Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
Thesis: The only legitimate response to "being" is to act it out.
Introduction: Last week we considered that Paul presented the "only" legitimate response to "being of day" is to "not sleep as do those without hope", but to "remain awake and be sober".
As we consider Paul's supporting reason in 5:7-8, we are going to see that Paul makes it as clear as possible what those responses mean.
February 15, 2015
- I. The Difference That Exists Between the "Being" Issues.
- A. Those "being of night" automatically express their identity as creatures of night.
- 1. There is, in our text, an oddity of grammar that ought to have alerted the translators that something was up.
- a. The translations of the AV, ASV, NASB, and NIV are pretty consistent in attempting to convey the notion that people both sleep and get drunk in the night.
- b. But, besides being patently untrue (people do not limit their sleeping and drunkenness to the night), this ignores a clear indication in the grammar that Paul did not mean that by what he wrote.
- 1) Contextually, the "issue" is clearly established by his use of the dative in 5:4 in his declaration that "brethren" are not "in darkness" and its root reality in 5:5 and 5:8 that people are "in" whatever state they are because they are "of" a certain status by the use of the genitive "ye are sons of light and sons of day and not of night nor of darkness" and "those of us who are of day are to be sober".
- 2) Thus the logic of 5:7, where Paul continues to use the genitive instead of the dative, is that he is not describing the sphere "in which" those who sleep and get drunk function, but the driving reality of status controlling behavior.
- a) The text of 5:7 literally reads, "For those who are sleeping, out of night are sleeping and those who are being intoxicated, out of night are drinking."
- b) Since it is beyond simple to say "those who sleep, sleep in the night" in Greek as well as English, what Paul is actually saying is that the "being" of those who are sleeping and being intoxicated are doing so "out of" a "night" reality.
- c) This is clearly supported by the immediate contrast of verse 8: "But we, being out of day, should...".
- 2. There is no hesitation in the "being/doing" reality for those "of night"; but there is not such automatic follow-through for those "of day".
- a. Those who sleep and drink do so because they are "of night" and cannot be/do otherwise.
- b. But those who are "of day" need to be exhorted to do according to what they are.
- 1) The reason for this is that those who are "of night" are completely "of night" without alternative possibilities, but those who are "of day" were formerly "of night" and they live daily with this dual reality within them.
- 2) Those who are of night need not "believe" anything in order to act like they are of night, but the "sons of day" have to deliberately commit themselves to their new reality while wrestling with the tendencies of their former reality.
- 3) In other words, those who are "of night" can go through life thoughtlessly and without any commitment to the night, but those who are "of day" cannot afford such thoughtlessness or lack of commitment.
- B. Those "of day" have entered into a new "universe" -- what I typically call "the relational universe" -- and must, of necessity, be active in the pursuit of the knowledge of that universe's principles, and be deliberate in the commitment to live by the "faith" principle (God promises, believers believe) of that universe.
- II. The Areas of Commitment For Those "of Day".
- A. The general areas are given in 5:6 as "staying awake by not lying down" and "being sober".
- B. The specific area is reiterated in 5:8 as "be sober".
- 1. On the face of it, if a person is "sober" he/she will not lie down to sleep because that is directly contrary to "sobriety" in the sense that Paul means it.
- 2. Underneath the face of it, sobriety means "clothing ourselves with a breastplate and an helmet".
- a. The breastplate of faith and love hearkens back to the beginning where Paul mentions his memories of their "work of the faith" and "labor of the love" (1:3).
- 1) The work of the faith involves being actively engaged in those efforts that are deliberate attempts to push the doctrines of the faith out into the world.
- 2) The labor of the love involves being intensely committed to labors that are rooted in the love of God.
- 3) As breastplate issues, only those who are deliberately working and laboring to press the doctrines of the faith and the motivations of the Love of God into their world are protected.
- a) If a person's values and beliefs do not start with God and His agenda, there is no protection against false values and beliefs that corrupt the heart.
- b) That Paul exhorts this "putting on" of the breastplate indicates that he is fully aware of the ease in which believers are sidetracked into lives that make no impact in time for eternity (his attitude toward John Mark indicates just how much he understood this issue and his prior experience with the Galatians simply verified it).
- b. The helmet of hope also hearkens back to 1:3 where he identified "the steadfastness of the hope".
- 1) The steadfastness of the hope involves being impervious to the vacillations of those whose hope is unsettled.
- 2) That this helmet protects the head indicates that, though the heart is at the root of the "being" reality in the new relational universe, it is the head that ultimately makes the decisions about whether to "armour up".
- 3) Because Paul's focus in this letter is on the "hope" aspect of the trilogy, it needs to be clear in our minds that we daily face the decision(s) as to whether we are going to live in the new reality or succumb to the temptations to live in the night reality.