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Ephesians 6:5-9

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Heavenly Father,


I'm getting excited about actually finishing Ephesians! lol As I look back over the months and from the first chapter till now, I can see how the foundation of Your truths were necessary for me to learn because I sense and see a battle looming on my horizon. It is a spiritual battle, a spiritual battle for one of my daughters, but You have been preparing me all along and I am not afraid.


May the reading of Your Word not only continue to bless and teach us, but if we can impart blessings back to You Father, then Bless You Lord, because You are so holy, You are all that is good and loving, and I love You so much.



5. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;


Clarke comments, "Servants, be obedient] Though doulov frequently signifies a slave or bondman, yet it often implies a servant in general, or any one bound to another, either for a limited time, or for life. Even a slave, if a Christian, was bound to serve him faithfully by whose money he was bought, howsoever illegal that traffic may be considered. In heathen countries slavery was in some sort excusable; among Christians it is an enormity and a crime for which perdition has scarcely an adequate state of punishment.


According to the flesh] Your masters in secular things; for they have no authority over your religion, nor over your souls.


With fear and trembling] Because the law gives them a power to punish you for every act of disobedience.


In singleness of your heart] Not merely through fear of punishment, but from a principle of uprightness, serving them as you would serve Christ."


Henry states, " The duty of servants. This also is summed up in one word, which is, obedience. He is largest on this article, as knowing there was the greatest need of it. These servants were generally slaves. Civil servitude is not inconsistent with Christian liberty. Those may be the Lord's freemen who are slaves to men. "Your masters according to the flesh (v. 5), that is, who have the command of your bodies, but not of your souls and consciences: God alone has dominion over these." Now, with respect to servants, he exhorts, 1. That they obey with fear and trembling. They are to reverence those who are over them, fearing to displease them, and trembling lest they should justly incur their anger and indignation. 2. That they be sincere in their obedience: In singleness of heart; not pretending obedience when they design disobedience, but serving them with faithfulness. 3. They should have an eye to Jesus Christ in all the service that they perform to their masters (v. 5-7), doing service as to the Lord, and not to men; that is, not to men only or principally. When servants, in the discharge of the duty of their places, have an eye to Christ, this puts an honour upon their obedience, and an acceptableness into it. Service done to their earthly masters, with an eye to him, becomes acceptable service to him also. To have an eye to Christ is to remember that he sees them and is ever present with them, and that his authority obliges them to a faithful and conscientious discharge of the duties of their station."


Clarke states (and encompasses verses 6 and 7 with 5): "Servants, be obedient. His exhortation to servants is so much the more earnest, on account of the hardship and bitterness of their condition, which renders it more difficult to be endured. And he does not speak merely of outward obedience, but says more about fear willingly rendered; for it is a very rare occurrence to find one who willingly yields himself to the control of another. The servants (δοῦλοι) whom he immediately addresses were not hired servants, like those of the present day, but slaves, such as were in ancient times, whose slavery was perpetual, unless, through the favor of their masters, they obtained freedom, — whom their masters bought with money, that they might impose upon them the most degrading employments, and might, with the full protection of the law, exercise over them the power of life and death. To such he says, obey your masters, lest they should vainly imagine that carnal freedom had been procured for them by the gospel.


But as some of the worst men were compelled by the dread of punishment, he distinguishes between Christian and ungodly servants, by the feelings which they cherished. With fear and trembling; that is, with the careful respect which springs from an honest purpose. It can hardly be expected, however, that so much deference will be paid to a mere man, unless a higher authority shall enforce the obligation; and therefore he adds, as doing the will of God. (Ver. 6.) Hence it follows, that it is not enough if their obedience satisfy the eyes of men; for God requires truth and sincerity of heart. When they serve their masters faithfully, they obey God. As if he had said, “Do not suppose that by the judgment of men you were thrown into slavery. It is God who has laid upon you this burden, who has placed you in the power of your masters. He who conscientiously endeavors to render what he owes to his master, performs his duty not to man only, but to God.”



With good will doing service. (Ver. 7.) This is contrasted with the suppressed indignation which swells the bosom of slaves. Though they dare not openly break out or give signs of obstinacy, their dislike of the authority exercised over them is so strong, that it is with the greatest unwillingness and reluctance that they obey their masters.


