The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 5:16-17 ~ Doctrine of One Day at a Time ~ Doctrine of Divine Guidance, Knowing the Will of the Lord for Your Life

Vol. 16 No 11 – March 12, 2017

eph 5 vs 17 for 03 07 17 notesEph 5:16, “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”

Life for the believer is assigned in terms of days. God gives us one day at a time here on earth, until our assignment runs out and He takes us home. These days that God gives us are inside of Cosmos Diabolicus, which means that we are living on earth, while Satan is the ruler of this world and is administering his cosmic system. It means we live in evil days. Even so, God has given us all the resources, power, and strength necessary to overcome these evil days and to live victoriously inside of God’s Plan for our lives. To be victorious is a volitional issue. Only you can purchase each day from the evil grasp of Satan. Bible doctrine applied from the soul is the way that you purchase a day from the evil grasp of Satan and be victorious.

The Doctrine of a Day at a Time.

  • The believer with an ECS and super-grace life learns to regard every day alike, Rom 14:5-9. He regards every day as from the Lord; it is a grace gift given to him as an assignment, as part of an allotment. The purpose of that day is to purchase it with Bible doctrine and walking in God’s will for your life.

Rom 14:5-6, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

  • Only the believer has the grace provision to purchase that day, Eph 5:15-18. The super-grace life gives perfect purchase of every day, Eph 3:16-21, as the Holy Spirit teaches and leads us daily, John 14:26; 16:12-14; 1 Cor 2:9-16.
  • Every day, we as believers in phase two, live that day as a gracious gift from God. The only time we possess, in which we can honor God, is the number of days God has graciously provided for us in time, Psa 90:12; James 4:13-15.

James 4:13-15, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that”.”

Psa 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

  • The fact that the believer lives another day on the earth is a sign of Divine grace and faithfulness, Lam 3:22-23.

Lam 3:22-23, “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

  • Each day, in phase two, the believer must avoid mental attitude sins, which produce self-induced misery, Prov 27:1.

Prov 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

  • God has provided soul capital in the form of Bible doctrine for the believer to purchase each day, Jer 15:16; Mat 4:4’ Rev 3:18.

Jer 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”


Rev 3:18, “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.”

  • Every day, therefore, becomes a special day in phase two, John 11:9-10.

John 11:9-10, “Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him”.”

Psa 118:24, “This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Remember, God is working for eternity, so do not worry about how fast you go, but the quality of each day.

Oswald Chambers notes, “… so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24).

“Joy means the perfect fulfillment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing. The joy Our Lord had rests in doing what the Father sent Him to do, and He says—”As My Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” Have I received a ministry from the Lord? If so, I have to be loyal to it, to count my life precious only for the fulfilling of that ministry Think of the satisfaction it will be to hear Jesus say—”Well done, good and faithful servant”; to know that you have done what He sent you to do. We all have to find our niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive our ministry from the Lord. In order to do this, we must be bound with Jesus; we must know Him as more than a personal Savior. “I will show him how great things he must suffer for My sake.”

“Do you love Me?” Then—”Feed My sheep.” There is no choice of service, only absolute loyalty to Our Lord’s mandated loyalty to what you discern when you are in closest contact with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is never the call: the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with Him. This does not imply that there is a campaign of service marked out for you, but it does mean that you will have to ignore the demands for service along other lines.” (My Utmost for His Highest.)

Vs. 17

Eph 5:17, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

As we noted above, believers are commanded to live wisely, and wise living is described in three ways in the following verses:

  1. It makes good use of time in an evil age that is passing away, vs. 16; cf. 1 Cor 7:31; Gal 1:4.
  2. It seeks to learn God’s will, vs. 17; cf. vs. 10.
  3. It is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, vs. 18.

Continuing the message from vs. 10, what is pleasing to the Lord, is understanding His will, which also means walking in His will.

This verse begins with “so then,” which is the Preposition DIA, “through, by, with, because of, or for the sake of,” and the Demonstrative Pronoun HOUTOS, meaning, “this or this one.” Based on the structure here, we translate this “because of this,” referring back to vs. 15 and vs. 16 in particular. That is, we are to pay close attention to how we walk, not as unwise men but wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil by “not being foolish,” (i.e., not living in sin and Satan’s cosmic system).

