Redeeming The Time

October 23, 2015

Ephesians 5:15-17

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

In the last blog, The Bank, we saw that we have credited to our account 86,400 seconds every day!  We are to use them for the glory of God!  But the idea of using our time for His glory brought another idea to my mind, one that is embodied in what Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:15 through 17:

      See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming
      the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but under-
      standing what the will of the Lord is.

Redeeming the time – what does that mean?  Considering we all have 86,400 seconds credited to our account every day, how do we Redeem that Time?  Well, what is Redemption?  Here are highlights of the article “Redeemer, Redemption” in Eerdmans The New Bible Dictionary:

      Redemption means deliverance from some evil by payment of a price….Paul…
      reminds the Romans…they had been ‘the slaves of sin’ (Rom. 7:17)…under the
      sentence of death on account of their sin (Romans 7:23)….Failing redemption,
      the slavery would continue, the sentence of death be carried out.  The cross of
      Christ…is the price paid to release the slaves, to let the condemned go free….
      the blood of Christ is clearly being regarded [in Ephesians 1:7] as the price
      of redemption.

So if redemption means to buy back, redeeming the time means to buy it back also – from being wasted on godless pursuits, to being used for His glory and man’s good!

What does it mean to waste time from God’s point of view?  Jesus illustrated the point in Luke 12:16 through 21:

      The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought…
      “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?…I will do this: 
      I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my
      crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many
      goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 
      But God said to him, ‘You fool!  This night your soul will be required of
      you; then whose will those things be…?  So is he who lays up treasure for
      himself, and is not rich toward God.

This godless person (for that is what fool means here – see Psalm 14:1) spent his time in selfish pursuits – and he lost it all, even his own eternal soul!  He did not redeem the time!

Paul warned the Corinthian Christians of a similar danger in I Corinthians 3:11-15. In verse 11, the “…foundation…is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  So these ones to whom Paul is writing were definitely believers!  The apostle reminds them they will then build on that foundation using two kinds of materials, either “…gold, silver, precious stones [or] wood, hay, straw.”  The first three will go unscathed through what is known as the Bema Seat or Believers’ Judgment.  It is when the Lord Jesus reviews a person’s life – how he or she lived his or her life after that one is saved – and gives rewards for godly living, or holds back rewards for selfish living!  According to verse 15, even the selfish one who wasted resources on wood, hay and straw still gets into heaven, but with no rewards!  That one’s…work is burned, [and] he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”  You might say, the Christian who lives selfishly – who does not redeem the time to use it all for God’s glory – gets into heavenby the skin of his teeth!

In our featured scripture, Ephesians 5:15, Paul warns, “See then that you walk circumspectly….”  Another way of saying this is found in the Easy-To-Read version: “…be very careful how you live.”  Evangelical theologian and philosopher Francis A. Schaeffer wrote a book first published in 1976 – How Should We Then Live, challenging the lifestyle set by society and not by the dictates of the Bible.  While society will certainly influence how we live our lives, God – through His revealed will, the Bible – should be the ultimate guide of the Christian!  The carefulness Paul advocates is not to have us ‘walk on eggs’ in everyday living, but to take into constant consideration what God wants for us as opposed to what we want!  As Jesus prayed in the garden, recorded in Luke 22:42, “…nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.

This the apostle emphasizes in verse 17 of our scripture:  “Therefore do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”  We cannot live to please God if we do not understand what His will is!  And – as just said above – His will, His mind is revealed in Scripture!

So if you want to be Redeeming The Time, spend time in the Word of God – reading it, studying it, meditating on it, even memorizing it!  Yes, the days are increasingly evil.  We do not want to be found fools – acting like godless people – before the Lord!  We should want to live aright before Him to receive His guidance through this life, and His maximum blessing both now and through eternity!

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