Walk as children of light

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By Don Fanning
Ephesians 5: 8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light.

PAUL is convinced that the uniqueness and quality of the transformed life of a believer, in comparison to an unbeliever, should be as opposite as day and night. A person who is not different from an unbeliever has no message to give, and becomes a statement that Christ makes no difference in a life. Just as light and darkness cannot co-exist, so the darkness of one’s former sinful lifestyle cannot have anything to do with the new life in Christ. We are to be positively different.

Before meeting Christ, every person lived in ignorance of the truth and with a lack of spiritual life (Ephesians 2:1), as well as being enslaved to sin (2:2-3). The first verb, “were at one time darkness,” is in the past tense, meaning this previous condition is no longer a reality. All believers were previously living in darkness. Paul described this dark life before meeting Christ in Ephesians 4:17-19, “you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

But once they heard the gospel message and put their trust in the salvation offered through the sacrifice of Christ for our sins, they became “light in the Lord,”  They were not just enlightened to God’s truth, but were also filled with His new spiritual life, and with the purpose that others would see a difference. Now believers are “light in the Lord.” It is not that the believers are surrounded by light, but that they are the light. This is not merely an inner mental transformation, but evidentiary and obvious in behavior.
Jesus had said He was the “light of the world” (John 8:12), but then “God … commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Now that believers have the light of the world “in our hearts,” they have become light-transmitters.  Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). As the moon reflects the sun, so the believer now must reflect the Son of God.

Thus the command, “Be continually or habitually walking as children of light.” Paul wrote that we were to “cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:12-14).

In our text, Paul amplifies the meaning of walking in the light, “(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord” (5:9-10). If we are born anew as children of light, then we are to be consistent with what we have become. Paul had written to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (4:1), that is, walk in obedience to His Word today and you will be different, pointing people to the Light of lights.

Psalm 27:1, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Read another devotional by Don Fanning

The writer is a professor at Liberty University, the world’s largest Christian university.

For a year’s daily devotional of these Bible studies, order a copy of the book Truths to Live By at Branches Publications for your copy.

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