For, this, ye know, if ye take note—that no fornicator, or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and God. — Ephesians 5:5, Rotherham
Unless otherwise noted, scripture citations are from the World English Bible translation.
Ephesians 5:5 is often quoted as proof that Jesus is God Almighty. Of course, the scripture does not really say that Jesus is God Almighty, but some could read this into the phraseology used. The question is, was it Paul’s intention here to call Jesus “God”, or rather was he emphasizing the kingdom that God has given to Jesus? That the kingdom is given to Jesus by God (Yahweh, Jehovah) can be seen from the following scriptures: Psalm 2:7,8; 110:1,2; Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 1:32; Jeremiah 23:5; Daniel 7:13,14; Hebrews 1:2,6; Isaiah 11:1-4; 42:1; John 5:22,23,27-30; Acts 17:31.
According to some of the trinitarians who believe that Jesus is God, the lack of the definite article before God and its presence before Christ in the Greek would seem to indicate that Christ and God being spoken of are one person (by supposedly applying Granville Sharp’s alleged “rule” concerning article-substantive-kaiv-substantive construction). Thus, according to them, Jesus is called “God.” Yet the context indicates that two personages are being spoken of. The article (denoting possession) before kingdom is distributive between both the One Anointed (Christ) and his God. — Ephesians 1:3; Hebrews 1:9.
Please note that Sharp’s rules have several exceptions, or “restrictions”, as some prefer, even according to his own admission. Even many trinitarians scholars argue that this verse offers no proof that Jesus is God, claiming that Sharp’s rule does not apply to this verse. Nevertheless, Sharp developed his rules and exceptions to these rules for the very purpose of making these rules appear to support the idea that Jesus is God Almighty.
Let us now look at how Paul uses the word “God” in Ephesians 5. “Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.” (Ephesians 5:1,2) It should be plain that Paul is speaking unipersonally of the Father, not the Son, as “God” in these two verses. (Hebrews 9:14; 10:12) Likewise, in Ephesians 5:20: “giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father.” There is no reason (except to satisfy the various doctrines that claim that Jesus is Yahweh) to think that Paul is suddenly applying the term “God” to Jesus.
We also need to take notice of this point: the statement of the Christ and God does not make Jesus and God one “being”, or one God, according to Sharp’s rules, but rather one person, thus it would make Jesus and God one person, and since in the context “God” is applied to the Father, such would go against the trinitarian defintion of the trinity. Throughout Paul’s writings Paul refers to the Father as God, thus laying the foundation for realizing that he used this term in application to the Father, and therefore when he used expressions like “the Christ and God”, he is speaking of Jesus and Jesus’ Father, as illustrated by Ephesians 1:2,3,17; 4:6; 5:20; 6:23; Romans 1:3, etc.
Additionally, some trinitarians have claimed that Ephesians 5:5 is an exception, or restriction, to Sharp’s rule anyway, since it is usuage of two “proper” names. Robert Bowman, in his defense of the trinity doctrine, refers to the application of Sharp’s rule to Ephesians 5:5 as “dubious”. He states concerning Ephesians 5:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; 1 Timothy 5:21; 6:13; 2 Timothy 4:1: “None of these five texts, then, can be definitely said to call Jesus “God,” and probably none of them should be taken that way.”
(Presented for reference only; we do not agree with all of Bowman’s conclusions.)
At any rate, we prefer common sense application of scriptures in context and harmony with the entire Bible over a set of rules with restrictions designed for the very purpose of trying prove that Jesus is God Almighty.
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