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B. Sin in a Believer’s life will result in:

3. Loss of opportunities

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

Our life is made up of a certain amount of time. According to this verse, Paul’s priorities in life; how he spent his time, was for Christ. If he were to die it would be gain.

He expands on this thought in the following verses. He tells the Philippian believers that he was in a dilemma between his desire to be with God and his desire to stay and minister to those whom he loved on earth. With this divinely balanced attitude, it is no wonder that he was such an effective servant for God. He had his priorities properly set with eternity’s values in view. The time to serve God is now.

Our life is composed of time. James 4:14 graphically depicts the temporal nature of our lives, “...For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Though each of us has different abilities and responsibilities, we all have the same amount of time in each day. We are accountable to God for how we use it. When it is used up, we do not receive a second opportunity to reuse that time. It is gone forever. A vivid example of this is given in Hebrews 12:17 concerning Esau who at one point in time sold his birthright. Afterward, “...he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” It was too late. God’s Word gives us wise instruction concerning the use of our time.

II Cor. 6:2 tells us that, “ is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” This is a quote from Isaiah 49:8 where God is speaking to Israel 700 years before. It would also apply to us today. We have no guarantee of another chance of salvation past this moment. (This author believes that the context of this verse is referring primarily to a temporal salvation of the believer, not an unbeliever being saved, though logically, the principle might apply.)

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Col. 4:5). There are several words translated “redeem” in the New Testament. This one means “to buy out of the market or slave market, never again to be exposed to sale.”  According to this verse, one way to redeem the time is to walk in wisdom toward them who are outside of Christ. It sounds a little bit like God is interested in the lost for whom He died. That should also be a major goal of ours.

Ephesians 5:14-18

Eph. 5:16 states, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” This verse gives us a similar admonition but with more practical exhortation surrounding it. Let us look at the immediate context.

14. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

God is telling us to wake up. We have a job to do. A similar command is given in I Cor. 15:34, “Awake to righteousness and sin not, for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”  The truth of this verse should be compelling without any need for further comment.

What is meant by “arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light”? Is it not true that the unsaved are the spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1, 5), and Christ is the light of the world for their  salvation? (John 1:7). Yes, but this verse is speaking to believers who are lacking in their obedience to God. God pronounces a similar appraisal on the church in Sardis who also lacked in their obedience to God. “...I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and are dead” Rev. 3:1b). Apparently, a believer that is not obeying Christ as his master not only needs to wake up, but in a sense, needs to be resuscitated because he is dead while he is walking around. He needs to be walking in the light of fellowship with Jesus (I John 1:3-7).

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

16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Our daily walk should be accurate, precise, and diligent, displaying wisdom instead of the lack of wisdom shown by those who do not walk circumspectly. We are to redeem the time (buy it back, use it to best advantage). One reason is because the days are evil.

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

18. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be ye filled with the Spirit.

Do not be senseless or foolish (a different word than is used in verse 15), but understanding what the will or desire of the Lord is. If we do not know what the will of the Lord is, we need to find out. If we do not, we are foolish. God’s will is found in God’s Word.

We are not to be drunk or influenced by wine. In contrast, we are to be filled or controlled by the Spirit. The rest of the epistle then expands on the areas in which we are to be Spirit controlled. By inference, all this is involved in “redeeming the time.”

The message of Romans 13:11,12 also attempts to arouse us from our apathetic slumber, “And knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for our salvation is nearer that when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” There are a number of practical exhortations given in the context stating how we can specifically attain that goal. Wake up, Christian! The time is short and getting shorter. We may be wasting time sewing new curtains for the Titanic while the ship is sinking with all the people on board. We need to be manning the lifeboats.

When today is gone, its opportunities are also gone. Several factors to consider as we decide how we should spend our time are:

1. Will the time, effort, money, etc. spent on any endeavor have any worth a hundred years from now?

2. If I do not take advantage of the opportunities I have today, they will be wasted and forever gone.

3. I will die someday unless Jesus comes soon. I will then have no more time to sow for eternal values.

4. People with whom I come in contact will die someday, perhaps today. This may be their last opportunity to hear the Good News of Salvation. Will I redeem the time? You are the best Christian that somebody knows.

Luke 18:29, 30 promises a time to come when the rewards for those who relinquish perishable benefits for Christ will far outweigh the temporal sacrifices that were forfeited. As the songwriter puts it, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.” That time is coming soon. It may be sooner than we realize.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

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