FILLED WITH THE
SINGING TO THE
DUTY TO THE
RESTS ON THAT OF THE
1. therefore--seeing that "God in Christ forgave you"
followers--Greek, "imitators" of God, in respect to "love"
God's essential character
as dear children--Greek, "as children beloved"; to
refers, "As Christ also loved us"
"We are sons of men, when we do ill; sons of God, when we do well"
[AUGUSTINE, on Psalm 52]; (compare
Mt 5:44, 45, 48).
Sonship infers an absolute necessity of imitation, it being vain
to assume the title of son without any similitude of the Father [PEARSON].
2. And--in proof that you are so.
walk in love--resuming
"walk worthy of the vocation."
as Christ . . . loved us--From the love of the Father
he passes to the love of the Son, in whom God most endearingly
manifests His love to us.
given himself for us--Greek, "given Himself up (namely, to
for us," that is, in our behalf: not here vicarious
substitution, though that is indirectly implied, "in our
stead." The offerer, and the offering that He offered, were one and the
offering and a sacrifice--"Offering" expresses generally His
presenting Himself to the Father, as the Representative undertaking the
cause of the whole of our lost race
including His life of obedience; though not excluding His
offering of His body for us
It is usually an unbloody offering, in the more limited sense.
"Sacrifice" refers to His death for us exclusively. Christ is
here, in reference to
(quoted again in
represented as the antitype of all the offerings of the law, whether
the unbloody or bloody, eucharistical or propitiatory.
for a sweet-smelling savour--Greek, "for an odor of a sweet smell,"
that is, God is well pleased with the offering on the ground of its
sweetness,and so is reconciled to us
2Co 5:18, 19;
The ointment compounded of principal spices, poured upon Aaron's head,
answers to the variety of the graces by which He was enabled to "offer
Himself a sacrifice for a sweet-smelling savor." Another type, or
prophecy by figure, was "the sweet savor" ("savor of rest,"
Margin) which God smelled in Noah's sacrifice
Again, as what Christ is, believers also are
and ministers are: Paul says
"we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ."
3. once named--Greek, "Let it not be even named"
(Eph 5:4, 12).
"Uncleanness" and "covetousness" are taken up again from
The two are so closely allied that the Greek for "covetousness"
(pleonexia) is used sometimes in Scripture, and often in the
Greek Fathers, for sins of impurity. The common principle is the
longing to fill one's desire with material objects of sense, outside of
God. The expression, "not be even named," applies better to impurity,
than to "covetousness."
4. filthiness--obscenity in act or gesture.
foolish talking--the talk of fools, which is folly and sin
together. The Greek of it, and of "filthiness," occurs nowhere else
in the New Testament.
nor--rather, "or" (compare
jesting--Greek, "eutrapelia"; found nowhere else in the New
Testament: implying strictly that versatility which turns about and
adapts itself, without regard to principle, to the shifting
circumstances of the moment, and to the varying moods of those with whom
it may deal. Not scurrile buffoonery, but refined "persiflage" and
"badinage," for which Ephesus was famed [PLAUTUS,
A Boastful Soldier, 3.1,42-52], and which, so far from being censured,
was and is thought by the world a pleasant accomplishment. In
"filthy communication" refers to the foulness; "foolish
talking," to the folly; "jesting," to the false
refinement (and trifling witticism [TITTMANN]) Of discourse unseasoned with the salt of grace
not convenient--"unseemly"; not such "as become saints"
rather giving of thanks--a happy play on sounds in Greek,
"eucharistia" contrasted with "eutrapelia"; refined
"jesting" and subtle humor sometimes offend the tender feelings of
grace; "giving of thanks" gives that real cheerfulness of spirit to
believers which the worldly try to get from "jesting"
(Eph 5:19, 20;
5. this ye know--The oldest manuscripts read, "Of this ye are sure
knowing"; or as ALFORD, "This ye know being aware."
covetous . . . idolater--
The best reading may be translated, That is to say, literally, which
is (in other words) an idolater. Paul himself had forsaken
all for Christ
(2Co 6:10; 11:27).
Covetousness is worship of the creature instead of the Creator, the
highest treason against the King of kings
hath--The present implies the fixedness of the exclusion, grounded
on the eternal verities of that kingdom [ALFORD].
of Christ and of God--rather, as one Greek article is applied to
both, "of Christ and God," implying their perfect oneness, which is
consistent only with the doctrine that Christ is God (compare
1Ti 5:21; 6:13).
