I love God’s Word. The Armor of God is found in Ephesians 6, and it is such a good reminder on who God is and who we are in and through Him. Today’s reading isn’t something I wanted to write about.
This whole section is about relationships. We saw at the end of Ephesians 5 the relationship of a husband and wife. At the start of Ephesians 6 we learned about the relationship of a father and child. Here we read about masters and bondservants. Before we go any further, I want to remember where we have been. Ephesians 5:15-21 is a beautifully speaks of how Christians are to live.
Here’s a summary of the ideas, please check the passage out to be sure I didn’t miss anything:
- be wise
- use time in the best way possible
- understand what the will of the Lord is
- be filled with the Spirit (not drunk)
- speak to “one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs”
- make melody to the Lord with your heart
- give thanks always
- give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
- submit to one another out of reverence to Christ
This is the lead in to the three relationships Paul would address.
All relationships we have on earth should reflect our relationship with God, who is in heaven.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” 
Paul spent the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians explaining their identity in Christ. Previously they were dead in their trespasses and sins, following the world’s way and not God’s (Ephesians 2:1). God changed everything! He sent His Son showing grace and kindness to them! Paul knows that he has received the riches of God’s kindness and grace as well. If you have read Ephesians, you know how saturated it is in God’s character. It is drenched in God’s grace, so that we, people who know we are sinners, will remember that through Christ we are under a new law no longer one of sin and death.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
As Christians our only boast is Christ Jesus, who lived and died and is raised for us. We deserved death and separation from God. He gave us mercy. It is from this position of humility that we are to live in relationship with God and the people He places in our lives.
“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.”
We are all answering to one Master. Earthly bosses and workers, masters and slaves, husbands and wives, parents and children, teachers and students, CEO’s and janitors, professors and those who bind books, stars and newscasters, … all answer to God. Ephesians makes God’s loving character clear. God makes clear His expectations for His people (Ephesians 5:1-2). We are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). We are equal with one another.
Here we are. Broken people, made whole in Christ, living with other broken people. We are to fear God; He is holy. If we have come to faith in Christ, we must fear and trust God. Trusting Him and fearing Him, we will obey Him.
Many years ago my boss asked me to make a phone call I dreaded. I made the call because I answer to God (who placed my boss in his position and me in mine). The conversation went well and when I hung up I knew with certainty that it was simply God’s grace. There was no other reason for the conversation to go well.
It seems like it would be lovely if every time we obeyed God and remembered we are ultimately serving Him that we saw blessings right away. God uses circumstances to mold us into the likeness of His son. We can have confidence because God knows and sees and cares. It is Him we serve. We answer to Him.
The passage Ephesians 6:5-9 talks about rendering service with good will as to Jesus Christ. It reminds me of a conversation Jesus. “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21 ESV) You remember the context was paying taxes and so Jesus asked for a coin and then whose inscription was on it.
You and I, dear one, have been bought by Christ. We are made in God’s image. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We are to render to God what is His.
It reminds me of Colossians 3:17. Let’s look at verse 16 well.
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (NIV)
Not only do these verses sound similar to the Ephesians section we are in, when you read the surrounding verses, you’ll see the context is the same. We are one in Christ. We are to love one another. We are in relationships with people and God speaks life into those relationships.
Commentator Foulkes makes a bold statement on work.
We serve the Lord.
No, didn’t want to write on this at all. But I’m so thankful that God is still working on me.
Thank you for drawing me into right relationship with You through Jesus. Thank you for reminding me over and over that I am to love like you in the relationships you place me in. Please help me. I need you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Thoughts to Ponder
What is similar between Ephesians 6 and Colossians 3?
Why would Paul write nearly the same thing to more than one church?
How will you apply this passage to your relationships?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Foulkes, F. (1989). Ephesians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 10, pp. 162–163). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.