FOR YOU WERE FORMERLY DARKNESS:
ete (2PIAI) gar pote skotos:
(Eph 2:11,12; 4:18; 6:12;
Psalms 74:20; Isaiah 9:2; 42:16; 60:2; Jeremiah 13:16; Matthew 4:16;
Luke 1:79; Acts 17:30; 26:18; Romans 1:21; 2:19; 2Corinthians 6:14;
Colossians 1:13; Titus 3:3; 1Peter 2:9; 1John 2:8)
introduces an explanation (Whenever you encounter a
term of explanation,
always stop and
interrogate with the 5W/H'S
such as "What the for
there for?" which facilitates the discipline of
Biblical Meditation which
in turn God promises to richly reward - see Ps 1:2-note,
In this case Paul gives a reason for them not to partake but instead to
remain separate from the sons of disobedience. (cp 1Co 15:33!) Their past state (darkness) and their
present state (light) stand in striking contrast and as Paul asks
elsewhere "what fellowship has light with darkness?"
In Ephesians 5:6-note
Paul had given a "negative" reason (future judgment of God) to motivate
his readers to not be deceived but he now gives a positive reason (the
miraculous conversion wrought by the Gospel which gives light from the
God Who is light) to not share company with those who disobey God and
instead to live in the light. Previously Paul had described the
difference between believers and non-believers in terms of the 'old
self' versus the 'new
self' (Eph. 4:22-note,
Now Paul reiterates the clear contrast the new birth has wrought by
describing the imagery of darkness and light, where unbelievers are
darkness and believers are light.
ALL THE WORLD BELONGS TO...
ONE OF TWO FAMILIES
Devil is father
John 8:44, 1John 3:8, 10
God is Father
1John 3:1, 10
"Sons of disobedience"
Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 5:6
"Children of Light"
Ephesians 5:8, cp Ephesians 5:1
Kingdom of Darkness-Dominion of
Ephesians 2:2, Acts 26:18
Kingdom of Light-Dominion of
Ephesians 5:8, 1Th 5:4-5, 1Pe 2:9, 2Co 4:6
What We All Were Formerly...
What Believers Are Now...
Light in the Lord
1Cor 15:22, Ro 5:15-19
1Cor 15:22, Ro 5:15-19
Every man but a
believer walks in darkness; nay, he is
darkness! Father, cause
this truth to "saturate" our minds so that it serves to motivate each of
us to walk in the light as children of light so that the those lost in
the dark might see Your light in us and be drawn to the Light of the
world (John 8:12).
explains that Paul is exhorting these believers to not be partakers with
the sons of disobedience (Eph 5:6)...
This (exhortation) is enforced by a reference to
their conversion from a previous state of sin and misery to one of
holiness and blessedness. For ye were sometime darkness. As light
stands for knowledge, and as knowledge, in the scriptural sense of the
word, produces holiness, and holiness happiness (blessedness); so
darkness stands for ignorance, such ignorance as inevitably produces
sin, and sin misery. Therefore, the expression, “ye were darkness,”
means ye were ignorant, polluted, and wretched. (Ephesians
It is notable that
the rabbinic writings often used darkness and light to contrast good and
As John Eadie
explains Paul's word for darkness here...
is the abstract—darkness
itself—employed to intensify the idea expressed. Darkness is the
emblem and region of ignorance and depravity, and in such a miserable
condition they were “once.” But that state was over—“the dayspring from
on high” (Lk 1:78, 79) had visited them. (Ephesians
THAT WAS THEN
THIS IS NOW!
You were -
This verb (ete)
is emphatic (first in the Greek sentence for emphasis) to throw
stress on the fact that all the horrible behaviors he had just described
were now behind them ("That
was then!"). In darkness we chased sin, but beloved, be sober
minded, because now sin chases us! It tries to draw us back into the
darkness. The idea
is that "You Gentiles who are now believers were. So do
not again behave like those who are in the darkness!". We need to be constantly mindful
from whence we came, that the glorious contrast of truth of where we are
seated (in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus Eph 2:6-note) and the
greatness of the divine privileges and power we now possess (every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus Eph 1:3-note,
surpassing greatness of God's power Eph 1:18, 19-note Eph
3:16-note, Eph 5:18-note) does not become a
fading, dim memory.
Remembering keeps us humble and thankful and re-kindles in our hearts an
appropriately high view of our "so great a salvation"
John Calvin - The
precepts which immediately follow derive greater weight from the motives
with which they are mingled. Having spoken of unbelievers, and warned
the Ephesians not to become partakers of their crimes and their
destruction, he argues still further, that they ought to differ widely
from the life and conduct of those men. At the same time, in order to
guard them against ingratitude to God, he refreshes their remembrance of
their own past life. “You ought,” he says, “to be very different persons
from what you formerly were; for out of darkness God hath made you
light.” (Ephesians 5 Commentary)
Matthew Henry - The apostle
calls their former condition darkness in the abstract, to express
the great darkness they were in. They lived wicked and profane lives,
being destitute of the light of instruction without and of the
illumination and grace of the blessed Spirit within. Note, A state of
sin is a state of darkness. Sinners, like men in the dark, are going
they know not whither, and doing they know not what. But the grace of
God had produced a mighty change in their souls: Now are you light in
the Lord, savingly enlightened by the Word and the Spirit of God. Now,
upon your believing in Christ, and your receiving the Gospel.
(pote) is a generalization concerning time and means at some time
and when referring to past time as in this verse means once or at one
time in the past.
Paul is not trying
to make the believers dwell with morbid introspection on their past
(Christ has FOREVER paid the price in full for every one of our
former [and present and future] sins! Hallelujah!), but he
does want them to remember what the darkness was like and how great has
been their deliverance (rescue) from darkness into God's marvelous light
( Col 1:12, Col 1:13-note,
Peter uses a similar "motif" of describing
what the saints were formerly, and what they
should be now...now that they had been born again
children, do not be conformed (suschematizo)
to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like
the Holy One who called you,
command calling for a once for all choice to be) holy yourselves also
in all your behavior (1Pe 1:14-note,
issues another exhortation, calling for positive (in the light) conduct
which contrasts with their former (in the dark) conduct as unregenerate
Live the rest of the time in the
flesh (Here flesh is not the fallen sin nature we all inherited from
Adam but refers to literal "flesh" - i.e., physical flesh) no longer
for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For (Peter explains
why they should now "walk as children of light" reminding them of what
they were formerly outside of Christ) the time already
past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the
Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness,
carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. (1Peter 4:2, 3-note)
this great miracle, beloved, the next time you are being tempted to drift back into the
darkness to become partakers with those whose only world is darkness. And then make the choice to not
put on those filthy, rotten garments you once wore when you were
darkness in the old
man in Adam. Now, enabled by the Spirit (Php 2:12-note
= our responsibility, our choice enabled by Php 2:13-note
= God's promise to give us the desire [to will] and
power [to work]), you can say "NO" to the flesh and the siren
seductions of darkness (Ro 8:13-note)
because you are light in the Lord! Hallelujah! Walk out now in the light
of the victory and surpassing power which Christ Jesus the Lord secured for
each of us at Calvary, the victory over the
darkness of the world (Gal 6:14-note), the flesh
(Ro 6:6-note) and the devil
(Heb 2:14, 15-note), the prince of
the power of the air (Eph 2:2-note),
the prince of darkness (cp Lk 22:53, Acts 26:18, Eph 6:12-note,
from skia = shadow thrown by
an object) is literally that sphere in which light is absent. Skotos can
refer to literal darkness as occurred on the day of Jesus' crucifixion
(Mt 27:45) or darkness as opposed to light in the creation (2Cor 4:6). Skotos is used as another name
for the place of punishment, eternal misery and eternal separation from
elaborates that darkness...
represents the chaos out of which God
creates the light (Gen. 1:2–4; cf. Job 12:22). It also serves to depict
death, the cessation of life (e.g., Job 10:20–22; 38:17). Frequently
darkness denotes sin, rebellion, and oppression (e.g., Job 24:13–17; Ps.
