EPHESIANS – A COMMENTARY
Ephesians – A Commentary
(All quotes are Amplified Bible Online-Version which gives the student ‘built-in’ explanations forthwith)
(This article gives 32 pages out of the printer)
Ephesians is the first epistle written by Paul, after that we find the falling away of Israel as a nation for God – as told in Acts 28:25-28.It was written in Rome 63 CE, as Paul was jailed a second time.
He had a cell in the infamous Carcere Mamertino jail. And it is one of the two epistles in which Paul points to a revelation given to him for us, the revelation of the ‘Mystery’. The fact that God earlier had kept this secret in Himself, but disclosed it to Paul right after Israel’s fall, do make us aware of the serious importance of this epistle.
A total sensation is revealed: The Law of Moses with its commandments and ordinances was abolished, wiped out, littered once and for all, as Christ had let it be crucified with Him on the cross, thus making Jew and Gentile in the faith into ‘One New Man’.
This seems to remain the definite major Bible truth in the epistle!
The second Bible truth regarding as grade of importance, is to my mind the very fact that Paul taught that the Super-Heavens (Greek: Epiouranos) is the hope of salvation for the ‘Mystery’ Body. And not the Kingdom of God on earth as it was with Israel in Acts.
Each of the six chapters of Ephesians will be regarded as sessions I shall comment here.
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 1
1Paul, an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed), by the will of God [that is, by His purpose and choice],
To the saints (God’s people) who are at Ephesus and are faithful and loyal and steadfast in Christ Jesus:
2Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3Blessed and worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ,
4just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love
5He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will—
6to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ].
We are aware that all sign gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased the very day that Israel fell away from God. We cannot find one single miracle or wonder after Acts in time line. This goes to show us that being an elect apostle of Christ, such as Paul, is not the same as having power and ability of healing people. Thus Paul’s greeting in verse 1 reflects this. He was still an elect apostle of Christ even as all sign gifts were gone. He does not make any more emphasize on titles at a certain point. In Eph. 3, he titles himself as a ‘prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles’.
OUR HOPE OF SALVATION IS UP IN THE SUPER-HEAVENS
Verse 3 gets right to it: God and Christ have blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.
Now, it is important to be on guard, so we don’t ‘over-read’ things in the Bible. Paul is not saying that we are already in heaven. Understood? Our blessing is in spiritual realms (not here on earth) – which means: We are already given all heavenly blessings…and they are awaiting our presence up there in heaven. We have the proper ‘Documents’ in hand (the seal of the Holy Spirit), but we cannot fully lay hand on our inheritance before we are entering heaven, which we all will experience on that blessed day of redemption (Eph. 4:30).
Verse 4 is connected to verse 3: Just as He chose us in Christ before the foundations of the world, so that we would be holy and blameless in His sight.
Our private struggle regarding holiness before God is quite useless. It takes but one single sin (!) and you will be rejected by God. Then we understand, that to have been made blameless by God, is the very same as already having ALL forgiveness of ALL sins, past-present and future. Or else we would go lost! None of us are able to live in sinless perfection. We have inherited Adam’s nature and we are born sinners. It’s a fact. But Paul, in his teaching on the Mystery and the free grace by faith in Christ, let us have a close look at the spiritual reality: God has made us blameless and holy in His sight.
Our salvation was settled actually BEFORE God created this world. Thus we will more easily comprehend how it is that God has no need for any Covenant or Pact with us, the Body of Christ, called ‘One New Man’ by Paul. Israel had several covenants, but none of them helped Israel to remain God’s nation. They fell from Him in 70 CE and were destroyed.
Yet, a majority of Christian denominations hold to the New Covenant as a covenant that has been given the Church! It is absolutely in great error. That Covenant was for Israel only, Heb. 8-9 – see 9:15.
The Church has already been given a ‘Beforehand position up in heaven’ – even if we have not yet been taken into heaven.
THE PREDESTINATION ISSUE
Verses 5-6 are mentioning predestination. This was something which Calvin misunderstood. He thought that Christians – regardless of our standing and position in faith etcetera, were simply chosen by God. Faith or no faith. Calvin’s version ends up as if believers are just robots or ‘Puppets-on-a-string’ held by God’s hand. His doctrine also said that God created certain people to go lost! How totally’bananas’.
But that is not what these verses means. Paul pointed to the fact that God had made a type of salvation ready (He had predestined this type of salvation, free grace) for His believers in Christ…before this salvation was ever revealed to anyone. It still has to be that in order to come under that ‘Umbrella’ of that predestination, one must believe on Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It takes faith in Christ to be counted as one who is chosen before the world was created. Understood? Paul was a master in rhetorical images when he explained certain things. Verse 6 is a marvelous verse, giving God and Jesus Christ praise:
“to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
Excerpt from Wikipedia on Calvinism:
“Double predestination is the idea that not only does God choose some to be saved, he also creates some people who will be damned.
