“Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord”

Literally:  “Proving what is well-pleasing to {the} the Lord”–Testing, by God’s declared will; that is, putting every action, and course of action to that proof, and approving, in action, all that passes it.

         “A general rule applicable to the whole walk. To prove is to ascertain by test and experiment. Our whole walk should be directed to finding out what things are pleasing to Christ, rejecting at once everything that is not so, and clinging to all that is. We are not to follow the tradition of our people, and not to take a vague view of duty; we are to prove the matter, to put it to the test. For the supreme practical rule of the Christian's life must be to please Christ.”Pulpit Commentary

PROVING: (Gr.-dokimazontes)–Literally: “testing, examining; discerning, approving.” To prove is to try each case, by the full light of God, what is accordant to His will; this Greek word expresses the idea of a careful trial.  It is a work partly of thought, partly of practical experience; and it always implies a searching examination of heart and action by God’s word.

         This Greek word is from a verb that often is rendered as “approving” but more commonly it means, “proving for oneself,”  and so here it really means, “choosing.”  It shows the demand for careful thought and discrimination.  While it is true that the light of God is given, it does not free men from the responsibility of thinking or thought and choice.   
         These words are closely connected with those which precede them in the 8th verse-“Walk as children of light.” In effect, what Paul is saying is, “You say you are children of light, then prove it by walking as children of light.” Let your light so shine, as Jesus has said. This explains the way the commandment is to be fulfilled. You who, as children of light, mindful of your obligations, and penetrated by its brightness, seek to conform your active life to the light to which you belong.  You are to do so by making experiment of, or investigating and determining, what is “acceptable to the Lord.”  This is the sum of all Christian duty, a brief album of your conduct; an all-sufficient directory for your life.

Separation from, and rebuke of, is  the true attitude toward works of darkness.

“And have not fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

“And have no fellowship with”
Literally:  “And do not have fellowship with”–Paul now describes the duty of Christians in reference to evil works:  to have no religious connection whatever with heathens or their worship. Paul is telling these Ephesian believers not to have any religious connection whatever with heathens (pagans) or their worship.

 To “have no fellowship with” such works does not mean to just refuse to take part in them (of course, this must be taken for granted)  It really means to have no sympathy or indulgence or excuse for them at all.  We see the word is used in Rev. 18:4–“being partakers with the sins” of Babylon. It is through such weak or cowardly indulgence, more than the actual love of evil, that sin is allowed to exist

“the unfruitful works of darkness”
Literally:  “the works unfruitful of darkness–Unfruitful because you receive no blessing fromr them.

         UNFRUITFUL:  (Gr.-akarpois)–Same metaphor of verse 9 applied to “darkness” (Gr.-skotos).  The deeds of darkness that produce no benefit to the body or the soul.

The word “unfruitful” (akarpois) is here used in contrast with the “fruit of the light.” They spring out of darkness.
1.      They delight in darkness.
2.      They lead to eternal darkness.

All godless life is fruitless, inasmuch as it has no permanent results. Christians are to stand apart from every such work.  There must be no fellowship with darkness.  The friendship of the world can only be purchased at the cost of the Father’s friendship (James 14:4).    Paul has a similar thesis in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 6:19-22). 

    “I speak after the manner of me because of the infirmity of your flesh; for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
    “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

    “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?  For the end of those things {is} death.
    “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:19-22).

         Those who are in sin “yield their members servants to iniquity unto iniquity.” Iniquity has no result but bringing more iniquity; and so Paul goes on to ask, “What fruit had ye then in those things of which ye are now ashamed?” This weary fruitlessness is the sign and the penalty of sin, so that men have imagined it to be one chief element of the suffering of the lost. But they who are in Christ “yield their members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” Paul says,  “They have their fruit unto holiness” now, and “in the end the everlasting life,” which is everlasting holiness. Similarly, in Gal 5:20-22 Paul writes about “the works of the flesh,” but “the fruit of the Spirit.”  Rarely does Scripture speak of “evil fruit.”  Generally, “to be unfruitful” is an all-sufficient condemnation. “Every branch that beareth not fruit he taketh away” (John 15:2).  
         The point of this exhortation is in the adjective “unfruitful.”  The works of darkness are always to be reckoned as unfruitful.  They produce no goodness, give rise to no satisfaction, to no moral results that are “a joy forever;” or, if they do have any fruit at all, it is shame, remorse, despair. Contrast this with the renovating, satisfying, joy-producing, fruits of righteousness.