44:19; Isa. 59:9). Its overtones of chaos, death, and alienation suggest
God’s fearsome wrath and judgment (e.g., Isa. 47:5; Jer. 13:16; Ezek.
32:8; Joel 2:2, 31; Amos 5:20; Zeph 1:15). (Neufeld, Thomas R. Yoder.
Believers Church Bible Commentary)
Here Paul uses
describe the character of the life of the Ephesians before conversion --
they were void of divine truth
and virtue in ethical and moral matters. They were characterized by all the
sinful behaviors of the
Old Man (old self)
still "in Adam" (1Cor 15:22). Paul does not say that
they were formerly in the darkness (that was true as well)
but that they were formerly the
very essence of darkness!
has some weighty thoughts on the darkness of the unbeliever...
The natural man's apprehension of
divine things is corrupt (1Cor 2:14, Ro 3:11-note,
The understanding, that leading faculty, is despoiled of its
primitive glory (before the Fall), and covered over with confusion. Tell
them how they may advance their worldly wealth, or how they may gratify
their lusts—and they will quickly understand these things. But it is
very hard to make them know how their souls may be saved, or how
their hearts may find rest in Christ. They are very stupid and
unteachable in the matters of God. What woeful delusions prevail over
Do we not often see those, who in
other things are the wisest of men—yet are notorious fools with respect
to their soul's interest?
Many who are eagle-eyed in the
trifles of time—yet are like owls and bats in the light of
eternal realities. Nay, truly, the life of every natural man is but one
continued dream and delusion, out of which he never awakes, until
either, by a divine light darted from heaven into his soul, he comes to
himself—or, in hell he lifts up his eyes in torment!
Sin has closed the windows of the
darkness covers the whole.
The prince of darkness reigns there,
and nothing but the works of darkness are framed there. We are born
spiritually blind—and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace.
Human Nature in its Fourfold State)
is the name here given to the whole nature of man before regeneration;
for, where the brightness of God does not shine, there is nothing but
Greek Testament - They (unregenerate) were darkness itself...so utterly sunk in ignorance of Divine things, so wholly lost
in the evils accompanying such ignorance. (Ephesians 5 Commentary)
(they were) not merely in the dark, but impregnated and as it were
identified with the "darkness" of ignorance and sin.
They were not only living or abiding
in it, but themselves actual and veritable darkness.
Not only had they been in darkness as
in an evil environment, but they themselves had been part of that realm.
The darkness had been in them, namely, the darkness of lack of the true
knowledge of God (2Cor 4:4, 6), depravity (Acts 26:18), and despondency
(Isa 9:1, 2). (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of Galatians,
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon)
observes that "Surprisingly, the readers are not
presented simply as having been in the realm of darkness and being now
in the sphere of light, although this would have been true enough (cf.
John 8:12; 1Pe 2:9; 1Jn 1:5-7; 2:9). It is not their environment or the
surroundings in which they and the rest of humanity live that is in
view. Rather, they themselves were once darkness,
but now they are light in the Lord. Those ruled by the
dominion of darkness or of light represent that dominion in their own
persons. So when they were converted, it was their lives, not their
surroundings, that were changed from darkness to light. This radical
transformation had taken place in the Lord. He is the one who has made
the decisive difference, and it is through their union with him that
they have entered a new dominion and become light. (Pillar New Testament
Commentary – The Letter to the Ephesians. Eerdmans)
SAVED BY THE LIGHT!
are in the darkness and spiritually blind, the Bible often
uses light to picture salvation - See Acts 26:18, 26:23; 13:47;
Mt 4:16; Jn 1:4,5,7,8,9; 3:19, 20, 21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:36; 2Co 4:4-note;
2Cor 6:14; Ep 5:8, Eph 5:14-note;
Col 1:12, 13-note;
1Th 5:5-note; 1Pe 2:9-note; 1Jn 1:7-note;
1Jn 2:8, 9, 10, cp Is 35:5; 42:6;
frequently describes spiritual darkness in opposition to
of the deliverance of the Gentiles from darkness) But there will be no more gloom for
her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it
glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of
the Gentiles. The people who walk in
will see a great
(The Messiah, the Light of the world). Those who live in a
light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:1-2-note
quoted by Matthew in Mt 4:16)
(Zacharias prophesied of the coming of Messiah, the Light of the world)
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of
their sins, because of the tender mercy
= strongest word in Greek for feeling of compassion) of our God, with which
the Sunrise (Messiah's coming would be like the coming of dawn, light
driving away darkness) from on high shall visit us, TO SHINE UPON
THOSE WHO SIT IN
DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide (the picture of
opening up the way by the removal of obstacles so that the desired goal
may be reached) our feet into the way of peace." (Luke 1:78-79)
And this is the judgment, that the
light is come into the world, and men loved the
darkness rather than the
term of explanation) their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the
light, and does not come to the
light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
But he who practices the truth comes to the
light, that his deeds may be
manifested as having been wrought in God." (John 3:19-21).
Comment: Don't miss what Jesus
is saying -- "their deeds were evil". This was their practice. Their
practice proved what was in their heart, what they really loved! They
loved darkness. They loved their sin! Unrepentant sinners
don’t want the light because they do not want to be exposed.
This truth should help us
understand when someone rejects our presentation of the Gospel -- they
are not rejecting the lack of erudition or eloquence of our
presentation. They are rejecting Jesus, the Light of the World!
Again therefore Jesus spoke to them,
saying, "I am the
light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk
in the darkness, but shall have the
light of life. (John 8:12)
Comment: It is this powerful, spiritual
darkness out of which the Gospel has the power (dunamis
- Ro 1:16-note)
to rescue sinners spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins!
(Jesus again said) I have come as
light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in
darkness. (John 12:46)
(Jesus gives Paul his
commission to take the Gospel to the Gentiles in order to) open their
eyes so that they may turn from
light and from the
= the right and the might) of Satan to God, (Why?) in order that they may receive forgiveness
= sending away) of
sins and an inheritance (contrast with Eph 5:5-note) among those who have been sanctified by faith in
Me. (Acts 26:18)
Comment: Before we were born again we were "darkness"
subject to the rule of Satan, enslaved to the prince of darkness! God's
miraculous rescue operation transferring us into the kingdom of light should motivate
a continual gratefulness and a consuming passion to walk
as children of light!
For He delivered us from the domain
of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (Col
And this is the message we have heard
from Him and announce to you, that God is
(He is not like light but He is the Light, the very eternal essence),
and in Him there is no
darkness (skotia) at all. 6 If we say (Our Profession
must be authenticated by our practice) that we have fellowship
with Him (something in common with God -- Who is light) and yet walk (present
= as our lifestyle, continually -
something a genuine believer cannot do! cp 2Cor 6:14) in the
(skotos), we lie
tense) and do not practice
the truth (truth is not only something we should believe and teach but
also something we should practice, otherwise our life is a "lie") 7 but (note the definite contrast) if we walk in the
light as He
Himself is in the
light, we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1Jn 1:5-note,
Comment: Although you will
read a few evangelical commentaries (eg, Constable's Notes)
that say that the one habitually walking in darkness is a believer who
is simply out of fellowship with God, such an interpretation does not do
justice to the overall context of First John or to the verb tenses. If a person is
habitually conducting their life in the sphere of darkness, then
they are not born again. God is light and in Him there is absolutely no
darkness. Therefore, what possible fellowship could light have with
darkness (2Co 6:14)? It is crucial (It has eternal ramifications!) to
understand that what we
profess with our lips (eg, "I am a Christian") should be validated by
our life! If our life fails to back up what our lips proclaim, John says we are
lying. We are not only lying to the world (telling them we are
Christians) but we are lying to ourselves. (See 2Cor 13:5-note,
2Pe 1:10, 11-note,
Mt 7:22, 23-note)
Steven Cole: To understand this paragraph, we must
see that John is writing against the false claims of the false teachers.
