All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

21 August 2020 – Ephesians 5:15-21

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:15-21

James Montgomery Boice writes:

First, being filled with the Spirit is not the same thing as being “baptized” by the Spirit. Some, having confused the two, have taught the need for a second work of grace, usually accompanied by the gift of speaking in tongues, if a person is to grow or get on in the Christian life. Actually, the baptism of the Spirit refers to the work of the Spirit in regenerating us and uniting us to Christ, which is how we become Christians in the first place. It is rightly called “baptism,” because baptism is the sacrament marking the beginning of the Christian life. It is something that happens to every Christian and does not need to be urged upon him.

Billing “filled” with the Spirit is something that is urged upon Christians, which is what Paul does here. But it does not concern any special miraculous gifts such as speaking in tongues. Rather, it refers to our being under the Holy Spirit’s control and leading that our though and life are entirely taken up with Jesus Christ, to whom it is the Spirit’s chief responsibility to bear witness. In Acts there are ten occasions, at Pentecost and afterward, when an individual or group of individuals is said to have been filled with the Holy Spirit. In each case the common factor is that the persons involved immediately bore testimony to Jesus.

Paul says that the wise man should desire to be so filled with God’s Spirit that he might bear a faithful and effective testimony to Jesus Christ. Quite obviously, this will be a testimony conveyed by the upright character of his or her life, which is what Paul has been talking about all along. Also, quite obviously, it will be a testimony conveyed by the content and character of his or her speech, which is what the next two verses deal with.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 23
Q. 23. What offices doth Christ execute as our redeemer?
A. Christ, as our redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.