“Let no man deceive you with vain words:  for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”

This verse might be entitled, “Divine Wrath upon Disobedience.” It is a mistake to suppose that the wrath of God is limited to the present life.  It is true that sinners often in this life do receive in themselves, “that recompense of their error which is meet” (Rom. 1:27).  The drunkard is punished here in broken health, in loss of substance, reputation and happiness.  But we must not suppose that the laws of Providence ensures that these results exhaust the fullness of Divine wrath against those sins.

“Let no man deceive you with vain words”–
Literally:  “Let no one deceive you with empty words”–False and deceitful words which cannot secure to you the impunity they promise you; bearing you in hand either that those things are not sins, or not so dangerous.  Possibly Paul has in mind the same Gnostic teachers.

        “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”  (2:2).
        “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words” (Col. 2:4). 

         In accordance with the context we have to understand Gentiles who have remained unbelieving, who in their contact with the Christians sought to talk about those Gentile vices, to give them out as matters of indifference, to represent abstaining from them as groundless and senseless, and by doing so, to entice back the Christians to the Gentile life. Their arguments  were “empty” inasmuch as the corresponding contents, i.e. the truth, was wanting to them–“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:8).  So, in order to be safe, let no one, by artful plans, persuade you that there will be no danger from practicing these sinful vices.

        DECEIVE:  (Gr.-apatatô)–Literally:  “deceive; lead astray.” Allow no one to persuade you that any of these things are innocent, or that they are unavoidable frailties of human nature.  

They are all sins and abominations in the sight of God!  And those who practice them are children of disobedience; and on account of such practices the wrath of GodDivine punishment–must come upon them.

        VAIN:    (Gr.-kenoi)Literally:  “empty;  alien.”  Words that are empty and alien to the solidity of the immoveable facts that the body cannot sin without sin of the spirit.   

         With vain (empty;  alien) philosophy, vain (empty;  alien) babblings, with foolish and filthy talking.  Such deceivers there were, (and still are) doctrinal and practical ones, who lay in wait to deceive men with such vain (empty;  alien) pretenses; and there is always present the danger of being carried away with their error; for “the heart {is} deceitful above all {things}and desperately wicked…” (Jer. 17:9) and is easily taken in such snares.  Paul is cautioning against such deceptions.
         Body and spirit alike are concerned in eternal retribution.  The wrath of God is not just a figure of speech, and His love cannot possibly modify His holiness.  Understand this all important fact:  First, last and always, God is holy!  He cannot do or abide, anything that will in any way defile His innate HOLINESS!

“for because of these things cometh the wrath of God”
Literally:  “for through these the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience–For certainly very serious consequences follow these vices: on account of these vices (emphatically prefixed)–comes down the wrath of God upon the disobedient.

         For this vicious conduct piles up the load of guilt until the day to receive punishment–“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5), from which they could be liberated only by means of faith in Christ, the despising of whom leaves them to abide under the wrath of God and to encounter the judicial execution of it.
         If you can sin and get by with you, it is because you are NOT a child of God.  Because God would have to condemn you with the world, which would mean that you are not saved.  If you are a child of God and do these things, God will chasten you.  If God does not chasten you, you are in a frightful condition. It means you are not really His child, because God does not spank the Devil’s children.

“Be not ye therefore partakers with them.”

Literally:  “not then become partners with them.”–In their sins, and acts of disobedience; by keeping needless company with them; by abetting and encouraging sinful practices; by conniving at them, and not reproving for them; or by committing the same things.

           BE:  (Gr.-ginesthe)-Literally:  “become.”  Meaning to join cause with such shameless sinners; with the “sons of disobedience,” is a denial of your Christian profession.

           PARTAKERS:   (Gr.-summetochos)–Late double compound, only here in N.T., joins (sun) “with; along with; shares with” to (metochoi)–“joins”–with (autôn) “them;referring to the Gnostics. To join cause with these shameless sinners, with these “sons of disobedience,” is a denial of our Christian profession.

If you are partakers of their sins, you must also be partakers of their punishments. Therefore, refuse all such partnership. Your natural instincts recoil from partnership in punishment; let your spiritual instincts recoil from partnership in sin. Do not act as your fellow citizens do; nor suffer their philosophy, for it is vain words, with empty and illusive doctrines, to lead you astray from the path of truth.  This verse tells us:
1.      That it is possible for believers to partake of the sins of others.
         They may do so:      
          a.      By conniving with them.
          b.      By not checking or punishing them.  
          c.      By not mourning over them.
          d.      By actually committing them.