Their claims are introduced by the phrase, “if we say" (1Jn 1:6,
8, 10). John here shifts the we from the apostles to a
hypothetical group that may include anyone, but especially targets the
false teachers. Their first claim was, “We have fellowship with God”
(1Jn 1:6), but John says that their lives did not back up their claim.
They walked in darkness, they lied, and they did not practice the truth.
John MacArthur: In spite of their claims to
enlightenment and although the false teachers may have claimed
fellowship with Christ, their walking in darkness refuted such claims,
and consequently, demonstrated their lack of genuine salvation. The
reference to “lie” in 1Jn 1:6b refers to the claim of fellowship in v.
6a. do not practice. This points to their habitual failure regarding the
practice of the truth.
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word
KJV Bible Commentary: It is obvious that if there are false
teachers or any others who claim to have fellowship (Greek koinonia)
with God (having something in common with God), and at the same time
(both verbs are in the progressive
present in Greek)
continue to live according to the standards of darkness only, there is
no way around the conclusion that they are lying!
E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV
Bible Commentary: Nelson
For He (God the Father) delivered us from the domain
= the right and the might)
darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved
Son, (Col 1:13-note)
Comment: God's Spirit has brought about a miraculous rescue in
the life of every believer, transferring us from the kingdom of darkness
(remember every kingdom has a "king" - king of the darkness = Satan) to
the kingdom of light qualifying "us to share in the inheritance of the
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give
thanks; but they became futile (empty, vain) in their speculations (they
were now forced to "speculate" because they had made the choice to
reject the truth about God, about why we are here, about what happens
when we die - they tried to come up with myths and tales but these are
all "empty" for they are lies), and their foolish heart was
darkened. (This is
the result of their rejection. God judicially darkens their heart.
Beware dear skeptical reader of rejecting the Light, the Truth about
God, lest He allow a judicial darkening of your heart and you be lost
forever! Read what happens to those who steadfastly refuse to receive
and believe the Truth in 2Th 2:10, 11, 12, Jn 3:36) (Ro 1:21-note)
Here Paul explains how men actively, continually, willfully suppressed
the truth about God's natural revelation (Ro 1:19-note,
which results in an inevitable, inexorable spiritual declension (see
thrice repeated phrase "God gave them over to..." Ro 1:24-note,
As an aside, this passage applies to those who the skeptic often asks
about "Those who have never heard the Gospel." Paul's point is they
"knew" who God is, but made a choice to turn from Him. The are not
"innocent" natives. In fact they are without excuse.
The night is almost gone, and the day
is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of
put on the armor of
Comment: Laying aside the deeds of darkness parallels
Paul's charge to the Ephesians to walk as children of light. What
is the truth which should motivate all of us to lay aside the deeds of
darkness? This present world ruled by the devil is a "night", one that
will soon be brought to an abrupt end in the day of Christ's
return (He Who is the Light of the World [Jn 8:12] the Sun of
righteousness [Mal 4:2], the "Morning Star" Who will soon appear [2Pe
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal
PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you
may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of
into His marvelous
The night is almost gone, and
the day (of our Lord's return) is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside
the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of
light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in
(deeds that characterize spiritual darkness) carousing and
drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and
jealousy. But put on
(like a new garment) (aorist
imperative = Do it
now! Don't delay!) the
Lord Jesus Christ (How? Enabled by the Spirit of Christ, we imitate our
Lord 1Pe 2:21-note,
we walk as He walked, 1Jn 2:6), and make
no provision (present
= with negative means stop making
provision) for the
in regard to its
Ro 13:, 13-14-note)
Comment: Observe the "order"
in Ro 13:14 - First put on Christ. Then, make no provision. Here's the
important point -- don't "try" to make no provision for your flesh,
mistakenly thinking that in so doing you are putting on Christ! Christ
and specifically His Spirit indwelling us is our enabling power,
including the power to say "no" to the lusts of the flesh! We see an
identical pattern in Galatians 5:16 (note
) where we must
first surrender to the Spirit's enabling power to walk and when that is
taking place the result is that we will not fulfill the desire of the
flesh (which parallels making "no provision for the flesh")
to describe the spiritual powers of Satan and his evil empire...
While I was with you daily in the
temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of
darkness are yours.
exousia, the right and the might that
God allowed Satan. Darkness is the domain of
For our struggle is not against flesh
and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world
forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of
wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12-note)
the picture of darkness to
describe the ultimate destiny of the lost declaring...
the sons of the kingdom (speaking
of the Jews who had the special privilege as the chosen nation) shall be
cast out into the outer darkness (the final hell); in that place
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mt 8:12)
Then the king said to the servants,
'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer
that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (describes the
extreme torment that sadly will be true of those who inhabit hell away
from the presence of the Lord).' (Mt 22:13)
Cast out the worthless slave
into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and
gnashing of teeth. (Mt 25:30)
summarizes the figurative meanings of darkness and light...
Satan’s domain (Is 49:24,25, Lk 11:21, 22, Col 1:13-note, 2Ti 2:26-note, Heb 2:14,15-note,
1Jn 3:8, 5:19, 1Pe 2:9-note Rev 20:2,3-note), and the
sinful deeds of those who do not obey God (Ed: Cp
"does not obey the Son" = Jn 3:36, "do not obey the
Gospel" = 2Th 1:7, 8, 9)(Ed note: Salvation is by faith alone,
but salvation that is genuine births a "new creation" with a "new
heart", one that generally desires [even if imperfectly] to obey Christ
and His Word. And we are speaking not of perfection but of
direction of one's life).
Darkness also represents the
spiritual ignorance of those whose sin has blinded their eyes from the
light of God’s truth (Eph 4:18-note;
Light pictures the knowledge
of the truth that comes when God shines into our lives. As Paul wrote
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 (1Jn 1:5-note),
who dwells in unapproachable light (1Ti 6:16, Ps 104:2, Hab 3:4, Mt
17:2, Re 21:23-note,
So as believers, we are called to
walk in the light, just as He Himself is in the light (1Jn 1:7-note),
living with every area of our lives exposed to God (Heb 4:13-note,
Pr 15:3). (Sermon)
BUT NOW YOU ARE LIGHT IN THE
LORD: nun de phos en kurio:
(Isaiah 42:6,7; 49:6,9;
60:1,3,19,20; John 1:4,5,9; 8:12; 12:46; 1 Corinthians 1:30;
2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8; 1 John 2:9-11)
But now -
This is one of those great and mercy filled "but now's"
(See also Ro 3:21-note,
1Cor 15:20, Gal 4:9, Eph 2:13-note,
cp "But God" Ro 5:8-note,
1Cor 1:27, 1Cor 3:6, Gal 3:18, Eph 2:4-note) in Scripture,
here signifying the great "Divine Transfer!" Who "you were"
is no longer who "you are"! May the ever present memory
of our Father's great transfer from the kingdom of darkness to light,
continually motivate us (enabled by the Spirit) to discipline ourselves
for godliness, as we strive to follow in Jesus' steps. Amen (1Ti 4:7, 8-note,
Why do we as the children
of light so often sneak into the dark thinking we can take just a moment
to "enjoy" the things of the darkness? The darkness is now foreign and
indeterminably opposed to our new nature in Christ! By God's grace and
Spirit may we all daily seek to walk in the light as children of light
who are filled with the light of the world and are now instructed to let
our light shine in the darkness. Amen!
Note that Paul's repeatedly reminds them of who they were. Remembering
who you were should serve to motivate you now to live as who you truly
(and eternally) are! See the contrasts - “you were... but now” is
like Paul’s earlier language in Eph 2:2, 3, 4-note
("you... were...but God") and Eph 2:11, 12, 13-note
("you were...but now") Think of a black drop cloth in the jewelry store
on which is set the beautiful diamond necklace. Your old life is the
"black drop cloth" and your new life in Christ is the "beautiful diamond
BELIEVERS ARE NO LONGER
WHAT THEY ONCE WERE!
