Ephesians 5:27
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) That he might present it to himself.—The original is more emphatic—that He might Himself present it to Himself. This presentation belonged usually to the “paranymph,” or “friend of the bridegroom, to whom St. John Baptist compares himself in John 3:29 (where see Note); St. Paul himself assumes that office in 2Corinthians 11:2, “I have espoused (or rather, betrothed) you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Here, however, all is of Christ. He, as Paranymph, comes down to seek and to save His Bride; He, as Bridegroom, receives her in His heavenly home.

A glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle . . .—Properly, (that He might present) the Church as glorious, not having a spot (i.e., a stain on its purity), or a wrinkle (i.e., a defect in its beauty and freshness of life); but that it may be holy (not merely consecrated to holiness) and without blemish (as He is without blemish). On these last words see Note on Ephesians 1:4. They are most commonly sacrificial, corresponding (see Colossians 1:22) to the sacrificial use of the word “present.” Here, however, they are seen clearly to have reference to the nuptial metaphor by what goes before.

In all this we have a picture which properly belongs to the Church in glory, and which is fully drawn out under the same metaphor as Revelation 19:7-9; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9-10; for only in it can the description be fully realised. In capacity and promise it belongs to the whole Church militant; in reality, but in imperfection, to the Church invisible on earth; in absolute perfection to the Church triumphant in heaven.

5:22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.That he may present it to himself - In the last day, when he shall receive the church as his spouse to heaven; Revelation 21:9. Perhaps the word "prepare" would better express the sense here than "present" - that he may prepare it for himself as a holy church. Tyndale renders it, "to make it unto himself."

A glorious church - A church full of honor, splendor, beauty. The idea of "shining," or of being "bright," would convey the sense here. Probably there is still here an allusion to a bride "adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2; compare Psalm 45:9-14); and the ideal is, that the church will be worthy of the love of the bridegroom, to whom it will then be presented.

Not having spot - Not having a stain, a defect, or any impurity - still retaining the allusion to a bride, and to the care taken to remove every blemish.

Or wrinkle - In the vigor and beauty of youth like a bride in whom there is no wrinkle of age.

Or any such thing - Nothing to deform, disfigure, or offend. To this beautiful illustration of the final glory of the church, the apostle was led by the mention of the relation of the husband and the wife. It shows:

(1) The tendency of the thoughts of Paul. He delighted to allow the associations in his mind, no matter what the subject was, to draw him along to the Redeemer.

(2) the passage here shows us what the church will yet be. There will be a period in its history when there shall not be any imperfection; when there shall be neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing. In heaven all will be pure. On earth we are preparing for that world of purity; and it cannot be denied that here there is much that is imperfect and impure. But in that future world, where the church shall be presented to Christ, clothed in the robes of salvation, there shall not be one unholy member; one deceiver or hypocrite; one covetous or avaricious man; one that shall pain the hearts of the friends of purity by an unholy life. And in all the million that shall be gathered there out of every land, and people, and tongue, and age, there shall be no envy, malice, backbiting, pride, vanity, worldliness; there shall be no annoying and vexing conflict in the heart with evil passions, "nor any such thing." How different from the church as it now is; and how we should pant for that blessed world!

27. he—The oldest manuscripts and authorities read, "That He might Himself present unto Himself the Church glorious," namely, as a bride (2Co 11:2). Holiness and glory are inseparable. "Cleansing" is the necessary preliminary to both. Holiness is glory internal; glory is holiness shining forth outwardly. The laver of baptism is the vehicle, but the word is the nobler and true instrument of the cleansing [Bengel]. It is Christ that prepares the Church with the necessary ornaments of grace, for presentation to Himself, as the Bridegroom at His coming again (Mt 25:1, &c.; Re 19:7; 21:2).

not having spot—(So 4:7). The visible Church now contains clean and unclean together, like Noah's ark; like the wedding room which contained some that had, and others that had not, the wedding garment (Mt 22:10-14; compare 2Ti 2:20); or as the good and bad fish are taken in the same net because it cannot discern the bad from the good, the fishermen being unable to know what kind of fish the nets have taken under the waves. Still the Church is termed "holy" in the creed, in reference to her ideal and ultimate destination. When the Bridegroom comes, the bride shall be presented to Him wholly without spot, the evil being cut off from the body for ever (Mt 13:47-50). Not that there are two churches, one with bad and good intermingled, another in which there are good alone; but one and the same Church in relation to different times, now with good and evil together, hereafter with good alone [Pearson].

