn’t have even the slightest place amongst us. Why not? Because we are “saints”! The Greek word is ἅγιος (hagios) which is also translated as “holy.” What you hold in your hand is called hagios biblos which is simply “holy book.” It’s not a normal book—it’s a holy book. We’re not just ordinary people—we’re holy people; we’re saints, and darkness has no place at all with us:

4Neither filthiness,

The “uncleanness” in verse three is more of a ceremonial or moral uncleanliness. Jesus tells the Pharisees that they’re whitewashed tombs filled with dead men’s bones and uncleanness (Mt. 23:27). I think of Isaiah who said that our righteousness is filthy rags (Is. 64:6). It’s a state of being. “Filthiness” here is a little different: it means dishonor or obscenity. Being unclean, they produce filthiness, but we’ve been cleansed from sin so there shouldn’t be any obscenity from us.

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