Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11
Ephesians 5:11 is crystal clear—we are to take no part in the barren deeds of darkness but instead expose them. There is a reason for warning passages like this in the New Testament. Not only are we quick to forget God’s commands, but we are also prone to lose our way by blending in with the corrupt culture that surrounds us. This is why the Lord gives us many reminders about influences and people to avoid.
Ephesians 5:11 instructs us not only to withdraw from evil but also to uncover and expose it. We must identify error, call it out, and separate from it. We cannot gloss over and incorporate deviation from the truth; we must deliberately reject it. One of the goals in raising our families is to discern and eliminate evil influences. Doing so lays a foundation for our offspring to build upon as they raise their own children.
We are called to holiness because our God is “holy, holy, holy” (Isa. 6:3). God’s holiness, His “otherness,” is His defining feature. His crystal purity distinguishes Him from all creation. Therefore we too must depart from every deed of darkness. Holiness means separation from evil and separation to God.
Philosophies. The human heart is an idol factory. It constantly enshrines incorrect belief systems by attempting to integrate falsehood with truth. Modern psychology embraces the belief that man-kind is basically good. Consequently, it attempts to normalize the abnormal and legitimize the illegitimate. It is fair to conclude that psychology as a discipline has rejected a belief in moral absolutes. With a foundation this skewed, it is impossible that it can reach proper conclusions.
Many churches have attempted to form an alliance with the anti-God, immoral beliefs of so-called science. The Bible says that God created the universe in seven literal days. Theistic evolution is an attempt to combine the heresy of evolution with the Bible. Evolution, at its heart, is an attempt to get rid of God and His moral order. If the Bible is untrustworthy in the matter of creation, how can it be trusted in matters of sin and redemption? The Bible is inspired in its entirety or not at all. Though not exhaustive in matters concerning science, the Bible is reliable. Accommodations like theistic evolution are disastrous in their effect because they destroy the authority of Scripture.
These are just two of a multitude of commonly accepted lies that we must discern, expose, and repudiate. To go wrong in such foundational issues guarantees inevitable breakdown everywhere else.
Practices. Every family needs two guardrails, one on the left and one on the right. These guardrails are simply principled truths from Scripture that keep us from worldly error on the one hand and unbiblical religious extremes on the other hand. Anything beyond either of these guardrails needs to be eliminated from our lives.
Some people elevate their personal preferences to the status of “Thus saith the Lord.” In turn, they cast off all discipline and principled convictions by labeling fixed biblical beliefs and standards as legalism. Others try to “improve” upon the bounds of the Bible and establish their traditions as the commandments of God. We had better be careful not to speak where the Bible does not speak. Culture is not absolute. Our likes are not absolutes. We must never back down from the black-and-white pronouncements in Scripture, but we must also never attempt to transform the grays into something other than what they are—gray. Dogmatism is required in essential doctrines but is not appropriate in secondary matters.
Every family must distill its biblical convictions and corresponding behaviors. We should be educated and understand our persuasions and why we hold the positions we do. But let’s be candid—as we grow, our understanding and applications may evolve. Balance between excess and legalism is not the result of time; it’s the result of maturity. We will experience inevitable ebb and flow as we attempt to walk the tightrope between grace and truth. As we do, the complementary, moderating truths of Scripture will help keep us out of the ditches on either side of the road.
The unfruitful works of darkness are legion. We need diligence in order to stay on the cutting edge of discernment. We need courage in order to stand for truth. We need grace in order to maintain loving attitudes. And we need commitment in order to remain firm through the years.
- Think through any questionable practices in your family. Are you entertaining any “works of darkness” in your home?
- Do you need to add a “guardrail,” a principled truth from Scripture, on either side of your theological highway?
- Ask the Lord to give you discernment in practicing grace and truth simultaneously.
This chapter was written by Evangelist Harold Vaughan.
This chapter is taken from our book “Home Improvement- Keys To Building A Happy Home“. CLICK HERE to learn more about this book and to place your order.