Ephesians 5:12-21


Eph 5:12 (KJV)
For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
Shame - Disgraceful
Here the Bible enters a “discretion principle.” Since people love to gossip, it is wise to keep hidden the sordid details of a person’s life. Pastors especially, need to be careful not to discuss too many intimate details with others. Some sinful acts are very hideous and need not be mentioned. Paul is trying to get the point across that Christians should not dwell on their lives before salvation. Giving a testimony, turns the eyes of all on the person giving it and turns it away from Christ. After a person becomes saved, the unsaved part of their life is cast behind the back of God. (Isa 38:17 KJV) Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. If you can find the back of God, then you can find your sins. Testimony based Christians, begin to almost bask in the limelight of their sins. Christ gets lost in their testimony as all eyes are on them. David Berkowitz, once known as the Son of Sam, now proclaims himself as the “Son of Hope.” He seeks to shed his pre-salvation life in favor of the one that gives glory to God. He is not disregarding what he did, he wants to move on and glorify God now. David has the right attitude in this. I know he is sincere having visited with him many times. We as Christians must do the same things. Let us not bask in what we were but let us rejoice in who we are because of Christ. Therein lies the testimony! (Phil 3:13 KJV) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, The world may not forget what we were, but God has. (Heb 8:12 KJV) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. The disgraceful part comes in when we seem to glorify our sinful past.


Eph 5:13 (KJV)
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Reproved - being exposed or refuted
Manifest - To disclose or reveal
This verse is teaching us that everything which is hidden by the unbeliever is exposed and is disclosed or revealed by the true Gospel. The unbeliever tries to hide the things they are doing in hopes that no one will see what they are doing. In many countries there are privacy laws that it is no one’s business what goes on behind closed doors as long as there are consenting adults involved. How deceived is the unbeliever to think that these laws will somehow cause them to escape the judgment they don’t believe in. (Heb 4:13 KJV) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Every act will be brought into judgment and nothing will be hidden that will not be disclosed. We have a great example of this principle found in the book of Exodus. (Exo 2:12 KJV) And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. When Moses killed the Egyptian, he looked every way around him but he neglected to look up. This is the same attitude of the unbeliever, they look around but never look up.
The verse continues on to tell us that what is causing the darkness to be exposed to the light is the true Gospel. When any work of darkness is compared to the true Gospel, the true nature of the false teaching or the sinful act is exposed. This is why the Bible can be the only standard by which the Christian can measure what they come in contact with, whether it is teachings or actions. Knowing the Scriptures will keep us from spiritual ruin.
Eph 5:14 (KJV)
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Here is the admonition to the Christian that we are to awake out of our spiritual stupor and not to involve ourselves with the same things that the heathens are involving themselves in. We see this in church after church that has succumbed to political pressures and have ordained women and homosexuals. They have thrown out the King James Bible and placed the sodomite NIV in the pews so the indolent parishioners don’t have to think too much when reading it. We wouldn’t want to displace all their sports statistics they have in their head. It is a sorry thing but the majority of western Christians are sleeping and in spiritual comas.
The Bible here is also telling us to “arise from the dead.” It actually means, and this is interesting, “ek twn nekrwn.” This passage is actually telling us to rise from out of the dead! “Ek” means out of and “nekron” means “dead.“ In other words, we have no business living our lives in a cemetery. The world is a virtual cemetery of spiritually dead people. How can we show the resurrection of our souls and the newness of life if we are living in the same manner as the spiritually dead? We are to arise and live as Christians and then Christ will give us the light to show us the difference between the deadness of sin and the life of Christ. The light He gives us will also guide our path so we will avoid the pitfalls of any sin. (Psa 119:105 KJV) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Ezek 44:23 KJV) And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Eph 5:15 (KJV)
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Circumspectly - Diligently and carefully
This admonition builds on the previous verse that if the Christian walks in the light, then they will be walking very carefully so not to get entangled again in any sinful situations or lifestyles. The Christian’s life is that of an evangelist, either you are exuding a good testimony or a bad one. (Prov 10:23 KJV) It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom. A fool takes sin lightly and even considers it a challenge to see what they can get away with. They don’t understand that they will get away with nothing. The Christian is to walk in wisdom which is walking in the truth and light of the Gospel. The Christian will want nothing to do with the sinful entanglements of this present world. We must order our life according to the laws of Scripture. The whole Bible being the Law of God. (Rom 3:27 KJV) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Christians cannot do what the world does because were delivered out of the kingdom of Satan and we have no business going back.