2.      That believers ought to maintain a very separate walk in  the world.
          a.      They who have named the named of Christ ought to depart from iniquity (II Tim. 2:19).
          b.     The cry to them is ever, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” (II Cor. 16:17). |
          c.      There is no common room for both Christ and Belial in the Church. 

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now {are ye} light in the Lord:  walk as children of light:”

“For you were sometimes darkness”
Literally:  “for you were then darkness”– Paul now refers to the whole period of their unconverted life. While you lived in darkness, you lived in these crimes. The emphasis is on "were." Ye ought to have no fellowship with sin, which is darkness, for your state as darkness is now PAST.

        DARKNESS:  (Gr.-skotos)-Total blindness and ignorance.  That is, once; darkness—In a state of total blindness and ignorance, without any light of instruction without, or divine grace within, and therefore had some excuse for living such unrighteous and profane lives. Paul reminds the believers of their former state prior to conversion.  They were not just in darkness, they were darkness. 

         They were once darkness itself.  This phrase is quite impressive, for it indicates a moral as well as intellectual darkness.  A hard heart is always linked with a blinded understanding.  The two act and react upon each other, becoming alternately cause and effect.  Men do not care to retain the knowledge of God in their thoughts, and God, in judgment, gives them over to a reprobate mind.  The most enlightened natures of the ancient world were thus “darkness” itself.
         Your former state of darkness (with which those vices were in keeping) is past; now, on the other hand, you are Christianly enlightened; and as befits such a condition, let your walk also be. While you lived in darkness, you lived in these crimes. They were themselves formerly sunk in the same ignorance, and practiced the same abominations.
         We speak of the unregenerate as being in darkness, but it is much worse than that. Let them reflect that once upon a time they too had been darkness; not merely unenlightened or ill-informed, but wrapped in a dense fog-bank of moral hallucinations.  Satanically blinded therewith and glorying in their ignorance and shame.  To be enshrined in darkness is a hapless plight and that plight had been theirs.  Now they had quitted the realm of spiritual and moral night shade and been brought into morning light.        

“but now {are ye}light in the Lord”
Literally:  “but now light in {the} Lord”–Now on the other hand, since your conversion, how entirely different is it with you, how entirely different must your walk be!

You are light in the Lord, i.e. furnished with divine truth in your fellowship with Christ, in Whom, as the Source and Giver of light (v. 14), you live and move.

         LIGHT:  (Gr.-phôtos)–Those who have found life “in Christ” are people who have been translated from the realm of darkness into the realm of lightLight is the emblem of happiness, knowledge, holiness. The meaning is, that they had been enlightened by the Lord to see the evil of these practices, and that they ought, therefore, to forsake them.

        “To open their eyes, {and} to turn {them} from darkness to light, and {from} the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them, which are sanctified by faith that is to me” (Acts 26:18).
        “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 (Rom. 13:12).

        “For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to {give} the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Cor. 4:6).
        “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated {us} into the Kingdom of His dear son” (Col. 1:13).
        “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Pet. 2:9).

         Conversion has wrought a radical change in the understanding as well as the heart.  Believers are now light “in fellowship with the Lord” (I John 1:3).  There is the renewing of the mind into the love of the truth which it knows; otherwise, the light would torment and not comfort.  You were darkness itself, and are now light itself, and this last is explained by the usual formula, “in the Lord.”
         Union with Christ makes light, just as the bit of carbon will glow as long as it is in contact with the electric force, and subsides again into darkness when the electricity is turned off. To be in Christ is to be a child of light, and to believe in Christ is to be in Him.  Instead of what they once were they had become enlightened by the Gospel, discerners of Divine truth and subjects of the new life which it opens to men. The completeness of the change is indicated again by the use of the abstract term—so possessed and penetrated were they by that truth that they could be described not simply as enlightened but as themselves now light. And this “in the Lord,” for it was in virtue of their fellowship with Christ that this new apprehension of things came to them, transforming their lives.

“walk as children of the light”
Literally:  “as children of light walk”–This is Hebraism–“children of light,” for those that are in the light,–“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day:  we are not of the night, nor of darkness(I Thess. 5:5).