That he might present it to himself; hereafter in heaven; that the whole church of the elect may be present with him, 2 Corinthians 5:6,8 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

A glorious church; perfect in knowledge and holiness, shining with a heavenly glory, and fully conformed to himself, 1Jo 3:2.

Not having spot; spot of sin, in allusion to spots in garments.

Or wrinkle; any relic of old Adam, in allusion to wrinkles in the body, which are signs of old age, and imply deformity.

Or any such thing, viz. which is contrary to the beauty of the church, and might make her unpleasing to Christ her Husband.

Without blemish; without any fault to be found in her. He seems to allude to the sacrifices, which were to be without blemish, Leviticus 1:3: see Song of Solomon 4:7. That he might present it to himself a glorious church,.... There is a presentation of the church by Christ to his Father at his death, when he gathered the elect together in one, brought them nigh, and reconciled them to God, and presented them to holy, unblamable, and unreproveable in his sight; and now in heaven, where he represents their persons, appears and makes intercession for them; and at the last day, when he will deliver the whole number of them complete and perfect, in consequence of his suretyship engagements: but this is a presentation of them to himself; and is either in this life, when they are brought to him in raiment of needlework, clothed with his righteousness, and washed in his blood, and he beholds them all fair, and without spot; or at the first resurrection, and during the thousand years' reign; as well as in the ultimate glory, when the open marriage of the Lamb will be come, when his bride will be arrayed with line linen, clean and white; and have the glory of God upon her, and appear in glory with Christ, and will be a glorious church indeed:

not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; the bodies of the saints will be like to Christ's glorious body, and will shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father; and in their souls they will be completely conformed to the image of Christ, and enjoy uninterrupted communion with him, and have perfect knowledge of him; they will be always in his presence, and he will take unspeakable delight and complacency in them, which his presentation of them to himself is expressive of; the church will then be free from all spots and blemishes; from all hypocrites and formal professors; and all heresies and heretics; from all declensions and infirmities, and from all sin and iniquity: the allusion seems to be to the customs and practices of the Jews, in their espousals: if a man espoused a woman on condition that she had no spots in her, and afterwards spots were found in her, she was not espoused; for spots or blemishes, as in priests, so in women, render them unfit; as the one for service, so the other for marriage; and they reckon up eight several spots or blemishes, for which they may be rejected (q): but Christ's church has no spots or blemishes, nor anything like them; and will never be rejected by him, but will be always pleasing in his sight:

but that it should be holy and without blemish; as it is, being justified by his righteousness, washed in his blood, and sanctified by his Spirit.

(q) Misn. Cetubot, c. 7. sect. 7, 8. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, {o} not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

(o) The Church as it is considered in itself, will not be without wrinkle, before it come to the mark it aims at: for while it is in this life, it runs in a race. But if it is considered in Christ, it is clean and without wrinkle.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 5:27. Aim of the ἁγιάσῃ ἐν ῥήματι, and so final aim of the ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς, to be realized at the Parousia. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 11:2. παραστήσῃ is already rightly referred to the time of the consummatio saeculi by Augustine, Jerome, Primasius, Thomas, Beza, Estius, Calovius, and others, including Flatt, Rückert, de Wette, Schenkel, Bleek; while the Greek Fathers, Lyra, Cajetanus, Bucer, Wolf, Bengel, and others, including Harless and Hofmann, p. 136, think of an act of Christ in the αἰὼν οὗτος, and many others do not at all declare their views with regard to the time. But if ἵνα παραστ. κ.τ.λ. is not to apply to the time of the Parousia, it must either be taken as the design of the καθαρίσας (Bengel), or as a parallel to ἵνα αὐτὴν ἁγιάσῃ (Harless). The former is not admissible, because ἐν ῥήματι, which itself belongs to ἁγιάσῃ (see on Ephesians 5:26), stands between; nor yet is the latter, because ἁγιάσῃ does not denote the same thing with καθαρίσας (see on Ephesians 5:26), but the making holy through the word; and this making holy cannot from its nature be parallel to the momentary act of presenting of the church as a glorious and spotless one, but can only be antecedent, so that this presentation must be the final result of the sanctifying which has already taken place through the word.

