In order to produce strong ethical character and behavior you must live according to Judeo-Christian principles. The memory of Christianity may be fading from our land with the advent of immoral laws and practises, but some will follow core values similar to what we had in the past when Christianity had wider appeal and acceptance.
The truth of Scripture enables us to discriminate between that which is well-pleasing to God and what is evil. It is God’s truth that we hold up to our lives to test our motives and actions. Light is a metaphor for truth. Only when it is applied to our lives can we find out if our motives, thoughts, and actions are well pleasing to God. So too, truth that is lived out can be just as effective to reveal the evil that is in this world (Eph.5:8-14). So the true test to discern good from evil is not based on public opinion, or rationalism, but found in Scriptures as it is lived out in the Believer’s life. Personal acceptance of God’s Word helps to purify our lives, which in turn exposes the natural evils around us. William Barclay offers the following illustration. “In the bazaars of the east the shops were often simply little covered enclosures with no windows. A man might wish to buy a piece of silk or an article of beaten brass. Before he buys it he takes it out to the street and holds it up to the sun, so that the light might reveal any flaws which happen to be in it. It is the Christian’s duty to expose every action, every decision and every motive to the light of Christ.”
As stated earlier, a life that keeps to the precepts of the Bible produces proper morals and behavior. The presence and influence of righteous living in this world naturally exposes the darkness in it, and the contrast shows sin for what it is. When Paul exhorted the Ephesians to remain apart from evil associations and practises, he was thinking about the rampant immorality during that period (v.11). The practise of prostitution and using the proceeds to fund the building of their pagan temples was common practise. I cannot help but see how today things have not changed much. The push to decriminalize prostitution that will allow for brothels where taxes can be assessed and deductions can be made on earnings is much the same now as it was then.
Light exposes that which is evil. The best way to rid the evil practices of any society is to bring it into the light of Scripture. Christians should not fail to see what Paul says that everything that is exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible (v.13-14). Sexual immorality is what Paul is referring to in verse twelve: For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. It seems today few things are taboo anymore, and matters once considered disgraceful are discussed openly, displayed on T.V. and taught in our educational institutions with few constraints. The surest way to cleanse the depths of our own hearts and the amoral practices of any society we live in is to maintain moral lives and to speak openly about Christ and the Gospel. Society may practise evil and jest with sin, but by living as children of light we may act as the counter-culture. The Holy Spirit may use His Word in us either to condemn people of their sin, or to bring spiritual healing too, by causing sinners to repent of their sins and believe in Christ.
A righteous lifestyle may be seen as condemnatory to the world but too it may serve as a testimony of God’s grace that may help lead people to Christ. Whenever light is let in, it has the potential to bring healing and wholeness. Christ Word in us is what this world needs most to see and hear! So let Christ’s light shine through you to light up the darkness that many may come to salvation.