Here, we shall see that one of the key traits of wise people – wise according to God that is – is their ability to seize every opportunity to change into a Godly moment what is by default an evil moment during the day. This is what spiritual maturity means. And this spiritual maturity manifests itself both in our personal walk, and in our ministry (i.e. preaching Jesus-Christ). Jesus-Christ always did what His Father, our God, asked Him to do. Unfortunately, that included also for Him to literally give up His life…and He actually did it. To say that it was a difficult task is probably the understatement of the millennium! But this is how He had to demonstrate His unwavering love for God, doing nothing but what He was asked to do. Well, what about us? As children of God, what exactly is asked of us? In this article we shall see that what God is really asking us to do is to be experts at buying time! We, just like Jesus-Christ, should also demonstrate our unwavering love for our God, and there is one and only one way to do it: to do what He is asking us to do.
Ephesians 5:15,16 – See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [King James Version]
In God’s eyes, a wise person is one who walks circumspectly, or “carefully”. The verb “See” in verse 15 is in the present imperative active form, which simply means that what is stated is a “command” (i.e. that’s imperative part) that each of us “individually” (i.e. that’s the active part) must carry “continually” (i.e. that’s the now, always in the present part). In other words, we must always walk carefully. But what does than mean? Verse 16 actually explains it.
But first, let us keep in mind that this section is addressed to those who are already children of God (see Ephesians 1:1). Therefore, this section is about our individual responsibility as children who are dear to God (see Ephesians 5:1). Put it yet another way, these two verses are about what it really means to be in Christ! It is a privilege to receive a commandment from God, as it is very much proof that we are His and that He cares for us. God sets expectations for His children, as members of His family…“as my child, this is what I expect of you”. Yes, as a member of the family, you have a clear set of responsibilities?
Now, to verse 16. There are at least two keywords in this passage: “Redeeming” and “time”.
“Redeeming” means “Do not pass on a good deal!”
In God’s eyes, to be wise is actually to be in the business of purchasing time, whenever an opportunity presents itself. The Greek verb translated “redeeming” here (exagorazó) actually differs quite significantly from another Greek verb (Lutroó) which is also translated the same way in other places. Exagorazó places special emphasis on the fact of seizing an opportunity to purchase something whenever the opportunity presents itself. In other words, this verb invites us to learn NOT to pass on a good deal when we see one! This verb is used four (4) times in the New Testament. In two of them (here and in Colossians 4:5) what is to be purchased is “time”, and the purchasers are supposed to be “us”, God’s children. The other two times, it is “us” who are purchased (from the curse of the law) and the purchaser is Christ (Galatians 3:13 and Galatians 4:5).
In other words, God is telling us to seize every opportunity to buy TIME.
As a note, Lutroó has a much different focus. It is often used to highlight the cost of a purchase, and in many instances, it is used to highlight what was the cost of our redemption, which was the blood of Christ. The fact is that it was very costly to God (actually, the life of His Son) to purchase us back (see Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 1:18,19)…and He did it.
Therefore, on one hand, we are speaking of jumping on a good deal when we see one (that’s not so bad…actually that can be quite good!), while on the other we are speaking of a price to pay (often a big one…hum, not so enjoyable, but that’s not our part!).
The fact that it is the act of catching good deals (Exagorazó) that is emphasized, rather than the price of the deal (Lutroó) indicates that God’s commandment to us is not a burden, like it was for Jesus-Christ. In Part 2, we shall see how those good deals – units of times – are actually all over the place.