V99(for the fruit of the Light [consists] in all goodness and righteousness and truth),. A walk in light is not sterile and cold. In such a walk, life is developing that shows itself in the fruit it bears. This fruit is not because of your efforts and neither a result of some performance you delivered. No, bearing fruit is not what you do, but it is about what you are and where you stand. If you walk in light, you are in God’s presence. He gives the increase (1Cor 3:77So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.).
The Lord Jesus says: “He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:55I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.). When you draw your ‘life juices’ from Him, your life will bear fruit. That fruit consists of the features of God, which were also visible in the life of the Lord Jesus. You will be a benefit to others when in your behavior “all goodness” is visible. You will give others what they deserve and in that way reveal “righteousness”. Your whole behavior will not be hypocritical, but “truth”, that is veritable.
V1010trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.. While you are ‘producing’ the fruit of light that way without your own efforts, you are active in finding out “what is pleasing to the Lord”. “Trying to learn” is to examine whether something is good. The result of this examination is that you make choices that are a joy to the Lord.
V1111Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;. In verse 77Therefore do not be partakers with them; Paul warns that you should not be a partaker of evildoers. You must not connect yourself with these people. In this verse you are reminded not to have anything to do with their deeds. Every form of fellowship with them should be cut off. Light and darkness have absolutely nothing in common (cf. 2Cor 6:14b14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?).
Now you are in the light, it is absolutely unbearable to do “unfruitful deeds” because they belong to the “darkness”. Besides, have you noticed that there is mention of “fruit (singular) of the Light” (verse 99(for the fruit of the Light [consists] in all goodness and righteousness and truth),) and “unfruitful deeds (plural) of darkness” (verse 1111Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;)? This you also find in Galatians 5, where you read about “the works of the flesh” (Gal 5:1919Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,) and “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:2222But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,). What belongs to God and comes from Him, forms a wonderful unity. What comes from the flesh and belongs to darkness, is corruption in many ways.
What happens in darkness should be “exposed” – this means that it must be clearly indicated which sin it is about. The nature of the sin should be exposed. You don’t have to examine the way sin is practiced, but as soon as you become aware of it, you are to name sin as sin and not partake in defending it.
John the baptist did that well. He exposed Herod’s way of living by saying that he was living in sin (Mt 14:3-43For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.4For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”). Exposure happens by what you say, but even more by the way you live. When you walk in the light, that light will also reveal the works of darkness.
V1212for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.. It is very clear that something that happens “in secret”, is deliberately done and not ignorantly. “It is disgraceful even to speak” of things which are done in secret. Should you have to say something about it, do it with disapproval. It can be necessary to talk about homosexuality. When somebody is struggling with homosexual feelings, we shall try to help such a person with compassion. However, when it is somebody who defends homosexual practice, we must take a clear stand against it.
V1313But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.. The special feature of light is that it reveals everything when its rays shine on it. Light exposes the true nature of something. He who does good things has nothing to hide. He stands fearless in the spotlight. Everything he does may be seen. He who does evil, hates the light and avoids it (Jn 3:2020For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.).
V1414For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”. The work of light is made clear in the previous verses. It is also made clear that there is absolutely no fellowship between light and darkness. Of course the enemy doesn’t like that. He doesn’t succeed in mixing light and darkness. But what he does succeed in doing, is to turn both around and to present darkness as light and light as darkness. He is tirelessly busy to make people think backwards. In various media he has found a great way for his attempts.
The prophet Isaiah has spoken out the ‘woe’ regarding the exchange of light and darkness (Isa 5:2020Woe 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!
). And bear in mind: he indeed speaks to the people of God! This reversal of matters has also permeated Christianity. Christians have been deceived by the enemy and have fallen asleep. They are detached from the light of the glory of Christ. Therefore out of the glory comes a call from the glorified Christ to every Christian individually: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Just imagine: You see a lot of people lying on the floor. They don’t move. They all seem dead. There is no sign of life. The tragedy the apostle is painting here is the apparent similarity between the sleeper and the dead. Although the sleeper is alive, he is yet just as the dead and just as insensitive to the light. That is the application here. Somebody who sleeps doesn’t hear or see anything. There is no communication with the living, for in fact he is in the condition of a dead man.
The Christian who is asleep, has been turned off to testify of the glorified Lord. In order to rejoice in Christ again, he must awake and arise. He has to open his eyes and realize that he has been deceived “with empty words” (verse 66Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.), and therefore he became like the dead.
When you realize that your life is not a testimony anymore of the glorified Christ, then do something about it! It may be that you haven’t sinned at all. Of itself that is wonderful, but it might be the case that you have become blind to the glorified Christ and to your connection to Him. You went to live on the level of the world. You started to think horizontally. You’re not aware anymore of the vertical relationship with the Lord. You do not reflect the new life anymore.
When you recognize this, you have been awakened. Confess to the Lord that you’ve failed and rejoice again in Christ, the Light source. In His Person everything that God is has been revealed in the midst of evil and darkness. If you rejoice in Him, God will be revealed in the midst of evil and darkness. After all, you have been created according to God. The section that deals with light and darkness in such a special way, closes so to say, with the call to rejoice in the light.
V1515Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,. After this digression about light and darkness Paul returns to the walk, about which he spoke in verses 1-61Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.3But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;4and [there must be no] filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.5For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.. By walk is meant the way of life we live. He exhorts us to watch carefully how we walk. It is, after all, about a walk in love and light (verses 1,81Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;8for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light), a walk wherein the new life becomes visible (Eph 4:22-2422that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self [lit man], which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24and put on the new self [lit man], which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.), so a walk wherein Christ is being formed (Gal 4:1919My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—). That comprises our whole life.
After the contrast between light and darkness you see another contrast, that between unwise men and wise. Who is wise? Wise is he who knows how to apply God’s Word in different situations. You are unwise when you live to your own ideas, as if you would not know anything of the very plans God has with you. You are wise when you ask yourself in all your decisions if it fits with your relation with the heavenly Christ, as that is the issue in this letter.
V1616making the most of your time, because the days are evil.. Walking wisely becomes clear in how you use your time, how you use opportunities that God gives you to let your light shine. A wise man takes the greatest possible advantage to show the new man. “Making the most” means that you make the best use of what you have, not for yourself, but rather at your own expense.
That “the days are evil” or full of sin is another exhortation to make most of your time. You won’t have that chance in heaven. Only in the time you are on earth you have chances to show Christ in the midst of sin. If you want to see these chances, you must be awake, your eyes must be open, and you should also watch out how you walk. There is always that danger of falling asleep.
Because you live in an evil, sinful world, you should watch yourself and your environment. This doesn’t frighten you or make you tremble. No, what you see makes you zealous to be fully and continuously committed to the Lord. You become aware that time is a gift from Him to serve Him with. When we do not see opportunities, it’s not the Lord’s fault, but ours.
Now read Ephesians 5:9-16 again.
Reflection: How do you make the most of your time?