EPHESIANS 5


1 Be ye therefore followers of God [imitators of His ways - (R.V.)], as dear children;

Christadelphians are to be distinguished from mere pretenders by their works. True Christadelphians are a virtuous and upright people. The truth believed and obeyed has separated them, and keeps them separate, from the world, and inspires them to exhibit in their daily life the moral excellence of their Father in heaven (1 Pet. 2:9; Phil. 2:15).

They are God-like-imitators of His ways; holy (1 Pet. 1:15, 16); the enemies of unbelief and all unrighteousness (2 Cor. 6:14-18). This standard is said by some to be unreasonably high, but the objection is evil, and proceeds, as a rule, from those who make no attempt to reach the divine requirements.

It is not in the perfect sense that God-likeness is expected, but to the best of our human capability. Who is there that cannot, with determination and effort, exhibit to a degree in their daily life the mercy, kindness, patience, justice, and moral purity of God?

Yea, it is those only who do so, who are God's children, or true Christadelphians. "But," says someone else, "God is a consuming fire-He is not always forgiving, but very avengeful. Are we to copy Him in this?" No, for good reasons. God has particularised this matter, and commanded us to make it an exception in imitating Him.

He has done so, not because vengeance and punishment, when infallibly applied, are wrong, but because of our frailty, and inability to judge righteously, and because of the good, as regards our probationary and moral development, that abstention from these things brings. The time will come when, even in the matter of punishing and visiting vengeance, we shall be God-like.

Bro AT Jannaway

The Christadelphian, Oct 1906



4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

These are things which waste and burn up the mind. There are indulgences in common follies which dry up the spiritual sap and engender aversion to spiritual things. Let us avoid them.

Bro Roberts - Present suffering, Seasons 1:32



 Giving of thanks


Closely associated with prayer are praise and thanksgiving.‭

‭"‬In everything give thanks,‭ ‬for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.‭"

To recognise and acknowledge that all that we receive comes from God is a means of glorifying Him.‭ ‬God requires of us something more than formal lip-service.‭ ‬He wishes us to attune our hearts to His.

‭-"‬Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,‭ ‬singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.‭"

It is pleasing and acceptable to God to hear His children,‭ ‬when they meet together,‭ ‬lift up their voices in praise to Him.‭ ‬It is customary when a number of young Gentiles assemble for them to indulge in foolish talking and jesting.‭ ‬Sometimes these follies take the form of conversation,‭ ‬sometimes of song.‭ ‬Put all this away,‭ ‬says Paul,‭ ‬and substitute in its place the giving of thanks‭ (‬Eph.‭ v. ‬4‭)‬.

Let our praise on all occasions be comely as the praise of saints should be.‭ ‬It is grievous to hear,‭ ‬as we sometimes do Zion's songs interspersed with giggling and nonsensical talk.‭ ‬This results,‭ ‬no doubt,‭ ‬from thoughtlessness.‭ ‬But God does not countenance thoughtlessness when His will and pleasure are in question.‭

The utterances of those who approach God rashly,‭ ‬unintelligently,‭ ‬and thoughtlessly,‭ ‬are styled the sacrifices of fools.‭ ‬God has only invited praise from those who are able and willing to praise Him with‭ ‬understanding‭ (‬Ps.‭ xlvii. ‬7‭)‬.‭

‭"‬My lips shall utter praise when thou hast taught me thy statutes.‭"

God calls upon us to first taste of His goodness,‭ ‬and then as a result to praise Him.‭ ‬A faithful dependence on Him should generate within us a well of thankfulness and praise.‭ ‬It should cause us to recognise the reality of God's overshadowing care,‭ ‬so that we can,‭ ‬as did the Psalmist,‭ ‬make our boast in God.

The Christadelphian, July 1887



6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Refuting the resurrection responsibility error (Andrewism).

Baptism is obedience,‭ ‬and to say that wrath is limited to those who are baptised is to exclude‭ "‬the children of disobedience‭" ‬from its operation.‭

If we prove,‭ ‬as the passage certainly proves,‭ ‬that the wrath of God awaits the children of disobedience,‭ ‬we prove that they will come forth to receive it at the resurrection‭; ‬for that is the revealed time for its infliction.‭ ‬It is here where those other passages come in,‭ ‬which declare that the day of Christ is‭ "‬the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God‭" (Rom. ii.5‬,‭ 16; 2 Thess. i. 8; Rev. xiv 19; xix. 15).

