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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - EPHESIANS 5
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    CHAPTER 5

    Eph 5:1-33. EXHORTATIONS TO LOVE: AND AGAINST CARNAL LUSTS AND COMMUNICATIONS. CIRCUMSPECTION IN WALK: REDEEMING THE TIME: BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT: SINGING TO THE LORD WITH THANKFULNESS: THE WIFE'S DUTY TO THE HUSBAND RESTS ON THAT OF THE CHURCH TO CHRIST.

    1. therefore--seeing that "God in Christ forgave you" (Eph 4:32).
    - followers--Greek, "imitators" of God, in respect to "love" (Eph 5:2): God's essential character (1Jo 4:16).
    - as dear children--Greek, "as children beloved"; to which Eph 5:2 refers, "As Christ also loved us" (1Jo 4:19). "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 Eph 4:1, "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 death, Ga 2:20) 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 same (Joh 15:13; Ro 5:8).
    - 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 (Ps 40:6-8), including His life of obedience; though not excluding His offering of His body for us (Heb 10:10). 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 Ps 40:6 (quoted again in Heb 10:5), 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 (Eph 1:6; Mt 3:17; 2Co 5:18, 19; Heb 10:6-17). 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 (Ge 8:21). Again, as what Christ is, believers also are (1Jo 4:17), and ministers are: Paul says (2Co 2:17) "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 Eph 4:19. 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 Eph 5:3).
    - 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 Col 3:8, "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 [TRENCH].
    - not convenient--"unseemly"; not such "as become saints" (Eph 5:3).
    - 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; Jas 5:13).

    5. this ye know--The oldest manuscripts read, "Of this ye are sure knowing"; or as ALFORD, "This ye know being aware."
    - covetous . . . idolater-- (Col 3:5). 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 (1Sa 15:3; Mt 6:24; Php 3:19; 1Jo 2:15).
    - 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 2Th 1:12; 1Ti 5:21; 6:13).

    6. vain--empty, unreal words, namely, palliations of "uncleanness," Eph 5:3, 4; Isa 5:20 (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 things).
    - because of these things--uncleanness, covetousness, &c. (Eph 5:3-5).
    - cometh--present, not merely "shall come." Is as sure as if already come.
    - children--rather, "sons of disobedience" (Eph 2:2, 3). The children of unbelief in doctrine (De 32:20) are "children of disobedience" in practice, and these again are "children of wrath."

    7. Here fellowship with wicked workers is forbidden; in Eph 5:11, 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" (Ro 2:19).
    - light--not merely "enlightened"; but light enlightening others (Eph 5:13).
    - 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 Ga 5:22. The true reading is that of the oldest manuscripts, "The fruit of THE LIGHT"; in contrast with "the unfruitful works of darkness" (Eph 5:11). 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,' Eph 4:31], righteousness [opposed to 'covetousness,' Eph 5:3] and truth [opposed to 'lying,' Eph 4:25]."

    10. Proving--construed with "walk" (Eph 5:8; 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 unsightly.

    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 (De 32:32), namely, "death" (Ro 6:21; Ga 6:8). Plants cannot bear "fruit" in the absence of light. Sin is "darkness," and its parent is the prince of darkness (Eph 6:12). 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" (Eph 5:9).
    - rather, &c.--Translate as Greek, "rather even reprove them" (compare Mt 5:14-16). 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 (Eph 5:13; Joh 3:19-21). "Have no fellowship," does not imply that we can avoid all intercourse (1Co 5:10), 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 Eph 5:3) in detail the works of darkness, whereas he describes definitely (Eph 5:9) "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 shame (Eph 5:3). Thus "works of darkness" answers to "things done in secret."

    13. that are reproved--rather, "when they are reproved," namely, by you (Eph 5:11).
    - whatsoever doth make manifest--rather, "everything that is (that is, suffers itself to be) made manifest (or 'shone upon,' namely, by your 'reproving,' Eph 5:11) is (thenceforth no longer 'darkness,' Eph 5:8, 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 (Eph 5:8), 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" (Ro 13:12) 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, Eph 4:8).
    - 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 paraphrase of 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

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