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Ephesians Chapter Five

Ephesians Chapter Five

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 14, 2013
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EPHESIAS CHAPTER FIVEBY THE REV. PROFESSOR G. G. FIDLAY, B.A.,THE CHILDRE OF THE LIGHT."Be not ye therefore partakers with them ; for ye were once dark-ness, but are now light in the Lord ; walk as children of light (for thefruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), provingwhat is well-pleasing unto the Lord ; and have no fellowship with theunfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. For thethings which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of;but all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light :for everything that is made manifest is light. Wherefore He saith : — 1 Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead ;And the Christ shall shine upon thee.' "Eph. v. 7-14.THE contrast between the Christian and heathenway of life is now, finally, to be set forth underSt Paul's familiar figure of the light and the darkness.He bids his Gentile readers not to be "joint-partakerswith them " — with the sons of disobedience upon whomGod's wrath is coming (ver. 6) — for he has hailedthem already, in chapter iii. 6, as "joint-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."" Once " indeed they shared in the lot of the dis-obedient ; but for them the darkness has past, and thetrue light now shineth.In wrath or promise, in kope of life eternal or inthe fearful looking for of judgement they, and we, mustpartake. This future participation depends upon present321 21
322 THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIAS.character. "Do not," the apostle entreats, "cast inyour lot again with the unclean and covetous. Theirways you have renounced, and their doom you haveexchanged for the heritage of the saints. Let novain words deceive you into supposing that you maykeep your new inheritance, and yet return to yourold sins. Show yourselves worthy of your calling.Walk as children of the light, and you will possess theeternal kingdom." Each man carries with him intothe next state of being the entail of his past life. Thatheritage depends on his own choice ; yet not upon hisindividual will working by itself, but on the grace andwill of God working with him, as that grace is acceptedor rejected. He has light : he must walk in it ; andhe will reach the realm of light. Thus the apostle,in verses 7 and 8, concludes his warning againstrelapse into heathen sin.Verses 9 and 10 delineate the character of the childrenof the light: verses 11- 14 set forth their influence uponthe surrounding darkness. Into these two divisions theexposition of this paragraph naturally falls.I. "The fruit of the light" (not of the Spirit) is thetrue text of verse 9, as it stands in the older Greek copies, Versions, and Fathers. Calvin showed his judgement and independence in preferring this readingto that of the received Greek text. Similarly Bengel,*and most of the later critics. The sentence is paren-thetical, and contains a singular and instructive figure.* Mr. Wesley adopted this and other emendations from Bengel,'''that great light of the Christian world," in the translation accom-panying his Explanatory otes upon the ew Testament. He theresupplied the Methodist preachers with many of the most valuableimprovements made in the Revised Version, a hundred years beforethe time.
v. 7-I4-J THE CHILDRE OF THE LIGHT. 323It is one of those sparks from the anvil, in whichgreat writers not unfrequently give us their finest utter-ances, — sentences that get a peculiar point from theeagerness with which they are struck off in the heatand clash of thought, as the mind reaches forward tosome thought lying beyond. The clause is an epitome,in five words, of Christian virtue, whose qualities, originand method are all defined. It sums up exquisitelythe moral teaching of the epistle. Galatians v. 22, 23{the fruit of the Spirit) and Philippians iv. 8 ( Whatso-ever things are true, etc.) are parallel to this passage, asPauline definitions, equally perfect, of the virtues of aChristian man. This has the advantage of the othersin brevity and epigrammatic point."You are light in the Lord," the apostle said; "walk as children of the light." But his readers might ask :" What does this mean ? It is poetry : let us haveit translated into plain prose. How shall we walk aschildren of the light? Show us the path." — "I will tellyou," the apostle answers : "the fruit of the light is inall goodness and righteousness and truth. Walk inthese ways ; let your life bear this fruit ; and you willbe true children of the light of God. So living, youwill find out what it is that pleases God, and how joyful a thing it is to please Him (ver. 10). Your lifewill then be free from all complicity with the works of darkness. It will shine with a brightness clear andpenetrating, that will put to shame the works of dark-ness and transform the darkness itself. It will speak with a voice that all must hear, bidding them awakefrom the sleep of sin to see in Christ their light of life." Such is the setting in which this delightfuldefinition stands.But it is more than a definition. While this sentence

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