"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:6-10)Paul warns us of those who would try to deceive us with their empty words. The word used here for "deceive" can also be translated "to cheat." God had given to us great and precious promises and has secured for us an inheritance in heaven, an inheritance, "which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." (1 Peter 1:4) However, there are those who have given themselves to licentiousness and have purposed to preach that which is no gospel and seek to lead us astray from our consistency and faith in Christ. They preach a false gospel of license for sin, claiming grace while they themselves are slaves of the sin they preach. Their teaching take many forms. Some, teaching that what is done in the flesh has no influence on the spirit, not knowing the destruction and death that sin works within us. Other claim grace frees them from all judgment and consequence of sin, as if God willfully turns a blind eye to the sins we commit in the flesh. Furthermore, some claim that participation in sacraments are sufficient to appease God, allowing us to continue in the flesh as long as we regularly also participate in the sacraments. All who teach such teach empty words and seek to cheat us of the promises and inheritance of God. God has not called us to a life of sin, but a life of holiness, righteousness, and truth. The truth is that it is these very things which warrant and bring for the wrath and judgment of God upon the disobedient.
When speaking of the disobedient, there is a clear link between disobedience and disbelief, as if they were two sides of the same coin. However, Paul does not speak of those who struggle to believe in their unbelief, but of those who refuse to believe in their disbelief. This particular Greek word speaks of those who persist in their unbelief even after the truth has come to them. This word come from the root word that means to be unpersuadable. It speaks not of one who has never known, nor of one who has never been properly trained in the faith, but of one who refuses to believe even when they are presented with the truth in the light of Christ. There are those who struggle to believe, like the man who cried out to Jesus, "I do believe; help my unbelief," (Mark 9:24) but there are also those who refuse to believe even in the light of the truth, and it is upon these to whom the wrath of God comes. We must remember the words of Jesus, "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself." (John 7:17) If we are willing in our faith to obey Christ, then the Kingdom of God will open up to us. However, if we persist in our obstinance and unbelief, then our life will, in the end, be consumed under the wrath and judgment of God.
When we come to faith in Christ, it necessitates not only a new belief but also a new manner of living. While we were in darkness as to who God is, who we are, and who we are in relationship to God, we lived a life separated from God and given over to the impulses and lusts of our flesh. We lived, believed, and moved in darkness. However, now we have come into the light and we are called to put away all the deeds of darkness and to be renewed in our minds and our behavior by the light we now walk in. One cannot claim to be in the light and continue to walk in darkness. Either we are in the light and walk in the light or our continuance to walk in darkness gives proof that our hearts, minds, and soul are still in darkness regardless of what we claim to the contrary.
To walk in light requires a break from the world and culture around us. The world is in darkness and "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." (1 John 5:19 NKJV) If we pattern ourselves after the world, then we too will find ourselves walking in darkness. We cannot allow ourselves to be trained by the world if we hope to walk in light. To walk in the light we must allow the grace of God to teach us how to walk. The world teaches us how to sin, but grace teaches us how to live. "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." (Titus 2:11-13)
Those in the world live to please themselves, but those in the light live to please God. The world has taught us one way to live. Peter refers to the "futile way of life inherited from your forefathers." (1 Peter 1:18) Now it is time to let the Lord teach us how to live those things that are pleasing to Him. We must shed from our lives those works that done in pleasing the world and pleasing ourselves and take unto ourselves those things that please God. This can only be done as we walk in the light and submit to the light and allow the light to teach us how to live in relationship with God. If we will do this then our lives will be filled with light and our works will demonstrate the light that is inside us.