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Read Introduction to Ephesians

5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;

in sincerity of heart,

“Sincerity” means simplicity, without folds. A slave who is sincere is a person with a single purpose of serving his master well. He is not double minded or duplicitous toward his master. God expects us to be what we appear to be. Pretense, hypocrisy, or deceit are not Christian values. There should be no ulterior motive in what we do.

as to Christ;

The slave is single minded to his master just like he is to Christ. He will be productive and reliable. He cooperates with others on the job.

Three times the Holy Spirit challenges Christians to be motivated by their relationship to Christ:

“As to Christ,” v. 5

“As bondservants of Christ,” v. 6

“As to the Lord,” v. 7


Obedience to those in authority over us is to be like our obedience to Christ.


An application of the master-slave issue for today is the owner-employee relationship. The principles are the same regardless of the depiction.

Today employees want fewer hours, more vacation time, and more financial benefits. Employers want greater productivity and profits. The fundamental issue between both is what they want for themselves. Greed is at the root of this conflict. Political leaders offer economic solutions, but they will never solve the greed problem. The depravity of man is at the heart of the issue.

God’s plan revolves around authority and submission. The authority of employers is not based on their inherent superiority over their employees. Neither does God give them authority without limits.