Some modern Calvinists respond to the ethical dilemma of double predestination by explaining that God's active predestination is only for the elect. God provides grace to the elect causing salvation, but for the damned God withholds salvific grace. Calvinists teach that God remains just and fair in creating persons he predestines to damnation because although God unilaterally works in the elect producing regeneration, God does not actively force the damned to sin.”
John Calvin unfortunately had no correct understanding of Paul’s grace gospel!
THE ‘IN HIM’ POSITION IN GOD’S GLORIOUS SALVATION
7In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty for our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the riches of His grace
8which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and understanding [with practical insight]
9He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ,
10with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages]—to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth.
11In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will,
12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory.
13In Him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit [the One promised by Christ] as owned and protected [by God].
The references to God and Jesus Christ are many, as a consistent factor in this chapter – such as … In Him, as well as His blood, His grace, He made known, His will, He purposed in Christ, together in Christ, His own, and so forth. It all says as a sum: It is not us who made it, no, He made it, He gave His life, He died for us, He raised us up, He forgave us all our sin, in Him we are made holy before God, - Paul points to Jesus in a constant repetitive manner, for he wanted his readers to be settled in faith in Christ, getting deep spiritual roots in Christ and becoming loyal faithful believers. Just a short list of main points:
Verse 7 – we are saved in accordance to the riches of His grace.
Verse 8 – in all wisdom and understanding.
Verse 9 – we now know the Mystery of His will for us.
Verse 10 – both things in heaven and earth shall be united in the future times, in Christ.
Verse 11 – we have indeed gotten an inheritance, and it is predestined.
Verse 12 – we shall exist in the heavens to the praise of His glory.
Verse 13 – we have the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, owned and protected by God.
PAUL’S PRAYERS REFLECTS WHAT GOD’S WILL FOR US CONTAINS,
AND IN THE SAME HE POINTS US TO THE GREATNESS OF CHRIST
14The Spirit is the guarantee [the first installment, the pledge, a foretaste] of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own [purchased] possession [His believers], to the praise of His glory.
15For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,
16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers;
17[I always pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation [that gives you a deep and personal and intimate insight] into the true knowledge of Him [for we know the Father through the Son].
18And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people),
19and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength
20which He produced in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,
21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion [whether angelic or human], and [far above] every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and world but also in the one to come.
22And He put all things [in every realm] in subjection under Christ’s feet, and appointed Him as [supreme and authoritative] head over all things in the church,
23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills and completes all things in all [believers].
Concluding Session 1 – I will just say that our given and promised salvation by faith alone, is so immensely glorious and bright and shiny, that we probably cannot be expected to comprehend all of this while we are still living on the earth!
But still, regardless of whether we can fathom all, let’s just celebrate and praise God in Jesus name for all of His grand plans for us – revealed to us by His messenger, Paul.
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 2
PAUL REMINDS THE BELIEVER OF THE SHADY PAST,
TO CONTRAST THIS WITH OUR BRIGHT SALVATION
1And you [He made alive when you] were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of your transgressions and sins,
2in which you once walked. You were following the ways of this world [influenced by this present age], in accordance with the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in the disobedient [the unbelieving, who fight against the purposes of God].
3Among these [unbelievers] we all once lived in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by the sinful self], indulging the desires of human nature [without the Holy Spirit] and [the impulses] of the [sinful] mind. We were, by nature, children [under the sentence] of [God’s] wrath, just like the rest [of mankind].
4But God, being [so very] rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us,
5even when we were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of our sins, He made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ (for by His grace—His undeserved favor and mercy—you have been saved from God’s judgment).
6And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus,
7[and He did this] so that in the ages to come He might [clearly] show the immeasurable and unsurpassed riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [by providing for our redemption].
Reading and reflecting upon these exhorting words of Paul, we really are made aware of God’s greatness and His love for us, the Body of Christ. We were once sunken low down into miserable sin and darkness, suffering slavery under Satan (verse 2) – which Paul names as ‘the prince of the power of the air’ –readily understood as a dark power stronger than man, and very deadly as a force. We all were spiritually dead!
But He made us come alive together with Christ – and thus He raised us up together with Him (by our faith in Him), and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. (Verse 6).
This latter – seated us with Him in the heavenly places..must not be ‘over-read’ thinking that we are already in heaven. If you are in doubt, look around you. If what you see is your every-day-street, job, car, city, whatever…then you are still here on earth!
Paul’s rhetorical ways were to utterly assure us of this incredibly glorious salvation – actually saying: You can consider yourselves as such ones who are already in heaven. This is how certain and guaranteed your salvation really is. You have the Holy Spirit in you, who act as a seal, a security, a certain already given salvation. We are saved NOW…as we speak.
How can I say that?
Because Paul (as we soon will come to Eph. 4:30) says that there shall come a day of redemption – the very day when we all are physically taken into the heavens as promised us. So ‘seated with Christ in heaven’ is a spiritual beforehand display of our salvation….as sure as if we already was there!
