Paul explained that all believers at one time were abiding in darkness and had become as “darkness” (Eph 5:8a). Now that they had come to the Light, they had become as “light” (5:8b), able to see “what is acceptable to the Lord” (5:10). Likewise, now that they could see, they were to avoid all forms of darkness; in fact, they were expected to expose such darkness (5:11).
The unsaved have no idea how “shameful” their actions (Eph 5:12) are before a holy God. They delight in living “in secret,” but believers are to have nothing to do with these “unfruitful works of darkness” (5:11).
The light of God’s word exposes perverse, vile, and repugnant sinners. How He could ever love us is amazing. He sent His Holy Spirit to “convict the world of sin” (Jn 16:8) so that sinners could recognize their true condition and their desperate need for a Savior (Gal 3:24). In spite of how He feels about our sin He loves us..
Paul described his awareness of his sin through the Ten Commandments: “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died” (Rom 7:9). This is what happens when “all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light” (Eph 5:13). This pre-conversion work of the Spirit leads a person to understand he is lost, desperately in need of the Savior, and without any personal goodness to merit salvation.
In Ephesians 5:14, Paul shouts to the world, “Awake, O sleeper! Rise from the dead.” The metaphor shifts from the darkness of sin to the spiritual deadness of the sinner. The command is a call to repent and turn away from a naïve belief in your own personal goodness or false security of a religion and to trust exclusively in Christ and depend solely on His death as full satisfaction for the payment of sin’s debt.
If you trust in Him, “Christ will shine on you.” Your sins will be forgiven and replaced with the incredible gift of His righteousness. This alone makes us acceptable to God. Call out to the unsaved “sleeper” and tell him to wake up to the truth of the gospel. When was the last time you shared the good news of Christ’s redemption with a sinner?
“Lord, why are so many of us asleep concerning Your kingdom purpose? Are we so full of our plans that Your plans are crowded out? Make this day count for You.”