Reading Through The New Testament In 2016. Day 172. Ephesians 5
For the first chapter of this Paul seems to be really critical of the Ephesians by digging into the less than ideal way they interact with each other. He calls out their drunkenness and foul language publicly. Rereading this a couple times, I don’t think Paul’s intention is to be mean to the Ephesians. I think he’s trying to tell them how great kingdom life is, and encourage them to a better way of being.
First he basically says ‘stop saying bad stuff all the time’. Yes, he’s being critical of their behaviour. But then he follows it up by saying ‘because you instead could be praising God. Instead of tearing each other down, build each other up.’ Then he talks about a problem with drunkenness they have. He tells them to stop because instead of being drunk on wine they can be filled with the Holy Spirit, living a life of worship.
Paul isn’t so much concerned with the bad here as the potential for good. He doesn’t want to see the Ephesians fall into these traps of sin because he wants to see them living in and embracing the freedom of Christ, and it penetrating every part of their lives. Paul here doesn’t condemn, so much as hope.