Paul reminds the Colossians of a
similar divine transfer in order to motivate the readers to make the
choice to walk as children of light...
For it is on account of these things
interrogate the text!]
= Col 3:5-note)
that the wrath of God will come, and in them you also once walked (cp
"you formerly were darkness"), when you were living in them.
you also, put
them all aside
Command to do this now! Do it effectively! "Just do it!" Bur remember
the only way you can "do it" is with the enabling power of the Spirit of
Christ! Otherwise it becomes legalism and will only produce frustrating,
futile failure!): anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from
your mouth. (Col 3:6, 7, 8-note)
Paul uses a similar before/after
contrast to urge his readers in Thessalonica not to become "sleepy
While they are saying, "Peace and
safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs
upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
BUT YOU, brethren, are not
in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; for
you are all sons (children - ESV) of light and sons
(children - ESV) of day. We are not of night nor of
darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert
and sober. (1Th
1Th 5:4, 5-note
The light and darkness imagery shows
the uncompromising nature of Paul’s ethical demands. There appears to be
no room for shady gray areas. Christians have quit the darkness; now
they live in the light. (College Press NIV Commentary)
Now, in a spiritual sense, there is
no seeing man—but a believer. No man saw Christ savingly—but
those who saw him believingly. Every man but a believer
walks in darkness; nay, he is in darkness...In the Lord Jesus Christ—a
believer sees. He was once as dark as others, and as blind as others,
until he was in the Lord; and no sooner was he in the Lord—but he was
light in the Lord. (Christ's
Puritan writer Thomas Brooks...
God gives spiritual light, which is a
mercy of mercies. He gives that light whereby His people are enabled to
see sin to be the greatest evil, and Himself to be the chief good. He
gives that light . . .
which melts the soul,
which humbles the soul,
which warms the soul,
which quickens the soul,
which quiets the soul, and
which gladdens the soul.
Man is not born with heavenly light in his heart, as he is born
with a tongue in his mouth. Until Christ comes and sets up a light in
the soul, the soul lives in darkness, and lies in darkness, yes, is
darkness in the very abstract.
(phos) can refer to literal light but here is used figuratively
as those enlightened with the truth. But Paul goes even a step
further, to describe
the Gentile believers as "light itself, not a mere lamp!"
Harrison's Excellent Discussion of
Walking in the Light
Moule adds that the believers now were
not merely in the light, but (were) filled
and, as it were, identified with the sunshine of knowledge and of holiness.
Joseph Beet comments that..
Light is a condition of sight and
therefore of knowledge. In darkness we know not where we are going: 1Jn
2:11. The Gospel gives light: for it reveals to us our own nature and
our environment. And, to those who believe, it becomes the mother of a
new nature: children of light. Moreover, since the light enters into
them and becomes in some sense a part of themselves, they are themselves
light. This lays upon them an obligation to choose such steps as are in
harmony with the light which has transformed them. Similar thought in Ro
Pastor Steven Cole
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-note; John 8:12; 1Pe 2:9-note; 1John 1:5-note,
1Jn 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 have had the experience
of visiting a cave where the guide turned off all of 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 what it
would be like to be totally blind.
Paul says that we formerly were
darkness. We were spiritually blind. We not only didn’t see God’s
glory and truth, we didn’t have the ability or desire to see such
things. We didn’t sense our need for the Savior, because we thought we
were good enough to go to 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 death and eternity. But, when God
saved us (Titus 3:5-note, cp Gal 2:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21), 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” (2Cor 4:6-note). We saw our true
condition as guilty sinners, but we also saw the all sufficiency of
Jesus and His death on the cross to cover all our sins. We had a new
understanding of God’s Word and a new desire to know God and His truth
more and more. We now hate the sin that we formerly lived in and we long
to be like our Savior, holy in all our ways. We now walk in the light,
rather than in darkness, because God has made us light in the Lord.
While some of us (and I am one) can’t say exactly when this change took
place, you know that it took place, because you know that God changed
your heart. “You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the
Lord” (Ep 5:8). To walk as children of light, you must be a child of
light by God’s saving power.
Illustrations of Bible Truth: H. A. Ironside
tells the story of a
new convert who gave his testimony during a church service.
With a smile
on his face and joy in his heart, the man related how he had been
delivered from a life of sin. He gave the Lord all the glory, saying
nothing about any of his own merits or what he had done to deserve the
blessings of redemption. The person in charge, who was very legalistic,
didn’t fully appreciate the reality of salvation by grace through faith
alone, apart from human works (Eph 2:8,9). So he responded to the young
man’s comments by saying,
“you seem to indicate that God did everything when He saved you. Didn’t
you do your part before God did His?” The new Christian
jumped to his feet and said,
“Oh yes, I did. For more than 30 years I ran away from God as fast as my
sins could carry me. That was my part. But God took out after me and ran
me down. That was His part.” Praise God for His
persistent, pursuing, plenteous love for rebellious, God rejecting
men and women!
Greek Testament comments that...
The completeness of the change is
indicated again by the use of the abstract term—so possessed and
penetrated were they by that truth that they could be described not
simply as enlightened but as themselves now light. And this ‘in the
Lord,’ for it was in virtue of their fellowship with Christ that this
new apprehension of things came to them, transforming their lives.
(Ephesians 5 Commentary)
In the Lord - This phrase
should excite thankfulness! Paul had said
they were darkness and now says you are light. And we are light
ONLY in the Lord! We did not earn nor merit this "light"! While
Paul made no
qualifying statement for them being darkness, with the phrase in the
Lord, he emphasizes that they are light because they have vital union
with Jesus, the very One Who had declared Himself to be "the Light of the world" (Jn 8:12).
Thus Paul is
saying that these regenerate (born again) Gentile readers are now
light by virtue of the fact that they are in eternal covenant
oneness and unbreakable fellowship with
God the Son, "the Light of the world", Who in turn is in
perfect fellowship with
the God the Father (1Jn 1:3-note)
Who John says is Himself Light (1Jn 1:5-note).
Moule explains that in the
Lord means "in your grace-given union with Him
who is the Light; in whom is now your home, your sphere, so that if His
radiance does not consciously fill you it is only that you do not open
your eyes to take it in. (Ephesian Studies: Expository Readings on the
Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians)
Hughes notes that believers...
actually become light ourselves...Our
light is derived from Him — not a ray of it comes from ourselves. But
somehow our incorporation in Christ allows us to actually be light,
however imperfect. We “participate in the divine nature,” says Peter
(2Pe 1:4). So authentic is our participation, so real is our light, that
in eternity we will actually be part of the light ourselves. Jesus said
in his Mystery Parables, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in
the kingdom of their Father” (Mt 13:43).
As C. S. Lewis noted, the heavens
reflect the glory of God. But we share the glory of the Father in Christ
— and we shall be more glorious than the heavens. Lewis said:
Nature is mortal. We shall outlive
her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you
will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol.… We are
summoned to pass in through nature beyond her to the splendor which she
As Christians there is a glory
awaiting us that involves, in some mysterious way, shining. Somehow we
are going to enter into the fame and approval of God, and we will be
glorious beings far beyond description. Because we are light, we have a
huge responsibility in the world. (Ephesians
- The Mystery of the Body of Christ)
(kurios) means lord, master, owner and
who has absolute ownership. Kurios signifies sovereign power and
absolute, supreme authority. Jesus is referred to some ten times
as Savior and some seven hundred times as Lord. Kurios
(LORD in OT) in
explains now you are light in the Lord this way...
It is all because of Him. Outside of
Him there is no light. In Him is where the light is. Remember, I am not
the light. He is the light. I am light because the Light is within me
(Col 1:27b). His Spirit has entered and turned on the light, and now I can understand and
comprehend. I can walk the way He wants me to walk. His Spirit can teach
me the things I need to know, and I can live a life that reflects the
essence of light. We were once darkness. Now we have been made light.
Not just put in the light, but we are now made light because He is in us.