HERE COMES THE FAVORITE PASSAGE OF
8For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God;
9not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].
Paul wrote to us Gentiles in verse 8, and turning to his fellow Jewish believers by verse 9…you know, mentioning the Law and thus the previous labors in trying to keep up with it. As a Jew.
We are saved by grace, through faith. It is not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God.
Notice that there is no mention of any supposed Pact or Covenant between the believer and God. We cannot have a covenant, simply because God has given us ALL He can ever give…in Christ Jesus. There simply is no demand for a two-way contract – as a Pact – because we are not demanded by God to fulfill our obligations in any Pact. Only Israel had covenants/pacts with God.
The New Israel as the future millennial Kingdom is established (see Isa. 2) and Christ on the throne at Zion, there shall once again be established a covenant with Israel; Ezekiel 36:25-27 says God will write the covenant and Law of Christ in the hearts of the Jews at the opening of the millennial Kingdom.
The Body of Christ – the ‘One New Man’ is a heavenly creation in Christ, and as such we have no need for any covenant, we have what is far greater: The full grace and favor with God up in the heavens.
CREATED IN CHRIST FOR GOOD WORKS
10For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
This verse 10 demands a special explanation, I believe.
In Ephesians we learn that we are saved without any works – by faith alone.
But when we check out the context here, we find that these good works in verse 10, are not such as will be done to achieve salvation. These ‘good works’ are rather of such nature, that they comes from out of us already as saved ones. These are actually the fruits/results of us having gotten saved by faith – so now we go on to do good, that is – helping and assisting mankind as best we can. Preaching and teaching as well. Paul describes us also as ‘Lights in the world’.
Noticed that we – doers of good works – are described as first having been CREATED IN CHRIST. That changes everything, don’t you think? First we are saved, but thereafter we gladly follow up things by entering a lifestyle trying to help those in need.
PAUL ONCE AGAIN REPEAT HIS REMINDER OF OUR DARK PAST
11Therefore, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, who are called “Uncircumcision” by those who called themselves “Circumcision,” [itself a mere mark] which is made in the flesh by human hands—
12remember that at that time you were separated from Christ [excluded from any relationship with Him], alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise [with no share in the sacred Messianic promise and without knowledge of God’s agreements], having no hope [in His promise] and [living] in the world without God.
13But now [at this very moment] in Christ Jesus you who once were [so very] far away [from God] have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
HERE COMES MY SECOND-MOST FAVORITE PASSAGE,
FOR WHICH REASON I HAVE WRITTEN TONS OF ARTICLES
14For He Himself is our peace and our bond of unity. He who made both groups—[Jews and Gentiles]—into one body and broke down the barrier, the dividing wall [of spiritual antagonism between us],
15by abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the hostility caused by the Law with its commandments contained in ordinances [which He satisfied]; so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thereby establishing peace.
16And [that He] might reconcile them both [Jew and Gentile, united] in one body to God through the cross, thereby putting to death the hostility.
Christ abolished the Law of Moses with its commandments and ordinances, which had been a barrier between Jew and Gentile in past times. But by this He created ‘One New Man’ out of the two, so establishing peace. This action which took place on the cross in 28 CE, was kept hidden and held back during the Acts period, but brought to light as Paul was given the revelation of the Mystery (we come to this in Eph. 3). Because it was hidden from the ordinary Jew in Acts time, it actually was that they all kept the Law as well as they taught the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus. The Law was valid in the entire timeline of Acts. Rom. 3:31 confirms this, written by Paul in 56-57 CE in Ephesus right before he went by ship to celebrate the coming Pentecost in Jerusalem 58 CE.
The abolishing/and blotting out of the Law of Moses as it was revealed in 63 CE as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, marks the time for when the new dispensation of the grace of God started up. The Law had to pass away before there could come forth a new body of believers, - that is us – with the calling to receive salvation in the Super-Heavens! The reason Christ kept this abolishing of the Law to Himself, was that God was giving Israel time to repent so He could send Jesus the same day Israel had repented fully (Acts 3:20, 21). He dealt with Israel first, His ancient nation, even knowing that in the end, they would end up as enemies of God – getting them judged and destroyed.
Everything seen in Acts regarding sign-gifts, baptismal rites, Holy Communion, confessing of sin, keeping of Sabbath, keeping of the Law of Moses including food ordinances, holy feasts and the like, preaching to Israel on the millennial Kingdom with Jesus soon coming….all of this ended all at once when Paul revealed that the Law was abolished and blotted out. It is gone forever actually!
Christ did this, so He could present His ‘One New Man’ – the Body of Christ, the Church. This is the foundation for the Church body, with its free grace Gospel according to Paul. That dispensation is still in function, and we are only now awaiting the ‘Day of redemption’ according to Ep. 4:30.