Whoever reads the accounts of the dispositions and conduct of slaves, which are scattered through the writings of the ancients, will be at no loss to perceive that the number of injunctions here given does not exceed that of the diseases which prevailed among this class, and which it was of importance to cure. But the same instruction applies to male and female servants of our own times. It is God who appoints and regulates all the arrangements of society. As the condition of servants is much more agreeable than that of slaves in ancient times, they ought to consider themselves far less excusable, if they do not endeavor, in every way, to comply with Paul’s injunctions.


Masters according to the flesh. (Ver. 5.) This expression is used to soften the harsh aspect of slavery. He reminds them that their spiritual freedom, which was by far the most desirable, remained untouched.


Eye-service (ὀφθαλμοδουλεία) is mentioned; because almost all servants are addicted to flattery, but, as soon as their master’s back is turned, indulge freely in contempt, or perhaps in ridicule. Paul therefore enjoins godly persons to keep at the greatest distance from such deceitful pretences."


This kinda struck me when Calvin stated, "It is God who appoints and regulates all the arrangements of society." The thought that God appointed and regulates all our positions in life is not anything I thought of before...it's kind of too big for me to wrap my mind around at the moment. Even if I wanted to be princess of the north pole, He destined me to live at this point in my life up here in the mountains.


6. Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;


Clarke states, "Not with eye-service] Not merely in their presence, when their eye is upon you, as unfaithful and hypocritical servants do, without consulting conscience in any part of their work.


Doing the will of God] Seeing that you are in the state of servitude, it is the will of God that you should act conscientiously in it."


Henry writes, "They must not serve their masters with eye-service (v. 6)—that is, only when their master's eye is upon them; but they must be as conscientious in the discharge of their duty, when they are absent and out of the way, because then their Master in heaven beholds them: and therefore they must not act as men-pleasers—as though they had no regard to the pleasing of God, and approving themselves to him, if they can impose upon their masters. Observe, A steady regard to the Lord Jesus Christ will make men faithful and sincere in every station of life."


7. With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:


Clarke writes, "With good will] metÆ eunoiav? With cheerfulness; do not take up your service as a cross, or bear it as a burden; but take it as coming in the order of God's providence, and a thing that is pleasing to him."


Henry states, " What they do they must do cheerfully: Doing the will of God from the heart, serving their masters as God wills they should, not grudgingly, nor by constraint, but from a principle of love to them and their concerns. This is doing it with good-will (v. 7), which will make their service easy to themselves, pleasing to their masters, and acceptable to the Lord Christ. There should be good-will to their masters, good-will to the families they are in; and especially a readiness to do their duty to God. Observe, Service, performed with conscience, and from a regard to God, though it be to unrighteous masters, will be accounted by Christ as service done to himself."


8. Knowing, that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.


Clarke writes, "Whatsoever good thing any man doeth] Though your masters should fail to give you the due reward of your fidelity and labour, yet, as ye have done your work as unto the Lord, he will take care to give you the proper recompense.


Whether he be bond] A slave, bought with money; Or free.] A person who has hired himself of his own free accord."


Henry states, " Let faithful servants trust God for their wages, while they do their duty in his fear: Knowing that whatsoever good thing (v. 8), how poor and mean soever it may be, considered in itself,—the same shall he receive of the Lord, that is, by a metonymy, the reward of the same. Though his master on earth should neglect or abuse him, instead of rewarding him, he shall certainly be rewarded by the Lord Christ, whether he be bond or free, whether he be a poor bond-servant or a freeman or master. Christ regards not these differences of men at present; nor will he in the great and final judgment. You think, "A prince, or a magistrate, or a minister, that does his duty here, will be sure to receive his reward in heaven: but what capacity am I, a poor servant, in, of recommending myself to the favour of God." Why, God will as certainly reward thee for the meanest drudgery that is done from a sense of duty and with an eye to himself. And what can be said more proper either to engage or to encourage servants to their duty?"


Calvin writes, "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth. What a powerful consolation! However unworthy, however ungrateful or cruel, their masters may be, God will accept their services as rendered to himself. When servants take into account the pride and arrogance of their masters, they often become more indolent from the thought that their labor is thrown away. But Paul informs them that their reward is laid up with God for services which appear to be ill bestowed on unfeeling men; and that there is no reason, therefore, why they should be led aside from the path of duty. He adds, whether bond or free No distinction is made between a slave and a free man. The world is wont to set little value on the labors of slaves; but God esteems them as highly as the duties of kings. In his estimate, the outward station is thrown aside, and each is judged according to the uprightness of his heart."


9. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.


Clarke states, "Ye masters, do the same things unto them] Act in the same affectionate, conscientious manner towards your slaves and servants, as they do towards you.


Forbearing threatening] If they should transgress at any time, lean more to the side of mercy than justice; and when ye are obliged to punish, let it be as light and as moderate as possible; and let revenge have no part in the chastisement, for that is of the devil, and not of God.


The words, forbearing threatening; anientev thn apeilhn, signify to mitigate, relax, or not exact threatening; that is, the threatened punishment.


The sense is given above.


In Shemoth Rabba, sect. 21, fol. 120, there is a good saying concerning respect of persons: "If a poor man comes to a rich man to converse with him, he will not regard him; but if a rich man comes he will hear and rehear him. The holy and blessed God acts not thus; for all are alike before him, women, slaves, the poor, and the rich." Knowing that your Master also is in heaven] You are their masters, GOD is yours. As you deal with them, so GOD will deal with you; for do not suppose, because their condition on earth is inferior to yours, that God considers them to be less worthy of his regard than you are; this is not so, for there is no respect of persons with Him."


Henry writes, "The duty of masters: "And you masters, do the same things unto them (v. 9); that is, act after the same manner. Be just to them, as you expect they should be to you: show the like good-will and concern for them, and be careful herein to approve yourselves to God." Observe, Masters are under as strict obligations to discharge their duty to their servants as servants are to be obedient and dutiful to them. "Forbearing threatening; anientes—moderating threatening, and remitting the evils with which you threaten them. Remember that your servants are made of the same mould with yourselves, and therefore be not tyrannical and imperious over them, knowing that your Master also is in heaven:" some copies read, both your and their Master. "You have a Master to obey who makes this your duty; and you and they are but fellow-servants in respect of Christ. You will be as punishable by him, for the neglect of your duty, or for acting contrary to it, as any others of meaner condition in the world. You are therefore to show favour to others, as ever you expect to find favour with him; and you will never be a match for him, though you may be too hard for your servants." Neither is there respect of persons with him; a rich, a wealthy, and a dignified master, if he be unjust, imperious, and abusive, is not a jot the nearer being accepted of God for his riches, wealth, and honour. He will call masters and servants to an impartial account for their conduct one to another, and will neither spare the former because they are more advanced nor be severe towards the latter because they are inferior and mean in the world. If both masters and servants would consider their relation and obligation to God and the account they must shortly give to him, they would be more careful of their duty to each other. Thus the apostle concludes his exhortation to relative duties."


Calvin wraps this up with these statements: "And ye masters. In the treatment of their slaves, the laws granted to masters a vast amount of power. Whatever had thus been sanctioned by the civil code was regarded by many as in itself lawful. To such an extent did their cruelty in some instances proceed, that the Roman emperors were forced to restrain their tyranny. But though no royal edicts had ever been issued for the protection of slaves, God allows to masters no power over them beyond what is consistent with the law of love. When philosophers attempt to give to the principles of equity their full effect in restraining the excess of severity to slaves, they inculcate that masters ought to treat them in the same manner as hired servants. But they never look beyond utility; and, in judging even of that, they inquire only what is advantageous to the head of the family, or conducive to good order. The Apostle proceeds on a very different principle. He lays down what is lawful according to the Divine appointment, and how far they, too, are debtors to their servants.


Do the same things to them. “Perform the duty which on your part you owe to them.” What he calls in another Epistle, (τὸ δίκαιον καὶ τὴν ἰσότητα) that which is just and equal, is precisely what, in this passage, he calls the same things, (τὰ αὐτὰ.) And what is this but the law of analogy? Masters and servants are not indeed on the same level; but there is a mutual law which binds them. By this law, servants are placed under the authority of their masters; and, by the same law, due regard being had to the difference of their station, masters lie under certain obligations to their servants. This analogy is greatly misunderstood; because men do not try it by the law of love, which is the only true standard. Such is the import of Paul’s phrase, the same things; for we are all ready enough to demand what is due to ourselves; but, when our own duty comes to be performed, every one attempts to plead exemption. It is chiefly, however, among persons of authority and rank that injustice of this sort prevails.


