Sunday, February 19, 2012

Now Live the Light, Part II

Paul continues his exhortation to the believers in Ephesus (and us) to be deeply mindful of who they are now.  Paul understands the draw of the flesh towards darkness, which fuels his exhortation to walk in the Spirit in a life of light.

Ephesians 5:11-14

 11 and have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness. Instead, expose them for what they are. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what is done by people * in secret. 13 But everything that is exposed to the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that is visible is light. That is why it says,
“Wake up, O sleeper!
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.’’ International Standard Version 1996


11 και μη συγκοινωνειτε τοις εργοις τοις ακαρποις του σκοτους μαλλον δε και ελεγχετε 12 τα γαρ κρυφη γινομενα υπ αυτων αισχρον εστιν και λεγειν 13 τα δε παντα ελεγχομενα υπο του φωτος φανερουται παν γαρ το φανερουμενον φως εστιν 14 διο λεγει εγειρε ο καθευδων και αναστα εκ των νεκρων και επιφαυσει σοι ο χριστος WHNU

Verse 11: and have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness. Instead, expose them for what they are...και μη συγκοινωνειτε τοις εργοις τοις ακαρποις του σκοτους μαλλον δε και ελεγχετε "do not be joined together to the fruitless works of darkness, rather, (adversarially) expose (them)"  Paul continues his use of the imperative in his exhortations, which should be expected as he is not offering suggestions to be taken any way the reader likes.  He not only gives a "do not", but also gives a "do" in this phrase: 'do not be joined together to...do expose'.  There is both omission and commission in this verse.  Both verbs are in the durative (present) tense, indicating action continuing without interruption.  Believers are seldom called to be passive.  The verb ελεγχω (used here in the 2nd person imperative ελεγχετε) means to "show, expose, convince of a reality, fault or error".  The idea of "show, expose, convince" in an adversarial sense is amplified by the dual conjunction of δε και, which preserves the idea that the compound statement is two sides of the same coin, so to speak, and that the conjoined statements carry a sense of being adversarial (being joined together to "fruitless works of darkness", versus exposing their reality in a negative way).

Verse 12: For it is shameful even to mention what is done by people in secret...τα γαρ κρυφη γινομενα υπ αυτων αισχρον εστιν και λεγειν  "for the secret things coming to pass by them are shameful even to speak"  Remember, Paul just said not to be joined together with their works, but to expose them, yet, he very clearly states here these things are "are shameful even to speak (about)".  How do we reconcile our actions to take?  Paul did not say to not be joined together with such works but ignore their existence.  He said to expose them for what they really are.  Yet, he also says these things are shameful to even talk about. Do not underestimate the depravity of man, nor any man.  "Shameful" acts have been around as long as man as been on earth.  We should never become jaded or so hardened that they no longer shock us, that we just roll with their presence -- that is ignoring them.  Expose them for what they are, but not in such a way as to glorify them, but that the consequences might be made known, and a call to repentance and light might be made.

Verses 13 and 14a (these are not separated in the Greek text): But everything that is exposed to the light becomes visible, for everything that is visible is light...τα δε παντα ελεγχομενα υπο του φωτος φανερουται παν γαρ το φανερουμενον φως εστιν  "but all things being exposed by the light are made apparent, for everything being made apparent is light"  This is an expression of wisdom.  Exposing "the secret things" is painful, to be sure; none of us wants are secret sins exposed by anyone.  Yet, as Paul explains here, even such things become light for us (and the yet to be redeemed), because the light is also redemptive in its nature -- taking these shameful things, exposing them for what they are, and leading us away from them.  The light in no way validates nor justifies these acts, rather, it is capable of nullifying the effects of such dark things, and replacing them with light.

Verse 14b: "Wake up, O sleeper!
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you." ...διο λεγει εγειρε ο καθευδων και αναστα εκ των νεκρων και επιφαυσει σοι ο χριστος   "because it says "Rise, the one who sleeps, and stand up from the dead, and Christ will shine upon you"  Paul opened Ephesians 2 with " we were dead in our trespasses and sins..."  We are made alive by Him, and He gives us His light, that we might walk in His Light, and be continually transformed as we submit ourselves to the examination by His Light, and for the sake of others, without judgement, expose the darkness wherein they walk, as we once did.

Grace and peace unto you.