‭TC July 1894.



7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

No person who is by habit any of the things condemned,‭ ‬will enter the kingdom,‭ ‬for such behaviour would constitute him one of the children of disobedience,‭ ‬for whom wrath only is reasonably reserved.‭ ‬There were‭ "‬vain words‭" ‬in Paul's day which would cover these things over,‭ ‬and neutralise sin by an artificial theory of the imputed righteousness of Christ.‭ ‬There are not wanting many such vain words in our day,‭ ‬from the‭ "‬Salvation Army‭" ‬upwards.‭ ‬They are deceiving words,‭ ‬against which Paul warns us.‭ "‬He that doeth righteousness is righteous.‭"

Faith in Christ avails for‭ "‬the forgiveness of sins that are past‭" ‬but not as a substitute for personal obedience.‭ ‬All will be judged‭ "‬according to their works‭" ‬at last,‭ ‬but this does not mean that the sins and shortcomings of saints will not be forgiven.‭ ‬If they were not,‭ ‬no flesh would be saved,‭ ‬and the priesthood of Christ would be without an object.‭ ‬But the testimony is explicit that they are forgiven.

‭ "‬If we confess our sins‭ (‬and forsake them‭)‬,‭ ‬he is faithful and just to forgive.‭" "‬He shall have mercy.‭" "‬If any man sin,‭ ‬we have an advocate with the Father,‭ ‬Jesus Christ the righteous‭" (‬1‭ ‬Jno.‭ i. ‬9‭; ii. ‬1‭; ‬Prov.‭ xxviii. ‬13‭)‬.

The Christadelphian, Oct 1894. p391-393.



8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:


Naturally, the heart of man has no affection for God's ways, because they altogether run counter to the desires and pleasures of the flesh, they deprive the flesh of that which is dearest to itself. What flows naturally from the heart of man is clearly enumerated by the firstborn Son of God thus: -" Evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matt. 15: 19).

This is darkness, the native element of all flesh, "to which at one time, all the children of God, with but one exception, belonged... 

 Growing, extending, developing in the knowledge of God is the course that lies before the one made "just" in the sight of God by the clear shining into the mind and heart of the glorious gospel of Christ, followed by an affectionate obedience to the will of God by baptism into the saving name of His Son.

Paul's unceasing prayer for those belonging to the family of God at Colosse was, "That they

might be all filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. That they might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1: 9- 10).

Leaving the word of the beginning of Christ (margin) let us go on unto perfection (Hebrews 6:1). Growing up into Him in all things which is the Head, even Christ (Ephesians 4: 15.)

It is not possible that a state of inactivity can prevail for any length of time in the pathway of

Divine life. It must either be an onward march to perfection, or a declension from that way, and a consequent return, in some degree, to the elements of darkness from which the start was made.

The mind and heart must be in constant sympathy with the Divine ideal, drawing nearer to the glorious perfection that shines forth in "the image of the invisible God." It might seem laborious to the flesh to maintain a continuous application of thought to the contemplation of the wondrous secrets of Divine wisdom laid out in the word of God. It might be irksome and even obnoxious to the natural mind to be ever under the restraint of Divine discipline; but this very experience supplies evidence of the superiority of the spirit of Truth over the desires of the flesh, it discloses the upward direction of the path of life.

The ease and relaxation that might come with a step in the opposite direction is deceptive, and sooner or later will reveal a drift in the direction of darkness, and bring discomfort. This does occur, without doubt, in every case, more or less, but the heart that is spiritually sensitive will quickly discover its error, and struggle to regain its former position of harmony with the high standard ofspiritual life.

