After completing his instruction on putting off and putting on, Paul shifts to another theme, that of mutual submission among believers. He begins with his thesis - “submit to one another in love” - and continues by looking at the implications for several human relationships. The first up is husband and wife, and Paul starts by expressing how that looks from the wife’s perspective. Many in the faith have taken these verses to mean things that they do not mean; Bro. Danny explains how submission is a must in the lives of all believers, and how biblical submission is neither about inferiority nor force.
Paul wraps up his discussion of putting off and putting on by looking at the wisdom of God. We must pay attention to things that happen around us; we must discern the will of God; we must yield ourselves to the right control (His); and we must allow our hearts to be filled with the wonder of God, to the point where we cannot help but sing His praises.
Paul continues his theme of the transformation that Christ should have in the life of the believer. In today’s section, he emphasizes the importance of avoiding the paths of darkness, and walking instead in the light of who they now are.
Paul continues his theme of putting off and putting on by listing some of the sinful activities the Ephesian church was doing, and what they should do instead. The unloving actions were causing the world to question their faith, but by reorienting themselves to God’s purpose, they could begin living for Him. Paul calls us all to imitate God by walking in love.
Paul reminds the church at Ephesus that they are not who they once were; they are new creations in Christ. He reminded them that their prior way of living was contrary to what God wanted them to do, and that they had been given a new identity. They needed (and we need) to realize that this transformation must be intentional; we are not helpless to resist the draw of our old selves, but we must resist if we are to be who God wants us to be.
In the passage we studied last week, Paul emphasized unity in Christ. In the verses immediately following, though, he also focuses on the diversity that exists within the Body of Christ, the church. All gifts are given by God, and should be used to build His church; and, while we may have different gifts, we should value all of them, and realize that none of us are non-essential parts of the Body.
As Paul pivots from doctrine to application, he begins by underscoring the importance of the church living in unity. He explains several aspects of this unity: that it is crucial to our living the lives to which God has called us; how it requires humility; how we should strive for peace; and how our living in unity reflects the work God has done in our lives.
The Gospels record two instances of Christ’s followers who saw Him after His resurrection, but did not recognize Him at first. The reality that they thought they knew did not match up with true reality, and the reality of Christ’s presence healed the immense pain they had in their hearts.
Paul’s prayer for his readers gives us a model for how we should pray for others. We should pray that they are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, that they have a full experience of the love of Christ, and that the fullness of God will help them prevail in this world.
As Paul is writing to the churches in Asia Minor, he takes a rabbit trail to explain to his readers that God had called him to share the good news of hope to the Gentiles. We, too, have the charge to share the gospel, which brings hope both through its message and its messengers.