Back in my wilder youth there were a few nightclubs and rock venues I would frequent. Once, I had reason to be inside one of those clubs during the daylight hours. To my horror, what had been obfuscated in the darkness was now on full display in daytime brightness. The place was beyond grody. Not only did I not want to touch anything, I didn’t even want to breath the air in that disgusting environment. It was such a stunning image I couldn’t get myself to go back, even when it all was hidden once again in the shadows.
That’s sort of the line of reasoning Paul is going to be using in the passage we’ll be reading this Sunday as we study Ephesians – we’ll be reading Eph 5:3-14.
Paul sets up another contrast similar to what he did at the close of chapter 4 where he described our move from death to life. In chapter 5 he contrasts darkness with light.
We’re going to take some time to get a grasp of what Paul is talking about when waring about God’s wrath in v6 – but his point is, there was one way we used to live before Christ, and there is another which is the product of our transformation in God’s light. He describes various sins (not an exhaustive list, just what appears to come to mind): sexual sins and greed as well as conversational sin. Why do you think Paul might have lumped these particular behaviors together? He makes it clear: this is who you were, but you are different now. Paul wasn’t setting standards for a new moralism, he was highlighting markers of identity.
How we understand our identity in Christ was of crucial importance to Paul. His plea is for us to pay attention and not just thoughtlessly follow along with cultural moors and ethics. Are there areas you find it challenging to resist cultural expectations that diverge from God’s intent? Based on Paul’s exhortation, how can we be more thoughtful about the behavior and language we engage in?
God’s wrath and inheritance in God’s kingdom are two important topics in this text which we’re going to dig into on Sunday to try and discover what he means when he uses those phrases.
It’s going to be a challenging study, but well worth any discomfort it may bring. I hope you can join us this Sunday!