On this program, the hosts resume their verse by verse discussion of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, picking up midway through chapter 5. The focus of the conversation centers on Paul’s discussion of the relationship between husbands and wives, as an analogy of Christ’s relationship to his church. Once again, the practical imperatives are grounded in gospel indicatives. Join us for this edition of the White Horse Inn.
“Because Christ so loved us and gave himself for us, now we can love each other in ways that just conflict with the way the world thinks. You think of it today, a husband and wife getting into a marriage where they have a prenuptial agreement because, basically, it’s what can I get out of this marriage. This is like a business partnership, for some people at least. ‘What can I get out of it? And if I don’t get enough out of it, then I’m going to eject.’ This is a very different view than the Scriptures provide and it’s based on the fact that it’s not our love for God, but his love for us that motivates us…
“What Paul is saying when it comes to the gift of salvation, the gift of the Spirit, restoring the image – going back all the way to Genesis where ‘in the image of God, he created them, male and female’ – that this image is being restored and it belongs to male and female equally; and in Christ, there is no distinction between male or female when it comes to sharing in Christ and his gifts. But that distinction he made in creation in terms of proper order and offices and roles is not destroyed by the gospel; rather, the gospel changes us in our conduct with respect to those roles.”
Term to Learn
The manner of life that is centered on God, with special reference to devotion, piety, and reverence toward him. It can be defined as the conjunction of an attitude of devotion to God and of the consequent right conduct. In the Pastoral Epistles eusebeia denotes a particular manner of life and comes close to the OT idea of “the fear of God.” However, it does not focus upon the law, but on the individual believer’s faith in Christ (1 Tim. 3:16). The secret of the godly life is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ; godliness is basically following him in this life (Titus 2:12). It is thus presented as a Christian goal, to be earnestly sought after (1 Tim. 2:2; 4:7–8), even if it leads to persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). Godliness and sound doctrine are closely related. True doctrine is described as being “godly teaching” (1 Tim. 6:3) and “truth that leads to godliness” (Titus 1:1), while an appearance of godliness without true Christian content is characteristic of evil men (2 Tim. 3:5). It is important to note that godliness is directly connected to proper respect for the family (1 Tim. 5:4). Godliness is thus the honoring of God as Creator and Redeemer that is born of faith in Jesus Christ and expresses itself in daily living. As such, it is a criterion for soundness of doctrine and should characterize all Christians.
(Adapted from Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, s.v. “Godliness.”)