THE SIX FINAL VERSES IN EPHESIANS 2 ARE SUMMED UP
17AND HE CAME AND PREACHED THE GOOD NEWS OF PEACE TO YOU [Gentiles] WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE [Jews] WHO WERE NEAR.
18For it is through Him that we both have a [direct] way of approach in one Spirit to the Father.
19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens [outsiders without rights of citizenship], but you are fellow citizens with the saints (God’s people), and are [members] of God’s household,
20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the [chief] Cornerstone,
21in whom the whole structure is joined together, and it continues [to increase] growing into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, set apart, and sacred to the presence of the Lord].
22In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
We are a body of believers built on the apostles and prophets who were sent out in the early times of Christendom. It is presented by Paul in past tense, not present.
We are now fellow citizens with the saints (the Israel of God), and are members of God’s household.
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 3
PAUL – THE PRISONER OF JESUS CHRIST FOR US GENTILES
1For this reason [because I preach that you and believing Jews are joint heirs] I, Paul, am the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—
2assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was entrusted to me [to share with you] for your benefit;
These two first verses have to be explained a bit.
When Paul first arrived at Rome in the summer of 60 CE, he made arrangements to hire lodging for himself, and for his appointed Roman guard shifts. This was the two years as he was in custody to appear before Emperor Nero’s appeal court. He was not in jail at that time, but he was kept in chains still, guarded.
Luke did never write of Paul’s dismissal from Nero’s court, as one being innocently accused. But it is evident Paul was sat free.
But in 63 CE when he wrote Ephesians and Colossians, he had been jailed and sat in a real cell in Carcere Mamertino jail house. And he shared the cell with another brother in the faith, Aristarchus (Col. 4, 10).
Paul did not know (my theory) if he was going to be executed or sat free. Historians are thinking that Paul was a victim of the mass-arresting of people in Rome due to the great city fire in 64 CE. But this has never been proven.
Verse 2 has to do with the establishing of the fresh new dispensation (or stewardship, or administration, - (Greek: Oikonomia -) but most of us calls it dispensation. And it was never entrusted to anyone else, but Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. Peter never had a share in this work. Nor had the eleven other apostles.
Without Paul and his revelation of the free new grace Gospel according to God’s Mystery, we would never have anything like the Church, the Body of Christ. And the work of the apostles for Israel, would have diminished and fainted away from the scene over the past centuries, never to be noticed again.
Christianity can only be traced back to Paul and nobody else.
It is held for true among Bible scholars and historians that Paul probably died in 67 CE, executed on the order of Nero. But be aware that only Paul’s free grace Gospel had been preached throughout Asia Minor (now South West Turkey) – 20 years before anyone could buy and read the four historical gospels. Matthew came in 80-85 CE, Mark in 83, Luke is disputed, but probably in 73 at the earliest, and finally John in 90-92 CE. (But I haven’t forgotten that it is probably true that the history of Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection was well known among the people of Israel…even if there had not yet been produced any ‘Gospel Writings’ available to anyone who could buy it.)
Nobody had read about Matt. 28 and the Great Commission, or Acts 2 and the Pentecost celebration as the Lord’s apostles were filled with Holy Spirit performing miracles. The believers in Christ in the some 20 years before the historical gospels, had only heard the free grace Gospel of Paul!
THE DECLARATION OF THE NEW FREE GRACE GOSPEL
3and that by [divine] revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I have already written in brief.
4By referring to this, when you read it you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
5which in other generations was not disclosed to mankind, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the [Holy] Spirit;
6[it is this:] that the Gentiles are now joint heirs [with the Jews] and members of the same body, and joint partakers [sharing] in the [same divine] promise in Christ Jesus through [their faith in] the good news [of salvation].
7Of this [gospel] I was made a minister by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power.
8To me, [though I am] the very least of all the saints (God’s people), this grace [which is undeserved] was graciously given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the good news of the incomprehensible riches of Christ [that spiritual wealth which no one can fully understand],
9and to make plain [to everyone] the plan of the mystery [regarding the uniting of believing Jews and Gentiles into one body] which [until now] was kept hidden through the ages in [the mind of] God who created all things.
In verses 3 – 9 we are given the very ‘Declaration’ of this new free grace Gospel of Paul, based on what God just had revealed to him by His divine Mystery, the hidden secret of the Body of Christ as one which was for all the world; a new international Gospel as opposed to the previous one of the Kingdom on earth for Israel only. We have been granted the glorious Gospel of the incomprehensible riches of Christ (up in the Super-Heavens) –verse 8. Be aware also, that this verse has been translated in several variations, which I will show here:
KJV Bible: 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
ESV Bible: 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Holman Standard Version Bible: 8 This grace was given to me-the least of all the saints!-to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah,
ASV Bible: 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
NAS Bible: 8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
NIV Bible: 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,
Thus we see that the AMP Bible quoted by me here for Ephesians, is leaning much to the NAS Bible translation. I conclude this by saying: One must assume that the ‘Riches of Christ’ are both incomprehensible as well as unsearchable!
