5 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
“Imitators of God” is a tall order! Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we even consider such a thing. May we keep an eternal perspective and seek to imitate him in all we do.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
We rationalize all sorts of thoughts and behavior but verse 3 is timeless in setting a standard for us. When in doubt we should ask, “is this even a hint?” We live in such a sex-saturated culture that it is easy for Christians to be like the world. May God keep us from temptation and failure in this area. It destroys more and more lives every day and robs people of joy and innocence. Not even a hint!
4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
The 3rd Commandment says not to use the Lord’s name in vain, but v. 4 is more broad. Cutting out swearing is one the easier commands to obey, in my view.
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
V. 6 is one of many, many warnings of false teachers. All paths do not lead to God. There is one way: Through Jesus. As v. 7 notes, we should not be partners with those who teach deception.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Do you make the most of every day to advance God’s kingdom? It is so easy to get distracted with the “weeds” of the world.
I just listened to a thorough, extended sermon series by John MacArthur that covered verse 18. He emphasized that the wine we drink is different than they generally used then (ours is served stronger) and that even if we have liberty to drink that it may not be the best choice.
But under no circumstances should we become intoxicated. Getting drunk leads to distorted views of the truth and bad decisions and behavior. Pagan religions at the time thought that getting drunk brought you closer to God. Paul teaches that the truth is the opposite. We can’t be filled with alcohol and the Holy Spirit.
19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives and Husbands
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
That passage is often misinterpreted to make Paul out to be a chauvinist. But the next passage should put things in perspective. Paul was probably just as controversial back then but for the opposite reasons. Women were considered property and not treated well at all. They couldn’t even testify in court. But Paul teaches husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. That was a radical notion! Meditate on what Christ did for the church and how much He loves it. Then think about how that looks in the way husbands should treat wives.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
If husbands loved their wives as much as their own bodies then that would make wives rejoice. That wouldn’t be mistreatment of women at all. Men are called to be leaders in the home. There is nothing wrong with that. But good leaders listen to people under their protection and authority. A husband would be foolish to ignore his wife. They are designed to complete each other.
That is another passage stating what should be obvious: God’s ideal for marriage is one man and one woman. He created us that way.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.