Experience of this kind, arising from a departure, or a fall, brings to the son or daughter of

God whose heart has learnt to delight itself in the Law of God, seasons of depression, and grief, periods of remorse and suffering. But, scripturally speaking, this is the "trial of faith" and is more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire (1 Peter 1: 6- 7), because the "victory" that has been gained by a return to obedience through repentance has added Strength and joy to the victor, and has thus increased the brightness of the prospect held out to him at the appearing of Jesus Christ, and is an essential part of the process by which "the path of the just is made to shine more and more." JE Jarvis

Berean Christadelphian, June 1923



11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

The obstinacy of native unbelief or the intellectual density of a pre-occupied mind can alone account for the almost universal refusal to submit to the evidence. The tide of darkness rises higher and higher. Christ intimated that when he should re-appear, there would scarcely be such a thing as faith in the earth. His words appear much more likely to be realised at the present time than they did 50 years ago.

The obstinacy of native unbelief or the intellectual density of a pre-occupied mind can alone account for the almost universal refusal to submit to the evidence. The tide of darkness rises higher and higher. Christ intimated that when he should re-appear, there would scarcely be such a thing as faith in the earth. His words appear much more likely to be realised at the present time than they did 50 years ago.

The friends of Christ cannot hope to stem a tide which Christ alone can roll back: but they can at least hold their own. They can refuse to be comprised in the universal insanity which only chooses so much of truth as is agreeable to natural feeling, and flings the pearl of great price into the inky flood.

They can refuse to relax the stringency of faith at the bidding of any human friendship or influence whatever. They can refuse to close their mouths in that earnest contention for the faith once delivered to the saints which Jude recommends and reason sanctions.

They can obey the apostolic exhortation which says,

"Preach the word: be instant in season and out of season: reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine."

They can themselves at least, as another exhortation has it,

"continue in the things they have learnt, by the doing of which, they will both save themselves and them who hear."

Why should we allow ourselves to be repressed? Why should we allow ourselves to be eclipsed by the children of darkness?

TC 12/1898.



13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

The analogy of nature is often referred to in the Scripture in illustration of the deep things of the Spirit. It is reasonable that the one should be laid under contribution in expounding the other ; because the beings to be taught are natural beings ; and the exponent is the Creator of them all. The explanation I have given of the manner in which consciousness of identity is impressed upon newly created beings, was suggested by the remarkable effect of lightning recently observed upon the bodies of a man and his son, killed by a flash while sheltering under a tree.

A perfect likeness of the tree was flashed upon them. 

" Whatsoever doth make manifest is the light."

 The lines and shadows of the tree had been imparted to the subtle fluid, so that, when it touched their bodies, it flashed upon them a likeness identical with the original; and thus the likeness was transferred from the lightning to the bodies.

All that is required in resurrection is, identity of form or image, and identity of likeness : so that the intellectual and moral likeness of a pre-resurrectional man be not flashed upon the post-resurrectional image of a woman. This would be confusion.

From this view of the development of identity, it will be seen how futile are all human efforts to circumvent resurrection. The enemies of the saints in various ages have thought to prevent their resurrection by burning their bodies, and scattering their dust to the winds ! But, the Lord in heaven holds all such enterprises in derision. Any other dust may do as well; the power of identity not residing there ; but in the character already formed being flashed by the spirit upon the new creature.

Anastasis



Redeeming the time, because the days are evil - Eph 5: 16.

We cannot recall or alter the six days that are gone. They have taken their place in the archives of the ages. But the six days to come are ours in a certain sense. To a certain extent, we have the making of them. What is the decision of wisdom in the case but to

Turn away your ear from those who would counsel slackness in this matter. No good was ever done by this class of counsel. The writings of the prophets and apostles are our patterns.

"If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God."

If the prophets and apostles counsel slackness, if they say, "Beware of being too strait laced," if they are on the side of taking it easy and indulging in pleasures and conforming to the world, then we shall be safe in the same line of precept.

But if we find that they always (without exception) advise men to take heed-to fear lest they come short-to be in the fear of the Lord all the day long-to be as Christ was-to be as God-to pass the time of our sojourning in fear-to crucify the old man-to walk in the narrow way-to follow after holiness-to agonise to be saved-I say if that be the style of scriptural precept (and who shall deny it?), then our wisdom as ephemeral earth-borns, invited to the mighty emancipation purposed in Christ, is to reject all contrary counsel from whomsoever proceeding, and to walk in the narrow way that leadeth unto life.