Do not be foolish,” is the Negative ME with the Present, Middle, Imperative of GINOMAI and the Nominative Plural Adjective APHRON. So once again we have a prohibition from God.

We noted GINOMAI in vs. 1, 7, and 12 that means, “to come into being, into existence, to become, to come into a certain state, etc.” It means to be something that you previously were not. So, the command is to “stop becoming” something; in this case “fools.”

Since we are the children of God and have capacity to obtain God’s wisdom, and have, we are commanded to not turn back to the Old Nature and the world’s way of thinking, thereby becoming fools once again. We are not to become fools by going back to sin and Satan’s cosmic system, the very thing Jesus purchased us out from. We began as fools; let us not return to our former foolish state. In other words, we are now part of God’s Royal Family with wisdom in our souls, let us not lose that wisdom and become fools or sinners once again, because if we do, as the Word tells us, “the last state becomes worse than the first,” 2 Peter 2:20.

2 Peter 2:20, “For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

APHRON is the word for “foolish,” in this passage that can mean, “foolish, inconsiderate, rash, a lack of prudence or good judgment, or ignorant.” It comes from the root PHRONEO that means, “think, decide, or to set one’s mind on,” that comes from the root PHREN that means, “mind or heart,” that we also call the right lobe of your soul. With PHRONEO is the Greek negative prefix, A, which means the opposite of those things, just like we noted in ASOPHOS in vs. 15. In classical Greek, it had the idea of being “senseless.” It referred to statues, the person who is crazed or frantic, or simply the person who acts silly or foolish. It stands in contrast to the person who is wise, as the one who acts in ignorance. And remember, ignorance means, “one who lacks knowledge or understanding” and/or “one who willfully chooses to ignore what he knows.”

Titus 3:3, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.”

Prov 1:22, “How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, and fools hate knowledge?”

Rom 1:21, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

1 Cor 1:20, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

Gal 3:1, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?”

Gal 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

1 Tim 6:9, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

It is also used to refer to the “transgressor;” the one who opposes God and His Word. It is the APHRON who says in his heart, “There is no God,” Psa 14:1. 

Luke 11:40, “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?”

Luke 12:20, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared’?”

So, we are commanded to not be foolish in our ways, but instead apply the wisdom of God in our lives, especially so that we are able to turn people from darkness to the light.

2 Tim 2:23, “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

Titus 3:9, “But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

1 Peter 2:15, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

Therefore, the first half of this passage is a reference to believers in reversionism with emphasis on having negative volition, who cannot “redeem or buy back the time.”

Next, we have the contrast to being foolish, “but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

But,” is the contrasting Conjunction ALLA. It sets up a contrast between ignorance of Bible doctrine and cognizance of Bible doctrine. This separates the sheep from the goats, the men from the boys, the adults from the children, as far as the spiritual life is concerned.

Understand” is Present, Active, Imperative of the Verb SUNIEMI, συνίημι that means, “understand, comprehend, or perceive.” In classical Greek literature, it was used to mean, “to bring or set together.” This nuance is never found in the NT. Instead it is used figuratively to mean, “to understand, to comprehend, or to perceive,” in the sense of gaining insight into something. So, it signifies “perception, taking note of, and grasping” in the sense of understanding. In the LXX, it replaced the Hebrew word BIN that means, “to observe, to notice, or to understand.”

Prov 2:5, “Then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God.”

Prov 2:9, “Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course.”

This “insight or ability to understand,” comes when we are obedient to the Lord and His Word, which too is a gift imparted by God, Dan 2:21.

Dan 2:21, “And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding.”

Likewise, in the NT, its primary meaning is “to understand or to perceive,” emphasizing not only the process of gaining information, but also the process of obtaining comprehension. This “understanding” is the capital God has given to us to “buy back the time.” And, in our passage, we are encouraged to understand God’s will for our lives, which is noted in the last phrase, “what the will of the Lord is,” TIS HO THELEMA HO KURIOS.

THELEMA, θέλημα means, “will, desire, determination, purpose, inclination.” We have noted this word in Eph 1:1, 5, 9, 11; 2:3. We will see it again in Eph 6:6 in regard to not being “man-pleasers” but doing the will of God.

