Light and Darkness
“…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:7-14
The dire consequences awaiting those who live in immorality or idolatry – exclusion from the kingdom of God and exposure to God’s wrath – leads Paul to warn his readers about partnering with such people in their evil. “Therefore do not become partners with them,” he writes (Ephesians 5:7).
Such associations belong to the old life, not the new order of things they enjoy in Christ. “At one time you were darkness,” he continues, referring to their former life in ignorance (see 4:18), “but now you are light in the Lord” (5:8). Through faith in Christ, they have not only come to see truth and reality as it is (light) but have begun to live in that realm as “children of light”. And that is what they are to continue to do – to “walk” (have their habitual conduct) “as children of light,” bringing forth the “fruit of light” which is found in “all that is good and right and true” (v. 9).
Rather than “taking part” in the unfruitful works of darkness, Christians are to “expose them” (v. 11). Workers of darkness do what they do in “secret” – things too shameful even to mention. Christians living in the light are to make these dark deeds visible (vs. 12-14). How we are to do so is not explained. Presumably, Paul was not advocating any foolish or dangerous activity. Lives devoted to that which is good, right and true are to be the means of bringing to light the wrongness of the works of darkness.
We cannot escape the radical separation followers of Jesus are to make between their conduct and the ways of the world. Yet is that true of us? Or have we been influenced by our culture – and especially the academic world and educated opinion-formers – into thinking that there are no absolute moral distinctions between right and wrong, good or bad? Or have we simply fallen into the trap of not caring and yielding to the sinful desires of our fallen nature?
It takes spiritual and moral energy to stand apart from the engulfing darkness that bludgeons us in the news and social media, and in the world of film and entertainment generally. Only the love of Jesus and longing for the kingdom of God can give us the inner strength (through the Holy Spirit) to keep our minds and hearts focused on the things that are honourable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Nor is this something we can do alone. If ever there was a time to heed the following warning of the writer to the Hebrews, it is now:
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13).
- What are some of the things that are “good, right and true” that belong to life in the light?
- Have you made a definite commitment to live in the light?
– Andrew Young