6. vain--empty, unreal words, namely, palliations of "uncleanness,"
Eph 5:3, 4;
(that it is natural to indulge in love), "covetousness" (that it is
useful to society that men should pursue gain), and "jesting" (that it
is witty and clever, and that God will not so severely punish for such
because of these things--uncleanness, covetousness, &c.
cometh--present, not merely "shall come." Is as sure as if already
children--rather, "sons of disobedience"
(Eph 2:2, 3).
The children of unbelief in doctrine
are "children of disobedience" in practice, and these again are
"children of wrath."
7. Here fellowship with wicked workers is forbidden; in
with their wicked works.
8. sometimes--"once." The emphasis is on "were." Ye ought to
have no fellowship with sin, which is darkness, for your state as
darkness is now PAST. Stronger than "in darkness"
light--not merely "enlightened"; but light enlightening others
in--in union with the Lord, who is THE LIGHT.
children of light--not merely "of the light"; just as "children of
disobedience" is used on the opposite side; those whose distinguishing
characteristic is light. PLINY, a heathen writing to Trajan, bears
unwilling testimony to the extraordinary purity of Christians' lives,
contrasted with the people around them.
9. fruit of the Spirit--taken by transcribers from
The true reading is that of the oldest manuscripts, "The fruit of THE LIGHT"; in contrast with "the unfruitful works of
This verse is parenthetic. Walk as children of light, that is, in all
good works and words, "FOR the fruit of the light is [borne] in [ALFORD; but BENGEL, 'consists in']
all goodness [opposed to 'malice,'
righteousness [opposed to 'covetousness,'
and truth [opposed to 'lying,'
10. Proving--construed with "walk"
Ro 12:1, 2).
As we prove a coin by the eye and the ear, and by using it, so by
accurate and continued study, and above all by practice and
experimental trial, we may prove or test "what is acceptable unto the
Lord." This is the office of "light," of which believers are
"children," to manifest what each thing is, whether sightly or
11. unfruitful works of darkness--Sins are terminated in themselves,
and therefore are called "works," not "fruits"
(Ga 5:19, 22).
Their only fruit is that which is not in a true sense fruit
Plants cannot bear "fruit" in the absence of light. Sin is "darkness,"
and its parent is the prince of darkness
Graces, on the other hand, as flourishing in "the light," are
reproductive, and abound in fruits; which, as harmoniously combining in
one whole, are termed (in the singular) "the FRUIT of the Spirit"
rather, &c.--Translate as Greek, "rather even
reprove them" (compare
Not only "have no fellowship, but even reprove them," namely, in
words, and in your deeds, which, shining with "the light," virtually
reprove all that is contrary to light
"Have no fellowship," does not imply that we can avoid all intercourse
but "avoid such fellowship as will defile yourselves"; just as light,
though it touch filth, is not soiled by it; nay, as light
detects it, so, "even reprove sin."
12. The Greek order is, "For the things done in secret by
them, it is a shame even to speak of." The "for" gives his reason for
"not naming" (compare
in detail the works of darkness, whereas he describes definitely
"the fruit of the light" [BENGEL]. "Speak of," I
think, is used here as "speaking of without reproving," in
contrast to "even reprove them." Thus the "for" expresses this, Reprove
them, for to speak of them without reproving them, is a
Thus "works of darkness" answers to "things done in
13. that are reproved--rather, "when they are reproved," namely, by
whatsoever doth make manifest--rather, "everything that is (that is,
suffers itself to be) made manifest
(or 'shone upon,' namely, by your 'reproving,'
is (thenceforth no longer 'darkness,'
but) light." The devil and the wicked will not suffer themselves to be
made manifest by the light, but love darkness, though outwardly
the light shines round them. Therefore, "light" has no transforming
effect on them, so that they do not become light
(Joh 3:19, 20).
But, says the apostle, you being now light yourselves
by bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will
convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will
be your "armor of light"
in making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.
14. Wherefore--referring to the whole foregoing argument
(Eph 5:8, 11, 13).
Seeing that light (spiritual) dispels the pre-existing darkness, He
(God) saith . . . (compare the same phrase,
Awake--The reading of all the oldest manuscripts is "Up!" or, "Rouse
thee!" a phrase used in stirring men to activity. The words are a
Isa 60:1, 2,
not an exact quotation. The word "Christ," shows that in quoting the
prophecy, he views it in the light thrown on it by its Gospel
fulfilment. As Israel is called on to "awake" from its previous
state of "darkness" and "death"
(Isa 59:10; 60:2),
for that her Light is come; so the GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH