Being Church - Part 7: Eph 5:8-10
Pauls Letters Christology Biblical Studies Expository Topics
Notes on Ephesians 5:8-10
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (Eph_5:8-10 NKJV)
This is a continuation of our last study of Eph_5:3-7, and here begins with Paul's statement, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light ..." (Eph_5:8 NKJV). When looking at this verse of Scripture, there are three immediate thoughts which comes to mind:
- Able to approach God through Christ without sin (Heb_4:14-16)
- Able to fellowship with one another in the body (1Jn_1:5-7)
- Able to be salt and light to those that are outside of Christ (Mat_5:13-16).
In our study of Eph_4:17-24, when looking at the new man having been created after God in true righteousness and holiness, we discovered that they are two primary attributes of God's Divine character. We found that these two primary attributes are what defines God as to what he is like in every respect of his being. We also found that everything about God, in what he is like, in what he does, and in the way he is, are all based on and linked in to his holiness and righteousness. Another way to describe this is, God's holiness and righteousness are what all the other attributes are hinged on. I believe that these Attributes are what defines God to be the "I AM," because this is what seems to be shown consistently throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Then in our study of Eph_4:32, in regards to our forgiveness of one another, we've seen a diagram of how God's holiness and righteousness encapsulates the attributes of both his Divine Nature and his Divine character.
The point that was made, was that there is nothing, and I mean, nothing that God does is outside of his holiness and righteousness, which includes his forgiveness of us. What this signifies is that there is no darkness and evil in God; that he is all goodness and pure light, of which darkness and evil are completely exposed. They cannot reside in such intensity of light and goodness.
What all this means, is that righteousness and holiness are the reflectors of light. Its through our living out holy and righteous lives that the light of God is seen. Perhaps one use an analogy here of holiness and righteousness as a light switch that turns on the light of God to be seen. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Mat_5:14-16 NKJV). Its in here we can see the true affect of this light. We are here so that we can affect other lives by us bringing them into the light, in that, "... not only to walk worthy of the light but be light to others" (Lange) to where we are lighting up others, or bringing them into the light. We are not the receptacles of the light, that which contains and holds the light; that is what holiness and righteousness does, but rather God has made us as light itself in Christ.
In this truth of us being light, Paul shows what comes out of that light. In other words Paul shows us what the fruit of the light is and what it is based on. The NKJV and a few other translations say that the "fruit of the Spirit., & etc.," but other translations, i.e., the NIV and others, have the more correct translation, "for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth" (Eph_5:9 NIV).
The significance of what is being said in that verse of Scripture is of paramount importance because it distinguishes us as being and doing all that God is in our imitating him. Gal_5:22-23 shows us what the fruit of the Spirit is made up of. But Eph_5:9 shows us what the effect that the fruit of light has on others both in and out of the body. The Fruit of light is based on three attributes of God's divine character, which are:
- Goodness. In the Greek, the word is, agathōsúnēs (G19), which means, "uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness" (Thayer), and "Of disposition of character, virtue (Zodhiates). The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament defines it as the "... quality, or moral excellence, of the good person ... the content of the Christian life (Rom_15:14)" (Kittel).
- Righteousness. In the Greek, the word used is, dikaíōsúnē (G1343). Although this word was somewhat covered in our study of Eph_4:17-24, I think there is something that also needs to be looked at. The word dikaíōsúnē comes from the word Díkē (G1349), and basically deals with the areas of justice, law and order, and also deals with what "... is expected behavior or conformity, not according to one's own standard, but according to an imposed standard with prescribed punishment for nonconformity. It refers to legitimate custom" (Zodhiates). How this word relates to dikaíōsúnē (G1343) is by defining what is God's standards are of which we are to conform to, in that "... the inherent righteousness of God in that He is justice personified and cannot be anything else" (Zodhiates), and therefore is totally reflective of all the attributes of God's divine character. With all that said, the word dikaíōsúnē also denotes that of having a sense of fairness, justice, and equity in one's dealing with one another.
- Truth. The Greek word used is, alétheía (G225), of which it used in the sense of that which is "in opposition to error, lies, hypocrisy" (Poole). This word denotes walking in one's integrity of the heart, of being honest, which includes truthfulness. Alétheía infers honesty, as opposed to deceitfulness and dishonesty, in our dealings with one another; thus further denoting having no double standards; of having no pretense, not hiding anything, of being transparent & etc., in all things pertaining to life.
What the fruit of the light does, is it gives us the ability to test things that come our way where we are able to make proper judgement calls to see what we do is pleasing to God (Eph_5:10). This works in the same context as in testing the spirits & etc (2Co_13:5; 1Th_5:21; 1Jn_4:1-2). Its in this that when we work together as a body with each member helping the other, that we are able to keep one another from falling into sin, and also to help one another to go on for God in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember in Eph_4:13-14, when Paul was talking about the role of those with the ministry gifts, of where they are to equip us for the work of the ministry, and to edify us (Eph_4:12) so that we "... come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; [in order] that we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting ..." (NKJV)? It is in this that when we are one, as a singular entity in Christ united together in what we have been taught to believe, and so have grown together in Christ, in both the power and the anointing of the Holy Spirit we are able to to search out and know what is God's will (Eph_5:10; see also Rom_12:2; 1Th_4:3; 1Th_5:18; Heb_10:36; 1Pe_2:15; 1Pe_3:17; 1Pe_4:2; 1Jn_2:17). In these verses of Scripture Paul very simply outlined what God's will is for us as church, and all that is left for us to do is to fall into line, and to get with the program of God's will. Finding the will of God, learning and knowing the will of God, then doing the will of God is what causes us to be secures us and hold us together as a body, a church. And here is what all this culminates to: it makes us, as a body, to be effective in the pulling down of the strongholds of the enemy and take his ground (cf. 2Co_10:4-5; note also Eph_6:10-18).