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 become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
– Ephesians 5:6–14
Clinton Arnold writes:
Although Christians are not called to isolate themselves from the world, they are called to live differently than their non-Christian friends and acquaintances. Throughout this letter, Paul never advocates an escapism, but he repeatedly commends a countercultural lifestyle. Christians need to be with non-Christians (especially for the sake of the mission), but they simply cannot live like them, especially when it comes to matters such as sexual standards, attitudes toward money, and the way non-Christians joke, tell stories, and engage in verbal innuendo. Paul warns these believers, “do not be fellow shares with them” (5:7). This kind of behavior is inconsistent with their new identity as light.
Paul also warns that there are some believers who will attempt to justify their inappropriate behavior and seek to persuade fellow Christians to join in with them. This is likely what stands behind Paul’s admonition, “Let no one deceive you with empty words.”
Unfortunately, the moral practices of Christians today sometimes tend to mirror the inappropriate behaviors of the prevailing non-Christian culture. While it is important for Christians to identify with unbelievers as a means of reaching them with the good news of redemption in Christ, we need to be cautious of allowing their impure practices to influence our own behavior. God calls us to be different from the world. This inevitably means that we will sometimes make unbelievers feel uncomfortable because we decline to join them in their practices. Yet God specifically and directly calls us to the higher standard of living our lives in ways that reflect His purity and holiness.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 16
Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.