A note from our pastor:
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;Ephesians 5:18
Good Morning Dearly Beloved,
Our study verse this week continues in the vein of instructing the community of believers how to live a life of discipleship. The Apostle continues to give principles which allow believers to be closer to God, but also to reflect their faith to those around them.
The beginning phrase of this verse provides what appears to be simply a pragmatic instruction in Godly living. While it is acceptable to consume wine, the Apostle would instruct Timothy to drink wine for his stomach’s sake, the community of believers is being instructed to avoid excess. This is the lesson which many have taken from this verse. While it is not incorrect, it is limited in its full understanding.
The second phrase of this verse was not given just as filler. The Apostle’s instruction to be filled with the Spirit instead of drinking wine to excess was based on the context which the verse was written in. During this time, those under Roman authority celebrated a false god name Bacchus. Bacchus was the Roman equivalent to the Greek false god of Dionysus. Bacchus was said to be the god of wine, ecstasy, freedom, fruitfulness, and vegetation.
The followers of Bacchus were a secret cult which required initiation, but the festival of Bacchus, which happened officially once a year but unofficially multiple times a year, were public events. During the events, the participants would consume excessive amounts of wine or mead, but would also partake in other mind altering substances. It was believed in this state the god Bacchus would possess them and allow them to reach a different state of being.
It was with this growing trend which the Apostle was most concerned. His message to the disciples and to us, is the true and living God, does not work through substances we consume. The Spirit dwells within us and consumes us because we are faithful to God. It is an instruction to avoid the traditions of man, to avoid the excess which man substitutes for faithfulness, and instead be consumed by the true things of God.
Let us strive daily to live a life which seeks to be filled with the Spirit.
Our Prayers are with you daily,