Let us conclude our study of Ephesians with a mandate on how to fight against these evil days. But first a recap:
These chapters go over many things, very thick with theology. One of the more prominent themes is our predestined nature and inheritance in Christ. For example chapter 1:
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Here Paul calls out our actions towards each other. He begins by putting Jesus in his rightful place, as Lord of all and giver of gifts according to his grace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
The next verses extol us to mature and not be tossed about by falsehoods.
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
Keep in mind how Paul explains the body of Christ in this next verse. It is a theme he returns to when explaining a husband’s love for his wife.
16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Paul later calls out wrath and how we should speak to each other. Be truthful but not angry.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
So, don’t be abusive. He also covers verbal abuse.
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
This covers sexual abuse. I’ve already written a post about it here.
- Imitate God.
- Sexual immorality isn’t to be a part of the saints.
- Those who practice it have no inheritance (which rules them out of the predestined inheritance explained in1:11)
- Don’t be partners with them.
- Expose them.
- The abuser should be ashamed.
- Awake oh sleeper (victim) and let Chrit’s love shine on thee.
I can’t summarize the last part. It’s too important. Paul is calling us to be wise in this.
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
This is two fold. It explains why sexual abuse takes place “because the days are evil” and it extoles victims to run away and make “the best use of the time”. How long do you wish to be victimized? Be wise in exposing this but do it swiftly.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Here Paul goes over the correct relationship between husbands and wives. Keep in mind the previous verses on physical, verbal, and sexual abuse (all of it is emotional abuse). Paul is not condoning abuse at all.
He calls the wife to be submissive to the husband in all things as the church is submissive to Christ. He then calls for the man to love and cherish the wife as Christ loves and takes care of the body of Christ washing it with the word so that there is no spot of blemish.
28 In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.
In short, Paul is calling out the abusive husband who leaves a bruise here and a black eye there. There should be no spot of blemish!
This starts with how children should obey parents who are in the Lord. Not abusive parents mind you for verse 4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Don’t abuse them and don’t spoil them.
Verses 7 through 9 are about workers and their bosses and finally we get to the armor of God.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
This is why we must be kind when faced with hatred. Hateful people expect you to respond with hatred. We must not fall into this bitterness, for we are fighting against spiritual things. This is why our natural response as Christians when facing the hatred of others is to be kind. Because behind the hate is a devil at work in this world. We must face these devils by being watchful and prayerful.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
How do you keep going after abuses have been hurled at you? You stand firm in Christ. How do you stand firm though?
Truth and righteousness:
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
Walk in peace towards one another, letting go the wrath of others and accepting their choices without complaint:
15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16
Always have faith, meaning a consistent yes to the voice of God’s calling:
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
Salvation should always be on the mind in prayerful repentance. Also use the word’s God is speaking to you in the bible and the leanings of the Holy Spirit in your prayers (remember this was written before the New Testament was put together):
17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Pray for those in authority that they might see the evil before them and act in justice as the Spirit leads them.
19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Doing all of these things, you will find that even in the harshest of moments, you will regret nothing, doing the best that you can to hear the Lord and act upon His convictions in your heart.