A Study of Ephesians 5:8
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”
This light of life, if we have it, will be shown in those checks and convictions telling us of things that are wrong and lame. These are the convictions of the Spirit, that we may not pass over those evils, but bear them in mind and confess them; so that not even the least thing of this kind may pass without a clear issue in the blood of Christ. For if we pass it now, we shall hear of it another day, as sure as we live, and that in a blacker light. Our bad memory will do us no good here; “he that covereth his sins shall not prosper.” (Proverbs 28:13)
“All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light…”
There is a profession which is exceedingly dangerous, much reading and prayer and writing, but not this clear coming to Christ so as to obtain a clear sense of His kindness and mercy.
We may easily know when we are favoured with this; it so takes away all our guilt and misery, and like the scape-goat carries our sins out of God’s sight and out of our sight, casts them into the depths of the sea, sets our feet on a Rock, and orders our goings.
If I do not get this from time to time, nothing can reconcile me to living without it; nothing in this life can interest or satisfy; but I am full of grief, misery and sorrow. And there is nothing I dread so much as to have the light of these things in the head without the feeling sense and power of the blood of sprinkling in the heart; which must follow the least intimation of anything that is wrong.
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what” this “will of the Lord is”; (Epphesians 5:17) that is, that you should take notice of these wrong things, and not pass them over, but be brought down to nothing, as feelingly lost before Him, till the virtue of His blood is realized.
Do not think if you have contracted guilt to get over it in that easy way of sliding into the favour of God, and being drawn by love.
There is no such thing in the Word of God; for He will make us know that He is exceedingly displeased with sin, and there is no healing but by faith in the atonement of Christ.
There are many causes which make men overlook and neglect these convictions, and not cherish them till they are brought to a clear issue; for O how many stop short here at this turning point!
Above all, one cause is having no heart to it; and there are many “needful” trifles that stop us. But God bids us not to be unwise,
but to know His will: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as
fools, but as wise”; (Ephesians 5:15) and He speaks to that living principle within, that we may be very cautious and honest here.
“Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
Paul describes the entrance of this light to him as a light above the brightness of the sun. That is the light of God’s mercy revealed to the soul in Christ Jesus, which is above all natural light.
So clear and certain is the smile of His approbation, we cannot mistake it; it so sweeps away all guilt and misery, so breaks the power of all those corruptions that have lorded it over us, so brings us out of the world, and so removes all the accusations of Satan, that it cannot be mistaken.
The power of this light is described in Titus: “We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,” these were put off.
The Lord said to Paul, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks”; that is, to contend against God.
When He is bringing those evils to light, and you want to cover them, this He will not endure. To be left to pass them over and say, “This is but a little thing,” and give way, this is the corner-stone on which a tower of future misery and sorrow may be erected.
The fruit of this washing Titus speaks of: “That they which have believed in God,” who have “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” … “might be careful to maintain good works.”
These who were far off are made nigh in Christ (Ephesians 2:13).
And what hinders your being made nigh, and coming to this exceedingly clear sense and discovery of God’s pardoning love?
It is that you have no heart to it; for I must declare that if you had, you would certainly obtain it. There is nothing so sweet as this sense of His mercy and kindness in Christ Jesus; there is the fullest satisfaction in it, and every trouble and every care is removed.
I cannot enough bless God for causing me, ever since I have taken up this morning reading, to walk in the things I have set before you; which has caused a great increase of His fear. As to what you say about your prayers being so dead and cold and heartless, I cannot describe how deathlike are the prayers I put up, which God hears and answers; for however dead our state, Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and the Life, and quickens all who come to God by Him.
By James Bourne – 1840