The Light is in us (Jn 8:12, 1Jn 2:9, 10, cp Jn 3:20, 21, 11:10, 12:36)...We are accountable for sin now...Now that you are
in Christ, you are responsible to call them (confession of sins) by name because you have
light within you and you know what you are doing your own choice.
You can choose not to put that filthy garment on (the garment of the "Old
You have light in you. That is why confession of sin is such an
important word in the vocabulary of the believer. (Reference)
Thomas Vincent (1634-1678)
You have spiritual LIGHT from Christ.
Christ is the Sun from whom all the beams of this light come. Time was,
when you were not only in the dark, you were darkness; but Jesus Christ
enlightened you, Ephesians 5:8, "For you were once darkness—but now
are you light in the Lord—walk as children of light!" It is Christ
Who has turned you from darkness to light, that has translated you out
of darkness, into His marvelous light. He has caused a marvelous light
to shine into your minds, whereby He has revealed to you the wonderful
things of the Law, that thereby you might discern the odious nature of
sin. By this also, He has revealed to you the wonderful mysteries of the
Gospel, that thereby you might discern the excellency of
Gospel-privileges, and the exceeding riches of God's grace and kindness
through Jesus Christ.
Christ has opened your eyes to see
the chief evil—that you might be delivered from it, and the chief good
and happiness—that you might attain unto it. And does not this light
which you have from Christ, call for your love?
If the man that was born blind, and
was cured of his natural darkness by Christ, loved Christ for this favor
so as boldly to plead for Him before the Pharisees, though for it he was
cast out of the synagogues, as you may read in John 9 (Jn 9:22)—how much
more reason have you to love Christ, Who has cured you of your spiritual
darkness which, had it continued, you would have gone blindfold to hell,
where there is blackness of darkness forever! (The
True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ)
WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT:
os tekna photos peripateite (2PPAM):
(Eph 5:2; Isaiah 2:5; Luke
16:8; John 12:36; Galatians 5:25; 1Pe 2:9, 10, 11-note;
Our new identity ( in
for a new lifestyle! Since God is light, and light exposes, to walk as a
child of light is to live one's life Coram Deo, before the eyes of God,
not hiding anything from He Who sees all (Heb 4:13-note,
Pr 15:3). And since God is light, we as His children are to walk in a
manner that reveals Him to the world lost in spiritual darkness. Paul
consistently charges us
links "theological indicatives" (here truth about who we have
become) with "moral imperatives" (commands to act in
concordance with the truth). For example after describing the promises
of God in 2Cor 6:17, 18, Paul presents his exhortation...
Therefore, having these promises,
beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and
spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2Corinthians 7:1-note)
adds that this indicative/imperative motif by Paul is "highly reminiscent of Galatians 5:25:
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by (line up with) the
Spirit”. Such exhortation assumes the Spirit’s transforming and
empowering presence in the lives of believers, who are a part of the new
human created by God. If it is true that believers participate in this
new creation (cf. Gal 6:15; 2Cor 5:17; cf. Eph 4:24), one would expect
their “walk” to emerge as natural “fruit” from such a renewed nature.
is one of some with 16 commands Paul directs to Christians in
chapter 5. Be careful not to put yourself under the law. Yes,
obey these commands, but do so in reliance on your enabling Helper, the
Holy Spirit (pray Eph 3:16-note,
be filled - Eph 5:18-note,
walk - Gal 5:16-note).
loves the law (Cp
"legalism") and is stimulated by it (Ro 7:5-note).
The Spirit controlled and empowered life is a life of liberty - freedom
to do as you should, motivated by love, making it your ambition to be
pleasing to your heavenly Father. (cp James 1:25-note,
Gal 3:2-3, 5:1, 13)
in Ephesians 5
Be imitators of God (Eph 5:1 - Think about this command - There is
simply no way to obey this in our own strength. We must renounce self
effort and learn by practice to rely on the Spirit's strengthening -
as is true for every command in this list)...
Walk in love (Eph 5:2 The foremost evidence of
a "family resemblance" to the Father!)
Do not let sexual sins be named
among you (Eph 5:3);
Let no one deceive you (Eph 5:6);
Do not be
partakers with them (Eph. 5:7),
Walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8),
Have no fellowship with the works of darkness (Eph. 5:11),
works of darkness (Eph. 5:11),
Awake from sleep and death (Eph. 5:14),
Walk circumspectly (Eph. 5:15),
Walk as wise men (Eph. 5:15),
time (Eph. 5:16),
Do not be foolish (Eph 5:17);
Understand the will of
God (Eph. 5:17),
Do not be drunk with wine (Eph. 5:18),
filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Eph 5:18)
as children of light -
Paul had just charged them that one way was to "Walk in love"
In Galatians 5:25-note
Paul explained that this supernatural Christlike walk is made possible
by the Spirit of Christ Who indwells every believer. (Ro 8:9-note)
Enoch gives us a
wonderful OT example of one who walked in the light ("God is light")...
And Enoch walked with God; and he was
not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24)
Paul had explained
to his readers their new position in
Christ (children of light), but
position is not a guarantee that we will live that way consistently. And
so here Paul gives a command saying in essence "Make it your
habit to live what you are and in light of Whose you are!". Let
your practice "back up" your profession! In other words, conduct
yourselves consistent with your
character as those in an covenant
with the Lord Jesus Christ (See discussion of
in Christ Jesus
and our union with Christ in
The Oneness of Covenant)
from peri = about,
around + pateo = walk, tread) (Click
word study on
means literally to walk about here and there or to tread all around.
Peripateo then came to mean, to make one’s way, to make progress, to
make due use of one’s opportunities and finally (as used by Paul in
Ephesians), to live, to regulate one’s life, to conduct one’s self.
Most of the NT uses refer to the daily conduct of one's life or how one
orders their behavior or passes their life.
In contrast to
those who walk in spiritual darkness, Paul uses the
to command believers to
continually walk in the light into which they have been transferred.
Keep walking in the light, step by step, ever making progress.
Walk as children
of light for as Paul says "what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2Cor 6:14).
This is clearly a rhetorical question. Paul's point is that
there is no fellowship with darkness and the One Whose very essence is
light (1Jn 1:5-note).
Those who willfully insist on walking in the
darkness (as manifest not by what they say or profess but by the deeds [just described]
they practice. See 1Jn 1:6-note) would
never enjoy fellowship in the Kingdom of Light in the presence of the
One Who Alone is the Light of the World and in Whom there is no darkness
writes in view of each saint's privileged position in Christ...
let them be consistent. Let them in
their daily life be and constantly remain true to what in principle they
have become. Let them walk and keep on walking as children of light;
that is, let the true knowledge of God and of his will be their standard
constantly; let righteousness and holiness characterize all their
attitudes, words, and actions; and let the joy of salvation be the very
tenor of their lives. (Baker New Testament Commentary - Exposition of
Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon)
Bishop H C G
Moule comments that...
as Light's children, walk, live out
your real life, in the real world of duty and temptation, as those who
are in living and intense connection with the truth and the purity that
is for you in Christ. In that "childhood," break utterly with "the sons
of disobedience," and take that narrow path which "is as the shining
light, that shines more and more until the (Eph 5:9) perfect day" (Pr
4:18). (Ephesian Studies: Expository Readings on the Epistle of Saint
Paul to the Ephesians)
Negatively they were not to be
partakers; but neutrality is not sufficient—positively they were to walk
as children of the light. “As children of light,” they were to show by
their conduct that they loved it, enjoyed it, and reflected its lustre.
Their course of conduct ought to prove that they hated the previous
darkness, that they were content with no ambiguous twilight, but lived
and acted in the full splendour of the Sun of Righteousness, hating the
secret and unfruitful deeds of darkness referred to in the following
context. First, the apostle has referred to love as an element of
Christian walk, Eph 5:1,2 (note);
and now he refers to light as an element of the same walk; different
aspects of the same spiritual purity; love, and not angry and vengeful
passions; light, and not dark and unnameable deeds. (Ephesians 5 Commentary)
F B Meyer...