Many are in danger of missing this way through supposing it consists of "doctrines" merely. "Doctrines" in this sense are in their place indispensable, but there are other doctrines without which the doctrines of man's mortality and the earth-location of the kingdom are of no use whatever. "Doctrine" means teaching; and apostolic teaching comprises more than a teaching as to what man is, and what God purposes to do.

"The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared" not only teaching that Christ is coming and that man is subject to death, but

"teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world"

while looking for the coming (Titus 2:11-13). The teaching that deals only with the mortality of man and the coming of Christ, and omits, and still worse opposes, the teaching that "we should be holy in all manner of conversation," will be found at last to be valueless as the sounding brass and the tinkling cymbal.

It is of course pleasanter to be easy; it is more agreeable to wait on inclination and encounter as little self-denial as possible in the process of trying to be saved; but to what is the favour sometimes shown to such a policy, traceable? Distinctly to the mind of the flesh.

The carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God; and yet it likes to contemplate the idea of salvation. This is why Moody-and-Sankeyism is so popular. As a sister recently observed with reference to the oppositions of this class to the truth:

"They don't like the doctrine of obedience: they like to be told they have only to believe, and may follow their own desires until they are sent for to heaven."

But we have not so learnt Christ. Christ has called us to obedience - to a stringent obedience-even to the extent of "purifying us unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." And what if the path is narrow and the discipline severe? Is not the country beyond broad and beautiful? Is not the freedom for which the discipline is preparing us great and glorious and everlasting? In many senses, we can say with Paul,

"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."

Seasons 1.96.



27 That he might present it to himself a glorious ecclesia, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

It is now but being developed. The merest fragment exists in our day. To look on that fragment as the body of Christ would be a mistake calculated to inspire disgust and destroy heart in the whole matter.

It is as when a manufacturer is getting up some splendid article to send to an international exhibition. It is got up in pieces; and an unskilled eye seeing one of those pieces in the grimy workshop unfinished and among dirt and litter, would form a very unfavourable idea of it. If he were ignorant of the plan and the pieces, he would be disgusted to be told that that unsightly piece of metal was to dazzle the eyes of courtiers at the world's fair.

At present we are in the polishing shop; and we are but a very minute part of the mechanism-as it were a bolt or pin. The eye of intelligence looks at the situation and is not disappointed because things are at present so unartistic, so unlovely, so un-christlike in many ways.

The world looks not with the eye of intelligence, but looks at Christ's work in the workshop stage, and jeers. Well, we can afford to bear this.

We know that a glorious work is being done; and that all who profess the truth are not Christlike, that there is, nevertheless, being developed by the truth a people, here and there, who will form constituents of that great body Christ, in which there will be all symmetry and sympathy.

We look forward, with the eye of faith to the complete body-the principal members of which are now in the dust.

Meanwhile, as regards the duties of our present position, we accept the professed friends of Christ, as the body of Christ in our day, towards which we are to be careful and kind-"good unto all men," but specially those who are of the household of faith.

We know not who are who. We must leave that to the Judge of all the earth, who will do right. We must, in the dulness and bitterness of the time, do our duty, even unto kindness to the unthankful and the evil, in the full prospect of that day when, if we thus sow to the Spirit, we shall reap life everlasting and everlasting joy.-Editor.

The Christadelphian, Mar 1872




The garment figure is not expressed here but it is clearly implied in the language. And here is the second medium of cleansing, beside the blood of the Lamb, and it only operates through our familiarity with the scriptures - the washing of water by the Word.

Bro Growcott - Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments



31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.


The Relation of Husband and Wife

Now, so also is it with the relation of husband and wife. As candidates for eternal life on the same principle of faith and obedience to him, they are upon an equal footing; but in relation to each other, Paul informs us that the husband is the head, and that the wife ought to be subject to him.

Their union in the truth does not obliterate the natural relation established at the beginning, in which the woman, as the weaker vessel, is to accept a subordinate relation to the man.

If I were writing for the husbands, I would stay to point out that, with his special privileges, greater responsibilities are proportionately his. He is entrusted with the headship in the family, on the supposition that he is capable of exercising it with wisdom and kindness.

