I thought I would start Ephesians 5 and 6 with Galatians 5 :-). In Galatians Paul confronts Peter with not acting in line with the truth of the Gospel in his old testament, levitical (now racial) pride about circumcision.
Freedom in Christ
1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Ephesians 5 (New International Version)
1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
Ephesians 5 starts out with a most demanding verse… to be imitators of God as dearly loved children and Paul gives that to us as our charge. And it also says how to be an imitator of God just as Christ loved us!
2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
It says be imitators of God by living a life of love in the freedom of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ!!!!
The next few verses give us more clues that describe how to live a life of love.
3But 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.
It says in the above verse there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or greed or any impurity of any kind. Thats the standard we have.
4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
In regards to verse 4, I am not a vulgar speaker myself but I sometimes have lucid references I use. The number of times I have used these in my family where it has hurt them can not be counted. This is wrong!
5For 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.[a] It also goes on to call these people idolators and they have no inheritance in the kingdom of God.
I believe the idolatry of the heart is the issue we need to conquer and the behavior will eventually follow our hearts. This is why the first commandment was to have no other gods before God. If we could keep #1 then the remaining 9 would not be an issue.
Hebrews 9:28 says Jesus will come with no reference to our sin… including sins performed post salvational or post justification. How does this relate to the scripture above? I see this as a reference to people not struggling or wrestling with their sin nature…. its a warning for those that just want to continue and those that do not see sin as something deep in man. Basically, a warning to those that dont take their own sin seriously.
6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.
It says here, in the case of unrepentant sinners to not be deceived by them because it can lead you to sin as well. At the same time Jesus walked among sinners and came to heal them. A Church should lift Jesus high and should be a hospital for sinners as opposed to a sanctuary for the saintly self righteoussness. We need to walk alongside sinners and lift them up and remind them of the New Covenant and not brow beat repentent sinners with the old covenant. We need to embrace a deep understanding of the Gospel… the New Covenant of Christ and his PERFECT sacrifice on our behalf.
Heb 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
Heb 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Heb 10:15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,
Heb 10:16 “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says,
Heb 10:17 “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”
Its the most unique teaching in all the world to act as if we we are without sin and it even says we have been perfected by one offering in Christ. But this understanding is necessary for real Christian growth to occur. If we dont understand justification deeply then we spend the rest of our lives stuck at the entrance door to the Christian life.
The problem we have, as Christians, is after justification we act as if we are pulling the pedals off of a flower and playing the old game he loves me he loves me not.
Man, when not in full view of the New Covenant given to us through the cross, has a vacillating salvation (am I really saved?) and a vacillating feeling of the love of Jesus as well as a vacillating love for OTHER sinners. He loves me, He loves me not we say! However when we are in Christ, and through the New Covenant we know we are loved and we know we are saved.
The point is this that after we have been justified in Christ…. if we are to be imitators of God and to live a life of love we need to deeply understand the New Covenant of Christ’s love and sacrifice on the cross and that through Christ there is freedom from your past sins and you have been declared perfect!
This is exactly why Paul spent so much time rehashing our justification to already saved people… because we dont understand this at a deep level. We are like the pop or candy machine that takes a quarter but it does not drop all the way. Sometimes, like the pop or candy machine we need to slapped alongside the head with the Gospel and the New Covenant of Christ and what it means so that it can drop deeper into our hearts and phsyche.
We have been declared perfect and when Jesus comes to those that seek him Jesus will be without reference to our sin.
Lets move on!!!!