Eph 5:16 (KJV)
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Redeeming - Deliver, buy back, or rescue
This is a very important verse because it gives a tremendous principle. (Joel 2:25 KJV) And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. When a person becomes saved, normally they are saved from a life of waste. That life of waste, is not only of material goods or whatever, but the waste was done in the confines of time. We can never reclaim the time we lost being in the world before salvation and we must never dwell on those years. (Phil 3:13 KJV) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  I was saved at the age of 27 and am now 50 as I write this commentary. I cannot reclaim those first 27 years which were spent in vanity but now as a Christian, I am still within the confines of time and instead of frittering the years away with useless things like sports and other world traps, we are to buy back or rescue the remaining amount of time that we have from any worldly waste. Christians should be hard at work in getting out the Gospel. Redeeming the time is a serious command to the Christian. When they give your final eulogy, will they say you were a strong Christian or will they say you were a great golfer?
When we look at the Joel verse we see that God will give us those years that the Canker worm stole. He won’t turn back the clock, but He will give us a full Christian life. When God removes something from us, He will always replace it with something of more value. Can a true Christian honestly say that it is more beneficial for a child to play softball or Soccer on Sunday morning rather than attend church? Those years I lost to the world are doubly made up in being used to propagate the Gospel. My old life was of this world and my new life is set up for eternal things. God restored the dead years with years of eternity. (Mat 11:15 KJV) He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Eph 5:17 (KJV)
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
Wherefore - Because of this
Unwise - Foolish
Understanding - Perceive or comprehend
Continuing the thought from Verse 16, that because the days of our sojourn are evil, we need to walk in wisdom, that is in accordance with the Word of God which is our guideline for living in this world. If we choose to walk in the ways of the world, we are living in foolishness as the unbeliever lives. Instead, we are to comprehend the will of the Lord, that is, in one essence, the will of the Lord for the believer is not to walk in any of the ways of the world. On the other hand, the will of the Lord for the believer is to walk in the Word. So part of the Will of God is to shun sin and the bigger part is to walk in obedience. (Rom 12:1-2 KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. The will of the Lord for the believer is obedience and then God will show us where we are to serve.
Eph 5:18 (KJV)
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Drunk - Intoxicate or inebriated
Excess - Wastefulness
Filled - Complete or supplied fully
Here is another admonition to the Believer. Alcohol flows by the millions of gallons in this country and is easily accessible to anyone, Christians included. I was told by a German man once that they had beer at every Bible study. My question is, when does culture end and Christ begin? Remember in verse 16 that we are to redeem or buy back the remaining time in our lives. Well if we spend time drinking alcohol, and that basically includes getting involved with other alcohol related things like parties and such, then we are wasting the precious years that we have left. We will also be shortening our life as the party scene will take much toll on the human body. Now the believer is not to be filled with alcohol which produces a life of foolishness but we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
When we became saved, at that moment we were baptized in the Holy Spirit, who now indwells us for eternity. We are not to be filling ourselves with alcohol but we are to be filled or made complete by the Spirit. A Christian can only mature as they yield more and more of their life to the Holy Spirit. This does not only mean forsaking the ways of the world, but it also means that we are to shun false teachings which we may have embraced. For example, if a person believed in tongue speaking but then came across material which biblically refuted it, then we are not to continue to believe what we want, we must switch our focus on to the truth. The essence of being filled with the Spirit, is yielding ourselves to His teachings and His ways. Once we do that, there will be a stabilizing of our beliefs and life, even during the most difficult times. As a friend of mine once preached, “it is not how much of the Holy Spirit you have, but how much of you does He have?” In other words, how yielded to Him are you? Do not expect to grow in your Christian walk, if you neglect the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Eph 5:19 (KJV)
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Here is the continuation of being filled with the Spirit. A Christian must begin to fill their mind with spiritual things. We are to reject the music and teachings of the world and begin to fill the renewed mind with spiritual things. (Eph 4:23 KJV) And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (Col 3:10 KJV) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: This verse gives us some ways we are to remain in the Spiritual mind. First, we speak the Psalms. The Psalms were used as guidelines for singing. Even today there are hymn books which carry these Psalm based Hymns. When I was member of the Hungarian Reformed Church, we sang out of the Psalter Hymnal which had hymns written according to the Psalms, many of them going back to the 16th century. Not only Psalms are we to sing but hymns which are based solely on the Scriptures. Hymns like Amazing Grace and Rock of Ages which have been around for almost 300 years have stood the test of time because of the truths within those songs. If they were unscriptural songs, they never would have made it to almost every church hymnal since they were written.
