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