Monday: Walking as Children of Light

Paul writes, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6, NKJV).

Paul has identified those who practice various sins without shame or repentance, the “sexually immoral, or impure, or who is covetous” (Ephesians 5:5, ESV). He has offered a blunt assessment: Those who are in Christ and destined to be participants in His future kingdom should not act like those who are not (Ephesians 5:5). He now worries over the effect of “empty words”; that is, believers might be deceived by explicit language into thinking that sexual sin is not taboo, or might even be drawn into such sins themselves (Ephesians 5:6). To be so deceived, warns Paul, risks God’s end-time judgment, “the wrath of God” that “comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6, ESV).

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The phrase “the wrath of God” is a challenging one. That it is the wrath or anger of God suggests a contrast to the usual, moody human variety (compare Ephesians 4:31). It is the just response of a long-suffering and righteous God against stubborn commitment to evil, not a crazed, volcanic reaction to some minor infraction. Moreover, mentions of divine wrath most often occur in the context of inspired, biblical warnings about the coming judgments of God (e.g., Revelation 6:12-17Revelation 16:1-16Revelation 19:11-16). God warns of His own coming judgments — an act of grace, since human beings are “by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3, ESV), subject to those judgments.

Why does Paul exhort believers not to become “partners” or “partakers” with sinners? (Ephesians 5:7-10).

Paul exhorts, “Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) and continues with a further command: “and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10, ESV). The pagan seeks pleasure through “sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness” (Ephesians 5:3, ESV). The believer’s goal is dramatically different, not to please oneself but to please God (compare Romans 12:12 Corinthians 5:9Hebrews 13:21, which use the same Greek word, euarestos, “pleasing” or “acceptable”). The believer seeks to reflect the self-sacrifice of Christ (“walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us,” Ephesians 5:2, ESV).

What are some of the “empty words” that in our day and age we need to be wary of?

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