παραστήσῃ] might set forth, present, coram sisteret, namely, as His bride. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:2. The view of Harless, that the church is conceived of not as bride, but as spotless offering (on παραστ. comp. Romans 12:1), is opposed to the context, and incorrect also on account of ἑαυτῷ, by which, in fact, there would result the conception that Christ presents the offering to Himself. No, the union of Christ with His church at the Parousia, in order to confer upon it Messianic blessedness, is conceived of by Paul (as also by Christ Himself, Matthew 25:1 ff., comp. Revelation 19:7 ff.; see also John 3:29) under the figure of the bringing home of a bride, wherein Christ appears as the bridegroom and sets forth the bride, i.e. His church, as a spotless virgin (the bodily purity is a representa of the ethical) before Himself, after He has already in the αἰὼν οὗτος cleansed it by the bath of baptism (i.e. blotted out the pre-Christian guilt of the church) and sanctified it through His word. To deny the reference of καθαρίσας κ.τ.λ. and of Ephesians 5:27 to the circumstances of a wedding, and particularly the allusion to the bath to be taken by the bride before the wedding-day (Harless, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hofmann, and others), is an over-refinement of taste at variance with the context.[279]

The presentation in our passage was referred by Kahnis (Abendm. p. 144) to the Lord’s Supper, an application which is warranted neither by the context nor by the analogy of 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Matthew 25

αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ] so that what takes place is not therefore as in the case of the bringing home of actual brides by others, but Christ Himself, as He gave Himself to sanctify it, etc., presents the church as bride to Himself at His Parousia, and indeed as ἔνδοξον, in glorious beauty (Luke 7:25; Isaiah 22:18, al.), which is with emphasis placed before τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, and subsequently receives by means of ΜῊ ἜΧΟΥΣΑΝ Κ.Τ.Λ. a detached, more precise negative definition specially to be brought into prominence. With regard to ΑὐΤῸς ἙΑΥΤῷ, comp. 2 Corinthians 1:9; Xen. Mem. iii. 5. 11; Thucyd. vi. 40. 3; Krüger, § 51. 2. 12.

σπῖλον] maculam, comp. 2 Peter 2:13, a word of the later age of Greek, instead of the Attic κηλίς. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 28. In the figure is meant a corporeal blemish, but in the reality a moral defilement. The same is the case with ῥυτίδα, rugam, which occurs only here in the N.T., but often in the classical writers, not in the LXX. or Apocrypha. Special distinctions as to what is intended by the two figures are arbitrary. So e.g. Estius (after Augustine): σπῖλ. signifies deformitas operis, and ῥυτ. duplicitas intentionis; Grotius: the former applies to the carere vitiis, the latter to the vegetos semper esse for good (because wrinkles are characteristic of age).

ἤ τι τῶν τοιούτων which belongs to the category of such things, of that which disfigures, like spots and wrinkles.

ἈΛΛʼ ἽΝΑ ᾞ Κ.Τ.Λ.] change of the construction, instead of ἈΛΛʼ ΟὖΣΑΝ Κ.Τ.Λ., as if ἽΝΑ ΜῊ ἜΧῌ Κ.Τ.Λ. had been said before. Versatility of the Greek mode of thought and expression. See, in general, Matthiae, p. 1527 f.; Winer, p. 509 [E. T. 722]; Buttmann, neutest. Gr. p. 208 [E. T. 241].

ἁγία] the thing signified in place of the figure, which would be more congruously expressed by ἉΓΝΉ (2 Corinthians 11:2).