Jews and Gentiles have now, by this revelation given to Paul for us, been made into ‘One New Man’ as Christ (Eph. 2:15) abolished the Law of Moses.
The Church, which is His Body, did not come into existence before Christ had abolished the Law. Before He had done that, the only body of Christ believers on earth was the Messianic Body seen in Acts, led by the apostles. And while the Law of Moses was intact together with the New Covenant (Rom. 3:31). I also repeat: Even if Christ abolished the Law already in 28 CE on the cross, God held this fact hidden, until it was time (63 CE) to make this work as a new dispensation, like we now have learned from Paul our apostle.
It is then a historical as well as a Biblical fact that the Church did not come into existence before the abolishment of the Law was REVEALED to Paul in 63 CE. The Church is composed by Jew and Gentile made to one by faith in Christ, - whereas in Acts it was Jew first, then Gentile (Greek), Rom. 1:16.
THE REMAINING 12 VERSES ARE PAUL’S
SUMMING UP OF HOW THIS REVELATION WORK OUT
10So now through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God [in all its countless aspects] might now be made known [revealing the mystery] to the [angelic] rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
11This is in accordance with [the terms of] the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
12in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him [that is, our faith gives us sufficient courage to freely and openly approach God through Christ].
13So I ask you not to lose heart at my sufferings on your behalf, for they are your glory and honor.
14For this reason [grasping the greatness of this plan by which Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ] I bow my knees [in reverence] before the Father [of our Lord Jesus Christ],
15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name [God—the first and ultimate Father].
16May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality],
17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love,
18be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love];
19and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].
20Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us,
21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.
The more we keep on studying Ephesians, the more we clearly see, and we learn, that there are no such glorious salvation earlier told in the Bible Canon. This is a totally unique divine revelation of God’s unmerited grace given us in Christ through faith in Him.
We cannot find any of this with Peter and the eleven, nor with any of the prophets of old, or with Job, Noah, Abraham, Enoch…you name it. It was kept entirely hidden in God since before the creation of the world.
Paul was the first person ever to be told this Mystery, this secret plan of God’s free grace salvation.
So don’t you come here dragging along with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They have no saying in the concerns of Paul’s grace Gospel, they did not have a clue of this. It was hidden from them, and everybody else. We must never go using those four Gospels as if they were Doctrine of Faith to the Church dispensation! Understand?
Even the angelic servants of God did not have this revelation, thus Paul tells us that we, the Church, - will be preaching and declaring this to them - verses 10 and 11.
The excellent explanations built into the verse-by-verse lines in the Amplified Bible spells it out to us, so we better can learn the correct meaning of Paul’s doctrine of faith for the Church dispensation. Keep diving into Ephesians!
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 4
THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT
(This paragraph heading is written by the translators)
1So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation],
2with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love.
3Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].
4There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation]—
5one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6one God and Father of us all who is [sovereign] over all and [working] through all and [living] in all.
Permit me to dwell some by verse 5 and 6.
Paul wrote ‘One baptism’ – and we need to get this straight. This is not about ‘Water baptism’ – it is the baptism performed by God as He had us with Christ in His death. The baptism is a baptism into the death of Christ. This happens the same moment we come to faith in Christ. Paul likens this with circumcision, saying in Col. 2:11,
“In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with (human) hands, but in a (spiritual) circumcision (performed by) Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).”
But in Acts period they had water baptism ‘In the name of Jesus’ (the Apostolic baptism), the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and they also had this same one as us, the baptism into the death of Christ. But we, the Church, the Body of Christ, only have that baptism which is performed by God and Christ…like spiritual circumcision.
Verse 6, One God and Father of us all.
In Acts period the Messianic Church of Jews and proselytes, had two fathers: Abraham and God Jehovah.
When Paul now calls us as such ones who have but one God and Father, we easily understand that Abraham is not counted in anymore. We have no part or share in ‘The blessings of Abraham’ – not the slightest.
7Yet grace [God’s undeserved favor] was given to each one of us [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and abundant] gift.
8Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND HE BESTOWED GIFTS ON MEN.”
9(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had previously descended [from the heights of heaven] into the lower parts of the earth?
10He who descended is the very same as He who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things [that is, the whole universe]).
WE NEED ALSO TO DWELL SOME BY VERSES 7-10
In Christendom there has been going on an endless dispute regarding Jesus and His status as from eternity, or having once been ‘created’ by His Father, God Jehovah.
Here, in Eph. 4:7-10 we find Paul taking side with those who persists on Jesus as one Who has always existed. He first descended from heaven up above, but after His ministry was concluded He ascended up to heaven from where He had come. How will Jesus Christ be able to ‘fill all things’ – that is, the whole Universe – if He is not an eternal person in likeness entirely with His Father?
No wonder then, that Paul in 1 Cor. 10:4 tells of Christ as one Who was present there in the desert,
“And they all drank spiritual (supernaturally given) drink. For they drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them (produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality), and the Rock was Christ.”
