Monday, October 03, 2016

Rather expose them - Ephesians 5:11-14

"Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, 'Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'" (Ephesians 5:11-14)
We have a choice to either continue walking just as we used to or to walk along a new path, a new path that has been opened up for us by Jesus. The idea of the Greek word used here for "participate" implies more than just doing the same works as those in darkness are doing, but implies a fellowship with them and with their deeds. Darby translates this verse as, "do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." (Ephesians 5:11 Darby) Paul is instructing us to do more than just leave behind the works of darkness. He is encouraging us to break fellowship with the whole system and community of darkness. It is more than just not doing these deeds ourselves, but we must be careful not to join in with others in the same deeds of darkness. We are no longer darkness, therefore our fellowship ought not to be in darkness but in light. To claim light but to remain in fellowship with darkness is a form of self deception and contrary to the truth.

Instead of participating in the deeds of darkness, we are called rather to expose them. This particular Greek word is interesting and, in almost every other place in the New Testament, it is translated as "rebuke" or "reprove". However, here, it is translated as "expose" to be consistent with the following verse that says that what ever becomes visible is "exposed" (same word) by the light. What Paul is not saying is that we ought to go around judging people and calling out their sin. What he is saying is that our lives should be lived in such contrast that they expose the shamefulness of those things done in darkness as compared to those things done in the light. Our lives, not our words, should be a light shining in darkness, showing a better way of living, exposing the lie of what most call life, and revealing to them that the that which they claim to be light is nothing but deep darkness. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

Paul speaks of those things which are done in secret and for which it is shameful and disgraceful to even mention them in public. However, we live in a culture that, not only has no qualms about speaking of such things in public, but even celebrates them and looks upon those who perform such deeds as heroes. Those who do those things that, even a generation ago would be considered disgraceful, not only glory in them publicly, but we declare them to be courageous and publicly honor them because of their choose to sin and sin publicly. As a society, we have become like those whom Isaiah warned of saying, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20) In doing such, we have become a generation that has lost its way and is venturing closer and closer towards destruction.

So what are we as believers to do, living is a world that is reveling in darkness? We must become light so that those who live in darkness can see the light of the Gospel and learn that they no longer need to live in darkness but can also be come children of the light just as we have become. We must awaken from our own stupor and arise from our own darkness that Christ may shine within us. We must lay aside our own works of darkness and learn to walk in the light that our deeds done in the light will expose and rebuke the deeds done in darkness. We must take up the light that those around us may see, not our judgment, but the path we have trodden from darkness of light; that they might be able to follow us from death into life, darkness into light, and corruption into life eternal.

David Robison

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