In sermon preparation on Ephesians 5:15-21, I found some good words by John Calvin on verses 18-19 (And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs…. [HCSB]).
“When he enjoins them not to be drunk, he forbids excessive and immoderate drinking of every description. ‘Be not intemperate in drinking.’ …The Greek word ‘asotia,’ which is translated ‘lasciviousness,’ points out the evils which arise from drunkenness. I understand by it all that is implied in a wanton [immoral] and dissolute [rogue] life; …The meaning therefore is, that drunkards throw off quickly every restraint of modesty or shame; that where wine reigns, profligacy [depravity] naturally flows; and consequently, that all who have any regard to moderation or decency ought to avoid and abhor drunkenness.”
“The children of this world are accustomed to indulge in deep drinking as an excitement to mirth [amusement]. Such carnal excitement is contrasted with that holy joy of which the Spirit of God is the Author, and which produces entirely opposite effects. To what does drunkenness lead? To unbridled, indecent merriment. And to what does spiritual joy lead, when it is most strongly excited? To psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. These are truly pleasant and delightful fruits.”
If you want to read Martin Luther on this topic, see an earlier post called “Drunks and Pigs.”
The above quotes were taken from John Calvin, Commentary on Ephesians 5:18-19.