In fulfilling the responsibilities of his privileged position, he has set before him an exalted and perfect pattern by which to be guided, even that of our Lord himself, in the love and solicitude manifested by him for those who are called out by the gospel to be his bride-elect.

Even to the giving of himself for her, he shewed his care and anxiety for her welfare, and desire that she might appear without spot and blameless. So, says Paul, ought men to love their wives, and to nourish and cherish them,

"even as the Lord the ecclesia."

Then Paul as one of the Bride-elect, says,

"The love of Christ constraineth us."

This shows how it is between husband and wife, when they are in the right relation to each other. The husband loves his wife and his love constrains her. It is positive pleasure to her when constrained by his love, to be subject to him. This subjection brings no trial; it imposes no burden upon her.

Love, as the moving spring of her actions, prevents all chafe. She instinctively takes her place by his side, a true help-meet, and yet the weaker vessel requiring his protective care and sympathetic love.

Sis Jane Roberts

The Christadelphian, Apr 1872



32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the ecclesia.

This is the aggregate of those, who, believing these things, have been introduced into Christ through the laver of the water; according to the saying of the Scriptures, "ye are all the children of God in Christ Jesus through the faith. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have entered into Christ," (enedusasqe). * * * ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and HEIRS according to the promise" (Gal. 3:26-29).

A community of such individuals as these constitutes the mystical body of Christ. By faith, its elements are "members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." Hence, they are "bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh;" and, therefore, the beloved Eve of the last Adam, the Lord who is to come from heaven, and make her of the same spiritual nature as His own.

Thus, the ecclesia is figuratively taken out of the side of her Lord; for every member of it believes in the remission of sins through His shed blood; and they all believe in the real resurrection of His flesh and bones, for their justification unto life by a similar revival from the dead. "Your bodies are the members," or flesh and bones, "of Christ and he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:15-17). "I have espoused you to one husband," says Paul, "that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2).

It will be perceived, then, that the ecclesia as defined, is in the present state the espoused of Christ, but not actually married. She is in the formative state, being moulded under the hand of God. When she shall be completed, God will then present her to the Man from heaven, "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white" (Rev. 19:7-8). This is she of whom the poet sings,

"Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for He is thy Lord and worship thou Him. The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto Thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought they shall enter into the King's palace"(Psalm 45:10-15). 

The presentation of Eve to the first Adam was the signal of rejoicing to the Morning Stars; and we perceive that the manifestation of Messiah's Queen will be attended with the "Alleluia" of a great multitude, sounding like the roaring of many waters, and the echoes of mighty thunderings, saying, "let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to the Lord God omnipotent: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His betrothed hath made herself ready."

Such is the relationship and destiny of the true ecclesia, styled by Paul, "the One Body." It is forming by the word; or, taking it as formed in the apostolic age, but not presented, the apprehension of the apostle has been sadly realized. "I fear," says he, "lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." The tempter has seduced the betrothed.

The simplicity in Christ is no longer characteristic of a community. It is corrupted on every side; and the ruin of the transgression alone prevails. Nevertheless, although there be no hope for the professing world, seeing that it is too "wise in its own conceit;" too self-satisfied with its supposed illumination; glorifying itself, and saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knows not," and will not be persuaded, "that it is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" (Rev. 3:17) -- seeing, I say, that this is the irremediable condition of the religious public, yet there remains scope for the deliverance of those who are disposed to obey God rather than men.

If they would become bone of Christ's bone, and flesh of His flesh, they, must "leave father and mother, and be joined unto the wife."

They find themselves now, perhaps, members of denominations as they happen to be led. These are their parentage according to the fleshly mind. They must be forsaken, and men must become "one flesh" and "one spirit " in the Lord, if they would inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 10:37). "This is a great mystery," says Paul, "but I speak concerning Christ and the ecclesia" (Eph. 5:22-32).

Elpis Israel 1.2.



33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

THE SECRET OF A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE

(The Basis of Love v.21-33)

1. It must be a sacrificial love v.25

2. It must be a purifying love v.26-27

3. It must be a caring love v.28-30

4. It must be an unbreakable love v.31

5. The whole relationship must be "in the Lord" v.32-33

Marriage in the Lord has not 2 but 3 partners (God in the middle)

Bro Peter Dulis [toronto west] Comment added in 2010