Ephesians 5:15 – 16
The Apostle’s great concern is that all Christians should realise the difference between themselves and those who are not Christians. The Christian has the wisdom of God in Jesus Christ. He knows things, he has an insight into life which nobody else has, and what he has to do, therefore, is to walk circumspectly. He has to understand the condition of the world in which he lives—the days are evil. It is only a Christian who can say that. And so we saw that the Christian regards his life in this world primarily as a great opportunity—an opportunity of behaving as light, an opportunity of witnessing to the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way he redeems the time, buying up the opportunities. That, then, is the thought we must have in our minds as we proceed to consider how the Christian uses his life in this world as an opportunity to disseminate the knowledge and the light which comes from God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The first thing, therefore, which we must emphasise is that he must indeed redeem the time. The meaning of the word, redeem is that of buying up something, and especially the idea of buying it for ourselves. Realising what you are, he says and that the days are evil, and understanding the condition of the world in which you find yourselves, be like men who are watching for opportunities. Be ready to grasp them and to take hold upon them. The Apostle Peter puts the same thing in his own language in these words in the First Epistle, chapter 4, verse 3. He says, ‘For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.’ Well, he says, don’t do that any longer. You have wasted so much of your life in this world with rubbish and nonsense, and allowed so many glorious opportunities to slip by. Don’t do it any more.
Paul is not merely exhorting us not to waste our time. Be alert, be alive, seek opportunities. Look for them and take them eagerly every time you are presented with one. This, of course, is all-important because the days are evil and because of the conditions in which we find ourselves.
Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1982). Darkness and Light: An Exposition of Ephesians 4:17–5:17 (pp. 449–450). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.