Forbearing threatenings. Every expression of disdain, arising from the pride of masters, is included in the single word, threatenings. They are charged not to assume a lordly air or a terrific attitude, as if they were constantly threatening some evil against their servants, when they have occasion to address them. Threatenings, and every kind of barbarity, originate in this, that masters look upon their servants as if they had been born for their sake alone, and treat them as if they were of no more value than cattle. Under this one description, Paul forbids every kind of disdainful and barbarous treatment.


Their Master and yours. A very necessary warning. What is there which we will not dare to attempt against our inferiors, if they have no ability to resist, and no means of obtaining redress, — if no avenger, no protector appears, none who will be moved by compassion to listen to their complaints? It happens here, in short, according to the common proverb, that Impunity is the mother of Licentiousness. But Paul here reminds them, that, while masters possess authority over their servants, they have themselves the same Master in heaven, to whom they must render an account.


And there is no respect of persons with him. A regard to persons blinds our eyes, so as to leave no room for law or justice; but Paul affirms that it is of no value in the sight of God. By person is meant anything about a man which does not belong to the real question, and which we take into account in forming a judgment. Relationship, beauty, rank, wealth, friendship, and everything of this sort, gain our favor; while the opposite qualities produce contempt and sometimes hatred. As those absurd feelings arising from the sight of a person have the greatest possible influence on human judgments, those who are invested with power are apt to flatter themselves, as if God would countenance such corruptions. “Who is he that God should regard him, or defend his interest against mine?” Paul, on the contrary, informs masters that they are mistaken if they suppose that their servants will be of little or no account before God, because they are so before men. “God is no respecter of persons,” (Acts 10:34,) and the cause of the meanest man will not be a whit less regarded by him than that of the loftiest monarch."


Heavenly Father,


Thank You for this time today in Ephesians. I'm sitting here not quite knowing what to pray...


But I feel Your presence and I revel in that and thank You for the work You are doing in my life. As each day goes by I cry, "More Lord"...more and more and more because I love growing closer to You. Who'd have ever thought that?


Father, my daughter lays heavy on my heart. I see where she's at, I see where she's heading...I've been there/done that. I will remind You over and over again how I gave her back to You as a newborn baby, and how I'm giving her back to You, right now, this moment, over and over again. I am her mama and I'd slay the earth for her, but I know that my hands are tied in alot of respects. I know that my words will fall on deaf ears, I know that her mind will rebel at my counsel and I know that her heart will reject most things I try to do and say. So I turn to the One who is the Most High God, standing before Your holy throne, lifting my daughter up to You, placing her in Your holy arms and trusting You with her life. She's MY baby, and it's MY right to do this. You gave her to me, I'm giving her back and know that You will be as faithful (and more) to her, as You have been in my life.


So Father, heal her spiritual eyes that she might see. Heal her spiritual ears that she might hear Your truths...about Your love, Your sacrifice, Your compassion, all of it. Heal her spiritual crippledness so that she can stand strong and upright in Your presence. And heal her spiritual heart, fill all those holes that she's trying to fill with earthy things. Do for her what You've done for me.


I thank You for Your holy peace, as my heart is breaking and I'm prone to feel fear, but Your hand stays it. Stop the evil one that seeks to destroy, protect her Father.


In the meantime, I'm going to plant some more potatoes. Sounds ridiculously silly...potatoes vs my daughter, but I trust You that much to not sit and obsess and worry, I just refuse to waste that time. My prayer might not be so eloquent to be published (I wouldn't want that anyway), but it's from the heart and You know it. You fill in the gaps when the words escape me, Your Spirit perfects and presents these prayers in a moving and touching manner before You, and my Lord and Savior Jesus has purchased me so that I might even be able to call upon Your Name.


Bless my garden Lord, so all that see it will instantly know that Your hand of blessing is upon it, for Your glory...because they all know I am so over my head with it all. But that is fun for me, I'm having so much fun twirling around my garden, completely overwhelmed, with my right arm raised up, my hand in Yours, as You guide me through that dirt. Make it beautiful Lord, the work I do therein, I do for You because I love You.


Oh Lord, this prayer is sounding a little wacky this morning, but I'm in tears. I start to realize the tears and then You stop them...back and forth we go because You are my loving Heavenly Father...You love me and You care and Your Hand is over my heart.


In Jesus Name,

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