Q: “Since we are coming into a new year I would like to know what it means to redeem the time.”
A: Amazingly, Jeannette wrote about the subject of time in her article for this month. She made reference to redeeming the time, but I will be glad to elaborate on it further. “Redeem” in this context means to buy up, ransom, rescue from loss, or improve opportunity. In light of eternity, man’s time on earth is but a vapor. He appears on the scene for a short season and will disappear; therefore, he has very little time to get it right as far as his spiritual life is concerned.
The beauty about the Word of God is that it will tell you what it means to redeem the time. Consider what Ephesians 5:14 states, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” The first thing we must note is the state that is present when Christians need to be alerted to redeeming the time—they are asleep in some way in their spiritual life. Those who need to be awakened from an ineffective state are those who have been dulled down by worldliness, put to sleep by unholy mixtures, sedated by a mediocre life of just getting by, and those who settle for living on the outer edges of God’s blessing and purpose for their lives, but never fully entering into His fullness.
When people are spiritually asleep they are missing various opportunities to do what is right, and what is at hand to do for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. These individuals need to be rescued from an ineffective state by the sharp edge of the Sword of God’s Word and by the prompting, or reproving, of the Holy Spirit. This means they need to waken to their state so that they can ransom what is left or is available. To ransom the time that is left will require them to walk in the light.
Once the person is spiritually awakened, he or she has the opportunity to walk in the light. Ephesians 5:15 tells us what it means to walk in the light, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” To walk in the light will ensure that a person is walking circumspectly. “Circumspectly” means to walk in an exact way, to diligently stay the course, and to line up to what is perfect or mature. In essence, it means to walk in the ways of righteousness. The Word of God is clear about what it means to walk circumspectly or upright. Failing to do so shows contempt towards God’s way, and unbelief towards His Word. For this reason Christians need to take heed. Those who play at Christianity, instead of walking it out, will become empty in their lives. Those who give the impression of walking the Christian life, but fail to do so, are hypocrites. Those who claim to be Christian but insist on maintaining their old ways are fools.
The Bible is also clear that we need to be wise to redeem the time. Ephesians 5:16 tells us that the reason we need to redeem the time is because the days are evil. The wise will see what is down the line and will buy up the opportunities to spiritually prepare for challenges. They will rescue opportunities in order to avoid devastating losses, and they will seize on any opportunity to serve the Lord and bring Him glory.
Ephesians 5:17 summarizes the fruit of those who walk in the light, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Doing the will of God is meat to our souls. It is the way in which all righteousness is properly exercised and spiritual matters discerned. And, doing the will of God is the only way we can be assured that we are redeeming the time.