Ephesians 5:18-21 - Being filled by the Spirit

Last week I looked at what it means to be filled by the Spirit. This week I will look at the RESULTS of being filled by the Spirit. Most English Bibles translate Ephesians 5:19-21 as commands, but this really stretches the Greek grammar. The notion of RESULT fits the grammar best and makes good sense of the context. Therefore, the contrasting parallelism in Ephesians 5:18 does not stop at the influence of the Spirit and the influence of alcohol but extends to the results of these two influences. Drunkenness leads to debauchery but being filled by the Spirit leads to (among other things) singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to each other, singing and making music to the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father for everything, and submitting to one another. Spiritual fullness is shown by our relationship with God and our fellow man. Being filled with the Spirit is not primarily about supernatural experiences but about the Spirit working in the basic relationships and responsibilities of everyday living. It means marriages that work, victory over sin, peace in the home, and godly living. The chief evidence for being filled with the Spirit is moral not miraculous - it relates to the fruit of the Spirit not the gifts of the Spirit. As a Christian continually walks with the Spirit's help, the Spirit produces fruit in that Christian's life (Galations 5:22-23; which is not meant to be an exhaustive list). The Spirit is essentially reproducing the life of Christ in that Christian. This is confirmed by the title "Spirit of Christ" in Romans 8:9-11, and the fact that many of the words used to describe the fruit are also used to describe Christ elsewhere. In Romans 8:4-9, Paul exhorts his readers not to be influenced by the sinful nature but to live according to the Spirit. In Galations 5:16-24 he instructs them to live by the Spirit, so that they will avoid the acts of the sinful nature and bear the fruit of the Spirit. Note also, the fruit of the Spirit are not obtained by trying hard. The term "fruit" indicates they are the natural result of being filled. In addition, fruit does not grow overnight - it takes time.

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