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SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 5:21

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SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”


The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)


Eph 5:15-21 KJV

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”


This devotional, continues to look at the second main division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.


In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.

  1. The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
  2. The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
  3. The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
  4. The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
  5. The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
  6. The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
  7. The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
  8. The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-21)


The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of WISDOM (5:15-21). The Biblical concept of “wisdom” is “the application of God’s Word to our lives”. To be “wise” is to apply the truths of God to our daily living. This is true wisdom and flows from the gracious hand of our Lord.

Keeping all this in mind, let’s turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives Universally (vs 15)
II.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives To Use Time Profitably (vs 16)
III.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives By Recognizing God’s Will For Us (vs 17)
IV.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives Through Self-Control (vs 18)
V.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives To Praise and Thank Him (vs 19-20)
VI.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives By Submission To Others (vs 21)





After explaining the need for us to be “filled with the Spirit”, Paul now teaches us concerning the characteristics of those who are filled with the Spirit (ie are submitted to the Spirit’s control in every area of our lives.)
In our preceding devotional, Paul taught us that:
1. inward personal praise
2. acknowledgement and appreciation of the Lord’s blessings
were two characteristics of those who are submitted to the Spirit’s leadership in their entire being.



He now continues with a third characteristic …


(Eph 5:21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.



Submitting yourselves one to another

Paul reminds us that, if we are in submission to the Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we will find ourselves in submission to those around us. In other words, we will willingly begin to live our lives for the good of others. It involves being willing to give of ourselves (our time, our possessions, our accompaniment, our counsel and advice etc etc) to help meet the needs of those around us.
In context, Paul is speaking to the members of the church at Ephesus. When he tells us to be submissive “one to another” he is referring to:
1.   all others around us (including strangers and enemies)
Mat 5:38-48 KJV –
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”


2. particularly, other Christian brothers and sisters
1Pe 1:22-23 KJV –
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”



3. but most especially, fellow members of the local assembly.
1Co 12:12-21 KJV –
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.   For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”
“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? “
“But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”


This is the three-fold responsibility that belongs to the people of God.


in the fear of God.

Our willingness to live our lives for the good of others should be motivated by “the fear of God”.
The word translated “fear” is the Greek word “phobos”. It is the same word from which we get the English word “phobia”. It describes “alarm” or “fright” and is translated in the New Testament as “fear”, “exceedingly afraid”, and “terror”. It is clear to see that, in this passage, “fear” is not simply talking about a reverence for the Lord, but it is actually speaking of a literal fear of the Lord.
Why does Paul use such a strong word to describe our motivation to help others from a heart of love? It is because the love we show to others is, perhaps, the greatest mark of a genuine salvation experience…


1Jn 3:11-19 KJV
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.   Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”


If we do not love … it is ABSOLUTE PROOF we are not saved; if we are not saved… we will face God’s eternal wrath. Certainly, this is the ultimate reason to allow the fear of God to motivate our love and sacrifice for others.



Folks are we “filled with the Spirit?” (ie have we handed over every aspect of our lives to the control of the Spirit?) If so, we will see these different characteristics of that filling in our lives….
1. Our minds will be filled with meditation on the Word, inward joy, satisfaction and contentment centered on Christ, and an attitude of reverence and honor for the greatness of the Lord and His works on our behalf.
2. We will be willing and thankful to undergo any circumstance in life as we recognize our Lord is in absolute control of our circumstances, and is working all things out for our eventual good.
3. We will find ourselves loving others and seeking to give of ourselves for their benefit.


May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!


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  1. Thank you, always, for your posts… 😀

  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Looking forward to Ephesians 6 with Paul expounding on what it means to submit to all

  3. Rob, I praise God for you and for the way God uses you to challenge and encourage me in my walk with Him. Thank you.

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