“Be ye therefore followers of God,” etc. (This chapter should be joined to the last). We are all prone to imitate those that we admire, those that we love. “Be ye imitators of God.” He won’t do anything for us but for the highest reason. God in Christ’s love to us. Correct everything in your walk by what you are in Christ, else your walk will be very incorrect. “Be ye imitators of God.” “Walk as dear children of God.” Sometimes you can see the ways of a father in a child, as well as his likeness in the face.
Verse 2.—“Walk in love.” Beloved children. By practise it gets more natural to walk in love, walk in light, walk actively. “Walk in love as Christ has loved us.” Throughout there is an appeal. Oh, that you may know the love of Christ. He expects that His love should be reciprocated. The Bride and Bridegroom drawn together, and then He will come and meet her. “An offering and a sacrifice to God.” It is an allusion to the burnt offering. An odour of Christ’s sacrifice, very savoury to God. We are told we are loved from everlasting, the odour of that love of Christ reaching from everlasting. You can’t be surprised at one going to Paradise, though he was a thief. I think how full must be that sweet odour in the heaven of heavens. Are you surprised that God bears with your poor prayers and that you get such beautiful answers? There is the odour of the incense, that is the reason for it. What a beautiful thing it is when we try to please God; our faint endeavours are perfumed in this way. (Phil. 4:18.) “Christ gave Himself for us,” an odour of a sweet smell before God. God says, “Don’t do so and so, for Christ died for you.”
Verses 3-4.—“Foolish talking “put along with fornication, as if all comes from the flesh. The one may be a speck, the other far bigger, but God puts them together. Nothing to provoke a laugh in heaven. “Which are not convenient,” it means they don’t fit a son of God; such a walk and such a talk, they don’t match. Satan will try and bring you down to unguarded language, but if you are overflowing, giving thanks, you will not give way.
Verse 6.—“Let no man deceive you.” If I do believe in Christ, I am a changed man. If I am not changed, I believe as the devils—they believe and tremble. It is one thing to believe in Christ, and another to believe you are saved; our faith gives us the victory over the world and over the flesh. We should be changed as to our tongues, our thoughts; our affections should be set on things above. If we are God’s children He expects us to be holy. He has given us the Holy Ghost and the glory, which gives us the power.
Verse 11.—“Have no fellowship, with the unfruitful work of darkness.” We are children of the light and we can’t love the darkness.
Verse 9.—“The fruit of the light”—that is the proper rendering. We are to live as sunbeams, prove it, show it out to the world. Righteousness is peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Verse 14.—“Awake thou that sleepest.” Rise up from among the dead ones and Christ will give you light. Obedience is the way to get light. God expects you to obey first, and then He will give you more light. In Jeremiah 32:we read that God told Jeremiah to to buy a field just when the land was going to be devastated by Nebuchadnezzar. He did as he was told. When he had obeyed God and bought the land, then he asked God what it meant. It seemed contradictory. So in the new Testament. Jesus told the man with the withered hand to stretch it forth. He might have said, “I cannot,” but he stretched it out, and in doing as he was told, he got strength. If you want to see clearly, be obedient. There is always blessing in obedience. (See 2 Cor.6:17, 18.) Think of God pointing out the way we may enjoy His love. We are to obey according as He marks our path before us, then He gives us more joy and peace as we go on acting out. Particularly separate from the dead ones. We have no business to worship with the dead. Thus we become like the Lord Jesus Himself. There is a striking passage in Rom. 1:3, 4. Christ was the Son of God before, but God marked Him by resurrection “from out of the dead ones,” so when we believe in God we have everlasting life and come out from the dead ones. He will mark out who are His sons by the voice of Christ, and the sons of God will come out from the tomb. God is now making us hear the voice of Christ in our spirits. As we get light we are to act out that light.
Verse 15.—“See that you walk circumspectly.” It is in the original “accurately,”—walk as a resurrection man. Does it become me as a risen man to act so? How would an angel act in Regent Street? Would he look in every shop with longing eyes? If we see a drunken man, are we to laugh? No, an angel would weep. Is that like the path of a resurrection man? If you have any doubt, see that you “walk accurately.”
Verse 16.—“Redeeming the time.” It should be “opportunity.” The opportunity to know more of His will. You are threading your way through this wilderness to another world where all is beautiful.
Verse 17.—The meaning is this. The Lord expects that you will care to please Him, to have a tender conscience, a single eye, to tremble at the thought of sin. He has given His blood to get you. Read verses 14 and 17 together, just to get the thought. The great secret is to keep clear from communion with dead souls. If we do realise that the blood of Jesus was shed, God says, “Will you value My will more than anything else?” “I will, Lord.” And when you are separated from the dead and stand with Christ, plenty of things will appear very different to what they did before; then you will see your difficulties clear away and everything be made plain. If two Christians differ one must be wrong. They should not agree to differ, they should pray to God to make it right. If our walk is inaccurate, we are stumbling at some part of the Scripture. (See 2 Tim. 3:16.) Rest assured we are spiritually squinting. It is the effect of the heart, not of the eye.