Walk In The Light.—God is light; and
when we live in daily, hourly communion with Him, in such a frame of
mind as that his name is frequently in our hearts, or murmured softly by
our lips, or spoken as a talisman when temptation is near, we may be
said to be walking in the light. And it is just in proportion as our
steps tread the crystal pathway of light, that our understanding becomes
enlightened. In God's light we see light. When the heart is pure, the
eye is single. The contrary to this is also true. When we are alienated
from the life of God, our understanding is darkened to the truth of God.
The seat of infidelity is in the heart. Once let a soul become shut out
from the life of God through the hardening of the heart; once let it
give itself up to lasciviousness, and to make a trade of uncleanness
with greediness: then the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
beats against a shuttered window, asking for admittance in vain. If you
would know God, you must resemble God. If you would learn God's secrets,
you must walk with God. If you would know the doctrine, you must be
willing to do his will. But there is something even better than walking
in the light; it is to become children of the light. What an exquisite
conception! Dewdrops sparkling in the light of dawn; star-dust
glittering on the vault of night; humming-birds flashing in the tropic
sun; children dancing in light-hearted glee, none of these are so truly
sons of light as they who have been begotten by the Father of Lights;
who carry within them the Light that lights up hearts, and who, in
goodness, righteousness, and truth, prove what is well-pleasing unto the
Lord. Let us live as such. (Our
Walk in The Epistle to the Ephesians-A Devotional Commentary)
J H Evans on what it means to
walk as a child of light...
1. If you ask for a simple view of
their “walking as children of light” — I would say first of all it is to
walk in the brightness of that light: to walk in the light of God’s
precious Gospel, to walk in the light of God’s perfections, to walk in
the realizing view of His pardoning mercy, to walk in the light of His
adoption, to walk as righteous ones, righteous in the righteousness of
the Lord Jesus Christ. “Surely the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing
it is to behold the sun.”
2. He “walks as a child of light,”
beloved, as he walks in the purity of that light. Observe, this is an
essential part of the subject — it is the very subject for which the
apostle introduced it; “ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light
in the Lord: walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is
in all goodness and righteousness and truth): proving what is acceptable
unto the Lord.” My dear hearers, we are to “walk as children of light” —
only be you thankful and grateful for being thus brought into the light.
To be brought into the light, to one that once was blind, would be one
of the first things that would fill his heart with joy. What were ye
once? I am persuaded too, beloved, that if we are “children of light,”
we shall rejoice that others be made to “walk in the light” of that same
gospel; we shall rejoice to diffuse, as far as in us lies, that gospel
around us. (Biblical Illustrator)
from tikto = bring forth, bear children, be born)
means literally "a born one" and refers to a child as viewed in relation
to the one who bore him (in this case of course the Spirit of the Living
God). It follows that teknon takes on special theological
significance when the Bible calls believers the children of God.
God's spiritual children possess His divine nature (not little gods),
the nature of light. In Ephesians 5:1-note, Paul
used teknon to describe the born again Gentiles as beloved
light - This phrase reminds one of the Hebraism which often
describes one who manifests a particular trait or characteristic "son of
_______ (that trait)" And so believers are no longer "children of
wrath" (Eph 2:3-note)
or "sons of disobedience" (Eph 2:2-note;
but "children of light."
Light describes the essence
of the Father ("God is light" 1Jn 1:5-note).
Children of God Who is light should show a "family resemblance." The
Spirit of Christ is in us and so His light is within us
(Jn 8:12, cp Jn 12:36, Jn 3:20, 21, 11:10).
We are born of Him Who is light and we are the children of light. It was
because of His light in our darkened hearts that we were enabled to
recognize our sinfulness and our need for a Savior, through Whom we
became His children (Jn 1:12, 1Jn 3:1-note).
(phos) is used figuratively of believers who shine forth Christ
in them the hope (absolute certainty of future good) of glory. Paul is
giving his warning to those who are children of God, thus light in the
Lord, thus, children of light (cp 1Th 5:4, 5, 6-note)
- If these Ephesians were now ‘light
in the Lord,’ it was not for themselves only but for others. They
were called to live a life beseeming those to whom Christian
enlightenment and purity had become their proper nature. (Ephesians 5 Commentary)
commands all of His disciples to be lights declaring...
You are the light of the world. A
city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it
under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all
who are in the house.
Let your light
Command to do this now. Do it effectively. "Just do it!" His Spirit will
enable you to "do it" but you must submit, surrender, yield to
the Spirit) before (the Spirit controlled life is to be lived out in the
sight of) men in such a way
(not doing it for your glory or praise from men, but for His glory!) that
they may see your
good works , and glorify (doxazo) your Father
Who is in heaven.
(Mt 5:14-16-see notes
Mt 5:14; 15; 16)
Charles Hodge writes that...
now you are light in the Lord—i.e.,
in virtue of union with the Lord, you are enlightened, sanctified, and
blessed. Live as children of light—i.e., as the children of holiness and
truth. Children of light means “enlightened,” and “children of famine”
means the famished: see Ephesians 2:2. The exhortation is that they
should walk in a way consistent with their character, as people
illuminated and sanctified by their union with the Lord Jesus. (Ephesians 5 Commentary) (See
discussion related to our union with Christ -
The Oneness of Covenant)
Comment: Paul's letters are
replete with the charge to believers to walk consistent with their
position and privilege in Christ - Ro 13:13-note;
Php 1:27, 28, 29-note,
1Th 2:11, 12-note,
Peter also alluded to a worthy walk - 2Pe 1:4-note,
based on the truth just stated 2Pe 1:5, 6, 7, 8, 9-note;
Maxie Dunnam reminds us as
believers "We are not actors"...
Dorothy Sayers, the theologian and
mystery novelist, likened our thoughtless, purposeless, rote
participation in public worship to those “bit actors” who appear at the
studio, play through the brief scene and shots to which they are
assigned, and leave, unaware of the meaning of the drama in which they
are cast, ignorant of whether it is comedy, tragedy, drama, or
melodrama. Is not this the Christian problem? We want to be “bit
actors,” moving in and out of the drama of redemption—the new life of
justification and sanctification—as we please. It can’t be so. “For you
were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children
of light” (Eph. 5:8). The passage calls to mind two other passages: (1)
the familiar words of John 12:35, 36: “Walk while you have the light …
that you may become sons of the light”; (2) the passage in Rom. 13:8–14
which has the same challenging ring and makes the same contrast as this
passage—“Let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the
armor of light; let us walk properly as in the day” (vv. 12, 13). The
Romans passage closes with that favorite image of Paul: “Put on the Lord
Jesus Christ.” We are not actors.” (The Preacher's Commentary Series,
Volume 31 : Galatians / Ephesians / Philippians / Colossians / Philemon)
Thomas Sherman (1689) makes an
interesting observation that...
When men would dignify people, it
is customary to attribute such titles to them as are derived from light:
as, "Most Splendid," "Most Serene," "Most Illustrious;"
titles frequently misapplied, for how often are they ascribed to the
sons of darkness! We read of Antiochus Epiphanes, or Antiochus
the Illustrious; whereas the Holy Spirit, speaking of the same
person, as some conclude, calls him "a vile person," (Da 11:21.)
Such titles, therefore, declare what their owners should be, rather than
what they are. If light then is so glorious, surely the righteous is
more excellent than his neighbor; yes, the most excellent in all the
earth, (Pr 12:26; Ps 16:3.) They are, not in title only but in truth,
said to be "light in the Lord," (Eph 5:8.) They are called by the Holy
Spirit himself, "children of the light and of the day," (1Th
Let your dignity, therefore, engage you to your duty. Are you children
of light? Then walk as children of light. (Aids
to the Divine Life)
><> ><> ><>
A PURITAN PRAYER
Creator, Upholder and Proprietor of
We cannot escape from Thy presence
nor do we desire to do so.