“but rather reprove them.”
Literally:  “rather but even reprove {them}–To merely avoid them is not enough– reprove themBy your life, your conversation, and all your influence. This is the business of Christians. Our lives should be a standing rebuke of a sinful world, and they should be ever ready to express their disapprobation of its wickedness in every form. The duty of every true believer: rebuking the works of darkness. 

This is to be done with the view of producing a consciousness of guilt and evil.  The Christian attitude must be aggressive toward all the forms of sin.  The rebuke is to be administer
1.      With our lips-using all plainness, yet with prudence and meekness, so as to win Gentiles to the truth.
2.      With our lives,–which, by their holy separateness, ought to demonstrate the folly and sin of the world.  A holy man is a visible reproof of sin.

        REPROVE:   (Gr.elegchete)–Convict by turning the light on the darkness.   Bear a testimony against them; convince them that they are wrong; refute them in their vain reasons; reprove them for their vices, which are flagrant, while they pretend to superior illumination. 

         Reprove them (the works), is done when they are not passed over in silence and indulgently excused, but are held up with censure to the doer, and have their immorality discovered and brought home, in order to produce amendment. This chastening reproof is an oral one, since the context does not intimate anything else.
        Paul is saying we are not to be content with just having a passive attitude towards these evils, but take the aggressive actions and expose their wickedness, whether they are in public or in the domestic circle. A testimony has to be lifted up against ways that are so shameful and that bring down the wrath of God.  In reference to these works of darkness, the Christian has two duties:
1.      He is to have no communion with them.
2.      He is to reprove them. 


“For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”

Literally:  “For it is shameful even to speak of the secret things being done by them.”–Paul is actually referring to what goes on in the pagan temples (the rites of the “mystery cults”) and such.  He says it is just as much a sin to talk (or brag) about such sin as to actually do them

         This no doubt refers to the Eleusinian and Bacchanal mysteries, which were performed in the night and darkness, and were known to be so impure and abominable, especially the latter, that the Roman senate banished them both from Rome and Italy.  The groves of Ephesus were notorious for the shamefulness of lust. To even speak of such deeds was not only wrong, but shameful; so extreme is the delicacy which Christianity fosters.  You cannot take too much pains against them. Parents, masters of schools, and others cannot take too much to exclude from conversation, from even the faintest touch of what is unbecoming.
       It is still a shame to speak of the practices of the heathen. Those of modesty and virtue would be appalled with shame at the very mention of what is done by the worshippers of idols; and the same is true of what is done by multitudes in Christian lands, who are not worshippers of idols. In today’s society, what many are now doing openly would have been appalled at and shamed only 25 years ago.  Their deeds cannot be described in the circles of the refined and the delicate; they cannot be told in the presence of mothers and sisters. There is emphasis here in the words, “even to SPEAK of those things?”  
         If Paul would not allow them to name those things, or to speak of them, is it wise or safe for Christians now to be familiar with the accounts of those practices of pollution, and for ministers to portray them in the pulpit, and for the friends of “moral reform” to describe them before the world?  The very naming of those abominations often produces improper associations in the mind; the description creates polluting images before the imagination.  Even the exhibition of pictures, even used for the purpose of condemning them, defiles the soul.
         Unfortunately, with the prevalence of the hell-ivision in the homes of most Christians, we not only “speak” of such abominations daily, but we “have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:32).  We invite them into our homes and watch them on the “boob-tube,” or more correction, the hell-ivision set.  We are admonished by God, in Jer. 10:2 to “Learn not the way of the heathen and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven.”
1.      Christians daily read their newspapers to find what their horoscope says as to how their day will be. 
         We have not only “learned” the ways of the heathen, we have even brought them into our churches:  example:  unscriptural “nativity scenes.”
2.      We have sunrise services, even though Jesus did not rise at sunrise (see John 20:4; Ezek. 8:16-18), actions that provokes God to wrath (Ezek. 8:17).   
We forget the passage in Mal. 3:6 which says, “I am the LORD, I change not.”  Therefore, if such provoked God to wrath then, and since He does not change, then to see people practicing sunrise services, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the resurrection of Jesus because the women got to His tomb while it was dark and He was already gone, then such practices would provoke God to wrath now.
3.      Churches practice “Easter” egg hunts.  What do eggs, the symbols of pagan fertility, have to do with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ?
         The very name, “Easter” is a pagan name, coming from the Canaanite fertility goddess, Ishtar.
4.      We also go into our churches and see a decorated so-called “Christmas Tree;” a practice that is specifically condemned by God in Jer. 10:3-5. 
You may say you are not “worshiping” the tree; but since it has absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with the birth of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, then why do you have such a heathen/pagan symbol in your church?  Such heathen/pagan superstitions are not, nor have never been, for the Christian.  They are inventions from hell.