         This describes the duty of believers.  As light signifies joy, believers are to walk in the joy of an assured hope and a perpetual cleansing—“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).  We walk in the day and therefore should not stumble—“The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth” (I John 2:8).  If we walk in the light, we ought clearly to recognize the fellowship of fellow believers—“I f we walk in the light…we have fellowship one with another.”  We are going the same way, inspired by the same hopes, meeting the same difficulties, arriving at last at the same home.
         Let your manner of life be suitable to your condition and privileges: But if we walk in the light we have fellowship one with anothr, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleaneseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).   No longer walk in sins, which are works of darkness, but in faith, truth, and holiness.
         When you were in heathenish darkness you served divers lusts and pleasures, but now you have the light—the wisdom and teaching which come from God; therefore walk as children of the light—let the world see that you are not slaves to the flesh, but free, willing, rational servants of the Most High; not brutish followers of devil gods.
         So Jesus teaches, “While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may become children of light” (John 12:36).  “Children of light” are they who not only love the light, but also manifest the likeness of the one true Light, “the Father of Lights” (James 1:17), being His children in Jesus Christ.

“For the fruit of the Spirit
{is} in all goodness and righteousness and truth;”

“For the fruit of the Spirit” (Gr.-karpos tou Pneumatos)
Literally:  “For the fruit of the Spirit”-Earlier, and better, manuscripts have this as (Gr.-karpos tou photos)–“fruit of light.”

         These words contain a reason why the Ephesians, who were once darkness, but then enlightened by the Holy Spirit, should walk as children of the light; namely, because the fruits of that light, or of the Holy Spirit, the author of that light which they had received,  is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, that is, it consisted in these things, these are the fruits of the enlightening and enlivening Spirit of God.  Since the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, produces goodness, righteousness, and truth, see that you exhibit these in your lives, and thus show that you are the children of light.|
       Light has its fruits; darkness (see v. 11) is “unfruitful.” The metaphor is striking, but literally correct, inasmuch as light is the necessary condition of that vegetative life which grows and yields fruit, while darkness is the destruction, if not of life, at any rate of fruit-bearing perfection.

“is in all goodness and righteousness and truth”
Literally:  {is} in all goodness and righteousness and truth”–These are practical exhibitions of the “being true in love,” described in v. 15 5 as the characteristic of the Christ-like soul.

         Paul has just been exhorting the Ephesian Christians to walk as “children of the light” and before he goes on to expand and explain that injunction he interjects this parenthetical remark, as if he would say, To be true to the light that is in you is the sum of duty, and the condition of perfectness, “for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” That connection is entirely destroyed by the substitution of “spirit.” The whole context, both before and after my text, is full of references to the light as working in the life; and a couple of verses after it we read about ‘the unfruitful works of darkness’ an expression which evidently looks back to my text.  So please do understand that our text in this sermon is-“The fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.”  The good, the right, the true, are only to be realized through the light that streams from the Sun of righteousness—“the true light” that “now shineth.” 

1.      GOODNESS:  (Gr.-agathôsunêi)–Literally: “benevolence;” or even “good works.”  Spoken of elsewhere as a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and therefore it is not mere beneficence, for it has its source in religious principle.  This is kindled by the light that illuminates the understanding.

2.  RIGHTEOUSNESS:  (Gr.-dikaiosunêi)–Adherence to the rule of right. Light which communicates a knowledge of righteousness to the mind also installs a love of righteousness into the affections.  This principle has a sense of Divine obligation, and subjects the believer in every relation of life to the guidance of Divine Law.

3.      TRUTH:  (Gr.-alêtheiai)–This is a direct emanation of the light.  It is spiritual truth, working ultimately to truth of character in all the genuine forms of Christian life. 


         They consist, says he, in all goodness and righteousness and truth. Now “goodness” here seems to me to be used in its narrower sense, just as he uses it in the Epistle to the Romans, in contrast with “righteousness,” where he says, “for a good man some would even dare to die.” There he means by “good,” as he does here by ‘goodness,’ not the general expression for all forms of virtue and gracious conduct, but the specific excellence of kindliness, amiability, or the like. “Righteousness” again, is that which rigidly adheres to the strict law of duty, and carefully desires to give to every man what belongs to him, and to every relation of life what it requires. And “truth” is rather the truth of sincerity, as opposed to hypocrisy and lies and shams, than the intellectual truth as opposed to error.
         Since the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, produces goodness, righteousness, and truth, see that you exhibit these in your lives, and thus show that you are the children of light.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith”
“Meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law”  (Gal. 5:22-23).

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