Col. 1:15-17 falls nicely in with Eph. 4:7-10 – telling of Jesus’ eternal might and power over all things,
“He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation.
16For by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [that is, by His activity] and for Him.
17And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.]”
VERSES 11 – 12 ARE IN PAST TENSE
11And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct],
12[and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church];
We no longer have those Biblical apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers – like as we see them in Acts period, when miracles and signs followed their ministries. They were only the ones God used, to get things going – to present the gospel to Israel first and foremost (Rom. 1:16). It was Jews first, then Greek. But even so, these were past ministers, no longer in existence, neither did they produce ‘new apostles’ down through history generation by generation. They are gone forever.
We may call the present ministers found in Christianity, for evangelists, pastors, teachers, etcetera – but we certainly do not have ministers who are called and chosen especially by God, like in Acts. Today, ministers come on the scene according to their own decisions and choosing. Believers who say that God called them and spoke to them, and sent them to this or that place…they are simply making it all up. They lie to you, even if they sincerely think that God spoke to them. It is not possible to copy the ministry of any of the apostles or prophets in the Bible. Paul and eventually John, were the last known apostles in history – and after them there exist no one like them.
Post-Acts we find not only those ministerial offices ceased, but all the sign-gifts of the Holy Spirit as well. This only belonged to the Messianic believers of Israel under the apostles. Miracles and signs have only been given to Israel in history.
Psalm 74: 9 by Asaph, says: ‘We do not see our symbols’ – that is, the miracle signs. In KJV Bible it is translated: ‘We see not our signs’; and it is written in NLT Bible ‘We no longer see your miraculous signs’. Miracles and signs ceased the same day as we find the falling away of Israel as a nation for God, Acts. 28:25-28. This is the plain truth. Psalm 74 is just that scenery: Israel has fallen under punishment, Asaph even prophesied of the destruction of the temple (verses 4-8 describes the destruction/burning of the temple).
THE DISPENSATION OF THE CHURCH IMPLIES A TIME
IN WHICH GOD IS NOT PERFORMING SIGNS AND WONDERS
13until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity].
14So that we are no longer children [spiritually immature], tossed back and forth [like ships on a stormy sea] and carried about by every wind of [shifting] doctrine, by the cunning and trickery of [unscrupulous] men, by the deceitful scheming of people ready to do anything [for personal profit].
15But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ.
16From Him the whole body [the church, in all its various parts], joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love.
Verse 14 is important. For we can observe various tricksters and TV-Evangelists and frauds in our time, by the hundreds.
They come up with nonsense like that which happened at Azusa Street in L.A. 1906 – and they lied saying: ‘Pentecost Has Come’.
The Pentecostal-charismatic movements are still preaching a gospel that we have to question. They say against Paul’s teachings in Ephesians and Colossians and they refuse to turn away from their fraud when confronted. They rather hang on to greed, to personal profit, promising miracles and healings if their believers only send them money. I see this here in Norway, where I live, and through internet and TV media I see the same thing in UK as well and in USA. Gospel-fakers trying to rob people clean off.
Verse 15 goes up against such frauds, saying: But speaking THE TRUTH IN LOVE, let us grow up in all things into Him, Who is the Head – Christ.
THE CHRISTIAN’S WALK
(This paragraph heading is written by the translators)
17So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls],
18for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart.
19And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand].
OH YES – PAUL GOES UP AGAINST ROTTEN LIFESTYLE!
And so we also ought to do.
First and foremost by following his exhortation and righteous advice, and keep distance to the world…with all its fake glory, Homo Pride Parades, and the lot.
Each one of us must see to this by themselves. I cannot do this for you, and neither can you for me. Not even God can do this job for you. This is your life – and God in His goodness and love has sent us His divine counsel expressed through the apostolic minister, Paul. Do not follow this world. Do not follow lust and greed, and the ‘glory’ of this world. Chastise it rather than following it. Paul was absolutely right, as he continued,
20But you did not learn Christ in this way!
21If in fact you have [really] heard Him and have been taught by Him, just as truth is in Jesus [revealed in His life and personified in Him],
22that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires,
23and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude],
24and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].
25Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ].
26BE ANGRY [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], YET DO NOT SIN; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.
27And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].
28The thief [who has become a believer] must no longer steal, but instead he must work hard [making an honest living], producing that which is good with his own hands, so that he will have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].
The exhortation in the verses 20 – 29 are self-explained thanks to the translators use of extra comments in clambers. Paul takes us through just about all the mess that we as human beings may stumble into: Deceitful desires, falsehood, lies, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, cursing with bad obscene language, and more.
OUR DAY OF ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN
30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin].
31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence].
32Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.
These three verses belong together, speaking of the same context: Our ascension into heaven!
Verse 30 tells us to lay off things which are insulting to the Holy Spirit of God.
