Ephesians 5

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LIVING AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, Live as children of light… But everything exposed by the light becomes visible. (Ephesians 5:8,13) NIV.

From the letter written to the Ephesians by apostle Paul, we see how he prepares the Christians for saintly walk on earth as those who have received Christ. He made us understand our position in Christ as those who are seated in Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and it is from the understanding of our position that we walk the faith walk on earth. Jesus is seated at the right hand of God and He is also the light of the world (John 8:12) and we are seated in Him and that makes us light as the scripture confirms. 

He called us the light of the world (Mathew 5:16). The topical verse starts by saying we were once darkness meaning there was a time, we were blinded to the things of God and lived a vain manner of life. It is crucial therefore that we live as children of light as light always points to that which is positive and fruitful as against the unfruitful works of darkness. Living as lights of the world is synonymous with good works (Matthew 5:14-16). “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your GOOD WORKS…” were the words of our Master, Jesus in the latter verse. 

Gleanings from the book of Ephesians concerning living as children of light

These are the difficult, real life situations that apostle Paul addresses in the book of Ephesians. He is answering the question of how we, as children of light, should relate to a morally dark world. He doesn’t give us specific directions to follow when we face these difficult situations. But he gives us comprehensive guiding principles. By understanding these principles, each of us can think through how to respond when these situations arise, as surely they will.

Historically, there have been two wrong extremes in how Christians have responded to this difficult issue. Some, in attempting to relate to the lost, have become much like the world in its attitudes and behavior that there is no appreciable difference between them and worldly people. These folks emphasize Paul’s comments about becoming all things to all men. Rightly, they try to minimize differences that are merely cultural. But they often err by playing down certain biblical truths that are offensive to worldly people, such as sin and judgment. 

In so doing, they compromise the gospel. And they often dodge biblical standards of morality, becoming like the world in its sinful aspects. In my judgment, the emergent church movement often errs in this regard. Other Christians have over-emphasized the need to separate from this evil world by withdrawing from almost all contact with worldly people, worldly activities, and what they think is worldly appearance. 

One prominent example is the Amish. Not wanting to become assimilated into our godless culture, they withdrew and held to their own ways. Overtime, they have become a cultural oddity. They are so distinct from the culture that they have no impact in terms of reaching the lost. Monasticism errs in the same way. The Lord Jesus plainly stated the biblical balance in His prayer (John 17:15-18):

‘I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have also sent them into the world.” 

So we are to be in the world as Jesus was in the world, yet also not to be of the world, even as Jesus was not of the world. The way to keep this fine balance is to be sanctified (set apart) by God’s word of truth.

In our topical bible text, the apostle Paul is dealing with this issue as it concerned a church in a very pagan environment. How do we relate to our godless culture without becoming tainted by it? His answer is: WE ARE TO WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT IN THIS DARK WORLD, EXPOSING THE DEEDS OF DARKNESS. The theme of light and darkness is prominent throughout the bible. Darkness symbolizes satan’s evil domain and the sinful deeds of those who do not obey God. 

It also represents the spiritual ignorance of those whose sin has blinded their eyes from the light of God’s truth (See Eph.4:18; 2 Cor. 4:4). Light pictures the knowledge of the truth that comes when God shines into our lives. As Paul wrote (2 Cor. 4:6), “For God who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 

Light also pictures the holiness of God (1 John 1:5), who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16). So as believers, we are called to walk in the light, just as he himself is in the light (1 John 1:7), living with every area of our lives exposed to God.

Walking as children of light in this dark world (Ephesians 5:8-10)

  1. TO WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT, WE MUST BE CHILDREN OF LIGHT

Paul does not say that we used to be in the darkness, whereas now we are in the light, although this is true (Col. 1:13; John 8:12; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 1:5-7; 2:9). Rather, he says that we used to be darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. Being children of light implies that this profound change comes from God’s power in the new birth. It is an act of his creative power. Just as He at the first created light out of the darkness, so now he has changed us from being darkness itself into being light in the Lord.

Most of us had the experience of visiting a cave where the guide turned off all the lights for a few seconds (which always seem like minutes!). You can’t even see your hand in front of your face. For a few awful seconds, you realize that it would be like to be total blind.

Paul says that we formerly were darkness. We not only didn’t see God’s glory and truth, we didn’t have the ability to desire such things. We didn’t sense our need for the Savior, because we thought we were good enough to go to the heaven and we didn’t understand the absolute holiness and justice of God. So we lived entirely for ourselves and our own pleasure, avoiding the thought of eternity.

But when God saved us, He opened the eyes of our understanding so that we saw “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ”

(2 cor.4:6)

  1. BEING CHILDREN OF LIGHT, WE MUST WALK AS SUCH IN THE MIDST OF THIS DARK WORLD(5:8B-10)

Just because we are children of light does not guarantee that we will live that way. So Paul says, in effect,” Be what you are!” You are light; now walk that way! The truth is if we walk as children of light, we will learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As our minds are renewed through God’s word, we prove in our experience what pleases God. Living to please the Lord is a fundamental difference between the believer and the unbeliever. An unbeliever may be a good man and even somewhat righteous or upright, at least outwardly. He may be truthful. But he does that out of a selfish motives, for his own selfish motives, for his own self-respect, or so that others will think highly of him. But only believers live to please the savior. 

If we walk as children of light, we will be a people of truth, we will be righteous and good. A good person is concerned for the well-being of others, both spiritually and in every other way. It will be natural.

So, for us to continually live as children of light in this last days, we are to expose the deeds of darkness. As Paul says (Ephesians 5:13) “But all things being exposed by the light are made evident”. We expose the deeds of darkness by our godly lives as we maintain proper separation from the world. If we are no different in our thinking, in our attitudes, words, and behavior than those that do not know Christ, then we are not living as the light. We must embrace the word of God and it is also crucial for us to live in constant obedience to the Holy spirit’s leading and conviction. 

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