Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall present a summary of Paul’s exhortation in chapter five, concentrating on love and light. We have seen that firstly we receive God in Christ as grace and realize God in Christ as truth. Then we come to enjoy God as love and light. Love and light are inward elements, whereas grace and truth are outward elements. For this reason, the exhortation in 5:1-33 is deeper than that in 4:17-32. Love is the inner substance of God that can be sensed, and light is the expressed element of God that can be seen. According to the revelation of Ephesians 5, both love and light are to be the inner source of our walk.
Paul’s writing in Ephesians is both profound and deep. As he was writing this Epistle, he drew upon the deep concepts that were within him. These deeper concepts are the basic elements and basic factors in each chapter. In our reading of Ephesians, we must endeavor to determine what these basic elements and basic factors are, for they are the very components of the book. We have pointed out that the basic elements in chapter four are grace and truth and that the basic elements in chapter five are love and light. Along with these basic elements, there are the basic factors. In chapters four and five Paul’s intention is not simply to give a number of exhortations regarding stealing, putting off falsehood, submission, and love. Nevertheless, many pay attention to such details, but not to the basic elements and basic factors.
We have seen that in chapter four the basic factors, on the positive side, are the life of God and the Spirit of God and, on the negative side, the Devil. Now we must go on to see that the most important basic factor in this chapter is the church as the new man. This means that the exhortation here is related to this aspect of the church. The main factor in chapter five is the church as the Bride. Therefore, just as Paul’s exhortation in chapter four is related to the new man, so his exhortation in chapter five is related to the Bride.
Remember, the subject of the book of Ephesians is not behavior or virtue; it is the church. In giving us the long exhortation recorded in chapter four, Paul never loses sight of his main point—the church. As he presents the principle and the details, he is fully conscious of the church as the new man. Hence, the living described in chapter four must be for the church as the new man; that is, the church as the new man must be according to truth and by grace. As the new man, the church should live a life according to God’s standard, according to the truth as it is in Jesus. The only way the church as the new man can have such a life is by God’s all-sufficient grace. This grace supplies us so that we may live according to the mold, the model, the pattern, of the life of Jesus. This is the key to chapter four.
If we apply this key in our reading of this chapter, the entire chapter will be open to us. Keep in mind that Ephesians 4 deals with the church as the new man. If we would be the church in this aspect, we must live a life according to the standard of the truth as it is in Jesus and by God’s all-sufficient grace.
In the same principle, the main point in chapter five is the church as the Bride. The main point is not Paul’s exhortation regarding wives submitting to their own husbands or husbands loving their own wives. As the Bride, the church needs something finer and deeper than truth and grace. There is the need for love and light. Truth is not as fine as light, and grace is not as deep or intimate as love. With respect to the church as the Bride, in chapter five Paul speaks of love and light.
The fact that the church as the Bride requires a living in love and in light can be proved by our own experience in married life. If a husband and wife live together merely by grace and according to truth, their married life will be very poor. If my wife were to deal with me according to grace but offer me no love, I would be extremely dissatisfied. She would feel the same if I dealt with her according to grace without love. Married life is based not upon grace, but upon love. In like manner, married life is based not upon truth, but upon light. How pitiful it would be if a husband and wife were always considering the right way to behave toward each other. For the intimate relationship between husband and wife, mere truth is not adequate. There must be light. Therefore, a proper marriage is not merely according to truth and by grace, but is in love and in light.
Is your married life according to truth and by grace, or is it in love and in light? Suppose a wife says to her husband, “Everything I do for you is according to truth and by grace. Nothing I do is wrong or false. Furthermore, everything is by the Lord’s sufficient grace.” This does not sound like the intimacy of a marriage, but sounds like the coldness of a law court. In married life the relationship between wife and husband should be fine, bright, and intimate.
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