Exposition of Ephesians (06): Congregational and Domestic Life(Eph. 5:17-6:9)

Date: 8/26/2018
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From Congregational Life to Domestic Life (5:17-21) Ephesians 5:17–6:9 (GS trans.) - Therefore do not become foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk [filled] with wine, for that is reckless, but be filled in [your] spirit, 19 speaking to one another in the Psalms and hymns of praise and spiritual songs of war, singing and psalm-singing with your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus the King, 21 submitting to one another respectfully in the King: —-Following several passages addressing the ethical imperatives of the new creation life in King Jesus, there is a transition from general moral applications (from the Commandments) to congregational and domestic life. Christians are to be obedient, by the Spirit and because of Jesus, to the moral character of the Triune God (as expressed in the Commandments, fulfilled in love). We are also to live together in fullness of “spirit”—a wonderfully ambivalent phrase (en pneuma) contrasted with a fleshly filling with intoxicants (wine, in this case). Those who have their spirits’ full of the Spirit speak of the Psalms, hymns of praise, and spiritual songs which are songs of kingdom victory (e.g., songs of Miriam, Deborah, Mary). Those full of spirit/Spirit sing and engage in psalm-singing to the Lord. They live in gratitude for everything. Over against all the admonitions against disobedience (4:31-5:17), knowing the Word, praise, and gratitude should characterize Christians.

Domestic Life in the King: Wives, Husbands, Children (5:22-6:4) —-The next section (5:22ff) addresses the domestic “code.” “The household codes presuppose that Christians will subordinate themselves to others, as do the exhortations to obey civil authorities (Rom 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet 2:13)” (Perkins, NIB). The authority role of the husband is premised on him being “head” (kephale). In the Bible the concept of "headship" is pervasive. Genesis 3:15 (the “protoevangelium") promises that Christ will crush the "head" of the serpent, Satan. Leviticus 1:4, et al, symbolizes a transfer via laying a hand on the “head” of the sacrificial victim. Numbers 1:4 addresses the "head of his father’s household." The concept of headship in marriage arises from the creation account of the first marriage (Adam and Eve). Adam was created first, then is given the prohibition against eating of the Tree of Knowledge, later to lead Eve in this obedience. Adam is then charged with dominion, naming the animals. Further the fall is through "one man’s sin." This all demonstrates the primacy of Adam’s headship over his wife as part of the creational order (not as a result of the fall). Adam’s headship does not devalue Eve or women general, however. The image of God is reflected in both "in his image. . . male and female He created them" (Gen. 1:27). Paul grounds marriage relationships in Christ’s headship over the Church: “just as the King also loved the Church and delivered Himself up for her” (5:26). The goal of setting the Church apart (in the washing of baptism) is to “present to Himself the Church in all her glorious splendor.” Bridal imagery and explicit statements are pervasive in the OT, including temple and sacrificial language.  It is not surprising then that the goal of the eternal redemptive plan should reveal the Savior-King taking a bride and presenting her in splendor. Another group addressed in the household code is children. Because of this the husband’s headship, father’s must accept responsibility for rearing children. “[Children] are part of the total Christian family, the church” (Wood, EBC). Since children are “addressed as members of the Church”—“they must have been baptized, since without baptism no one could be a member of the Church” (Abbot, ICC-NT). Parents raise their children “in the Lord” (en Christo) which means reckoned to be in union with Him. In Eph. 6, the change from "parents" (goneis, 6:1) to "fathers" (pateres, 6:4) is significant. "In both Greco-Roman and Jewish writings it is fathers in particular who are held responsible for the education of the children …" (Lincoln, WBC). It is the father’s role to administer discipline and nurture the child in spiritual things. Christian discipline (paideia) and instruction (nouthesia) are the father’s responsibility.

Domestic Work for the King: Slaves and Masters (6:5-9) —-In the final section of the passage, Paul addresses another aspect of the household code, the relation of slaves and masters in and under the King. This is still under the category of “household&