Eph 6:6, “Not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”

Having use also in sexual vocabulary for “desire,” 1 Cor 7:37; John 1:13, including man’s inclination to gratify the sinful nature, and being a captive of Satan doing his “will,” cf. 2 Tim 2:26, this word gives us a nice concluding contrast to the lifestyles noted in Eph 5:3-5.

2 Tim 2:26, “And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Now, the believer is to live according to God’s “pleasure,” 1 Peter 4:2, which he formerly could not know, cf. Luke 12:47, as only the servant of God knows the “will” of his master, Acts 22:14.

1 Peter 4:2, “So as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”

Therefore, “doing God’s will,” is the supreme example of discipleship, Mark 3:35; Mat 12:50; cf. Heb 13:21; 1 John 2:17.

Mat 7:21, indicates such action provides the proper credentials for entrance into the Kingdom.

Mat 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”

As such, THELEMA indicates God’s Divine purpose that we are to know and live in, John 4:23; 5:30; 6:38-40; 7:17; Luke 22:42; Acts 21:14; Rom 1:10.

Luke 22:42, “Jesus saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done’.”

1 Peter 2:15, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

Doing God’s will cannot become a reality in your life, unless you understand what God’s will is. God provides us every opportunity to know His will and walk in it.

Acts 22:14, “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth’.”

Therefore, when we GAP it daily, it results in understanding God’s Divine will and viewpoint for life, and allows us to walk in it, thereby redeeming the time.

How can we know the will of God? This is answered in the Doctrine of Divine Guidance.

First, we are going to talk about the technical theological aspects of “the will of God,” to set up our future discussions on knowing the will of God for your life. Our future discussions will include, “yieldedness” to God and what we will note in vs. 18 regarding “being filled with the Holy Spirit.” But first we need to lay the ground work by understanding the technical theological aspects of the “The Will of God” and “Divine Guidance.”

The Doctrine of Divine Guidance, Knowing the Will of God for Your Life.

  • Divine guidance is the doctrine of determining the will of God for your life, related to both specific and general things, by the function of your own thinking in the application of Bible doctrine. It is the communication of God’s Divine will through the Divine revelation of His Word resident in your soul.

a) Today God’s revelation is confined to the Canon of Scripture and through the pain of discipline for the reversionist in the cosmic system.

b) In the ancient world, Divine guidance included direct communication from God through dreams, visions, dialogues, the Canon which then existed, discipline, and the teaching of angels.

c) During the Church Age, the only way to know positively what the will of God is for your life is to understand Bible Doctrine and metabolize it. You cannot know the will of God apart from knowing the Word of God.

  • Classification of the will of God. There are three classifications of God’s will. The story of Balaam in Numbers 22-24, communicates this well.

a) The Directive Will of God, which is the same as the desire of God, Num 22:12. These are direct commands like, “do not do such and such,” or “do such and such” as we have in Eph 5:17, where we are commanded to “not be foolish,” but instead, “understand the will of God,” which means we will not be foolish.

b) The Permissive Will of God, where God allows certain things to happen but they are not His desire, Num 22:20, 35.

c) The Overruling Will of God is that Jesus Christ controls history, Num 23:5, 8, 23, 25‑26; 24:13, in that God will or will not allow certain things to happen, even though man or angels have chosen to do the opposite.

d) Therefore, the will of God can be declared under four principles.

1) The will of God is directive. God has a plan for your life.

2) The will of God is determinative. God has permitted non-meritorious volition to bring us to the place of blessing or discipline.

3) The will of God is permissive. Negative volition to Bible doctrine is permitted, but Divine justice provides discipline.

4) The will of God is preventative providing doctrine, establishment laws, and discipline to keep human volition in the will of God.

  • Besides God’s sovereign will, that is manifested in three ways towards angels and man and is consistent with His attributes, there are two other categories of will:

a) Angelic will or volition.

b) Human will or volition.

Both are sovereignly bestowed by their creator God as part of the Angelic Conflict.

  • The will of God is manifest in the decree of God; His sovereign plan for angels and man. The decree teaches us the will of God.

a) The decree of God is His eternal, holy, wise and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their courses, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain futurition.

b) The contents of His one eternal purpose is perceived by us in partial aspects and in both logical and revealed relations, because of the limitation of our mentality and faculties, Isa 55:8-9.

