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5. Living as Children of Light

1Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. 3But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. 7Be not ye therefore partakers with them; 8For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; 11and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; 12for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. 13But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. 14Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee. 15Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; 19speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. 22Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; 26that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: 29for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; 30because we are members of his body. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. 33Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband.

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3. once namedGreek, "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).

jestingGreek, "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 thingsuncleanness, 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.