This Word is an appeal to our love. “Do you love me? Find out My will.” “But Your will is difficult.” “You get out from among the dead ones, I will give you light.” He begins by telling them His love, and making them obedient; they wonder they have been in darkness so long.
Verse 18.—See 1 Peter 4:4. “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.”
Verse 19.—Oh, what a life that is! A Christian ought to be a happy man, if anybody is.
Verse 20.—To know that what comes, comes from the Father’s hands. Thus to know that God takes care of us. He watches over us to do us good; we are to walk in faith.
Verse 21.—Though there is a making melody, there is a reverential, not slavish, fear. We don’t want to displease Him, and so we are to be on our guard.
Verse 22.—“Wives, submit,” etc. It is the way of the Lord to put in grace the weaker first,—the wives before the husbands, children before the parents, and when it says “unto the Lord,” it teaches us that the Lord has established subordination, one under another. May we acquiesce in His arrangement, and what a way it is of God. Here we see that speaking of the wife and her subordination is used to introduce the grand truth of the church to Christ. In the former chapters, God has been looking on all believers as Sons, then as a Temple, then a Body, then here a Bride. Like as Eve was taken out of the body of Adam to be fashioned as His bride.
Verse 30.—“We are members of His body,” etc. The one denotes union, the other relationship. The church as the bride denotes that she appreciates His love, that she loves Him, that her affections are His and His are hers.
On Saturday night God made Eve, and this is particularly the Saturday night of the world. God is now bringing it to see its emptiness.
Verse 27.—There is only one, the church glorious. Adam did not present Eve to himself, the Lord God brought her unto Adam; but here Christ Himself brings her to Himself. The Holy Ghost says seven things. 1. Christ loved the Church. 2. He gave Himself for it. 3. He sanctifies it. 4. He cleanses it. 5. He nourishes it. 6. He cherishes it. 7. That He might present it. The first two. Each believer can say, “He loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20.) Christ sanctifies, washing our feet. (John 13:3-6.) He cherishes the church, that is, He warms her. Christ will present the church; Christ will present me. In the Epistle of Jude, “He is able to keep, and to present us,” etc. Every particle of the church is so dear to God. No husband so loves his wife as to love every particle of her. We can appropriate every one of these in particular, and yet how little we value them. “Christ loved the church,” etc. Christ “nourisheth;” that is provides food, “cherisheth,” warmeth. Every time your soul is refreshed and strengthened, that is Christ doing it. He likes giving whole loaves. Sometimes when your spirit feels depressed, and you feel as if you were in a valley, then He warms your soul by the smiles of His face. To nourish, “that He might present.” So that even now when He gives us food, His purpose is to present us faultless under His eye. Don’t let us leave out any of these sevens—one future, two past, four present. It looks as if present were the most important, then the tiptop one future. What He will do.
Verse 26.—“Sanctify and cleanse.” There is a difference; cleanse it from impurity; sanctify to God. When my heart is drawn from Him, I am wrong; when my affections are drawn to Him, He is sanctifying me. He wants us for Himself, and He won’t consent for the heart to be divided. The Lord wants every atom, every corner, “that He might sanctify it.” He is wooing us. Will I do? You have lost so and so? Will I do? You have given up the world. Will I do?
“With the washing of water through the Word.” The water is the Holy Ghost applying the Word to our conscience, to our walk,—every-day walk, Sunday walk, Sunday worship. He can but do us good. Why should we shudder at being delivered from everything that displeases Him? The 3rd and 4th give some pain. The 5th and 6th give joy. Is it some new thing to be torn away? But as He operates upon us, He nourishes us: He is giving us some of the old corn of the land. Our joy in the Lord ought to increase the more we know of Him. So it seems to me these four are balanced in pairs.—One involves pain; one unmitigated delight to the Spirit. How perfect His ways are! Then comes the 7th.
Verse 27.—Who says she is “glorious?” God. (Rev. 21:9-11.) If a husband selects a wife, he can’t make her just what he would like. Christ can. He wants a Bride of surpassing glory. He who brought this world out of nothing, can take out of the sweepings of the Gentiles, and can present to Himself a “church glorious.” When? At the time of the rapture. The time of the coming of the Lord. It should be “with Jesus” in 2 Cor. 4:14. That may take place at any moment. How far we have got on in the Saturday night I don’t know. And in the Sunday morning God will bring this heavenly Eve to Adam. In the meanwhile each individual member may say,—He cleanses me for Himself. He is going to present me to Himself. That is the way to eat the Word. When you read the Word, take it to yourself, so as to get nourishment and warmth from Christ Himself.