ἌΜΩΜΟς] Ephesians 1:4. Comp. Song of Solomon 4:7. Grotius, at variance with the context, holds that Paul had in the case of both expressions thought of: “quales victimae esse debebant in V. T.”

[279] It is certainly obvious that this bathing in the case of an actual bride was not the business of the bridegroom (as Hofmann objects); but in the case of the church conceived as the bride the cleansing by the bath of baptism is the act of the bridegroom (who in fact does not cause the bride, cleansed and sanctified by him, to be presented by others, but presents her to himself), and thus Paul has drawn the figure itself in accordance with the state of matters in the reality delineated, as indeed frequently figures are modified in accordance with the thing to be represented (comp. on Matthew 25:1; Galatians 4:19). If we press the figures beyond the tertium comparationis, no one is any longer appropriate.—On the λουτρὸν νυμφικόν (at which καθαρ. τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος here glances), comp. specially Bos, Exercitt. p. 185 f.; Hermann, Privatalterth. § 31, 6; Becker, Charicles, ii. p. 460 ff., as also Buxtorf, Synag. p. 626.Ephesians 5:27. ἵνα παραστήση αὐτὴν [αὐτὸς] ἑαυτῷ ἔνδοξον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: that He might Himself present to Himself the Church, glorious. Statement of the remote, ultimate object with which Christ “gave Himself up” to death; as the immediate object, which has that final purpose in view, is expressed by the ἁγιάσῃ. For αὐτήν of the TR, supported by [648]3[649], most cursives, Syr.-P., etc., the reading αὐτός is to be substituted on the authority of [650] [651] [652] [653]*[654] [655], Syr.-Harc, Vulg., etc. It is Christ Himself who is to present the Church, and it is to Himself He is to present it. He is at once the Agent and the End or Object of the presentation. The παραστήσῃ is not to be taken here to mean the presenting of the Church as an offering. It is true that the verb is so used in Romans 12:1; but the case is different here, in respect both of the ruling idea of the paragraph and of the introduction of ἑαυτῷ. It would be incongruous with Paul’s teaching to speak of Christ as presenting an offering to Himself. The idea, as the context suggests, is that of the bridegroom presenting or setting forth the bride; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2. The anarthrous ἔνδοξον is a case of tertiary predicate (cf. Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 473). The rendering, therefore, is not “present a glorious Church,” but “present the Church, glorious,” i.e., in the aspect, or character of gloriousness. The presentation in view, which is given here as the final object of Christ’s surrendering of Himself to death, and is exhibited (by use of the aor.) as a single def. act, cannot be anything done in the world that now is (as is supposed by Beng., Harl., Hofm., etc.), but must be referred (with Aug., Jer., Rück., De Wette, Bleek, Mey., Ell., Alf. and most) to the future consummation, the event of the Parousia.—μὴ ἔχουσαν σπῖλον: not having spot. Explanation of what is implied on the negative side in the ἔνδοξον. The neg. μή is in place, as the clause refers to the purpose in the mind of Christ. The word σπῖλος = spot, moral blemish, takes the place of the Attic κηλίς in later Greek writers (Dionys., Harl., Plut., Lucian, Joseph., etc.). It occurs only once again in the NT (2 Peter 2:13). The “ι” being short in composition (ἄσπῐλος), WH, Ell., Alf., etc., accentuate it σπίλος; Lach., Tisch., Lipsius, Mey., etc., retain σπῖλος.—ἢ ῥυτίδα: or wrinkle. The word ῥυτίς occurs only this once in the NT, and is not found in the Apocrypha or in the LXX, but is not infrequent in profane Greek, whether classical (Aristoph., Plato, etc.), or late (Diod., Plut., Lucian, etc.). Attempts have been made (by Aug., Grot., etc.) to establish a distinction between σπίλον and ῥυτίδα here, but without success.—ἤ τι τῶν τοιούτων; or any such thing. The article gives this the force of anything belonging to the class of such things as deform and defile.—ἀλλʼ ἵνα ᾖ ἁγία καὶ ἄμωμος: but that it should be holy and unblamable. The regular construction would have taken some such form as ἀλλʼ οὖσαν, etc. It is changed here, perhaps with a view to variety, as if the paragraph had begun with ἵνα μὴ ἔχῃ. Such oratio variata was common in Greek, and there are numerous examples of it in the NT generally (e.g., Mark 12:38; John 8:53; Acts 20:34; Acts 22:17; 1 Peter 2:7), and especially in the Pauline writings (Romans 1:12; Romans 4:12; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 7:13; 1 Corinthians 14:1; 2 Corinthians 11:23; Php 2:22). See Jelf, Greek Gram., § 909; Win.-Moult., p. 722; Buttm., Gram, of N. T. Greek, p. 241. On ἄμωμος see under Ephesians 1:4 above.