Our privilege is to be under the
of Thy omnipotence,
righteousness, wisdom, patience, mercy and grace;
For Thou art Love with more than
We admire Thy goodness,
stand in awe of Thy power,
abase ourselves before Thy purity.
It is the discovery of Thy goodness
can banish our fear
allure us into Thy presence,
help us to bewail and confess our sins.
We review our past guilt
and are conscious of present
We bless Thee that Thy steadfast love
are essential to our happiness and
Thou hast witnessed to us Thy grace
in the bounties of nature,
in the fullness of Thy providence,
in the revelations of Scripture,
in the gift of Thy Son,
in the proclamation of the Gospel.
Make us willing to be saved in Thy
perceiving nothing in ourselves but
all in Jesus.
Help us not only to receive Him
walk in Him,
depend upon Him,
commune with Him,
follow Him as dear children,
imperfect, but still pressing forward,
not complaining of labor, but valuing rest,
not murmuring under trials, but thankful for our state.
And by so doing let us silence the
of foolish men.
(From Arthur Bennett's
compilation of Puritan prayers in the Valley of Vision)
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Illustration of Those who were
Darkness now made Light - (This is from early in the 20th Century) We
hear much in these days about the electric light. It is much more
brilliant than the old-fashioned lamps. I was looking at one the other
day, and noticing particularly that the “candles,” as they are called,
are only black, ugly pieces of charcoal. Nothing more. As I looked at
them I could not but wonder that things which by their nature were so
black, could, when connected with the mysterious power which causes the
flame to glow, give out such wonderful light. Truly the light is not in
them. It is the unseen but mighty power working in them and through them
that enables them to be useful. A tiny flaw may break the connection and
stop the light —disconnected for one instant from the source the light
dies instantly, and utterly.
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HOW TO KEEP THE LIGHT SHINING:
As Christians, we are “light in the Lord.” Jesus said in the Sermon on
the Mount, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew. 5:14). The more
luminous our integrity — our goodness, righteousness, and truth — the
brighter the light. How can we shine more brightly? A man returning from
a journey brought his wife a matchbox that would glow in the dark. After
giving it to her she turned out the light, but the matchbox could not be
seen. Both thought they had been cheated. Then the wife noticed some
French words on the box and asked a friend to translate them. The
inscription said: “If you want me to shine in the night, keep me in
the light.” We need to spend time alone with Jesus — the Light — in
prayer, exposing our lives like photographic plates to His presence so
that His image, His character, is burnt into ours. If we do this, we
will spiritually be like Moses when he descended Sinai after being alone
with God — his face shone with the light of God. We need to open our
Bibles and allow God’s truth to illumine our eager faces with goodness
and righteousness and truth. If you want to shine in the night, keep in
the light of Christ. (Ephesians
- The Mystery of the Body of Christ- Page 165-166)
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F B Meyer has the following
God is light; and when we live in
daily, hourly communion with Him, in such a frame of mind as that His
name is frequently in our hearts, or murmured softly by our lips, or
spoken as a talisman when temptation is near, we may be said to be
walking in the light. And it is just in proportion as our steps
tread the crystal pathway of light, that our understanding becomes
enlightened. In God's light we see light. When the heart is pure, the
eye is single.
The contrary to this is also true. When we are alienated from the life
of God, our understanding is darkened to the truth of God. The seat of
infidelity is in the heart. Once let a soul become shut out from the
life of God through the hardening of the heart; once let it give itself
up to lasciviousness, and to make a trade of uncleanness with
greediness: then the light of the knowledge of the glory of God beats
against a shuttered window, asking for admittance in vain.
If you would know God, you must resemble God. If you would learn God's
secrets, you must walk with God. If you would know the doctrine, you
must be willing to do his will.
But there is something even better than walking in the light; it is to
become children of the light. What an exquisite conception! Dewdrops
sparkling in the light of dawn; star-dust glittering on the vault of
night; humming-birds flashing in the tropic sun; children dancing in
light-hearted glee, none of these are so truly sons of light as they who
have been begotten by the Father of Lights; who carry within them the
Light that lights up hearts, and who, in goodness, righteousness, and
truth, prove what is well-pleasing unto the Lord. Let us live as such. (Our
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WALKING IN THE
F B Meyer
Our Daily Walk
"God said, Let there be Light; and
there was Light."--- Gen1:3.
"Ye were sometimes darkness, but
now are ye light in the Lord: Walk as children of Light."-- Eph5:8.
ST. PAUL makes use
of this passage in Genesis, when He says, that "God who commanded the
fight to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
He seems to go back in his experience to that remarkable vision on the
road to Damascus, when the light shone, and he saw the face of the Lord
Jesus. It was as though he had passed through the experience of chaos,
while kicking against the goad of conviction, and at that moment, which
he could never forget, God said: "Let there be light." Looking up, he
saw the light of the glory of God reflected in that dear Face that
looked down on him with ineffable love. It was life out of death; light
replaced darkness, and peace chased away the last vestige of storm.
This is ever the
result and climax of the work in our hearts wrought by the Holy Spirit.
He leads us out of darkness; He takes of the things of Christ and shows
them unto us. His one aim is to glorify our Saviour, and to make Him the
Alpha and Omega of our faith, as we walk in the light.
When I was in
Tasmania, I was shown a great mountain range on which was a vast lake,
fifty-two miles in circumference. The overflow yielded a perennial
waterfall of a thousand feet, the force of which was translated into
electricity which made light and power cheap for great factories and for
domestic needs. It seemed to me, as I thought about it, that the great
sheet of water resembled the Love of God, in its longing to help
mankind; that the descending waterfall might be taken to illustrate the
Incarnation of our Saviour, who was the Sent-One of the Eternal Trinity;
and that the electric current, invisible but mighty, was typical of the
Holy Spirit, who brings to our hearts the Light and Power of the Divine
Nature. The lesson is obvious, that as the manufacturer or the scientist
invents machinery to meet the conditions on which alone the electric
current can do its work, so must we learn to adapt ourselves to receive
and transmit the power and light of God, which comes to us through our
union with Jesus.
May the Holy Spirit keep us ever walking in the light of Thy
countenance. May He fill our hearts with the sense of Thy nearness and
loving fellowship. Order our steps in Thy way, and then walk with us,
for in Thee is no darkness at all. AMEN.
ONLY ON SUNDAY? - One controversy in
professional sports today is the matter of prayer on the field.
Sometimes after a big play or a victory, a player will drop to his
knees and thank God. Some people object to this practice.
One newspaper writer suggested that the playing fields should be
off-limits to such religious practices. He said that anything having to
do with God should be confined to church. To him, it's "absolutely
ridiculous" for people to talk to God anywhere else.
As Christians, we would disagree with this kind of thinking. But we
sometimes give the impression by our behavior that we believe it. We
set Sundays aside to worship and serve God but act as if the rest of
the week is ours to do with as we please.
For the believer, however, living for God is a 24-hours-a-day,
7-days-a-week proposition. Notice Paul's teaching in Ephesians 5.
When he talked about walking "as children of light" (Eph 5:8), he
wasn't referring only to the way we behave in church on Sundays. When
we are filled with the Spirit,
we will exemplify compassion, kindness, humility, forgiveness,
thankfulness, and love all the time.
The Christian life is not for Sunday only. It's a day-to-day,
all-the-time way of life - even on the playing field. -- J. David Branon
AMAZING LIGHT - Light can do startling things!
One single burst from a laser beam can drill a hole through a diamond.
Such a ray of concentrated and amplified power can melt steelplate in a
fraction of a second. A laser beam aimed at the retro-reflector placed
on the moon by the astronauts has given the scientists greater ac-curacy
in measuring the distance between the earth and the lunar surface.
Medical science too is broadening its field in the use of light. A tiny
laser aimed at cells diseased by cancer will in a split second destroy a
great number of them. What amazing energy! I remember seeing (or was it
hearing?) music transmitted on a ray of light in one of the "Sermons
from Science" conducted by Keith Hargett of the Moody Institute of
Science. That was an interesting demonstration — an uninterrupted flow
of sharply focused electrons carrying a beautiful melody!
