Walking While We’re Waiting

Tom Burke

July 2007
© 2007 Scriptural Study Groups.  All Rights Reserved.

The book of Ephesians is a most amazing and remarkable declaration. Within its short six chapters, God reveals some astounding truth for the very first time. Until the writing of Ephesians, the details regarding God’s plan for man’s restoration were not known. The culmination of that plan, and its impact on all eternity, were a mystery, hidden from man and even from angels (I Peter 1:10 — 12).

Yes, these words are precious, even more so when we realize that God reserved them just for us: born-again ones, members of the body of Christ.

In point of fact, the unfolding of this mystery regarding all that the believer now has in Christ is accomplished in just the first three chapters of this marvelous book. The remaining three chapters deal with how we — born again and now fully knowledgeable of what this means — are to live in the world as his body.

Ephesians 4:1
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy [equal to] of the vocation [calling] wherewith ye are called.

The word “walk” is an idiom, used in Bible times much as it is used today, to describe the conduct of one’s life. God has done the work: He has made us fellow citizens and members of His household, has given us peace and access to Him, has chosen us to be His dwelling place on earth. This is His calling, and it is an accomplished reality for the believer.

What God desires of us now is simply that our lives be a reflection, a declaration, of what He has already done.

The walk of the believer, then, is the topic of the final three chapters of Ephesians.

In verse 17 of chapter 4, we are told to cease walking as Gentiles (unbelievers) walk. Not only do we begin walking in a new way, but we take care to cease walking in the old way. And we find that perhaps the biggest thing that needs to be changed will not be where we walk, or even the people with whom we walk, but why we walk. As God’s children, we now desire that our walk be pleasing to Him.

Chapter 5 proceeds to describe some of the specific aspects of the walk. First, it is a walk of love (Ephesians 5:2). The love we are to walk in is the love of God. God exhibited this love toward us in calling us from death to life, from darkness to light, due to no merits of our own. Christ exemplified this love by laying down his life for us. As God’s children, we are partakers of the same spiritual nature belonging to both God and Christ and thus can love as they love. God tells us, “Walk in love.”

Verse 8 of the same chapter tells us that this walk is a walk of light. God is light and His Word is light. This light is not a subtle glow, but a bright, piercing, uncompromising light, showing all things as they truly are. Some are drawn to that light, others are repelled (John 3:19 — 21), but none are unaffected by it. We are not the source of that light, but we are His children. As we hold the light of His Word in our hearts and on our lips, the light of our lives exposes the falseness of this present world. God tells us, “Walk as children of light.”

In verse 15, God gives a third specific command regarding our walk.

Ephesians 5:15
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.

The word “circumspectly” is translated from the Greek word akribos, meaning carefully, accurately, precisely. In light of behavior commonly seen among Christians, it is noteworthy that God is more concerned with the accuracy of our walk than with the speed of our walk. Our concern should be to walk in the way that He directs. This is believing, and this is pleasing to Him.

The command continues in verse 16.

Ephesians 5:16
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

This verse is often quoted as an exhortation to use our time wisely. Time management may be a good thing, but the truth expressed here is more specific, and more pertinent to the context. The word “redeem” means to purchase or to buy up. The word “time” is not referring to minutes and hours, but to opportunities — opportunities to walk for Him.

In fact, one version translates this verse, “Buy up your opportunities, for these are evil times.” (WNT)

As God’s sons and daughters, called ones who have been given everlasting life and who one day will inhabit heaven, we are to view our short time here on earth not as a burden, but as a series of opportunities. Today, these opportunities abound, but when the Lord returns, or, if he should tarry, when we take our last breath, those opportunities will cease to be ours. There will be work for us in eternity, but not like the work entrusted to us here on earth, the work of going to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). For that, we have only a few short years.

Ephesians 5:17
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

We will have all eternity to know and do God’s will. But He desires that even here, even now, even with all of our frailties, we might understand His will. And He has enabled us to carry it out.

Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

All that we need to prove His will has been sealed in us via the new birth. We simply need to learn our calling and then walk in it, with these truths in our minds, seeing ourselves as He sees us and expecting nothing less than He promises. We choose to walk in love instead of selfishness.

We choose to walk as children of light rather than as children of darkness. And we choose to walk carefully, making sure that the course He has laid out is the course we are following — not approximately, but precisely.

As we do this, certainly our lives will be blessed. Like the blessed man of Psalm 1, we shall be “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” But, perhaps more importantly, that fruit and prosperity will point to Him.

The very existence of the church is a declaration to the universe of the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10). But, even more, when you and I as members of that body begin walking according to our calling, our lives show forth His glory — right here and right now — to the world, to the church, and yes, even to the angels.

Ephesians 1:12
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.