ONCE DARKNESS – NOW LIGHT
Let no one deceive you with empty words for, because of such things, God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord (Eph. 5:6-10).
What are the ‘empty words’ of which Paul speaks? ‘Empty’ simply means that these words have nothing in them – no substance – which implies that they are lies. What kind of words are empty of truth? Words that man speaks in contradiction to God’s Word have no truth in them. Satan is their source because he wants to lure people away from God and from the truth.
Satan spoke empty words to Adam and Eve and, when they believed him and did what he tempted them to do, they discovered that it was God who had spoken the truth, not the devil. The outcome, just as Paul had written, was the wrath of God on them for their disobedience. Scientists and philosophers who deny the existence of God, speak empty words. Those who disregard God’s moral requirements, living impure and wicked lives, are under the dark cloud of Gods’ wrath because they have believed the ‘empty words’ with which the devil has deceived them.
Deception is one of the devil’s most potent weapons. He deceives through lies which contradict God’s truth and he deceives through fear – a powerful emotion that drives people to ignore or disregard the character and promises of God.
Paul counsels his readers not to partner with people who, under Satan’s influence, propagate his deception both by their words and by the way they live. God has preserved in written form over thousands of years, His directions for living lives that please Him and that protect us from the effects of His wrath. God’s wrath is not capricious outbursts of anger but a settled disposition of displeasure. To be under God’s displeasure is to be subject to the consequences He clearly describes in His word for choosing to disobey Him.
There is no small print in God’s Word. He hides nothing from His people. He takes no pleasure in meting out punishment to those who are disobedient. The devil has spawned the lie that God is a hard taskmaster, waiting with His rod of punishment to catch anyone out who transgresses His laws. God has clearly warned everyone who cares to take notice, of the consequences of disobedience but He has endless mercy for those who repent and return to His way.
Why should His people not be partners with those who contradict and disobey His Word? Not only is such association detrimental to our wellbeing, but it also cuts across everything we are and have been taught as children of God and citizens of His kingdom. Loyal citizens of a country are bound by the constitution of that country. Should they step outside the boundaries of that constitution, they will be prosecuted. Our prisons are crammed with people who have transgressed the laws of our land.
Likewise, those who belong to God’s kingdom have voluntarily placed themselves under the constitution of His kingdom. They have committed themselves to loyalty to Jesus as the king and have placed themselves under His authority to obey His Word because His Word has substance – it is the truth.
Light and darkness cannot co-exist. Darkness disappears when a light is turned on. Darkness has no substance; it is merely the absence of light. Light exposes the furniture in a room which would be potential obstacles in the dark. Light enables us to see what is in our environment. In the light we are able to avoid tripping over things we cannot see in the dark. In the same way, the light of God’s Word enables us to avoid falling prey to devil’s lies and destroying ourselves by believing his deception.
It is our responsibility as children of the kingdom of light, to live out in our daily lives who we are. The fruit of our lives reveals the root. Paul insists that God’s children bear the fruit of lives that live in the light – for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. It is impossible to live in the darkness of disobedience and, at the same time, bear the fruit of light. What we do reveals what we are.
And find out what pleases the Lord. What is it that pleases God? The Bible gives us the answer. God gave King David a title He gave to no one else. Preachers and theologians often make heavy weather of this, one simply because they have ignored the context.
After removing Saul, He [God] made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13: 22).
Did you get that? Obedience to His Word pleases God more than anything else. It is not our service or our sacrifice which pleases Him. It is our prompt and complete obedience. Obedience to God’s requirements is the one thing, above everything else, that indicates whether we fear Him or not.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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