Sometimes it’s hard for Christians to believe that sin is always destructive and offers no benefits. Promised pleasure can taste bittersweet, but its poison will accumulate and eventually bring about damaging consequences. Forgiveness does not alter consequences now.
The full sense of the command in Ephesians 5:11 is to “stop participating in unfruitful deeds.” The believer should not be involved in any way with sinful behavior. The gospel message and the teachings of the New Testament will only be heard if the speaker is committed to the word.
Do children listen to a parent’s faith when they witness the parent’s repeated unchristian behavior? Will wives want to be submissive to husbands who refuse to be submissive to God’s commands, and vice versa?
It is inconsistent for believers to live a lifestyle similar to the unsaved world. Paul said of disobedient believers, “It is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret” (Eph 5:12).
Right after I accepted Christ, I wanted all my friends to understand the gospel. Once I overheard a conversation that began the transformation in my life. A friend said, “You know that Don Fanning, he claims to be a Christian now, but he is not any different from the rest of us!” I sincerely wanted my friends to accept Christ, but I was the obstacle to their openness. It finally dawned on me that I needed to be different.
The “unfruitful deeds of darkness,” in Ephesians 1, 4, and 5, are the lusts of deceit, falsehood, stealing, unwholesome speech, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, malice, immorality, impurity, greed, filthiness, silly talk, coarse jesting, covetousness, and idolatry.
These sins bring only hurt, destroyed relationships, trouble, disillusionment, and dissatisfaction. We are to “continually be exposing them.” Our silence can imply that we approve of such behavior.
Furthermore, by not taking a strong stand against such attitudes, we remain susceptible to their temptation. May your light shine as you lovingly show your friends their need for the Lord. Tell them why you are different. Do you know why?
“Lord, give me Your courage to be different, pure, honest, and as generous and forgiving as You are. I feel so cowardly at times. Give me the boldness to stand up for You in my world.”