The phrase ‘Ignorance is not a defence,’ is a legal principle in law stating, that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because one was unaware of its content. Even the Bible talks about this in Leviticus 5:17, ‘if anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible.’ In the same way that were given laws and instructions to follow in our various countries all over the world, the same applies in our daily walk with God, there are certain set of rules and instructions laid out for us, as we see in chapter five, of the book of Ephesians.
Paul continues to give instructions for christian living and how we ought to conduct ourselves on a day to day basis. “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ love us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Children learn best from what they see, ‘monkey see, monkey do,’ a child who has grown up in an environment of violence will either become violent or completely shut down others around them, while a child who has grown up in peace and love, has a higher chance of exhibiting the same characteristics everywhere they go.
As believers in the family of God our Father, we need to take a cue and learn from Him, a Father so loving and kind, words cannot begin to describe Him. Yes our world is full of hate and malice, yes we have been hurt left right and centre, however, God is still calling us to follow His example and become like Him, loving each other just as He has loved us. Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God didn’t wait for us to change so that He can send His Son, no! He sent Him while we were still sinners, doing ungodly things, and this was to demonstrate His love for us. In our world today, people do good things for good people, rarely for bad people! But Christ does the total opposite, He dies for sinners (bad people) and this includes you and me, Romans 5:7 puts this perspective clearly, “very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die.”
What other characteristics should we have? “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Paul also talks about sexual impurity in Galatians chapter 5 when he urges us to live our lives by the Spirit, because when we please the Spirit, we will not please the flesh. Therefore, all forms of sexual immorality, impurity or greed are things that we need to stop doing for they are not proper for God’s people. “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Indecency, immorality, cursing or using cursing words, foolish talk and saying things that may seem to be fun, but hurtful to another person, all vulgar, gross and offensive talk should be something that we do away with. We all have different personalities and what may seem fun to one person, may be totally offensive to the other. We take another person’s comments of been hurt, as a joke and wonder why they would get offended by such sentiments, forgetting that we are all different. One man’s meat, is another man’s poison, beloved, let us respect each other’s perspectives and honour them as human beings, because at the end of the day, anyone who partakes in these foolish talk, will not have any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”
How then should we live? “Live as children of light, and produce fruit of light which is goodness, righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord.” Have you ever wonderned or asked yourself what pleases God? what is that thing that when you do, puts a smile on His face? Paul urges us to find out what pleases Him, something that can only be achieved when we soak ourselves in the Word of God and in His presence, though we do get a glimpse in Romans 12:2 when Paul writes, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
“Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” The wages of sin is death Romans 6:23, there are no two ways about it, you live in sin, you produce fruitless deeds which will not bring you to see the Lord, but lead you to death and eternal hell fire, remember what Jesus said in Matthew 26:52, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword,” hence the phrase, ‘live by the sword, die by the sword.’
Therefore, “be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Remember the story that Jesus gave about the five foolish and five wise virgins? Both the foolish and wise took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them, while the wise ones, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom took time before He came and they all fell asleep, then at midnight He came, and all the virgins woke up from their slumber. The five wise had enough oil while the five foolish had nothing! and the wise went into the wedding banquet and the door was shut, read more in Matthew 25:1-13. The days were living in are evil, but we are urged to make the most of every opportunity by being wise and doing what is right in the eyes of God, remembering that Jesus Christ is coming back again. Jesus said, “For as lighting that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” Matthew 24:27, But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only The Father” Matthew 24:36, therefore, dearly beloved, remember the words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
More Instructions for Christian Living
- Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
- Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery (excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol or drugs).
- Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit.
- Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What of christian households? how should they live? There’s alot of debate of how married people should live but the Bible gives us clear cut instructions. “Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” Submission in this century of equality, is seen as a sign of women being less than men. However, The Bible gives us perfect example of looking at submission – as you do to the Lord. Marriage was ordained by God from the very beginning as we see in Genesis, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh,” and it is also the institution that has being used to show Christ and His Church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to prepare her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.” If you look at it critically, the husband has being tasked with much more than the woman. The woman has being asked to submit, and the man to love his wife as Christ loves the church. There is nothing that Christ wouldn’t do for His church, and in the same way, the man as the priest of the home needs to take care of his wife.
No one ever hated their own body, but they fed and cared for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are all members of His body. Paul is using a mystery, using the institution of marriage, but also talking about Christ and the church. That is why we are urged not to commit adultery, defiling the marriage bed, and in the same way, when we sin, since we are the body of Christ, we are defiling it. Therefore wives, submit to your husbands, husbands love your wives, as you love yourself, and as Christ loves the church and finally to the wives, please respect your husbands!
Memory verse Ephesians 5:1-2 "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.