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Studies In Ephesians

Proclaiming the Unsearchable Riches of Christ (See 3:8)

Chapter 5:8-14


(Please open your Bible and read Ephesians 5:8-14.)

The book of Ephesians is a letter of pure grace, focusing its readers on Christ as the only source of a sinner’s election (1:4), redemption (1:7), and conversion (2:1). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (2:8-9).

In the later chapters of the book, St. Paul emphasizes the impact God’s wonderful grace in Christ has upon how a believer lives his life. Grace has made us different people.

Our section speaks of this difference: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

The sinful world is a place of darkness and moral decay. In sharp contrast, Christ is light. Through Word and sacrament God’s grace has caused the light to shine in our hearts.

As light in the Lord we are admonished to live as children of light. One way we do that is by having “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.”

Having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness means not getting mixed up with the moral and spiritual garbage of this world: filling the heart with pornographic images; telling or listening to dirty jokes; shacking up before marriage; living a party life of drugs and booze; associating one’s name with those who hold to false doctrine. THIS IS ALL DARKNESS!

We Are Different!

Since we are now different people, we want to live different lives. Keeping clear of the world’s filth honors God and proves that our Savior is near and dear to us. A life of light is a vivid demonstration of the power of God’s grace.

But not only are we to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. We will also want to expose them.

As a squad car drives by a closed store, its spotlight just might reveal a crime in process. We are God’s spotlights. We are to point God’s Word at sin and label it as sin.

By nature we don’t like to rock the boat. But God wants us to rock the boat. If it’s wrong, say it’s wrong. If we don’t speak out against wickedness, are we not giving tacit approval to it?

We speak the truth about sin out of love for the unbeliever. Pointing out people’s sin may anger them, but it may also prick their consciences, leading to an opportunity to speak to them of God’s purposes in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

One possible understanding of verse thirteen of our section reads: “But when you expose them, the light shines in upon their sin and shows it up, and when they see how wrong they really are, some of them may even become children of light!”

May the grace of God in Christ cause you and me to walk in the light

–to God’s glory and for the eternal welfare of our neighbor.

–Pastor Michael Wilke