Verse 31 tells us what those things may be, such as bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, malice, spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence.
Verse 32 exhorts us to be tender hearted and kind to other people, showing compassion and understanding – and, like Christ did for us, forgiving one another if there has been any arguing and disagreement over things.
I need not add anything to this; Paul’s words are more than sufficient to make us understand the importance of this.
This does not by any way contradict that we are saved by faith alone, without works. These details of lifestyle – which are pleasing to the Lord – works more like a sort of confirmation on our hand, that we as believers in Christ really do want to be pleasing to Him and God by acting accordingly.
He is not telling us to do ‘Works’ so we can get salvation, but to do these good things because we are already saved. We are children of light, says Paul!
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 5
Be Imitators Of God
(This paragraph/chapter heading is written by the translators)
1Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father];
2and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.
3But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith].
4Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God].
VERSE 5 BELOW MUST BE COMMENTED
Much of the verses 1-4 are repetitive, since Paul has mentioned these things in previous chapters/verses. This was one of his techniques to ascertain the reader that it would be understood. Over time, I often apply the very same technique of repeating certain important issues. This is recommendable to all who act as Bible teachers.
Verse 5 is defining whom among ‘type-sinners’ can forget salvation if they continue in the doings and lifestyle they display. The word ‘Impure’ is pointing directly to homosexual lifestyle – that is, living and practicing that sexuality..not just having a mindset toward same sex relations. This word is also found in Rom. 1:21-32 - especially verse 24 ‘therefore God gave them up in their lusts of their (own) hearts to sexual impurity; and thus followed up contextually by verses 26-27 in which we read of ‘women having lust for women, and men lusting for men – a ‘full-blown homosexual lifestyle’.
As if that wasn’t enough to make you go losing your salvation, Paul adds to it that which concerns the love for money – a greedy person – and characterizing this as idolatry. None of such ‘type-sinners’ will inherit the kingdom of Christ and God, which is in the heavens up above. He includes also, of course, regular immorality…which could fill a list long enough to climb up to the Moon if it was a ladder!
5For be sure of this: no immoral, impure, or greedy person—for that one is [in effect] an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God [for such a person places a higher value on something other than God].
PAUL GOES ON WARNING OF OTHER ISSUES
We are told to avoid people who want to drag you into sinful actions. By trying to persuade you with slick words.
He points at the fallen Jews, whom he often named ‘Sons of disobedience’ and other nicknames like that. The nation of Israel had fallen away from God as seen in Acts 28:25-28….verse 27: They would not repent so that the Lord could heal the nation. Paul quoted Isa. 6. Paul was persecuted constantly by this Jewish group of unbelievers and evildoers, - just check his other epistles. 2 Cor. 11:24-33 is a good passage if you want to check out what Paul had to suffer!
We were once darkness, BUT NOW we are light in the Lord. We are told to walk as ‘Children of Light’.
Verse 11 is an often overlooked verse, in which we find Paul telling us to rather expose those ‘type-sinners’ mentioned. In other words, don’t be nonchalant and careless of these unbelievers/heretics. Tell them to their face! Notice what Paul is not saying: Praying or trying to ‘witness to them’, showing pretended kindness. No, here we are told to go up against them and reprove them. If you check out my website here, you will find lots of writings in which I expose all sort of falsehoods, prosperity pimps, heretical preachers, and what not. I try to teach believers the Word of God rightly divided, but in the same errand I also tell them what they are doing wrong, according to the Bible. I prefer to practice the comparison-method.
What did Paul say to the Galatians….’so I have become your enemy by telling you the truth?’ (He reproved them of disrespecting the grace of God offered to them in the New Covenant.) Gal. 4:16. Paul warned them of the Judaizing teachers – those who wanted them to perform circumcision on Gentile proselytes.
Verse 13 tells us that when such elements are exposed, they are actually exposed by the Light, Who is Christ in us. Thus it is this Light which makes things visible.
6Let no one deceive you with empty arguments [that encourage you to sin], for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience [those who habitually sin].
7So do not participate or even associate with them [in the rebelliousness of sin].
8For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [live as those who are native-born to the Light]
9(for the fruit [the effect, the result] of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
10trying to learn [by experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [and letting your lifestyles be examples of what is most acceptable to Him—your behavior expressing gratitude to God for your salvation].
11Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them [by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character];
12for it is disgraceful even to mention the things that such people practice in secret.
13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light [of God’s precepts], for it is light that makes everything visible.
14For this reason He says,“Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine [as dawn] upon you and give you light.”
WALK CAREFULLY IN THIS EVIL WORLD
Verses 15 – 17 tells us to take care. As we understand the will of God, they need no extra explanation.
15Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people],
16making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.
17Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is.
PAUL SPECIFIES WHAT IT IS TO WALK CAREFULLY
Verses 18 – 21 opens with a good advice: Don’t get drunk. Instead Paul points us to rather get filled with the Holy Spirit – thus communicate by psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – praising the Lord. Singing and making melody with our hearts to the Lord.