And divine Light—who can tell its great effect? Every
child of God is not only the possessor but the reflector of it. Jesus
said, "Ye are the light of the world."
Light must be concentrated and directed, however, to
be most effective. Lives controlled by God's Spirit will shine with a
glowing witness, bringing spiritual health and blessing to others.
Indeed, heavenly harmonies will be transmitted when the Lord Jesus
shines in and through us. As the hymn writer reminds us:
Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.
Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that
they may...glorify your Father, who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).
Is your life a shining witness
With a testimony true?
Could the world be won to Jesus
Just by what they see in you?
The light that shines farthest
shines brightest at home.
Lehman Strauss has an excellent discussion of
the contrast of the believer's past (darkness) and present (light)...
again contrasts the believer’s past with his present. Earlier in the
epistle the contrast was between death and life (Ep 2:1); here the
contrast is between darkness and light. The appeal is made to what we
now are in contrast to what we once were. We were darkness but now are
we light in the Lord; hence we are not to be partakers with the children
There are two great kingdoms, in one of which every man is to be found.
There is the kingdom of Satan, which is the kingdom of darkness; and
there is the kingdom of our Lord, which is the kingdom of light. The
unsaved man is by choice under the dominion of the rulers of the
darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12). He prefers the darkness to the light
because his deeds are evil (John 3:19). He is not merely in the dark,
but he is darkness. Darkness is ignorance, and every unsaved man is
ignorant of the things of God. They are foolishness to him, nor can he
know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). He
practices the works of darkness by choice, since that is all he knows.
Every Christian was at one time in darkness. But when Christ, who is the
Light of the world (John 8:12), came into our hearts, we were
immediately delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the
kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13). Now since “God, who commanded the
light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”
(2 Cor. 4:6), we walk as children of light, no longer practicing those
things of which we are now ashamed. The coming of the Light has
dispelled the darkness, so that engaging in those things for which the
wrath of God now cometh upon the children of disobedience has long since
passed. The actions of the believer should differ widely from those of
the unbeliever; hence Paul refreshes the remembrance of the Christians
by contrasting their former position with the present: “Ye were
darkness; ye are light.”
Our Lord said to His disciples: “Ye are the light of the world … Let
your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and
glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14, 16). Many kinds of
darkness abound in the world—sin, suffering, and sorrow. Instead of
complaining that we must live in the midst of such darkness, we should
thank God that He has placed us here as the light of the world, to shine
in the midst of such conditions and circumstances.
The light must be securely fixed in a conspicuous place, not under a
bushel, “but on a candlestick,” or lampstand (Matt. 5:15). We will need
to be kept filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit and kept trimmed, not
that we should be looked at, but that He might be seen and the Father
glorified. It was the glory of the Father that Christ ever had in mind
all during His earthly life. Guy H. King has said: “The shining of our
light is not to say ‘Look at me!’ but ‘Look at Him!’” Never allow the
bushel of cowardice or compromise or carelessness to hide the light, for
“if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2Cor. 4:3). Of
John the Baptist our Lord said: “He was a burning and a shining light”
(John 5:35). (Ephesians 4-6 Notes)
Puritan writer Thomas Manton writes on
Change of state demands change of life:
In the words we have —
antecedent (or argument).
consequent (or inference)
First: The antecedent, or argument, is
taken from their present compared with their past estate, what they are
with what they were.
grace received — “You are light”; that is, filled with the light of
wisdom and holiness. But can it be used of any mere man liable to such
notes not their perfection so much as the perfection of the dispensation
they are under. Not their perfection, as if there were no darkness in
them at all, but the clearness of the Gospel which then shined brightly
to them. There is a difference between the Gospel and believers; the
Gospel is a perfect light, but we imperfectly receive it.
notes some good measure and degree of participation, but not complete
fruition. Participation it notes, for otherwise it could not be said
that we are not only enlightened, but light itself; not complete
fruition, for those that are said to he “light in the Lord” are
presently called “children of the light”; which doth somewhat abate of
notes that we have received grace, not only for ourselves, but for the
good of others.
author of this grace — “In the Lord”; that is, Christ; for there is but
“one Lord,” as well as “one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5, 6);
and whatever good we have, we have it from Christ and in Christ.
I. Let me speak of the two opposite states,
“darkness” and “light,” and there show you that the carnal estate is an
estate of darkness, and the renewed state is a state of light.
carnal estate is an estate of darkness. So the apostle tells the
Ephesians, You were not only darksome, but darkness itself, for the
greater vehemency of the expression.
darkness of the understanding is ignorance; they are incapable of
discerning between good and evil, know nothing of the nature and will of
the true God.
is downright and apparent wandering from God.
misery is the issue and close of it (Matthew 25:30; 2Peter 2:17).
2. The renewed estate is an estate of light. Light is
a quality pure and unmixed, and implies both knowledge, holiness, and
happiness. Knowledge, as it discovers all things; holiness, as it is
pure, and can shine on the filthiest dunghill without any stain;
felicity, as it is the smile of heaven upon the earth.
II. That there is a mighty change wrought in them who
are called out of one estate into the other.
have a different principle. All things work according to their nature;
as fire ascends and water descends; fishes go to the water, and beasts
keep on dry land; it is according to their nature, and that principle of
life which they have. The saints have a Divine nature: “Whereby ye are
made partakers of the Divine nature” (2Peter 1:4).
2. As the
internal principle of our operation is unlike, so the external rule of
our conversations are quite different, viz., the will of God revealed in
the word, which they study to know and obey: “Proving what is acceptable
unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10); “Be not unwise, but understanding what
the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17); “That ye may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
III. That it is good often to compare those two
estates, and to consider what we are by nature and what we are by grace.
First: That we ought frequently to reflect on our
former woeful estate. Reasons there are for this.
magnify the riches of God’s mercy in our deliverance from that woeful
estate. We wonder at it more when we compare both together (1Peter 2:9).
2. That we
may admire His power in the change (1 Corinthians 6:11).
3. To keep
us humble (1 Corinthians 15:9; 2Corinthians 12:7.
4. It makes
us more compassionate to others, we having once had as blind a mind and
hard a heart as they (Titus 3:2, 3).
5. It makes
us more watchful. A man who has escaped a dangerous disease or surfeit
is very careful not to lapse into it again.
quickens us to greater fruitfulness for time to come. Was I so zealous
for sin, and shall I not do so much for God (Romans 6:19)? Since we set
out so late, let us mend our pace.
7. It makes
our conversion more evident and sensible, and so quickens us to
thankfulness and praise.
increases our confidence and hopes of eternal life. He that could take
us with all our faults, and love us, and pardon us, and heal our
natures, and reconcile us to Himself, will He not give us eternal life
after we begin to obey, love, and serve Him in our measure? (Romans 5:9,
9. It puts
an argument in our hands against sin (Romans 6:20, 21).
Secondly: We ought to remember what we were by
nature, so as not to deny what we are by grace (Romans 6:17).
IV. This change must be manifested by a suitable
conversation: “Walk,” etc. Children of the light may refer to the
dispensation we are under, or the grace we have received by it.
dispensation we are under, as those that live in the clearness of gospel
light are children of the day. Ye are not of the night; walk as children
of light, that have the light of the gospel, or becoming that most holy
religion which Christ hath taught us.
(1) In the
light all blemishes are soon discovered, and so our sins are without
excuse; whereas people that have not the gospel, or not so fully
preached, are more excusable. Men might plead this, that they knew no
better; but now they “have no cloak for their sin” (John 15:22).
(2) As they
are without sin, so without shame, when they sin in the open light:
“Every morning doth He bring His judgment to light; He faileth not, but
the unjust knoweth no shame” (Zephaniah 3:5).
(3) Sins are more dangerous and deadly: “And this is
the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved
darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil” (John 3:19).
grace received by it. (Biblical Illustrator)