Read: Ephesians 5:3-14
You were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. (v. 8)
After beginning chapter 5 with the broad instruction to be “imitators of God” (v. 1), Paul becomes increasingly specific for how to walk like Christ in our day-to-day lives. He begins with our sexual lives and then progresses to teachings on marriage, parenting, working, and spiritual practices that weave the fabric of a godly life. Each section lays out a stark example from the prevailing culture and calls believers to a much higher standard.
The things to be avoided in verses 3-13 all relate to sexual actions, thoughts, and words. Why does he begin there? Perhaps because the temple of Artemis in Ephesus emphasized cultic practices of prostitution. Greco-Roman culture was saturated with paganism and perversion. If the Ephesian believers were to imitate God, they had to begin by leaving behind the base elemental lusts of the flesh.
Is our world any different? We may not have temples of prostitution like Artemis, but we are not immune from the same sexual saturation of society. What are we to do? Because we now are “light in the Lord,” we are to “walk as children of light” (v. 8). We live differently. We take responsibility for our thoughts and actions. We replace the sexual levity of our day with thanksgiving for our bodies and steward them for marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33) or serve the Lord as singles (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). And when we do, the light of Christ dispels the darkness. —Jon Opgenorth
As you pray, ask God to help you walk as a child of light.
About the Author
Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.