Ephesians 5:1-14 defines the situation of a believer who is not walking in fellowship with God, who is not producing fruit, who is not producing work for the Lord and is even involved in a lifestyle of sin. The passage exhorts believers to imitate God in their daily walk. In so doing it indicates the undesirability and the consequences of a disobedient life. Verses 7-12 indicate the shamefulness of going back to the disgusting lifestyle of the world after Christ had sacrificed Himself so that the believer would not have to be a slave to sin and suffer eternal condemnation, (v. 2). The passage says to act instead like the person that a believer is: a child of light possessing eternal life, (v. 8), rather than to act like the world and suffer the consequence of losing one's inheritance in, (and not one's destiny to), the kingdom of Christ for being immoral, (v. 5):
II) [Eph 5:1]:
(v. 1) Therefore [Christians] be imitators of God, as beloved children [believers]"
A) PAUL IS COMMANDING BELIEVERS IN THIS PASSAGE WHO ARE ETERNALLY SECURE TO BE IMITATORS OF GOD
"Therefore, be imitators.." = Paul is commanding Christians in this passage, (Eph 14:1b - 3; 13:30-32), who are eternally secure, (Eph 4:30; Jn 10:28) to be imitators of God.
II) [Eph 5:1-4]:
(v. 1) "Therefore [Christians] be imitators of God, as beloved children [believers]
(v. 2) and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
(v. 3) But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints:
(v. 4) and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."
A) PAUL EXHORTS BELIEVERS TO GODLY BEHAVIOR INDICATING THAT BELIEVERS CAN BEHAVE IN UNGODLY WAYS
Notice that Paul indicates the proper behavior for saints: moral, righteous behavior - as opposed to improper behavior: "immorality", "impurity" and "greed". This strongly implies that saints can behave improperly and still be called saints, i.e., still have eternal life.
IV) [Eph 5:5]:
(v. 5) For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, or one who is an idolator, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, even God.
A) JESUS CHRIST IS DECLARED GOD
"...Christ, even God" = "Christou kai Theou" =
"...Christ, Who I mean to say is God".
When "kai" occurs in this manner, i.e., when the noun after it, ("Theou"), is without an article; it signifies identification of this noun "God" ("Theou" ="Christou" = "God") with the first noun "Christ". Therefore "Christou" = "Christ" = "God".
B) "NO IMMORAL OR IMPURE PERSON OR COVETOUS MAN, OR ONE WHO IS AN IDOLATOR, HAS AN INHERITANCE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD" REFERS TO UNFAITHFUL BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS
"no immoral or impure person or covetous man, or one who is an idolator, has an inheritance in the kingdom of God" =
Detailed examination of the subject of inheriting the kingdom of God
This refers to two kinds of individuals:
1) DISOBEDIENT, I.E., UNFAITHFUL BELIEVERS
A disobedient believer, i.e., a believer who chooses to live a life which is under the control of the sin nature will not receive an inheritance when that child of God, (Eph 5:1), goes to heaven. That child has been disinherited from any rewards but remains a saved child who will go to heaven but with no rewards or inheritance, (Eph 4:30; 1 Cor 3:11-15).
2) ALL UNBELIEVERS
All unbelievers are under the complete control of the sin nature, (Ro 6:17a; 8:6-9), and therefore live lifestyles which are characterized as sinful. Furthermore, they are not destined for heaven because they never trusted alone in Christ alone, (Jn 3:18; 3:36; 1 Jn 5:9-13), so there will obviously be no inheritance in heaven for unbelievers either.
V) [Eph 5:6]:
"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience"
A) "SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE" REFERS TO THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE THE GOSPEL
"sons of disobedience" = those who disobey the gospel, i.e., those who do not believe in Christ as Savior, are defined as sons of disobedience, i.e., sons of Satan, unbelievers. The only requirement of the Gospel is to believe it, (Jn 3:16; Eph 2:8-9). So to disobey the gospel can only mean to disbelieve in it. Compare 1 Pet 1:18-22, 2:6-8. 1 Pet 4:17 teaches that to obey the gospel is to believe it, to disobey the gospel is to disbelieve it. Compare Eph 2:1-3 = unbelievers are disobedient & follow Satan.
