bible blog 1245

Ephesians 5:1-20

Good News Translation (GNT)

This blog offers a meditation on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:

SERIAL POLLUTER B.P. WINS CONCESSION TO DRILL IN GREENLAND

Oil giant promises to respect environment

Oil giant promises to respect environment

Living in the Light

5 Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God.

Since you are God’s people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you. Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar. Rather you should give thanks to God. You may be sure that no one who is immoral, indecent, or greedy (for greed is a form of idolatry) will ever receive a share in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

Do not let anyone deceive you with foolish words; it is because of these very things that God’s anger will come upon those who do not obey him. So have nothing at all to do with such people. You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord’s people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, for it is the light[a] that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth. 10 Try to learn what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the worthless things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light. (12 It is really too shameful even to talk about the things they do in secret.) 13 And when all things are brought out to the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed; 14 for anything that is clearly revealed becomes light.[b] That is why it is said,

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

15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like ignorant people, but like wise people. 16 Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days. 17 Don’t be fools, then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.

18 Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts. 20 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father.

becoming light

becoming light

Paul is often interpreted as being more interested in belief than behaviour; but as anyone can see from this passage, that is a mistake.  For him belief, Greek pistis, is always trust, an entrusting of your life to the God and father of Jesus Messiah. Naturally this commitment has ethical consequences. If your behaviour has not changed, the trust is unreal. Much of religion is to do with getting God on your side. If however, God has shown himself to be so completely on your side that he has forgiven your sins, religion, with all its self-seeking, is undermined. All you need to do is to trust God’s love and live a life that’s worthy of it. This is what Paul means by “living in the light”. God’s goodness is light which shows your behaviour clearly; as long as you live in the light you can’t conceal your pathetic lusts, your denigrating conversation, your greed and envy.They are shown up as utterly unfit for those who trust the light. Paul suggests that those who remain in the light eventually lose all their dark and opaque elements and become light themselves. This is a resurrection which happens in life, as the hymn Paul quotes suggests. The common life of believers, filled with God’s spirit, can be as intoxicating as wine.

As the reader will see in chapter 6, this encouragement to live a sound and joyful life is a preparation for the serious battle the faith community has to fight against all the evil powers that rule the political and cultural world in which it  lives. This common, trustful, disciplined life equips the community to withstand the persuasion of imperial values; and to be the advocate and evidence of one new humanity under God.

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