Before we quote those verses, let’s consider what Paul said in the verses leading up to them. In verses 1-2 he exhorted the saints at Ephesus to “be imitators of God as dear children” and to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us” (NKJV). In short, he is telling them (and us) that the lives of believers should reflect the character of our Father and our Savior. He then goes into great detail in verses 3-5 telling them what they should NOT be doing: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” The things mentioned here, which include sexual sins and sins that proceed from our speech, are things that characterize the unbeliever and that they should “not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.” If we do fall into one of these sins, we are living “out of character.”

Now let’s read verses 6-7, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.” The enemy of our souls (Satan) would seek to deceive us into thinking that the sins just mentioned aren’t that bad. In our present day we are bombarded with talk of “sexual tolerance.” Things like fornication, adultery, and homosexuality used to be looked upon as sin and those who engaged in these practices usually did so secretly and were ashamed to talk of them publicly. Yet in our culture today (in the United States and elsewhere) these things are spoken of as normal and thus acceptable, and those who advocate these “lifestyles” are often found in leading universities and even from the pulpits of many mainline churches! We are NOT to be deceived with these “empty words,” for God’s wrath will soon be unleashed upon the “sons of disobedience” (those who are “disobedience to the gospel” and thus “disobedient to God’s standard of morality”) for these very things. A prime example of God’s wrath against such sins is found in Genesis 19:24, “Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah.” In Jude 7 we are told, “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having GIVEN THEMSELVES OVER TO SEXUAL IMMORALITY AND GONE AFTER STRANGE FLESH, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

Paul then reminds the Ephesians in verse 8 of what they ONCE WERE and of what they ARE NOW. “For you were ONCE DARKNESS, but NOW YOU ARE LIGHT in the Lord.” They too were once “darkness”; that is, they lived in MORAL and SPIRITUAL DARKNESS as “sons of disobedience,” committing those same sins that deserve the wrath of God. But having believed the gospel of Jesus Christ that was proclaimed to them they had been delivered from darkness and were brought into the light. We read of this in Colossians 1:12-13, “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the SAINTS IN THE LIGHT. He has DELIVERED US FROM THE POWER OF DARKNESS and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”

Because of this new position that we have in Christ, Paul goes on to say in verses 9-10, “Walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (NASB). In other words, Paul encourages the believer to “walk according to who you now are.” You are a “child of Light,” so “walk as a child of Light.” If we do we will manifest the “fruit of the Light”….goodness, righteousness, and truth. And in doing so, we will not only be a light to those who are still in moral and spiritual darkness, but we will be proving what is well pleasing to the Lord. In short, our lives will then prove to be a “blessing to men” (as we display Christ to them), a “blessing to ourselves,” (as we learn what pleases God), and a “blessing to God” (for He will be pleased). (293.5) (DO)