The Berean Expositor
Volume 40 - Page 131 of 254
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The Apostle not only introduced this correction to misunderstanding and excessive
zeal in Romans and Galatians, he introduced the law without provocation and without the
pressure of debate into such an epistle as Ephesians, saying not simply `Children obey
your parents in the Lord; for this is RIGHT' and leaving it there, but extends the
exhortation by a full length quotation from the commandment, saying:
"Honour thy father and mother"; (which is the first commandment with promise);
"That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Eph. 6: 2, 3).
Further, Paul accommodates the citation to the Ephesian reader by omitting the words
`which the Lord thy God giveth thee' which were strictly applicable to Israel only, and
indicates the reason why he quoted the commandment in extension, by the parenthetical
remark concerning the fact that this was the first commandment `with promise'.
It is perfectly obvious that the Apostle who so vigorously rejected the law as a means
of salvation, gave it a high place as a guide to those who were most truly saved. It is as
though he would say to these Galatians who had become so zealous for the law "Instead
of submitting to circumcision and making obedience to `the whole law' an obligation,
cutting you off from Christ, here is a most gracious opportunity to fulfil `all the law' by
walking in love. The one is a fatal intrusion, the other a living expression. The one seeks
to earn salvation and must fail, the other manifests a salvation already possessed and
gloriously succeeds".
In the sequel, as the structure reveals, the fulfilling of the law of Christ is put in
correspondence with the fulfilling of the law of love. This must be considered in its
proper place, but there now awaits us the larger member Gal. 5: 16-26 with its conflict
between flesh and spirit, its exhortation to walk in the spirit, and its double statement that
those who do so walk are not under the law, neither is there any law against those who
produce the fruits of the Spirit. To this important theme we must therefore address