Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (v1-2)
Growing up I have seen many different ways that people run churches. One time I had been sitting under a church elder talking briefly about the Christian life with him and he said something along the lines of “Try not to reflect Christ because you might get it wrong and mislead a lot of people.”
First off, I was very naive in my life at this time and was swinging back and forth between what I needed and what I wanted. But telling Christians not to reflect Christ is very dangerous and demonic. I can promise you now, if you look at me, I will mislead you. Why? Because I am not perfect, the habits I have, the problems I deal with, the addictions I fight daily, and the many sins that I have to slaughter on a Cross with Christ everyday are bound to mislead you under one condition: if you look to me as God. Don’t.
There is a fine line between “Do what I say, don’t do what I do” hypocrisy and “Don’t do what I say and do unless it’s in full accord with God’s Word.” Because “Do what I do, don’t do what I say” is only bound to lead to the very same hypocrisy. Why? Because if it lacks Christ it’s sin. So this is why we must be imitators of Christ. Because we all are imperfect and need a perfect Savior. If we don’t reflect Christ people are now 100% sure to be mislead instead of a 50% risk of them looking to you and instead of looking to God as God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (v3-6)
If we are to reflect Christ there will have to be some difference between us and the world. I tend to really understand this passage because many times at work these kinds of talk and crude joking love to follow me around even when I try to avoid it. So, there has to be a stance. Don’t let anyone deceive you with empty words. The children of wrath are lost and full of cursing in their hearts. Those who are found will be found with abundance of thanksgiving and praise to God.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (v15-21)
I shouldn’t have to tell too many Christians why getting drunk with alcohol and other addictive substances are wrong because there is an over abundance of teaching and education of the effects of addictions. If you don’t know of any then hit me up on facebook or on email.
The reason that we get drunk is because in our flesh we have an emptiness that is not being satisfied with joy. But as Christians we must understand that just because abuse is sin does not mean that those areas of our lives were meant to be unfulfilled and empty! This is why Paul says, “Instead of getting drunk with wine, be filled with the Holy Spirit!” (Emphasis added).
The Holy Spirit is our helper in completing God’s mission on earth and will help us to be filled where we are empty so that we can eat and drink of Christ’s blood and Body in order to be filled with joy and to be a reflection of Christ to the full satisfaction of God.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (v22-33)
Marriage is a meant to be more than a personal love story, it’s meant to be a universal love story, This is why Paul gives us the full proper and Christ-centered picture of marriage in Ephesians 5. Your marriage and marriage itself is meant to reflect two beings, Christ and the church.
God the father allowed Christ the Son, to be murdered at the hands of sinners and to pick an unlovely and lost people who were so lost and in sin that they didn’t even know or care, and to rise from the dead just for the purpose of perfecting this people as a bride was because He is all loving, I believe that this is the mystery of the Gospel in its fullness. God loved sinners so much that He died to make them perfect. Why? Because He is loving. Just like you love your husband or wife so much that you want to see them in beauty, joy and happiness, and not ugliness, despair, and sadness.
Sacrifice is what brought Christ His gorgeous bride. And it is how we can relate to our marriages. Forgive your spouse endlessly and continue to give your body and your self as Christ did for you when you were a lost and puny sinner. This is one of the greatest ways that we reflect Christ.
So what about divorce? Is divorce okay? What about abuse, cheating, all kinds of things like this, do you mean to say that abused women should just put up?
I loved when John Piper in his and Noelle’s book, “This Momentary Marriage” said “On the day that Christ divorces His church, you may divorce your spouse also. Which in the span of eternity, is never.”
Paul makes it clear that the only grounds for divorce is when God divorces you (by death do you part) thus, let no man put asunder. (Matt. 19:6)
So what about abuse? Do abused women have to stay with their husband, and what about those with kids? Isn’t that wrong a foolish?
Let’s jump to 1 Peter three quickly.
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
Before you stop reading here, let me tell you why I brought this up. Because unsaved husbands (not necessarily just abusive ones, but also them) can be won with the word of a Godly wife’s respectful and pure conduct because respect and purity are of Christ.
So once again, what about abuse in the home? I do not believe that pure and Godly women are commanded by God to be subject to their husbands abuse, but only to the husband. That means that we must separate the abuse of the husband. This takes the greatest power in the universe: the Grace of God. Thus, it is no easy task and must fully be dependent upon God in every way possible. Just as the abused and Godly wife is greater than the way that she is abused and mistreated, the abusive husband must be recognized as more than his abuse in Christ, only.
So by all means, abused wives, be subject to your abusive authorities, but do not be subject to their abuse. Physical separation is not divorce if it is used for a Godly purpose: to save the marriage at hand. Raging abuse cannot stand against a solid stance of the unmovable Word of God.
So let’s win and wash our families with pure and Godly conduct through our love for Christ and for each other. And remember, there is no greater power than God’s grace. It bought us as a perfect bride for Christ and can perfect your personal relationships also. So let’s not give up when it gets hard.
I am praying you, the reader, to persevere till the end at the finish line in order to hear “Well done good and faithful servant.”
God bless and with love,