This Sunday we continued our series in Ephesians. You can view the sermon here.
Paul, in Ephesians 5, is looking at our identity in Christ from different angles. It is as if he is slowly turning a diamond and observing the different facets of it.
If we are in Christ, then we are beloved children of God and we should imitate Him. We do this by walking in love, light, and wisdom.
Verse 15 calls God’s children to look carefully at how we walk. We are not to live as those who are unwise but as those who are wise. Our union with Christ is the most important truth about who we are. In Christ, we have been given His wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30).
If this sounds foreign to you, you are not alone. We tend to view our salvation from the standpoint of forgiveness or justification alone. That is a wonderful truth, but that is not all God has blessed us with in our salvation. He has made us wise in Christ.
A Cause for Humility
This is a cause for humility, not pride. We were unwise. Unwise in the biblical sense means foolish; we were not following God, we were in active rebellion against God (Psalm 14:1). The Holy Spirit changes our hearts so that we see Christ as beautiful where before we wanted nothing to do with Him. If we are puffed up by this truth, it is evidence that we do not understand the work of grace which God has done in our hearts.
Foolishness is the denial of God (Romans 1:18-32). What, then, is wisdom? Wisdom is the proper application of biblical knowledge. It is bringing our biblically informed intellect and common sense to a situation and applying biblical knowledge to it.
The Bible’s view of wisdom is incredibly freeing!
One example is choosing a spouse. God tells us the kind of character we should look for in a potential spouse. We can easily sum it up with the character Paul has been expounding on in Ephesians 5. Therefore, we can take biblical knowledge and apply it to a person we think we might want to marry. Do they meet this criteria? If yes, then you can pursue it in wisdom. But if not, you should move on because it would be unwise and foolish to pursue something God has forbidden.
Wisdom is Practical
When we walk in wisdom, as those who are wise, then we will know how to make the best use of the time in these evil days (5:16-17).
Using the wisdom God has given us will help us have the right priorities in life. Wisdom tells us that every time we say yes to something, we say no to something else. There are wise activities we can do to make the most use of our time, and there are unwise activities.
How do we know the difference? We need to use the wisdom that God has given us. Ask yourself: what responsibilities has God given to me? This is a simple question, but it can really help us apply our biblical knowledge to a specific situation.
A personal example may help here; God has given me the privilege (responsibility) of being a husband, a daddy, and a pastor. These are my priorities. Therefore, if there is something that comes up which will interfere with me faithfully obeying God in those areas, I don’t need to do it. Even if the thing might be good and not sinful, I still need to say no.
Wisdom is meant for the nitty-gritty of life. God has not given us the wisdom of Christ to win arguments, or so that we might know really big words and sound smart. Rather wisdom is for us to use in our everyday life, so that we might grow in imitating our Father and glorify Him.