|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:3-14 Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross acts of sin, but against what some may make light of. But these things are so far from being profitable. that they pollute and poison the hearers. Our cheerfulness should show itself as becomes Christians, in what may tend to God's glory. A covetous man makes a god of his money; places that hope, confidence, and delight, in worldly good, which should be in God only. Those who allow themselves, either in the lusts of the flesh or the love of the world, belong not to the kingdom of grace, nor shall they come to the kingdom of glory. When the vilest transgressors repent and believe the gospel, they become children of obedience, from whom God's wrath is turned away. Dare we make light of that which brings down the wrath of God? Sinners, like men in the dark, are going they know not whither, and doing they know not what. But the grace of God wrought a mighty change in the souls of many. Walk as children of light, as having knowledge and holiness. These works of darkness are unfruitful, whatever profit they may boast; for they end in the destruction of the impenitent sinner. There are many ways of abetting, or taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them. A good man will be ashamed to speak of what many wicked men are not ashamed to do. We must have not only a sight and a knowledge that sin is sin, and in some measure shameful, but see it as a breach of God's holy law. After the example of prophets and apostles, we should call on those asleep and dead in sin, to awake and arise, that Christ may give them light.
Verse 13. - But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light. As, for instance, when our Lord reproved the hypocrisy of the Pharisees - their practices had not seemed to the disciples very evil before, but when Christ threw on them the pure light of truth, they were made manifest in their true character - they appeared and they still appear, odious. A just reproof places evil in a light that shows its true character. For everything which is made manifest is light. Literally, this is a truism; anything shone on is no longer dark, but light. The nearest approach to this, morally, is that light has a transforming power; when the light of the gospel shines on anything dark or evil, it transforms it into what is light or good. This is not uniformly true; all the light of heaven turned on hell would not make it morally light; but it is the general property and tendency of moral light to transform. The exhortation would thus mean - Use your light to reprove what is evil or dark, for not only will the true character of the evil thereby be made apparent, but your light will have a transforming power. But if this were the meaning, we should expect in the end of the verse, not φῶς ἐστι, but φῶς γινεταί, to denote this transformation. The rendering of A.V., giving to φανερούμενον an active meaning ("whatsoever doth make manifest is light"), is rejected by most grammarians, as not being consistent with the usage of the word. The meaning which that rendering gives is this: "Light is the element which makes all clear." We should thus have in the latter clause a proposition, affirming as universal what in the former clause is affirmed of one particular case; "things reproved are made manifest by the light, for it is only light that makes things clear." The exhortation to reprove would thus be confirmed by the consideration that the only way of making immoral things appear in their proper character is to let in on them the light of the gospel. The great practical point is that Christians ought to let in and diffuse the light.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But all things that are reproved,.... As all sins should be, by the ministers of the Gospel, and by other saints, and will be by God; either by his Spirit convincing of them, or by his judgments, and the letting out of his wrath and fury, either here or hereafter, for the punishment of them:
are made manifest by the light: either by the saints, who are made light in the Lord, and detect and reprove the sins of others; or by the word of the Lord, which discovers the heinousness of sins; or by Christ the light of the world, who as Judge will bring to light the hidden things of darkness; or by the omniscience of God, to whom darkness and light are both alike
for whatsoever doth make manifest, is light; this is true in things natural and spiritual, whether of the sun in the firmament, or of Christ the sun of righteousness; or of the divine word, or of good men.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. that are reproved—rather, "when they are reproved," namely, by you (Eph 5:11).
whatsoever doth make manifest—rather, "everything that is (that is, suffers itself to be) made manifest (or 'shone upon,' namely, by your 'reproving,' Eph 5:11) is (thenceforth no longer 'darkness,' Eph 5:8, but) light." The devil and the wicked will not suffer themselves to be made manifest by the light, but love darkness, though outwardly the light shines round them. Therefore, "light" has no transforming effect on them, so that they do not become light (Joh 3:19, 20). But, says the apostle, you being now light yourselves (Eph 5:8), by bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will be your "armor of light" (Ro 13:12) in making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.
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