Then we are to sing spiritual songs. The word “songs” is where we get our word “ode.” It can be a song which focuses in on Grace, Joy, or some other spiritual topic. The true spiritual song is an ode to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are also to be singing in joy unto the Lord. There are some churches which do not allow music in their services and they rob much of the joy for the people. I am not speaking of the rock and roll bands of the Charismatic movement, but the instruments which help create a spiritual overtone for the service. Some of the Godly instruments used are organ, harp, piano, and panpipes which create an atmosphere which is conducive to spiritual growth. The word melody carries with it the meaning of “praise.” Have you ever been discouraged or downtrodden? Sometimes taking a good hymn book and singing the old hymns will bring you right out of it. You will have a new perspective on your situation and that praise honors God, even in our darkest hour, the praises will lift our spirits and we will see that we can endure the worst of times. During the time of slavery in this country, there was found a new type of spiritual sound, which was called “Plantation Gospel.” It was the combination of the purity of Scripture and the hopelessness of slavery, which created the songs of praise to the Lord. After I heard about Plantation Gospel some years ago, I then realized who freed the slaves in this country. Lincoln was only the vessel but God was the true emancipator. God is still emancipating people out of the slavery of sin.
Eph 5:20 (KJV)
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
As part of the singing and praising of God that we saw in the last verse, we are also told to give thanks to God for all things. Now it is hard to give thanks to God when it seems the bottom has fallen out of our lives, but if we are a student of the Scriptures, we will know that even a disaster can be to the glory of God. We must never forget, that He is the potter and we are the clay. The Scripture tells us to give thanks in Jesus name. Now many take this phrase and abuse it. Some think it is a formula to get what you want. “In Jesus Name I rebuke the disease!” “In Jesus name I want a new car!” You get the idea. When the Bible uses that term, it is for believers only. The only way to be “in Jesus name” is to be in Jesus! (Rom 3:24 KJV) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Rom 8:1 KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom 8:39 KJV) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 9:1 KJV) I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, As you can see in these four verses, the term “In Christ Jesus” appears. The true Christian is in Christ Jesus and they are in Jesus name. So when a person gives thanks to the Father “in Jesus name,” the verse is teaching us that the person is a true believer. When you were born into the world, you belonged to your earthly father and you were given his name. So you literally were in his name as a member of his family.
Eph 5:21 (KJV)
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Submitting - Submit one’s self to or submission
In the area of submission, when one submits they are basically setting themselves for accountability. Each Christian should be accountable to each other in the fear of God. This action of submission is not a one time thing but it carries with it the idea of something that is done continuously. There are Christians who will not submit to any authority and that is why they will not join a church. Submission will help prevent a Christian from going into sin if they are in submission to another. Submission is the great humbler. We submit to one another in fear of God, that if we go into sin then we will face the chastisement of God, which is much worse than initial submission. Voluntary submission should be the way for a Christian to go but if they will not, then the fear of God should be the great motivator in this case. (1 Cor 9:17 KJV) For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. It is the same principle we see in this verse. Either Paul does the work that God assigns him willingly or he does it because he must.