Paul’s admonition to
the Ephesians still applies.
Christ wants us to take every
opportunity to boldly confront
our pagan culture so lost
people can be redeemed.
Answers in Genesis
Like many of the Apostle Paul’s letters,
the book of Ephesians is divided
into beliefs (chapters 1–3) and practice
(chapters 4–6). One of the “practice”
verses I remember my father using is
Redeeming the time,”
because the days are evil.
My parents took this verse to heart
and did their best to take whatever
opportunity arose to proclaim God’s
Word and the saving gospel message.
As a young boy, when we visited my
grandparent’s farmhouse in North
Queensland, I remember my mother
telling us how as a young teen, she
would ride her bicycle to pick up two
young girls who didn’t have any other
way of getting to Sunday school. She
would ride five miles with these children
on her bike to ensure they could
be taught God’s Word.
Just that story had a great impact
on my life. My mother’s example challenged
me to do whatever I could to
ensure people heard the gospel message.
So that I could help our children
and our children’s children understand
their heritage, I interviewed
my mother on video when she was
87 years old. I specifically asked her
about those two girls. She had met
them again just a couple of years
before my interview. One of them was
really going on for the Lord, and the
other said she was going to come back
to the Lord. Those Sunday school lessons
had a real impact on them.
Since my father was a teacher and
transferred every three years as he was
promoted, I watched my parents start
Sunday schools in several different
country areas, and bring in evangelists
so that families could hear the truth of
the Bible and the salvation message.
As I look back on this, I realize that
my parents were doing what God
through Paul instructs us in
Ephesians 5:16. Look at the verse and the meanings
of the three main Greek words:
Redeem has a meaning akin to buying
someone out of slavery, just as
Christ redeemed us out of slavery
because of our sin. We need to buy up
every opportunity to help people out
of their bad situation.
The Greek word translated time isn’t
about hours, minutes, and seconds. It’s
not about wristwatches or other timepieces.
It really means “opportunity.”
The Greek word translated evil
means “hurtful, evil in effect, calamitous,
diseased, derelict and vicious.”
These same adjectives could be applied
in our own culture when we look at the
So we are being told in this verse to
make the best of every opportunity, to
do what we can to see people taken out
of their bad situation. They are on the
road to eternal separation from God as
a consequence of sin and the effects of
the evil world we live in.
And that’s my challenge to each of
us. What are we doing in “redeeming
The church at Ephesus is mentioned
specifically among the seven churches
that received letters from the Lord
Jesus Christ in Revelation (2:1–7). The
Christians in this church were diligent
to hold to the doctrines of the faith.
But our Lord warned, “
Nevertheless I” (Revelation 2:4).
have this against you, that you have
left your first love
I believe this means they no longer
had the zeal to reach the culture
as they once had. In Ephesians 4–6
Paul had earlier told these Christians
to apply their beliefs practically in
three areas: in the local church (which
Revelation 2 indicates they were still
doing), in their homes (and I believe
they were doing this also), and in the
world (and this is where I believe they
had lost their first love).
Paul set the example when he first
visited Ephesus. He boldly preached
against the idolatry of the day. According
to Acts 19, many turned away from
their idols when Paul unashamedly
confronted the pagan religion of his
day. But this caused an uproar. Paul
was persecuted because of his boldness
in doing whatever he could to
“redeem the time” so people would
leave their evil ways and receive
Christ’s free gift of salvation.
Perhaps the Ephesians were no longer
being bold in confronting the idolatry
in their culture as Paul did. I suggest
this is why they “left their first love.”
Yes, “the days are
evil,” and our time
here on earth is
short. But reaching
others with the
saving gospel while
we are here has
The battle between God’s Word and
man’s word (that battle between good
and evil), which started in Genesis 3,
hasn’t changed. The gospel message
hasn’t changed. The book of Ephesians
is as much for individuals as it is
for the whole church today. We need to
stand on God’s Word and adhere to the
doctrines God has revealed to us. And
we need to apply God’s Word daily in
our homes, in our local churches, and
in the world.
What is each of us doing to “redeem
the time?” Yes, “the days are evil,”
and our time here on earth is short.
But reaching others with the saving
gospel while we are here has eternal
Are we using every opportunity
that comes before us to affect hearts
and minds for the Lord, prayerful that
many will receive His free gift of salvation
and live in heaven with their
Creator and Savior forever?
is the founder
and CEO of Answers
in Genesis–US. He has
edited and authored
many books about
the authority of God’s
Word and the impact of
on our culture, including
and The Lie.