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EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 26

Verse 26. That he might sanctify. The great object of the Redeemer was to purify and save the church. The meaning here is, that a husband is to manifest similar love towards his wife, and a similar desire that she should be prepared to "walk before him in white."

And cleanse it with the washing of water. In all this there is an allusion, doubtless, to the various methods of purifying and cleansing those who were about to be married, and who were to be united to monarchs as their brides. In some instances this previous preparation continued for twelve months. The means of purification were various, but consisted usually in the use of costly unguents. See Es 2:12—"Six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of women." Comp. Ps 45:13,14; Eze 16:7-14.

As such a virgin was purified and prepared for her husband by washing and by anointing, so the church is to be prepared for Christ. It is to be made pure and holy. Outwardly there is to be the application of water—the symbol of purity; and within there is to be holiness of heart. See Barnes "2 Co 11:2, where Paul says of the Corinthians, "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."

By the word. There has been much diversity of opinion respecting the meaning of this. Probably the sense of the expression is, that all this was to be accomplished by the instrumentality of the truth —the word of God. By that truth they were to be sanctified, Joh 17:17; and in accordance with that the whole work, from the commencement to the dose, was to be accomplished. It was not by external ceremonies, and not by any miraculous power on the heart, but by the faithful application of truth to the heart.

{a} "of water" Tit 3:5

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