|Series Theme: Meditations in Ephesians|
Meditation No. 41
Meditation Title: Children of Light
Eph 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
The “For” links us with what has just gone. Paul has just said don't have anything to do with those who are immoral, impure or greedy or who approve those things. Now he gives a further supporting reason why not to: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord,” i.e. you used to be like them, in darkness, but now you ARE light. In Scripture there is often this comparison of light and darkness. John wrote about Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn 1:4,5). Paul was to write of God, “he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son.” (Col 1:13). Again John was to write: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1 Jn 1:5,6). God is light. Goodness, holiness, purity and righteousness is light. Sin and Satan are darkness. Thus we have seen that the unbelieving non-Christian life is described as one of darkness. That's what we once were, says Paul, but now we have come into the kingdom of the Son and we have the Holy Spirit within us we have become light, and therefore the things we considered earlier have no room in us.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before men.” (Mt 5:14,16). That is the message that comes over again and again in the New Testament: we are now light. Hence comes Paul's instruction: “Live as children of light.” This reminds us that we have a part to play; it is to decide how we will live. We are light so live like light. So he tells us what this means. As an aside: “(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).” If you want to know what living as light means, it means showing goodness, living righteously and letting your life be filled with truth. But there is something more, for those are just one set of characteristics : “and find out what pleases the Lord.” As part of your living out a righteous life, find out what that means on a day to day basis as you live with the Lord. It should mean it affects every area of our lives.
But he has more: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” As light we should show up the darkness. Our goodness should show up the lack of goodness in the world around us. Light dispels darkness and so our light should push back the darkness around us. He continues with this: “For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” (v.12). That is the extent to which this should go. We live in an age where it seems that nothing is forbidden and anything can be spoken about. When we speak about such things we legitimize them. We allow them to come out into the open. The first step of letting new sins come into the open is to talk about them. Then they get discussed and rationalized and then some do them and then justify them and they become normal. The classic example of this in Western society is adultery which has become so normal that it isn't ever called that any longer.
Paul agrees with this but says that it is our goodness that exposes these things: “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.” (v.13,14a). The very presence of Jesus' light (Jn 8:12) in us makes us light and as he lives through us, his goodness and his love shows up the state of the people around us who are contrasted and who are shown not to have that same goodness and love.
What follows is what is thought to be part of an ancient hymn or saying that the early church used: “This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (v.14b) The unbeliever was considered to be asleep or even dead – with no spiritual activity. When they were convicted and saved, it was like Christ then shone his light on them and they became light. The idea of reflected light is the same one that Paul referred to when he said, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18) paralleling our experience with that of Moses whose face shone when he had been with God. Do you realise we shine!!!