“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJ)
We begin a new series, Redeeming the Time, with the Apostle Paul’s challenge to the New Testament church at Ephesus. This challenge is also relevant for 21st century believers who feel the pressure of living in our postmodern society.
The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible translates “redeeming the time” to mean making the most of every opportunity. The meaning is further illuminated by Bible interpreters: “to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good so that zeal and well-doing are as if it were the ‘purchase money’ by which we make the time our own.” The Apostle Paul uses this phrase on two separate occasions with new churches established in Christ. He does so to prepare them for the challenges they would face living in a hostile, pagan society.
To the church at Ephesus, Paul reminded believers that they were no longer agents of darkness but were to redeem the time by being “lights in the Lord” (Ep. 5:8). Their new identity was to be evidenced by their fruit–goodness, righteousness and truth. They were to walk “circumspectly, not as fools”.
Also Read: Can You Handle the Truth?
There is urgency in Paul’s message to this church because the “days were evil” meaning there was a general disregard for what was right while embracing that which was profoundly immoral, wicked, and depraved. That evil continues.
Today Paul’s challenge to “redeem the time” draws attention to believer’s solemn responsibility to proclaim and practice Christ-centered principles in their home and in their community.
When we affirm our faith, we acknowledge that we have died to our old sin nature (Gal. 5:24) and walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). We no longer follow the worldview—its influence was negated by the Blood. Our meaning and reality is now realigned with God (2 Cor. 5:15).
While society exchanges moral absolutes for what seems “right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6), believers must be “committed to God’s truth in every element of our lives as the separation between light and dark become apparent in the world and in our society.” We are to redeem the time by renouncing world system standards and boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. By redeeming the time, believers accept Paul’s challenge and become “change agents” for Christ until He returns (2 Peter 3:11-12).