A Shining Light

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 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. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

Ephesians 5:8-14

This is an interesting piece of text, following along in context with that of our last passage. Actually, it’s quite simple: We were once darkness, now we are light, so pursue those things that are produced by the light of God’s truth and avoid the old ways of darkness.

Simple; you knew that, right?

There are two things about this that are curious; the first of which is found in vv. 11-13. We are to stay away from the fruitless deeds of darkness, instead exposing those nasty dark things done in secret…

As I read it, you can take this one of two ways. First, maybe Paul means that we should sneak into those secret places where things are going on that are shameful to even discuss, and then tell everybody what you saw so those deeds will be exposed. This sounds like a politician’s method to me. The other way you could take this is that we share the light with those who live in darkness so that the light may shine in their lives and shed truth on their misdeeds…

Personally, I think Paul gives us a pretty good clue as to his intention when he mentions that even discussing what goes on in secret in certain places is shameful. If it is shameful to mention such things, then big public announcements seem even more shameful to me.

The other curious thing is the quotation in verse 14. I have no clue who or what Paul is quoting; obviously it isn’t the Old Testament, even though Paul set the quote up just like he would an OT quotation. Might he have made a mistake, thinking this was a Scriptural quotation? Frankly I doubt it. More likely it was something very familiar to the Ephesians that has been lost to history; maybe it was something Paul taught there, or an Ephesian’s representation of Paul’s words. In any event, it’s a pretty good saying, don’t you agree?

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