Journey to Jerusalem Day 29
Wednesday, March 25 Ephesians 5:1-14
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
A good way to lose friends is by being a tattletale. If you took v11 in isolation – “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” – one could think the Bible endorses a tattletale mentality. Gratefully, verses do not exist in a vacuum. So rather than pulling out binoculars to keep tabs on your neighbors the Bible tells us to embrace a different posture: “be imitators of God” (v1), and “walk in love, as Christ loved us” (v2).
Christ’s love is sacrificial, and God is holy. We, then, are called to a holy selflessness, that is guarded and given back to God through our thoughts, words, and deeds. Paul explicitly names the areas of sexual ethics, speech, and desires as places in society, and the soul, where sin and darkness have left its stain.
These areas are NOT neutral nor merely personal preferences. Through Paul, God names these as areas under judgment and in need of redemption: “for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (v6) and “Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (vv8-10).
Our lives are meant to reflect the light of Christ through our thoughts, words, and deeds; our sexual ethics, speech, and desires. We are to live as light, reflecting God’s life and ways in these spheres.
Lovingly, “as Christ loved us,” we don’t remain silent. Instead we warn those who are drunk and deceived by the world’s lust for pleasure: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (v14).
Father, shine your light upon our secrete sins. In Christ’s mercy and the power of your Spirit, forgive us and enable us to walk and speak as children of the light. By Jesus’ strong name. Amen!