Always thanking God in Jesus’ name for all things, and being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
18Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him.
19Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, [offering praise by] singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
20always giving thanks to God the Father for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
PAUL TEACHING US TO TAKE THINGS RIGHTLY
CONCERNING EVERYDAY LIFE.
I have written a study on Colossians back in 2022, and Ephesians and Colossians seem like twin-epistles in several issues. One of those are regarding a believer’s family life, like below – verses 22 – 33 goes in same type of details on how we are supposed to live and keep peace inside our relations. And, for the ‘ump’teenth time: Paul did not write of wives to become enslaved by their husbands, obeying every order from him. This is certain! The relationship in marriage goes both ways, it is a two-lane drive. But still, for the sake of God’s order in His creation, it must be like Paul describes.
Verse 31 is a verse which, to my mind, speaks of marriage in our dispensation, between one man and one woman. Polygamy is not allowed, or else Paul would have told us. I know of several Acts-28 believers who are caught up in the heresy of marriage with more than one wife. I told them this is not right, but they will not listen. At the same instance the verse persist on marriage between two sexes, and not same-sex-marriage.
I prefer not to comment these eleven last verses in Ephesians 5 further. The verses are self-explanatory. Study them with care and interest. The family-topic continues in Epesians 6.
22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord.
23For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, Himself being the Savior of the body.
24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything [respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].
25Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
26so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God],
27so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless.
28Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.
29For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
30because we are members (parts) of His body.
31FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED [and be faithfully devoted] TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
32This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church.
33However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behavior worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear].
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 6
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord [that is, accept their guidance and discipline as His representatives], for this is right [for obedience teaches wisdom and self-discipline]. 2HONOR [esteem, value as precious] YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER [and be respectful to them]—this is the first commandment with a promise—
3SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY HAVE A LONG LIFE ON THE EARTH.
THESE VERSES 2 AND 3 NEEDS A CLARIFICATION
We see at once that here Paul’s reference is to the Law of Moses. And that Law was abolished, according to Eph. 2:14-15. It no longer exists. And, yet we find Paul did point to that portion of the Law regarding the behavior of children in families. Does this mean that Paul contradicts himself? By no means, no. He just reminds his believers that God once (in the time of the Law, past) was a blessing following this ordinance. But, since it is now a new dispensation, the grace of God for the entire world by faith in Christ, - then this promise of blessings (if a kid does well with his parents), they will be likewise blessed for it, just as when the Law was alive. So, the Law is still abolished, dead and gone forever (see also Col. 2:14) – and has nothing to say to the Church today.
4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with respect for authority, and with a sincere heart [seeking to please them], as [service] to Christ—
6not in the way of eye-service [working only when someone is watching you and only] to please men, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart;
7rendering service with goodwill, as to the Lord, and not [only] to men,
8knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive this back from the Lord, whether [he is] slave or free.
9You masters, do the same [showing goodwill] toward them, and give up threatening and abusive words, knowing that [He who is] both their true Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with Him [regardless of one’s earthly status].
The words here in verses 5-9 regarding the use of slaves in the times of the Roman Empire, are not valid to us as any Bible truth or doctrine. Neither can we transfer these ethics to hold true in regular civilian work today. Slaves are out by law, as far as I am informed. Anyway, we learn here how these things were in the times of Paul. It was legal to keep slaves not only in public institutions, but also private families kept slaves. Check the epistle to Philemon.
Colossians has the very same teaching on slaves as we see here in Ephesians.
PAUL TELLS US TO PUT ON GOD’S STRONG ARMOR AFTER THE MODEL SEEN WITH THE ROMAN SOLDIERS - SO THAT WE CAN OVERCOME THE ATTACKS FROM THE DEVIL AND HIS SPIRITUAL FORCES OF DARKNESS
These last 15 verses are much self-explanatory due to the extra words in clammers, so I will not go in detail in this. Only, I will point out that the spiritual forces of wickedness (verse 12) are not demons. It is about Satan and his fallen angelic companions following him.
I do hope that you have had good use of this commentary teaching based on Paul’s excellent written revelation, the epistle to the Ephesians. This epistle has become the ‘Arch-Epistle’ among all epistles regarding doctrine of Faith for the Church dispensation.
10In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might.
11Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil.
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.
13Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious].
14So stand firm and hold your ground, HAVING TIGHTENED THE WIDE BAND OF TRUTH (personal integrity, moral courage) AROUND YOUR WAIST and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (an upright heart),
15and having strapped on YOUR FEET THE GOSPEL OF PEACE IN PREPARATION [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news].
16Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
18With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.
19And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation],
20for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should.
21Now, so that you may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will tell you everything.
22I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are, and that he may comfort and encourage and strengthen your hearts.
23Peace be to the brothers and sisters, and love joined with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying and incorruptible love.