[648] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[649] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[650] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[651] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[652] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[653] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[654] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[655] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.27. that he] In the Gr. “He” is emphatic; “He to Himself;” with stress on the Lord’s personal action.

present] Cp. for similar use of the same Gr. word 2 Corinthians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Colossians 1:22; Colossians 1:28. In Jude 24 a similar word is used.—The thought is of the heavenly Bridegroom welcoming the glorified Bride at the Marriage Feast hereafter. True, she is now “His Spouse and His Body;” but the manifestation then will be such as to be, in a sense, the Marriage as the sequel to the Betrothal. The words “present to Himself” suggest that the Bride is not only to be welcomed then by her Lord, but welcomed as owing all her glory to His work, and as being now absolutely His own.

a glorious church] Translate rather, the Church arrayed in glory. Cp. Revelation 19:7-8. And see Song of Solomon 4:7. She “shall be like Him, for she shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). He who gave Himself for her had also given Himself to her, and His nature shall now be manifested in her eternal state.

holy] Absolutely, without qualification, and for ever, consecrated to Him.

without blemish] The Gr. is cognate to that in Song of Solomon 4:7 (“there is no blemish in thee”). The holy and perfect principle, perfect at length in all the conditions of its working, shall come out in actual perfection of spiritual beauty.—Cp. for the same Gr. word,Ephesians 1:4 (side by side there also with “holy”); Php 2:15; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; Jude 24; Revelation 14:5.Ephesians 5:27. Ἵνα παραστήσῃ, that He might present) This holds good, in its own way, already of the present life; comp. ch. Ephesians 4:13.—ἑαυτῷ, to Himself) as to a Husband betrothed.—ἔνδοξον, a glorious Church) We should derive [draw] our estimate of sanctification from the love of Christ: what bride despises the ornaments offered by her husband?—τὴν) that [the: emphatically] Church which answers to His own eternal idea.—σπῖλον) a spot, from any wicked disposition whatever.—ῥυτίδα) wrinkle, from old age [senile debility and decay].—ἵνα ᾖ) that she may be.—ἄμωμος, without blemish) Song of Solomon 4:7.Verse 27. - That he might present to himself the Church glorious. The ultimate end, to which ver. 26 is introductory. Christ both gives and takes the bride; he presents her to himself - the day of his espousals being in the state of glory (Revelation 21:2), and all the training of this life being designed to fit her for that condition. She becomes glorious at last through assimilation to himself (2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:22). Not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The idea is that of a body perfectly free from blemish, typical of a soul perfectly delivered from sin - of a character perfected in all grace and goodness. But that it should be holy and without blemish. The same truth expressed in positive form, which in the preceding clause is expressed in the negative. Nothing could more clearly denote perfection of character - the full development of the character with whatever of variety may arise from differences in natural gifts and constitution, or convey a more glorious idea of the destiny of redeemed humanity. To be, as it were, the bride of Christ is a high destiny in point of condition; but it would be miserable if character did not tally with condition; this agreement, however, is secured, for the Church is to be holy and without blemish. He might present it to Himself (παραστήσῃ αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ)

As a bride. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:2. Notice the two pronouns in conjunction, He, to Himself. Christ Himself presents the bride.

Spot (σπίλον)

Only here and 2 Peter 2:13; The kindred verb σπιλόω to defile, occurs James 3:6; Jde 1:23.

Wrinkle (ῥυτίδα)

Only here in the New Testament.

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