If there ever was a passage of Scripture that aptly fits our times, it is Ephesians 5:16. It is here that the apostle Paul can be observed having written the following words to the Ephesian believers: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16 AV). With the church, the body of Christ, as its central theme, one of Paul’s chief purposes in having written this epistle is to call upon believers to live a lifestyle of holiness in alignment with their new life in Christ. Accordingly, he charges the saints with these words telling them, “Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God” (Eph. 4:1 CEB). Here Paul was not saying that anyone is ever worthy, in the sense of having earned the right of being a part of Christ’s body, but he was suggesting that Christians ought to live a lifestyle in comportment with having placed upon their lives such a high calling. It is throughout Ephesians that Paul expands upon this theme with varying emphases.
It is the backdrop of Ephesians 5:16 that Paul speaks to the critical hour in which the Ephesian church found itself engaged. And, if this is the case for a church founded approximately two thousand years ago, what are the implications for the church of today wrestling with pandemic, not to mention a world and culture whose mores have been toxified by ungodliness and gross immorality? Moreover, what is instructive, in the context of current times, to followers of Christ in the conduct of their daily lives with everything pointing to the eventuality of the Lord’s return? Paul’s advice, as given above, is abundantly clear when restated
through the lens of the Amplified Bible: “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time (buying up each opportunity), because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15–16 AMP). These words take on heightened meaning in a time of overwhelming crisis brought on by the powers of darkness with a sovereign God back behind it. If God allowed it to be, then we as believers should not let this fact be lost upon us by wasting the crisis. In other words, the current state of the world should make every child of God conscientious in the usage of their limited time, especially in light of the fact that enough time was spent uselessly prior to having given their life to Christ; or even before the onslaught of what presently envelops our nation and the globe.
There’s a certain urgency in the words of Paul that should prompt the Church of Jesus Christ to action. May we all now, cognizant of the times, live our lives purposefully, centered on those things which truly matter. If we prayerfully seek Him for guidance, God will show us how to make the most of the time yet allotted to us.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.