Isa 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

c) The decree of God is His eternal and immutable will regarding the future existence of events which happen in time, and the precise manner and order of their occurrence.

d) Therefore, the decree expresses the eternal plan and will of God by which God has rendered certain all events of history in the past, present, and future.

e) As such, the will of God is the sovereign choice of the Divine will and mentality inherent in the essence of God by which all things are brought into being, controlled, made subject to His pleasure, and producing His glorification.

f) It is the pleasure of God to permit creature volition in both angelic and human beings. This explains why man and angels have free will.

  • The will of God. There is one all-inclusive will and purpose of God concerning all that ever was or is or ever will be among creatures. This will and purpose originates within God himself without any outside influences. The will and plan of God were objectively designed for His pleasure, glory, and satisfaction in eternity past.

a) All creatures have been placed in space and time, and all events relating to space and time were simultaneously and instantly decreed. These simultaneous decrees result in all Divine action. Divine action falls into two categories.

1) Within the Godhead, the interaction between the members of the Godhead is called immanent, intrinsic, and subjective.

2) Actions related to creation are the actions of God which are called extrinsic (outside of God), transient (they function in human history chronologically), and objective (the function of Divine justice in human history).

  • God’s decrees are efficacious. They determine all that ever was, is, or will be. Efficacious refers to the directive will of God. Efficacious is used in a technical sense for that which is the direct work of God, in contrast to permissive will, which is the will of God accomplished through man’s free will and through the action of God’s creatures. There is a distinction between the decrees of God in eternity past and the actions of God in time. The action of God in time is the execution of the decrees of eternity past. The execution is not the decree, but logically follows the decree. One follows the other, but they are not the same.
  • As part of God’s will there is a distinction between what could have happened and what does happen. God knows both, but only puts what is going to happen in the decrees.
  • God’s decrees do not originate from His foreknowledge. In the logical order of things, the function of the foreknowledge of God makes nothing certain. God’s decrees originate from God’s omniscience, not his foreknowledge. The order is: omniscience – decrees – foreknowledge. The foreknowledge of God merely perceives the things that are certain. It is the decree of God that makes all things certain. The decrees are from omniscience; foreknowledge only confirms what has been decreed. Therefore, all things depend on God’s will, and nothing is certain apart from God’s will, Rom 8:28-30.

Rom 8:28-30, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

  • The decrees of God and the desires of God. Sin, suffering, reversionism, death, human good, and evil are not the desires of God, but they are in the decrees of God. God desires His perfect will, but both human and angelic volition, using Divinely-created free will, violate the desires of God. This is how sin and evil come into the world.

a) When human will equals God’s desires, this equals Divine guidance, cf. Eph 5:10-17. For example:

1) God does not desire to throw creatures into the Lake of Fire, but that judgment is decreed for all who reject Christ as Savior.

2) God does not desire to discipline believers, but that punishment is decreed for all believers in reversionism under the influence of evil or persistent carnality.

Therefore, it is the justice of God which reconciles desire and decree. And it is the justice of God to which we adjust when we obey, do, or function under the will of God.

  • The Divine objective is the preservation and deliverance of believers to the point of maturity. To achieve this God works to mold all events into the fulfillment of His eternal purpose, (which is often called Divine providence). Preservation continues the existence of things, but providence directs their progress. Advancing believers progress to the Divine objective. Therefore, the will of God is:

a) Directive. God has a plan for each of our lives communicated in His Word.

b) Determinative. God has permitted non-meritorious volition to bring us to the place of blessing or cursing.

c) Permissive. Negative volition to Bible Doctrine is permitted, but Divine justice provides a horrible life and death.

d) Preventative, providing Bible Doctrine, establishment laws, and discipline to keep human volition inside the will of God.

  • The axiom for Divine guidance is found in 1 John 3:23, “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He has commanded us.”

This verse is the desire of God. It reduces the will of God to its utmost simplicity; i.e., that the entire human race believes in Jesus Christ; and that all believers function under impersonal love of the Royal Family Honor Code toward all other members of the human race. So, the chief principle of Divine guidance: for the unbeliever, salvation; for the believer, spirituality.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:

#’s 17-026 & 17-028

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If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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