1) [Compare Jn 3:36]:
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
"whoever rejects" = the Greek word "apeithon" = "disbelieving one", (nominative particple) = one refusing to believe in the Son:
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects
[= "apeithon" = whoever refuses to believe, i.e., rejects the Son as his Savior] will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
2) [Compare Jn 3:18]:
"Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
Notice that here in John 3:18 that the only condition presented for being condemned is to not believe in the name of God's one and only Son.
3) [Compare Jn 8:42-47]:
(v. 42) '''Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent Me.
(v. 43) Why is My language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.
(v. 44) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
(v. 45) Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me!
(v. 46) Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe Me?
(v. 47) He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." '''
Those who do not believe in Christ belong to their father the devil, i.e., are not saved. Since the sole condition on the part of the individual is to receive eternal life is to trust alone in Christ alone and since the sole condition of condemnation unto the Lake of Fire, i.e., since the only thing that gets you condemned to hell is not ever trusting alone in Christ alone as Savior and since disobeying the gospel of salvation gets you condemned to hell then disobeying the gospel of salvation is the same thing as disbelieving it. One can disobey by doing something 'out of the line of the authority that you are under' and one can also disobey by believing something out of line.
VI) [Eph 5:6-7]:
(v. 6) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of "apeitheias" = disobedience [noun form of the same verb, '"apeithon", as in Jn 3:36 above]
(v. 7) Therefore [you believers] do not be "summetochoi" = joint partakers [in disobedience, disbelief and sin] with them,
A) BELIEVERS ARE NOT IN JEOPARDY OF PARTAKING OF GOD'S ETERNAL WRATH
"Do not be joint participaters in sin with unbelievers" =
This does not say, 'Do not be joint partakers of God's wrath with unbelievers'. A believer is not subject to God's eternal wrath in the first place, (1 Thes 1:10; 5:9). So Eph 5:7, quoted above, commands believers not to sin as unbelievers do; but it does not indicate that believers would be condemned to Hell if they led sinful lives.
VII) [Eph 5:8-13]:
(v. 8) "For you [believers] were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; [so therefore] walk as children of light
(v. 9) (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
(v. 10) [so do not sin by] trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
(v. 11) And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, [which are characteristic of the unsaved] but instead even expose them;
(v. 12) for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
(v. 13) But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light,
A) PAUL CONTINUES TO EXHORT BELIEVERS TO LEAD GODLY LIVES KEEPING IN MIND THEIR POSITION AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT
Paul continues to exhort believers to lead godly lives keeping in mind their position as children of light. The light of the righteousness of Christ Scripture indicates evidences itself via God the Holy Spirit in the conscience of every believer. Compare 1 Jn 1:5-7; Ro 9:1.
VIII) [Eph 5:14]:
(v. 14) "For this reason it [Scripture] says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you"
A) PAUL QUOTES AN OT PASSAGE OR AN EARLY HYMN REFERRING TO A BELIEVER WHO IS TEMPORALLY DEAD IN HIS SINS AND IS COMMANDED TO WAKE UP AND LEAD A GODLY LIFE SO THAT CHRIST WILL SHINE ON HIM
This verse contains a quotation from a combination of Old Testament passages or perhaps from an early Christian hymn. In any case the words speak of a believer who has committed "deeds of darkness" who is commanded to wake up and rise from the dead as he is involved with the deeds of evildoers. Here is a Christian who has no deeds, i.e., divine good works, (Eph 2:10; 1 Cor 3:11-15). His faith - his very life - is considered dead by Scripture and the God Who inspired that Scripture. This Christian is not physically dead nor spiritually dead. He is temporally dead, dead meaning useless in the same way that faith without deeds is dead = useless to God, (Jas 2:17, 26). He is out of fellowship with God. He walks in darkness. Having grieved God the Holy Spirit with his sin, (Eph 4:30), his soul is separated from the righteousness of God and is useless to God until that sin is dealt with, (I Jn 1:5-10). While he is in this state of temporal death, under the control of his sin nature, he produces nothing of eternal value, (Ro 8:8). Romans 8:6a says that the mind of sinful man is death. The man described in Eph 5:14 is a sinful believer - a believer who is not under the control of the Spirit but under the control of the sin nature.
1) [Compare Gal 5:13-15]:
(v. 13) "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
(v. 14) The entire Law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
(v. 15) If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."