Ephesians 5:9-10 9for the fruit of the light is in everything good and right and true, 10by discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.
In verses 9-10, Paul describes what he means by “light” of verse 8. This gives the Ephesians something definitive to follow. The Christian life can sometimes be obscure and unclear unless we are into God’s word and learning what God’s will is for us. Paul will describe walking in the light in the rest of this letter. He moves from the indicative of what Christ has done for us into the imperative of how we must respond.
Paul uses the image of fruit to show the result of walking in the light of the Lord. One outcome of the new life is goodness (agathōsynē). This is one of the fruits the Holy Spirit grows within us as we walk in obedience (Galatians 5:22). James writes that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). Goodness can be shown in many ways, such as acts of compassion and obedience to God’s commands. Righteousness (dikaiosynē) is a gift of God to those who believe (Romans 3:24; 5:1). With our sins forgiven and our relationship with God restored and growing, our inner righteousness should be seen in outer behavior consistent with God’s revealed word in the Bible. Truth (alētheia) is a reflection of God’s own character and is seen in the incarnation of the Son (John 14:6).
With God’s Spirit working within us, transforming us into the likeness of Jesus, we will take on all three of these qualities more and more until they become our nature and first impulse. Verse 10 adds the adding emphasis upon coming to know God’s will. The participle discerning (dokimazontes) has an instrumental sense to it and shows how believers can come to “test” and “recognize” behavior and thinking that pleases the Lord. The necessary requirement on our part for knowing how God wants us to live is to consecrate ourselves completely to him (Romans 12:1). This act of sanctification is the critical step that crucifies the old life of deceit and ignorance to the new life of holiness and righteousness. All other behavior comes out of this primary decision of faith.
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