“But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light:  for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”

“All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light”
Literally:  “but all things being exposed by the light is revealed”–Or discovered, or exposed.

        ALL THINGS:   (Gr.-ta panta)–More literally, ‘they all” or “all of them”; the secret things just referred to. 

       ARE REPROVED: (Gr.-elegchomena)–This may be rendered as “are made manifest.”  That is, they have their iniquity laid open to the actors themselves, as well as to others, by the light of divine truth.

Paul speaks against these mystery religions as profoundly as he speaks against fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness; but by no means does he borrow expression or similarities from them to illustrate Divine truths; for, as it would be a shame even to speak of those things, surely it would be an abomination to allude to them in the illustration of the doctrines of the Gospel.

 “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:20-21).

    MADE MANIFEST:  (Gr.-phaneroutai)–This means to turn on the light, or open the blinds so they are viewed.  Often the preacher is the only man brave enough to turn the light on the private sins of men and women or even those of a community.  Made manifest by the light that reproof sheds upon them, thus revealing their heinous character.

         The translation “are made manifest” is indeed fully in accordance with the common usage of the word. But the whole context shows that Paul is here using it in its more proper sense as “are illumined.”  Paul is certainly passing on here to a fresh idea, and, moreover, to one which will bear the inference of the last clause of the verse.        
         But everything (all those secret sins), are reproved; that is, when you carry that “reprove” (elegchete) into effect upon them. It is by the light it is laid bare in its real moral, (rather, immoral) character, or unveiled and brought into distinctness before the moral consciousness by the light of Christian truth which is at work in you by the light.  All that which is made manifest, which is brought forth from concealment and is laid open in its true nature, is light, has ceased thereby to have the nature of darkness, and is now of the essence of light.

         There is a reason for rebuking the works of Darkness.  The diabolical awfulness of these sins and the necessity of exposing them (opening the blinds upon them) to the sinner’s conscience
1.      The sins are done in secret.
2.      The sins are too shameful to mention aloud.
Such sins would naturally shun the light of day, for “for every one that doeth evil hateth the light” (John 3:20), and could not be committed to language without risk of defilement to others.
3.      The sins are not beyond cure.

The light of Divine truth must be let fall upon them, that they may be corrected.  There is a necessary connection in Scripture between truth and holiness, and the truth must first be applied to the ignorant and the wicked, that it may make way for the sanctifying agency of the Spirit

“Wherefore He saith, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’”

“Wherefore He saith,”
Literally:  “Therefore He says”–It seems more natural to understand the words he says as referring to the light, i.e. the Gospel, mentioned Ephesians 5:13.

          WHEREFORE:  (Gr.-dio)–Seeing that light (spiritual) dispels the pre-existing darkness. (compare the same phrase, v. 8).

         HE SAITH:  (Gr.-dio legei)–Should be translated, “He (God) saith … or, “Wherefore IT saith,” referring to a passage in the Scriptures:  apparently a free adaptation of Isa. 26:19; 60:1.  This is the strong, commanding voice of the Gospel in every part—Receive instruction; leave your sins, which are leading you to perdition; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will enlighten and save you.

        “Thy dead {men} shall live, {together with} My dead body shall they arise.  Awake and sin, ye that dwell in dust:  for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the   earth  shall cast out the dead” (Isa. 26:19).
         “Arise , shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee” (Isa. 60:1).

   “Awake thou that sleepest,  and arise from the dead”
    Literally:  “Arise sleeping{one} and stand up from the dead”–Arouse from a state of slumber and false security.

    Here is a challenge to any Christian who is not walking according to the pathway outlined in these chapters. 

It is impossible for a believer to live as one asleep and to walk as a dead man.  The Corinthians had that kind of a walk:  “For ye are yet carnal:  for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (I Cor. 3:3).  They were walking as people who had never been regenerated. 

              AWAKE:  (Gr.-egeirai)–Literally: “arise.” 

The word “awake” is used in our version to render two different words:
1.      Which properly means “to wake,” or “be awake,” or “watch,” as in I Cor. 15:34; I Thess. 5:6, 8; II Tim. 4:5; I Pet. I:12; 4:7; 5:8;

2.      The other, as here, which properly means “Rise up!” “Rouse thyself!” preparatory to “arising” and coming forth. 
         The words are a paraphrase of Isa 60:1, 2, not an exact quotation.

The exhortation in both forms is common enough.

    “And that knowing the time, that not {it is} high time to awake out of sleep, for now {is} our salvation nearer than when we believed.
   “The night is far spent; the day is at hand:  let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

    “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
     “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to {fulfill} the lists {thereof}(Rom. 13:11-14).

         The man that is sleeping on the verge of a dangerous precipice we would approach, and say, “Awake, you are in danger.” The child that is sleeping quietly in its bed, while the flames are bursting into the room, we would rouse, and say, “Awake, or you will perish.” Why not use the same language to the sinner slumbering on the verge of ruin, in a deep sleep, while the flames of wrath are kindling around him? We have no difficulty in calling on sleepers elsewhere to awake when in danger; how can we have any difficulty when speaking to the sinner?

“arise from the dead”
Literally:  “stand up from the dead”–The state of the sinner, is often compared to death. People are by nature dead in sins; yet they must rouse from this condition, or they will perish.

         These are truly bold exhortations. Generally, we are said to be raised up from the death of sin by God, as in Rom. 8:11–“He that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken your mortal bodies;” or Rom. 6:11–“ “Reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God;” or Col. 3:1–“If ye then be risen in Christ.” Here the soul is described as hearing the Savior’s call, “Come forth,” and as itself rising at that call from the grave. We may be rightly said to “awake” out of lethargy and carelessness, and to “arise” out of the deadness of sin.
         As a man asleep neither knows nor does anything that can be called good or useful, so the Gentiles and all others, while without the knowledge of Christianity, had not only no proper knowledge of vice and virtue, but they had no correct notion of the true God.                     

“Christ will give thee light.”
Literally:  “and Christ will shine on you”–This promise is given to the sinner.  The light that comes from Christ can reach even the dead.  “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of god; and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25). 

         More correctly, Christ shall dawn upon you. The word is virtually the same which is used for the literal dawn in Matt. 28:1; Luk3 23:54.  . The same idea is strikingly enunciated in II Pet. 1:9–“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” where prophecy, looking forward to Christ, is compared to a light shining in a dark place,” “till the day dawn, and the Day-star arise in your hearts”—He, that is, who is “the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16).

    CHRIST:  (Gr.-Christos)–“The true light;” “the Sun of righteousness.”  This shows that in quoting the prophecy, Paul views it in the light thrown on it by its Gospel fulfillment. As Israel is called on to “awake” from its previous state of “darkness” and “death” (Isa. 59:10 Isa 60:2), for that her Light is come; so the Church, and each individual is similarly called to awake. Believers are called on to “awake” out of sleep; unbelievers, to “arise” from the dead.

Christ, as the “Day-star,” or as the “Sun of Righteousness,” is already risen. The soul needs only to come out of the darkness of the grave, and the new rays shine down upon it, till they pervade it and transfigure it into light.

“While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (Matt. 25:5).

“And that knowing the time, that not {it is} high time to awake out of sleep, for now {is} our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11).

“Therefore let us not sleep, as {do} others; let us watch and be sober” (I Thess. 5:6).

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